Belle Case La Follette (April 21, 1859 – August 18, 1931) was a lawyer and a women's suffrage activist in Wisconsin, USA. La Follette worked with the women's peace party during World War I. At the time of her death in 1931, the New York Times called her "probably the least known yet most influential of all the American women who had to do with public affairs in this country".
She is best remembered as the wife and helpmate of Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette -- a prominent Progressive Republican politician both in Wisconsin and on the national scene -- and as co-editor with her husband of La Follette’s Weekly Magazine. She has also become an avatar of the modern woman who successfully balances an active public life with a healthy family life.
Belle Case La Follette returned to the University of Wisconsin Law School and became the school’s first woman graduate in 1885. She never practiced as an attorney but she assisted her husband and he frequently acknowledged her authorship or contribution to a brief. She supported and assisted her husband as he rose through the political offices of Dane County District Attorney, United States Representative, Governor of Wisconsin, United States Senator, and Presidential candidate.
When suffragists made appearances at more than 70 county fairs in 1912 Belle Case visited 7 of them in 10 days. Around 1918 she helped found the Women’s Peace Party, which later became the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. After World War I, she was active in the Women’s Committee for World Disarmament, and she helped found the National Council for the Prevention of War in 1921. She and other women influenced governments to convene the Naval Arms Limitation Conference in 1922.
After Bob’s death on June 18, 1925, his seat in the United States Senate was offered to her, but she turned down the golden opportunity to become the first woman Senator, perhaps because it would have upset the very balance between her public and private lives that she is esteemed for.
WOMEN'S EQUITY DAY CELEBRATES LIFE OF BELLE CASE LA FOLLETTE ABOUT 100 PEOPLE GATHER TO MARK RATIFICATION OF 19TH AMENDMENT.(LOCAL/ WISCONSIN)
Aug 27, 2002; Byline: Tom Sheehan State government reporter A ghost brought history to life during a Women's Equity Day celebration at the...