My Grandmother, Claire (Pawlowski) Halvangis, and The Election of 1916

A little over 100 years ago, on August 15 of 1916, my grandmother, Claire (Pawlowski) Halvangis, was born in Detroit, MI. Her parents, Adam Pawlowski and Mary Grzeskowiak, were Polish immigrants and came to the United States somewhere in between 1880 and 1900.

 

Claire (Pawlowski) Halvangis (1916-1980)

Claire (Pawlowski) Halvangis (1916-1980)

Just a few weeks after my grandmother's birth, Woodrow Wilson was reelected as President of the United States. Here is the front page of the Detroit Free Press on November 10, 1916.

Detroit Free Press 11/10/1916

If you look at some of the other headlines you'll notice that this was the first time that a woman, Jeannette Rankin, was elected to congress. Here is some information about her.   

It was also the last election before the 19th amendment was ratified, providing men and women equal voting rights. 

The election was close, not unlike our most recent one. Interestingly, the electoral college seems almost opposite of our results a few days ago (look here for details). 

It is interesting to me to consider the historical context of my grandmother's birth. What was it like to grow up as a first generation daughter of immigrants? Did her parents vote in this election? Who did they vote for and why? How did the electorate change during her lifetime and what impact did it have on her development and personality? 

If you are interested in question like this I encourage you to check back often for updates and future posts. There is much more to come.   

What do you think?