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McHistory: Fighting To Get Women The Right To Vote

Florence Mae Risser Funk
McLean County Museum of History

On this month's episode of McHistory, you'll meet Florence Mae Risser Funk of Bloomington, who played a key role in getting women the right to vote.

Florence was born in 1871 in Bloomington, and in 1895 married Frank H. Funk of Bloomington.

Living on the east side of Franklin Park, Frank and Florence established themselves as progressives while being very active in the community.

Risser Funk became very involved in the suffrage movement locally and statewide, which led her to being instrumental in the passage of the 1913 Illinois Suffrage Act. That gave the women of Illinois the right to vote for the president of the United States, before the passage of 19th Amendment, which gave women the constitutional right to vote. Illinois was the first state east of the Mississippi to give women this right.

The women of the Twin Cities had so much to offer the community, and in 1917 with the start of World War I, Risser Funk organized many homefront activities. Risser Funk and other women like her were said to be "as truly and usefully in the service of their country during the war as those who bore official titles or wore the nation’s uniform.”

Risser Funk died in fall 1923 at 51. She was remembered as “a woman of liberal culture and energetic nature, of comprehensive views on all questions of public interest and possessed of a larger and sympathetic heart.”

Learn more about Risser Funk by listening to this new episode of McHistory:

McHistory is a co-production of WGLT and the McLean County Museum of History. Subscribe to the McHistory podcast.

Ariele Jones is currently the host of Morning Edition; Center Stage, a show focusing on the music of Broadway and Hollywood; and Highway 309.