Blanche Mann

Name: Blanche Mann (Cowap)
Birth Date: November 24, 1885
Birth Place: Danville, IL
Death Date: December 24, 1968
Death Location: Evanston, IL
Burial Place: Spring Hill Cemetery, Danville, IL


Blanche Cowap Mann was the ninth president of the League of Women Voters of Evanston. She served from 1935-1939.

Blanche Mann moved to Evanston with her husband Donald Mann, an attorney, in around 1908. She became an important member of the Evanston community, playing a leadership role in many organizations. She served as president of the North End Mother’s Club, the Evanston Women’s Club, and the League of Women Voters of Evanston and was also active in the League of Women Voters at the county and state levels, including serving as president of the Illinois League. She was also a member of the group that started the Evanston 4th of July celebration. Another important contribution came through her many years on the Evanston School District 75 School Board, from 1928 to 1943. (The current District 65 is a merger of the former Districts 75 and 76.) During World War II she worked as a volunteer in Home Services for the Red Cross.

Blanche Mann spoke widely on civic issues. Newspaper reports from the 1940s include these examples, among others: “Dependent Children in Illinois;” “Your Responsibility as a Voter;” and “What Kind of Citizen Are You?”

Donald Mann died in 1941. Blanche married again, to Col. Burr Polk Irwin, in 1945, and the couple then split their time between Florida and Wisconsin. Sometime after Col. Irwin’s death, Blanche moved back to the Chicago area; her obituary identifies her as a resident of Northbrook, Illinois.

Father: Henry Cowap
Mother: Alice M. Cowap (could be Alice Mary Thompson Cowap)
Children: Yes, 4: Betsey, Joseph, James, Frances
Education: Oshkosh, WI Normal School
Years in Evanston: 1908-1945

Sources: Ancestry; Newspaper articles found on; EHC Clipping files, including bio by her daughter; LWVE Membership Directory