Civil rights activists, advocates and trailblazers among influential Indiana Women of the Century

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USA Today on 8/15/2020 by Roberta Heiman


Albion Fellows Bacon

In 1909, it would be another 11 years before women gained the right to vote in Indiana. But Albion Fellows Bacon was waiting for the ballot. Her two daughters had contracted scarlet fever that was spreading from Evansville’s overcrowded and dilapidated tenements. Bacon began campaigning for housing reforms and other changes, and by the time of her death in 1933, she was responsible for more social legislation than anyone else in Indiana.

She was instrumental not just in housing reforms, but also in child labor laws and school attendance laws. She drafted the bill that created the Indiana Department of Probation and its juvenile probation department. Through her efforts, the Child Welfare Association was formed.

Bacon is considered Evansville’s “most famous and beloved woman.” In the Progressive Era, she helped establish many of the social service and health agencies that serve the city today. At heart, she was an artist and musician. She wrote hundreds of poems and at least 16 books, including an autobiography, “Beauty for Ashes,” that was used as a sociology text at Union Theological Seminary.

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