Date Original



This collection contains papers belonging to Lessie Stringfellow Read from between 1922 and 1944. They are primarily of a political nature with the exception of a bank shareholder assessment.

Biographical/Historical Note

Lessie Stringfellow Read (1891-1971) was born Mabel Staples on January 3, 1891, in Temple, Texas, to William and Lillian Staples. Her biological parents died from fever when she was two years old. Henry Martyn Stringfellow and his wife, Alice, who were friends of the Staples family, adopted her. The Stringfellows had lost their only child, a son named Leslie to malaria. A follower of spiritualism, Mr. Stringfellow received “messages” from his son requesting they rename Mabel “Lessie.” Lessie worked as a correspondent for the “Houston Chronicle” while she was a teenager. She married James Read in September 1910. A year later the Reads moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas. In 1912, James Read disappeared under mysterious circumstances and rumors of embezzlement from his place of employment. Lessie Read became involved with the women’s suffrage movement and was a founder of the Washington County, Arkansas chapter, Women’s Suffrage Association and president of the Fayetteville Equal Suffrage Association. She was named national press chairwoman in 1916 for the largest international women’s organization of that time, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. During World War I she served as editor for the Fayetteville Democrat after its editor resigned to serve in the war, and she held the position for the next twenty seven years. She died May 28, 1971 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area

Fayetteville, Washington County (Ark.); Texas





Resource Type



Lessie Stringfellow Read papers, SMC.029.020


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Lessie Stringfellow Read papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History