Sara M. Algeo (1876 – 1953)

Sara Louise Algeo was born on June 13, 1876 in Cohasset MA, the fifth child to John and Sarah (Clemens) MacCormack. Following her education in the Cohasset public schools she attended and graduated from Boston University. Upon graduation she came to Rhode Island in September 1899 to teach at Cranston High School. She would remain a teacher until her marriage to James W. Algeo on September 19, 1907.

While still teaching she became secretary of the League of Working Women’s Clubs in Rhode Island and in 1906, at the invitation of a friend, she joined the Boston College Equal Suffrage League. An ardent supporter of numerous progressive initiatives, especially woman suffrage and prohibition she would spend much of her time in leadership roles of reform organizations.

Sara was active in the Rhode Island College Suffrage League and the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association, however in 1913 she was elected chairman of the RI Woman Suffrage Party and in 1919 she was named first president of the Providence League of Women Voters. In 1920 she was one of only 24 American delegates to the Congress of the International Suffrage Alliance in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 1921, shortly after the passage of the 19th Amendment, Sara and her husband James moved from Providence to Barrington. Here she was active in the Republican Party; however, unable to get that party’s endorsement in 1932 she ran on an “Independent Dry” ticket for US Representative from the 1st Congressional District. During her time away from social reform work she and her husband traveled extensively including two trips around the world.

In 1925 Sara wrote The Story of a Sub-Pioneer, the only full-length account of the woman suffrage movement in Rhode Island during the early decades of the twentieth century. She died at the age of 77 on November 17, 1953 at her Barrington home.

Russell J. DeSimone

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