Restland Memorial Park Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, USA
Both Florence Maule Cooley (December 11, 1879 – July 15, 1949) and her sister, Frances Maule, were members of Heterodoxy, "band of willful women" in New York City that met biweekly to discuss questions of personal life and social relationships. The women of Heterodoxy were among the first to use "feminism" in a self conscious and deliberate way. Cooley was a screenwriter, organizer and activist, co-Executive Secretary of Women's Political Union in New York, 1915.
Florence Mary Maule was born on December 11, 1879, in Fairmont, Fillmore County, Nebraska to John P. Mauleand Mary Katherine Finigan. She had one sister, Frances, two years older, and a brother, Harry, six years younger.
By 1900, the family lived in Denver, Colorado. Her father was a lawyer there, previously Deputy City Attorney of Lincoln, Nebraska. Her mother was an author, and Frances was also a writer, a newspaper reporter, as stated in the 1900 census. Harry followed their lead to become a newsman and an editor.
Florence married Frederick C. Cooley in Denver on 29 May 1901. The marriage did not last, but it was under the Cooley name that she was known for her activism for suffrage. She came east to New York state and lived in Putnam County, north of the city of New York. In 1910 her parents lived in New York City, but she was not living with them. After her father died in 1912, her mother remained in New York, and continued making a living writing.
Her name appears in the New York press at that time. In September of 1911 Florence spoke at the home of Mrs. Linnell Jefferson in Putnam County to a group of about 30 women. She was noted as participating in a suffragist parade in Manhattan in November, driving a Roman chariot in costume for the California delegation, but called "of Colorado." By the end of the year, she was representing the Putnam County Branch of the Women's Political League.
Two films are attributed to her as screen writer by the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB): "Votes for Women" in 1912 and "Eighty Million Women Want--?" in 1913.
The suffragists' motor tour from New York City, through Putnam, Columbia and Dutchess Counties in August of 1913 was met by Florence Cooley in Brewster, NY. The Pine Plains Register called her "one of the [Women's Political] Union's most energetic and successful organizers." In October of 1913, Florence was one of the featured speakers at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, when women held a 24 hour rally. In 1915, Florence Maule Cooley served as one of two executive secretaries of the Women's Political Union and worked actively in New York's unsuccessful referendum campaign for woman suffrage that year.
Florence's most ambitious achievement may have been leadership of the demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in St. Louis in 1916. She organized a "golden line" of thousands of women dressed in white with yellow sashes and yellow parasols. She stated that their eyes were on West Virginia, where an equal suffrage amendment was under consideration, "If chivalrous West Virginia grants women the vote, it will break the back of the antis' stock argument that the ballot will degrade women and mar their natural loveliness.
The platform put forth by the Democrat party that year did include "the extension of the franchise to the women of the country by the States upon the same terms as to men."
Florence had married a second time about 1914 to author Allan Updegraff, and had a son, David, in 1917. In the same year, Florence Updegraff was working as a national organizer, working in a NAWSA suffrage event in Wilmington, DE. The Updegraffs lived in Woodstock, New York in 1920. Allen had been a friend of Sinclair Lewis, meeting at Yale and dropping out of school together. He first married Edith Summers and had two children with her before meeting Florence. This marriage did not last long. Allen moved to Paris about 1926, and Florence moved to California with their son, David.
In 1930 she lived in Los Angeles in a property she owned, valued at $15,000. She managed a "residential Club" and had a cook and 4 lodgers.
In 1940 she lived in a rental in Los Angeles with her son, and stated that they had lived in the same house in 1935. During the 1940s she had at least three novels published by Harcourt, Brace & Co.: Coat for a Scholar, Traveler's Candle, and Blue Dowry.
Florence died in Dallas, Texas 15 July 1949 at the age of 69.
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