“I have never yet met a man or woman who denied that taxation without representation is tyranny. I have never yet seen one who was such a traitor to our form of government that he did not believe that the government rests upon the consent of the governed. This is a government of, for, and by the people, and only the law denies that women are people.”
– Anne Dallas Dudley
The Dallas on Elliston is a tribute to both Anne Dallas Dudley and to the historical location where her former mansion stood that was built in 1904, where she lived with her husband Guilford Dudley, Sr. and her two children. Anne Dallas was born in Nashville in 1876 into a distinguished upper class Nashville textile family. She was known for her intelligence, class and beauty and was the most popular socialite in Nashville. The Dallas family was very political and Anne’s great Uncle George M. Dallas served as Vice-President of the United States under Tennessean James K. Polk, President from 1845-1849. Vice-President George Dallas led the efforts in the U.S. Senate to grant statehood to Texas. Dallas County and Dallas, Texas were named in his honor.
Anne Dallas Dudley was very involved in volunteer work and various clubs and she was considered the most prominent of the socials in the state. Frustrated with the lack of power of women in Tennessee and politicians who did not value family issues, she founded The Nashville Equal Suffrage League. Serving as its president, this group organized women to lobby for the right of women to vote. On May 2, 1914, Anne lead the first Parade for Women’s Voting Rights in the South through the streets of Nashville to Centennial Park. That day she gave a speech and a call to action in front of The Parthenon which was the first time a woman gave a major speech outdoors in Nashville history.
In November of 1914, Anne was also instrumental in landing the group Susan B. Anthony founded, The National American Women’s Suffrage Association, to hold their convention in Nashville. Anne Dallas Dudley later became President of the Tennessee Equal Suffrage Association and organized over 80 local suffrage chapters in the state. In 1917, she was elected to the national board Third Vice President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, where she helped lead efforts to get the Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution ratified.
In 1920, Anne was selected to be the first female delegate at large to the Democratic National Convention where she made a seconding speech of an appointee. That fall she led the suffrage efforts when the Governor called a special session of the State legislature to vote on the 19th Amendment. This Constitutional Amendment needed one more state to pass and Anne worked tirelessly and lobbied the legislators. The bill passed the Tennessee Senate and then went to the House where it passed by a single vote. Tennessee’s action gave 20 million women the right to vote.
Anne lived on this site during the entire campaign for Women’s Suffrage and this corner was an important part of planning and hosting the Tennessee Suffrage Movement. We cordially invite you to surround yourself in history!