The Moorhead Public Library

FM Suffrage Tour

The Moorhead Public Library

Moorhead, Minnesota 56560, United States

Created By: North Dakota State University


Moorhead, Fargo and many other towns in our country owe the founding of their public library to their local Woman’s Club. Sarah Comstock’s 1901 presidential address to the Moorhead Woman’s Club called for the creation of a club library, but the members’ ambition soon grew to creating a town public library. Two years later, In 1903, Moorhead attorney George Perley wrote a letter to the club calling their attention to how industrialist Andrew Carnaegie, one of the richest people in history, had recently begun a program of donating money to build public libraries. The Moorhead Woman’s Club got a grant from Carnegie for $12,000 to build the building. They got the city of Moorhead to agree to take on the added responsibility of operating a library. They raised money to buy the city lot to build the library - the original lot was where Regal’s appliance store is today on Main Avenue and 6th Street. And once the building was built, they filled it with books. The Moorhead Public Library opened to the public in 1906.

When the Woman’s Suffrage Amendment passed, Ethel McCubrey was a librarian here. She lived with her father, Grovenor McCubrey, who was the clerk of court for Clay County and would later become our state representative in St. Paul. Grovenor McCubrey was a member of the Minnesota Woman’s Suffrage Association and a member of the Men’s League for Woman Suffrage in Minnesota.

Our area did a good job of electing suffrage supporting politicians from both sides of the aisle. Our State Senator Frank H. Peterson, whose house you visited on this tour, was considered a Progressive Republican. The major rival party here at that time was the Nonpartisan League, which officially endorsed Woman’s Suffrage as part of their platform. Our State Representative Solomon P. Anderson of the NPL was a member of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association. His predesessor, the future U.S. Congressman Knud Wefald, was also a Suffrage supporter. Today, the wife of Knud’s grandson, Susan Wefald of Bismarck, is the co-chair of the North Dakota Woman’s Suffrage Centennial Committee.

The Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association lists two other local men as members. Both were Norwegian bachelor farmers - August Narveson and Emil Lambert. The 1916 Clay County Illustrated magazine described Lambert as “one of the progressive farmers of Moorhead township who has always been too busy to find a wife.” The state suffrage association has Lambert on a list of 11 people statewide who offered to distribute Suffrage literature.

This point of interest is part of the tour: FM Suffrage Tour


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to