Writer, suffragist, national Democratic Party political leader, and feminist, Emily Newell Blair was born in Joplin, Missouri, on January 9, 1877, the eldest daughter of James Patton and Ann Cynthia Gray Newell. After graduating from Carthage High School in 1894, she attended the Woman’s College of Baltimore (later Goucher College) and the University of Missouri. When her father died, she returned to her family’s home in Carthage, Missouri, to help support and care for her brother and three sisters.
Phoebe Wilson Couzins, a lawyer and suffragist, was born on September 8, 1842, to John Edward Decker and Adaline Weston Couzins. She graduated from the St. Louis public high school at fifteen and taught Sunday school at the Second Baptist Church. Her father was chief of police in the city during the Civil War, and her mother served as a nursing volunteer for the Ladies’ Union Aid Society, escorting wounded soldiers back to St. Louis after battles.