Database entry - Abigail Scott Duniway

Abigail Scott Duniway
10/22/1834 - 10/11/1915
Groveland, IL - Portland, OR


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Abigail emigrated with her family from Illinois on the Oregon Trail in 1852. After arriving in the Willamette Valley, Abigail became a teacher in Eola and in 1853 married Benjamin Charles Duniway. Abigail also wrote and published a novel, Captain Grey's Company, in 1859, the first book commercially published in Oregon.

The Duniways were farmers until Benjamin became permanently disabled in an accident, making Abigail the breadwinner for their six children. At first she opened and managed a small boarding school, then taught private school in Albany, then opened a millinery and notions shop. It was at the millinery and notions shop that Abigail became enraged by the mistreatment of her married patrons. Encouraged by her husband, she moved to Portland in 1871 to found The New Northwest, a weekly newspaper devoted to women's rights, including suffrage. The first issue was published on May 5, 1871 and she served as editor until she closed the paper in 1887.

From 1887 to 1895 Abigail lived in Idaho, working for the women's suffrage movement. A referendum finally succeeded in Idaho in 1896 thanks to her efforts. She later helped suffrage pass in Washington in 1910 and Oregon in 1912.


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