15 in HIGH x 12 in WIDE x 7 in DEEP
(38.10 cm HIGH x 30.48 cm WIDE x 17.78 cm DEEP)
Gift of Mrs. S. Gertrude Smyth

"Belva Ann Lockwood," National Portrait Gallery, M.G. 22 - Jan 1980-81

Ballot box, painted wood. Designed by a friend of the cause. Mrs. Stow, Oakland President, Founder of the Birdie Bell Kindergarten; Author of "Probate Confiscation" and other works. The first and only woman's Presidential Ballot Box made and used in the campaign of 1883-4 for Mrs. Belva Lockwood as President and Mrs. Marietta Stow as Vice President. (D. Cooper, 3/97) The box is painted black with flowers in color and the intials "SSS" which stands for Social Science Sisterhood.

Per Visitor Information Stations: Born in 1830, Marietta Stow graduated from Oberlin College. She began traveling and lecturing in about 1860, and became a major voice demanding the protection of shop girls. In 1864, she collected over $8,000 in gold while traveling in California for her cause. While here, she met her husband, J. W. Stow. After Mr. Stow died in 1872, his widow attempted to claim her inheritance of $200,000, but was unsuccessful. As a result she wrote her first book, Probate Confiscation. Mrs. Stow began her political career in 1880 by running for the San Francisco School Board. In 1884, she founded the Equal Rights Party, and ran for Vice President of the United States with Belva Lockwood as the Presidential candidate. Ballots were received from all over the country. When the pair ran again in 1888, they collected over 4,000 votes. Marietta Stow contined to fight and lecture for women's rights until her death in 1902. Women gained the vote in California in 1911 and nationally in 1919.Per exhibit label: In 1884, Marietta Stow, resident of Oakland, organized a new political party, "The Equal Rights Party" and called the first women's convention to nominate women to the two highest offices in the United States. The 1884 presidential nominee was Belva Lockwood of Washington D. C. and the vice presidential nominee was Clemence Lozier. Ms. Lozier declined the honor and Marietta Stow became the vice presidential nominee. Earlier, in 1880, Marietta Stow entered local politics, on the Greenback ticket, for the office of school director in San Francisco. She also ran for governor of California in 1882. The 1884 presidential campaign brought out many ardent supporters. Mrs. J. H. Holt of San Francisco, an artist, took it upon herself to design a special ballot box for the occassion. The ballot box was a necessary component due to the fact that members of the Equal Rights Party were not recognized, and could not cast their ballots at the same polls used by the conventional voters. That difficulty was overcome by mailing ballots to the various party headquarters where they were signed and returned to be put into Holt designed ballot boxes. The photograph [of the ballot box on exhibit] depicts the ballot box, with the letters SSS, which stood for Social Science Sisterhood. The genuine article in on display in the Cowell Hall of California History. Mrs. Stow was not known only for her political talents, but also as a lecturer, attorney, editor of her own newspaper, the Women's Herald of Industry, which was quickly turned into a campaign organ known as the National Equal Rights. The latter was published simultaneously in Washington D. C. and San Francisco during the campaign. She was also the founder of the "Birdie Bell" kindergarten and author of two books: Probate Chaff and Probate Confiscation: Unfair Laws which Govern Women. Later in life, Mrs. Stow served as co-editor of FROLIC, "A Quarterly Review, published in Oakland, devoted to long life, health, and beauty; to patriotism, progress and play." Also a trend setter in fashion, Marietta Stow was recognized for her favorite outfit which was considered unorthodox for her time: a black velvet jacket worn with a black silk pleated skirt. The skirt, however, ends about ten inches above the floor, below which are black trousers. A pioneering woman of many talents and causes, Marietta Stow died in 1902, nine years before women got the vote in California.

Picture This Information

This artifact is part of the OMCA's Picture This website. More about the context and history of this artifact is available at Picture This.

About the Picture This web project: California's Perspectives on American History is a resource for teachers and students to learn about the experiences of diverse peoples of California by using primary source images from the Oakland Museum of California's collections. Organized into 11 time periods spanning from pre-1769 to the present, more than 300 photographs, drawings, posters, and prints tell stories from the perspectives of different ethnic groups. Historical contexts are provided to offer a framework of California's role in relation to American history.

The National Archives state that primary sources, "fascinate students because they are real and they are personal: history is humanized through them." Picture This invites students to examine the historical record, encouraging them to connect history with real people and explore how images tell stories and convey historical evidence about the human experience. History becomes more than just a series of facts, dates, and events.      

Bookmark and Share