Ida Sammis

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Ida Sammis, from a 1918 publication.

Ida Sammis Woodruff Satchwell (née Bunce) (October 8, 1865 – June 3, 1943) was a prominent early female Republican party suffragist and politician from Suffolk County, New York.[1] Sammis was one of the first two women elected to the New York State Legislature.[2][3]

Family and early life[edit]

Ida Sammis was born to Eliphalet and Margaret (Rogers) Bunce on October 8, 1865 in Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, New York.

She married a merchant, Edgar A. Sammis, who died in a car accident in 1917. Ida and Edgar had one son together.

Political career[edit]

In 1911, Sammis organized the first women's suffrage club in Suffolk County.[2]

After women gained the right to vote in New York in 1917, Sammis ran at the New York state election, 1918 for the New York State Assembly (Suffolk Co., 2nd D.). Along with Mary Lilly, Sammis was one of the first two New York assemblywomen, sitting in the 142nd New York State Legislature in 1919.

According to legend, Sammis' first act as a legislator was to remove the brass spittoon assigned to her, polish it to a brilliant shine, and place it on her desk as a vase filled with flowers.[4]

Sammis primarily concerned herself with legislation affecting her Assembly district. During Sammis' first year in the Assembly, ten of fourteen bills that she introduced were passed.[5]

Sammis introduced a bill "prohibiting the employment of women under 21 as elevator conductors; and forbidding adult women to be employed as elevator conductors more than 54 hours a week, or before 7 A. M., or after 10 P. M. The bill also required that seats must be provided for all women conductors in elevators."[6]

Sammis continued to be active in community organizations following her single term.[2][3]

Later life and death[edit]

Her second husband was Alden J. Woodruff, a retired doctor from Babylon NY whom she married in January 1923. After the death of Woodruff she married a third time, to George E. Satchwell.

Ida Satchwell died June 3, 1943.[7]


  1. ^ Larkin, Kathy; Joyce Gabriel (12 July 2009). "LI's Rebels With a Cause: For Alva Erskine Smith Vanderbilt Belmont and other suffragettes, `Failure is impossible'". Newsday. Long Island, NY: Newsday, Inc. Retrieved 1 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Women in Politics: Early Women Elected to the NYS Legislature". Women of Courage. St. Lawrence County, NY Branch of the American Association of University Women. 1989. Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Alexander, Jon (January 6, 2010). "Four New Women Join Essex County Board, Gender Barriers Falling". WNBZ: Local News. Saranac Lake, NY: Mountain Communications. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Andersen, Kristi (1996). "Six". After suffrage: women in partisan and electoral politics before the New Deal. University of Chicago Press. p. 145. ISBN 0-226-01957-8. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  5. ^ Sammis, Ida (January 1920). "Women Members of the State Assembly". In James Malcolm. State Service: an illustrated monthly magazine devoted to the government of the State of New York and its affairs. 4, Number 3. New York: State Service Magazine Co., Inc. pp. 203–206,. Retrieved February 21, 2010. 
  6. ^ Safety. 6–8. New York Museum of Safety and Sanitation. 1918. p. 133. Retrieved 28 February 2010. 
  7. ^ "MRS. IDA SATCHWELL; First 'Republican Woman State Assembly Member Was 74". The New York Times. New York, New York: The New York Times. 5 June 1943. p. 15. Retrieved 14 March 2010. 
New York Assembly
Preceded by
Henry A. Murphy
New York State Assembly
Suffolk County, 2nd District

Succeeded by
William Carroll