Who Is That On the Cover of My Book?
So, who is that on the cover of
Born in Vermillion, South Dakota in 1873, Rose moved with her family to the Black Hills when she was twelve. Learning music from her Aunt Lida, she played in the Bower Family Band. She attended several music schools, including the New England Conservatory of Music. After short stints as a teacher and librarian, Rose Bower turned her attention and musical skills—singing, playing the piano, cornet, trumpet, and expert whistling— to suffrage work in 1907.
It took seven referenda (six for equal suffrage and one for school) in South Dakota before male voters approved an amendment to the state constitution to enfranchise women in 1918. Rose Bower was an avid campaigner—writing letters to newspapers, fundraising, lobbying, playing the cornet and whistling to draw crowds, and making suffrage speeches. On the Fourth of July in 1914, Rose, wearing a sun bonnet, spoke “on the top of Lodge Pole Butte at a picnic many miles from a shade tree . . . with a flock of two thousand sheep grazing around.” An eloquent speaker as well as a commanding musician, her reputation spread and she was enlisted to campaigns in other states, including Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.
Rose Bower died at the age of 92. In the picture below you can clearly see an elderly Rose Bower playing the piano and whistling. The image illustrated her obituary in the Rapid City Journal, July 26, 1965. The caption read: “SELDOM DISCOURAGED, ROSE WHISTLED, PLAYED/Pioneer with contemporary interests died early Monday.”
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