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LUCAS, BLANCHE FALLIS (1870-1951)

Crusader for Oklahoma women's suffrage and club leader Blanche Fallis, the daughter of William Henry and Jennie Hodges Fallis, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on May 20, 1870. The family came to Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory, in 1889. William Fallis, for whom the town of Fallis, Oklahoma, was named, served as its mayor and postmaster in the 1890s. He also practiced law. Blanche Fallis received her education in Missouri schools. Before moving to Guthrie in 1889, Blanche Fallis married Frank Bathurst Lucas in Kansas City, Missouri. Frank Lucas was business manager of the Daily Leader newspaper in Guthrie and later secretary and treasurer for oil man Ernest W. Marland of Ponca City, Oklahoma. The Lucases had no children.

Like many middle-class women in the early twentieth century, Blanche Lucas moved into the public sphere to better her community and state. During the Territorial Era she published the Oklahoma Topics magazine in Guthrie. She owned the Oklahoma Press Clipping Bureau, which she sold to Charles F. Barrett, former adjutant general of Oklahoma, in 1923. In the mid-1900s she was an agent for the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company. A Democrat in politics, she was chair of the Oklahoma committee of the Woman's National Wilson and Marshall League in 1912. She chaired the Oklahoma Woman's Suffrage Association's finance committee, and chiefly through her efforts the Oklahoma woman's suffrage bill was passed in 1918. After the bill's passage she helped organize and served as president of the Oklahoma League of Women Voters. In 1920 Lucas was one of nine Oklahoma women nominated to attend the Democratic Party's national convention in San Francisco. In 1932 she made an unsuccessful bid against incumbent Myrtle McDougal for the position of committee woman on the Democratic National Committee.

Active in the women's club movement, Lucas helped organize the Oklahoma Federation of Women's Clubs and chaired the club's legislative committee. She also organized the Oklahoma City Town Club and the Ponca City Garden Club. Following her husband's death in 1934, Lucas was appointed to replace her husband as postmaster of Ponca City. During her ten-year tenure she was instrumental in getting airmail service in Ponca City. Inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1939, Blanche Lucas was a member of the Ponca City Grace Episcopal Church, the Oklahoma Art League, the Women's Jeffersonian Club, and the League of American Pen Women. During the 1920s she served on the Oklahoma Historical Society board of directors. Lucas died on July 27, 1951, in Chula Vista, California, where she had moved three years earlier. She was buried next to her husband in Ponca City.

SEE ALSO: OKLAHOMA WOMAN'S SUFFRAGE ASSOCIATION, PRINTING AND PUBLISHING INDUSTRY, SUFFRAGE AMENDMENT, WOMEN, WOMEN'S CLUB MOVEMENT, WOMEN'S RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Charles Franklin Barrett, Oklahoma After Fifty Years: A History of the Sooner State and Its People, 1889-1939, Vol. 2 (Oklahoma City: The Historical Record Association, 1941). "Blanche Lucas," Vertical File, Pioneer Woman Museum, Ponca City, Oklahoma. Joseph B. Thoburn and Muriel H. Wright, Oklahoma: A History of the State and Its People, Vol. 4 (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1929). Ponca City (Oklahoma) News, 29 July 1951.

Linda D. Wilson

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