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Margaret Foley

Margaret Lillian Foley

Born at Meeting House Hill in Dorchester, Margaret Lillian Foley was a well known women’s suffragist who was affectionately known as “The Grand Heckler” for her success in confronting politicians on the campaign trail about their stance on women’s voting rights.

As an aspiring singer, she had “a voice like a trumpet,” which made her a powerful public speaker.  Active in the trade union movement, the was a board member of the Women’s Trade Union League and also one of the few Irish Catholic women on the Massachusetts Women’s Suffrage Association.  She became a national figure, helping to gain the women’s vote in Nevada in 1911.

The Boston Globe called Foley “Picturesque, positive and persistent” in a 1913 profile of her reputation as “one of the most vigorous and tireless workers in the votes for women cause.”

After women’s voting rights were secured in 1920, Foley worked for the Children’s Institutions Department in Boston for several years.  She campaigned against James Michael Curley when he was running for US Senate in 1936.

The Collected Papers of Margaret Lillian Foley are at Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College in Cambridge.




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