Ada Bittenbender
(1848 - 1925)

Born in 1848 she attended Lowell's Commercial College and then PA State Normal School and then Freebel Normal Institute.   Ada became a school teacher and then married Henry Bittenberger.  She became active in her church, agricultural movements, temperance and the Suffrage movements.  Mrs. Bittenbender became a lawyer and in 1882 became her husband's law partner in 1882.  In 1884 she joined the Prohibition Party and in 1891 Ada ran for the Prohibition Party for a Nebraska Supreme Court judge seat and achieved almost five percent of the vote.
Another position for four years was the Supt.  of Legislation and Petitions of the national WCTU and then became its lawyer for four more years.  She became the author of the NATIONAL PROHIBITORY GUIDE which was printed by her company, Uncle's Sam's Drunkard Factories which she was President.  She led a long and active life and passed away in 1925, getting to see the enactment of Prohibition which she fought so hard for.

-- Commentary by Chuck Foland

Ada M. Bittenbender

Nebraska lawyer Ada Bittenbender (3 September 1848 - 15 December 1925) was a Prohibition candidate for the Ne­braska supreme court in 1891 and again in 1893. But, as were many Prohibition candidates, she was also active in a wide range of Progressive causes.
     Born in Pennsylvania, she graduated from the Pennsylvania State Normal School in Bloomsburg and was at first a school teacher and administrator. She and lawyer husband Henry emigrated to Nebraska in 1878, where Henry purchased the Osceola Record and set up a law practice. Ada was made Editor of the Record.
     Mrs. Bittenbender subsequently read law in her husband's office and became the first female lawyer to practice in Nebraska. The two established the Polk County Agricultural Association, and Ada became Editor of the first Famers' Alliance newspaper in Nebraska.
She was active in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and was counsel for the National WCTU as well as being its lobbyist in Washington, DC.
     Mrs. Bittenbender was an influential actor in the fight for woman suffrage in Nebraska. One of the main opponents of woman suffrage was the liquor traffic, which feared that, if women were allowed to vote, they would vote for prohibition.
     She was driven by social idealism, by a conviction that women were responsible for creating a better society as the Amer­ican West was being settled. Along with other Progressives, they held the distinct view that their mission was to build a good society, not to take profit from it.

* Data from an article in Nebraska History, "Striving/or Equal Rights/or All: Woman Suffrage in Nebraska 1855-1882, ,. v. 90, pp. 84-103 (2009) by K.M