Celebrating Granny D

Delegate: Irene Herold
State: New Hampshire


As part of her Vision 2020 State Initiative, Herold has set a goal to celebrate and publicize the life of a New Hampshire icon and grassroots political activist who took a leadership role in bringing campaign finance reform legislation to national prominence, resulting in the now dismantled McCain/Feingold bill, and registering women to vote through her direct actions.  Doris "Granny D" Haddock walked across the United States at age 89-90 to publicize campaign finance reform.  In 2003, she drove around the country in her colorful bus, "Rosie," on a 22,000 mile voter registration effort targeting working women and minorities.  In 2004, when she was 94, she ran for Congress -- not because she thought she would win, but to encourage women to see themselves in leadership roles and encourage them to register to vote.  She died March 9, 2010, at the age of 100.  Celebrating Doris Haddock, and women like her, is an exemplar of Vision 2020's national goal of "Mobilize women in America to vote, with particular emphasis on a record-setting turnout in 2020, the centennial of the 19th Amendment."

The short-term objective is to create national publicity of the opening of the Doris "Granny D" Haddock collection at Mason Library of Keene State College.  In March 2011 an event was held at the New Hampshire State House and received national publicity with coverage in USA Today, The Republic, Boston Globe and regional media.  The second event to celebrate the opening of the collection will be held Sept. 24, 2011, at Keene State College in Keene, NH.  It includes a facilitated discussion with in-person and video or read greetings from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, former Senator Russ Feingold, celebrities Bill McKibben, Jim Hightower, and state legislators Sen. Molly Kelly, Representative Charles Weed, and many others.  Dennis Burke, Haddock's biographer, has a new biography coming out in the spring of 2012 and will give a talk titled, "If you want to be free, be free:  The happy fearlessness of Doris Haddock and Democracy," which will be followed by a folk music festival of tribute and political activism music, including a set by Haddock's campaign stumping band, Tattoo. 

The long-term objective is to create scholarly works based on Haddock's life by encouraging undergraduate research on Haddock, make the archival materials available to documentary film-makers (a new film is in production), and creative writers who are interested in a children's book on Doris' walk.  All of these will help keep Haddock's life and example in the forefront as a person who believed in empowering women and minorities through the exercise of their right to vote.   By focusing on the activism of the past, we can all encourage voter registration and involvement today.


Learn more about Irene Herold by reading her full bio.