Jim Kershner’s This day in history
From our archives, 100 years ago
The newly enfranchised women voters of Washington had a new civic responsibility – serving as jurors – and this sparked a showdown with the Spokane County commissioners.
Minimal accommodations were available in the courthouse for female jurors. When women complained, one commissioner allegedly made a crack about how the female jurors were “stealing county towels.”
If the commissioners wanted to pick a fight, they succeeded.
“The county commissioners seem inclined to poke fun at women jurors,” snapped back Mrs. A.P. Fassett. “If they mean that women on juries are stealing the county towels, they are making a pretty serious charge. We will give the commissioners one more chance to ‘make good’ and then – .”
She didn’t bother to finish the sentence. The Women’s Nonpartizan League, one of the leading women’s political groups, had already gone on record as demanding “an improvement in the quarters provided for feminine members of juries.”
They added that they “mean business.”
Mrs. Fassett also remarked that if towels were actually missing, the county should check with the county’s female employees.