top of page

The Mother of Suffrage in Missouri - an Editorial Review of "America's Forgotten Suffragists"

Book Blurb:

After being forgotten for nearly 130 years, the “Mother of Suffrage in Missouri” and her husband are finally taking their rightful place in history.

St. Louisans Virginia and Francis Minor forever changed the direction of women’s rights by taking the issue to the Supreme Court for the first and only time in 1875, a feat never eclipsed even by their better-known peers Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Yet despite a myriad of accomplishments and gaining notoriety in their own time, the Minors’ names have largely faded from memory. In 1867, Virginia founded the nation’s first organization solely dedicated to women’s suffrage—two years before Anthony formed the National Woman’s Suffrage Association (NWSA). Virginia and Francis were also the brains behind the groundbreaking idea that women were given the right to vote under the Fourteenth Amendment, a philosophy the NWSA adopted for nearly a decade.

And their story doesn’t end there. After the court case, Francis went on to become a prolific writer on women’s rights and one of the first and strongest male allies of the suffrage movement. Virginia instigated tax revolts across the country and campaigned side-by-side with Anthony for women’s rights in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.

America’s Forgotten Suffragists: Virginia and Francis Minor is the first biography of these suffrage celebrities who were unique for their time in being jointly dedicated to the cause of female enfranchisement. This book follows their lives from slave-holding Virginians through their highly-lauded civilian work during the Civil War, and into the height of the early suffrage movement to show how two ordinary people of like mind, dedicated to a cause, can change the course of history.

Book Buy Link:

Author Bio:

Nicole Evelina is a USA Today bestselling author and biographer who writes historical fiction, non-fiction, and women’s fiction. Her books have won more than 50 awards, including four Book of the Year designations. Nicole is now a hybrid author but was named Missouri’s Top Independent Author by Library Journal and Biblioboard as the winner of the Missouri Indie Author Project in 2018 and has been awarded the North Street Book Prize and the Sarton Women’s Book Award. One of her novels, Madame Presidentess, was previously optioned for film.

She is represented by Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary. You can find her online at .

Editorial Review:

The style of classic non-fiction author's ethereal prose, imbued with a lyrical elegance, finds resonance in the hallowed pages of Nicole Evelina's "America's Forgotten Suffragists." Evelina unveils a tapestry of history, a forgotten chronicle of courage and determination etched in the lives of Virginia and Francis Minor, whose endeavours altered the trajectory of women's suffrage in the United States.

In this exquisitely documented historical biography, the Minors emerge as luminaries, often obscured in the shadow of their more prominent contemporaries, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Their remarkable journey begins against a backdrop of social inequities, a landscape where women were relegated to the status of children, slaves, or the mentally unfit. As the progeny of Virginia slave-owning families, the Minors' transformation from passive inheritors of a cruel legacy to champions of abolition and women's rights in St. Louis, Missouri, is a testament to their unwavering commitment to justice.

Francis Minor's pivotal role in the National Woman Suffrage Association heralded a turning point in the struggle for equality. He ventured where no man had gone before, standing resolutely before the courts to champion his wife, Virginia's, right to vote—a right inherent in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, a right that the Minors believed to be the birthright of every citizen, regardless of gender. Their landmark case, Minor v. Happersett, presented a poignant argument: the Constitution was their shield, and the states could regulate but not preclude suffrage. Tragically, the Supreme Court's negative ruling left a haunting legacy—a shift in power from the federal government to the states, an alibi for the suppression of voting rights that persisted until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

Evelina's "America's Forgotten Suffragists" reveals an arresting portrait of the injustices inflicted upon women in the United States, both before and after the Civil War. It serves as an urgent reminder of our shared history, imploring us to heed its lessons and avoid the repetition of past wrongs. The oscillation of court rulings on the states' authority to regulate this fundamental right to vote underscores the ongoing battle for equality and justice.

The spectre of an impassioned movement for suffrage and equality taking root in the United States stirs the soul of readers. Yet, the depth of insight offered by Evelina's narrative is nothing short of inspiring. St. Louis, it seems, was the epicentre of significant activism for women's rights, a chapter in the city's history that merits further exploration. As we unearth the history of women's organizing in our community, we also glimpse the vibrant initiatives flourishing in our midst today. "America's Forgotten Suffragists: Virginia and Francis Minor" impels readers to embrace their inspiring legacy and participate in the ongoing journey toward progress.

After languishing in obscurity for over a century, the indomitable spirit of Virginia and Francis Minor, the "Mother of Suffrage in Missouri," is finally receiving the acknowledgment they rightfully deserve. Their audacious step in 1875, when they dared to bring the issue of women's suffrage before the Supreme Court, forever reshaped the course of women's rights, an accomplishment unequaled even by their more celebrated contemporaries.

Virginia's founding of the first women's suffrage organization in the nation in 1867, two years before Susan B. Anthony established the National Woman's Suffrage Association, is a testament to her pioneering spirit. Furthermore, the Minors' groundbreaking assertion that women's voting rights were enshrined within the Fourteenth Amendment is a doctrine that resonated within the NWSA for nearly a decade.

However, their story surpasses the confines of their historic court case. After the legal battle, Francis Minor's prolific writings on women's rights and his unwavering support of the suffrage movement marked him as one of the earliest and most steadfast male allies. Virginia embarked on tax revolts across the nation and joined forces with Susan B. Anthony in ardent advocacy for women's rights in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.

"America's Forgotten Suffragists: Virginia and Francis Minor" unravels the life of these luminaries who were unique in their simultaneous dedication to the cause of female enfranchisement. This remarkable biography traces their odyssey from their roots in Virginia's slave-owning families through their resplendent contributions during the Civil War and into the pinnacle of the early suffrage movement. Their story serves as a profound testament to the transformative power of ordinary individuals united by an unwavering commitment to justice, individuals who, in their pursuit of a noble cause, have irrevocably altered the course of history.

The narrative of "America's Forgotten Suffragists" is elevated to a symphony of social change and timeless resonance. Evelina's painstaking research breathes life into the Minors, illuminating their legacy as pioneers of gender equality. These oft-neglected figures are resurrected from the annals of history, and their journey is an allegory for the ongoing struggle for justice and equal rights. As we traverse the pages of this captivating biography, we cannot help but be moved by the enduring significance of their endeavours.

Evelina's narrative resonates deeply with those who reside in St. Louis, where the spirit of Virginia and Francis Minor's activism still lingers. Their trailblazing efforts for suffrage and equality in the city serve as an enduring source of inspiration. "America's Forgotten Suffragists" beckons us to unearth the rich tapestry of women's history and organizing within our community. It reminds us that our past is a testament to the potential for progress and positive change, calling upon us to continue the work of those who came before us.

In the end, the Minors' legacy, restored to its rightful place in history, serves as a luminous beacon, a reminder that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, the indomitable spirit of justice and equality can triumph. "America's Forgotten Suffragists: Virginia and Francis Minor" is a non-fiction gem, a testament to the transformative power of unwavering dedication to a just cause, and a timeless reminder that the pursuit of justice and equality is a journey that never truly ends.


“America's Forgotten Suffragists” by Nicole Evelina receives five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company



To have your historical novel editorially reviewed and/or enter the HFC Book of the Year contest, please visit


bottom of page