This nationally recognized suffragist from Rockford was energetic throughout life in promoting women’s suffrage, including speaking, lobbying, and marching in parades. Somehow, she also found time for government work, church, business, and sports. Within 10 years of graduating from Rockford’s East Side High School, she became Deputy County Clerk and a notary public, was elected secretary of the Young Ladies Sodality of St. James Church, started an equestrienne society, and in 1888 tied a yellow ribbon representing equal suffrage to the flag rope of our new Courthouse, saying “There is certainly no good reason why a woman should not vote if she wants to.” [Rockford Daily Gazette, January 26]. She was active with Rockford Woman’s Club suffrage efforts, representing the club in Springfield and elsewhere. Her continued advocacy included reminders of how difficult it had been to secure suffrage, urging women to “be independent in thought and action.” [Daily Register-Gazette, 12/13/1927] She worked for equal pay for teachers in Rockford. O’Connor also sold real estate and insurance in Rockford and Chicago. In 1933, Governor Horner appointed her supervisor of the new minimum wage law for women and children. Later, she was promoted to superintendent of women and children’s employment in the state labor department. O’Connor began working for the U.S. Department of Labor in 1942, in the regional wage and hour division.
O’Connor is honored on one side of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial tower sculpture for her tireless speaking and advocating to achieve women’s suffrage, as well as her work for equal pay and women’s and children’s rights.