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Letter from Sallie Southall Cotten to Gertrude Weil

Letter from Sallie Southall Cotten to Gertrude Weil

June 5, 1922

My dear Gertrude,

What has become of my old friend "gentle little Gertrude Weil"? Is it she who "purifies politics" by forcibly destroying marked ballots destined to stuff other ballot boxes? Well - I always knew she had the courage of her convictions and I am proud of her - but I do want to know the name of the man whom she caught red-handed with the goods. I believe it will do a lot of good and certainly teach women to watch for fraud.

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Letter from Sallie Southall Cotten to Gertrude Weil

I certainly wish I could have seen it and every woman in the State will applaud your courage and coolness. How can anyone enjoy cheating? I would not have an office that I even suspected had been gained by fraud - but then I am old-timey and ought to be on the shelf. I guess you are all busy over Helene's wedding. Wish I could come myself. My love to all your family and be assured I glory in your spunk.


Sallie S. Cotten

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Prior to the institution of modern safeguards at the ballot box, it was not uncommon for corrupt politicians to "stuff the ballot boxes" with ballots filled in in advance of the election. This practice appalled Weil, and in 1922, only two years after women had won the right to vote, she bravely marched up to the ballot boxes and destroyed the previously marked ballots, thus "purifying" the election. In this letter, Sallie Southall Cotten, a long-time friend and founder of the North Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs, expresses her admiration of Weil's actions and "glor[ies] in her spunk."

Date / time
June 5, 1922

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Letter from Sallie Southall Cotten to Gertrude Weil." (Viewed on December 17, 2014) <>.


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