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Vira Boarman Whitehouse

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Vira Boarman Whitehouse

Vira Boarman Whitehouse
File:Vira Boarman Whitehouse 1915 circa.png
Born Vira Boarman
(1875-09-16)September 16, 1875
New Orleans, Louisiana
Died April 11, 1957(1957-04-11) (aged 81)
New York City
Known for Suffragette
Spouse(s) James Norman de Rapelye Whitehouse
Children Alice Whitehouse Harjes
Parents Robert Boarman
Cornelia Terrell

Vira Boarman Whitehouse (September 16, 1875 - April 11, 1957) was the owner of the Whitehouse Leather Company, and a suffragette and early proponent of birth control.[1]


Vira Boarman was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on September 16, 1875, to Robert Boarman and Cornelia Terrell.[1][2]

She attended Newcomb College in New Orleans. She married James Norman de Rapelye Whitehouse (1858–1949), a New York stockbroker, on April 13, 1898. They had one child, Alice Whitehouse Harjes.[1]

She was chairman in 1913 of the publicity council of the Empire State Campaign Committee and in 1916 of the New York State Woman Suffrage Party (NYSWSP). She was a leader in securing suffrage for New York women in November 1917.

In 1918, she became director of the Swiss office of the Committee on Public Information. She reported her experiences in A Year as a Government Agent (1920).[3]

In 1921 she bought the Buchan-Murphy Manufacturing Company, a leather business, renamed it the Whitehouse Leather Products Company, Inc., and reorganized it with herself as president. She managed the company for eight years, reducing the work week from 48 hours to 44 hours, among other changes.[1]

In 1925 she was elected a member of the Democratic County Committee from Manhattan's 15th Assembly District.[1]

In 1926 she became Chairman of the Independent Women's Committee for Judge Wagner.[4] She sold her leather company before the stock market crash of 1929.[1]

She died at her home in New York City on April 11, 1957.[1][5]


Her papers are archived at the Harvard University Library.[1]


External links

  • Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.

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