Although her obituary makes no mention of her suffrage activities, Mrs Bertram Storrs (Veva) was singled out in the History of Woman Suffrage* as a key contributor to the movement in Newport County.  Veva was also an important member of the Portsmouth community for almost fifty years.  Like many of the other Portsmouth suffragists, she was deeply involved in community activities.

Born Veva Etheline Potter in 1875, she came to Portsmouth around 1903 as the bride of Dr. Bertram Storrs.  Dr. Storrs was the proverbial “country doctor” and he held many medical positions within the town, county and state.  They were often involved in activities together. When a movement started to hire a school district nurse, both Dr. Storrs and Veva were active on the committee.  It is interesting to note that many of our Portsmouth suffrage women were involved in the effort as well.  Maud Howe Elliott was a featured speaker and focused on combating the idea of “what was good enough for their fathers was good enough for them.”  Emeline Eldredge, another suffragist, chaired the committee.**

Veva was active in the St. Paul’s Ladies Guild and did a number of charitable works through that group and many of the Bristol Ferry Suffragists were active there as well.  Veva, Emeline Eldredge, and Sarah Eddy all served together on the Board of the Portsmouth Free Public Library.  Veva served on Girl Scout Councils, as a charter member of the Portsmouth Historical Society, and she was in charge of a Red Cross book drive (Victory Book Campaign) to collect books for service men.***

Mrs. Storr’s suffrage activities were centered around the Newport County Woman Suffrage League.  She served as secretary in 1913 and 1914.  Fall River Daily Evening News accounts (9/14/1909) show that she and Cora Mitchel (the founder of the Newport County Woman Suffrage League) were delegates to the state fair in Kingston.  Their role there was to “man” a table of suffrage literature and to talk to fairgoers about the cause.

The life and contributions of Veva Potter Storrs illustrate an important fact about the women of the Newport County Woman’s Suffrage League.  These were women who actively worked in their community.

*Ida Harper, ed.  The History of Woman Suffrage Vol. 6:  1900-1920 (New York:  J.J.Little, 1922, page 577-578

** Fall River Evening News 5/5/1914.

*** Newport Mercury, 1/22/1943.