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HISTORY TOPICS

Women's Suffrage

Women began campaigning for suffrage—the right to vote—in the United States in the mid-University of Minnesota women's suffrage club photo, 19131800s, in marches, rallies, speeches, and appeals to legislatures and the Congress. They were dismissed, ridiculed, derided, and often abused for their efforts. In 1920, the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which granted women the right to vote, brought success to their long 75-year campaign to be accorded equal citizenship rights. Twenty-five Minnesota women who contributed their efforts to the campaign during those years are commemorated in the Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden on the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul: Harriet Bishop, Fanny Fligelman Brin, Myrtle Cain, Mary Jackman Colburn, Sarah Tarleton Colvin, Gratia Countryman, Nellie Griswold Francis, Elizabeth Hunt Harrison, Ethel Edgerton Hurd, Nanny Mattson Jaeger, Bertha Berglin Moller, Julia Bullard Nelson, Emily Gilman Noyes, Anna Dickie Olesen, Mabeth Hurd Paige, Martha Rogers Ripley, Maria Sanford, Josephine Schain, Josephine Sarles Simpson, Sarah Burger Stearns, Maud Conkey Stockwell, Jane Grey Swisshelm, Clara Hampson Ueland, Marguerite Wells, and Alice Ames Winter.

GET STARTED WITH SECONDARY SOURCES:

  • "'A Beautiful, High-Minded Woman': Emily Gilman Noyes and Woman Suffrage," by Rhoda R. Gilman.
    In Ramsey County History, vol. 32, no. 3 (fall 1997): pp. 18-20.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F 612 .R22 R3 v.32:3.
  • Clara Hampson Ueland and Marian Lucy Le Sueur: A Comparative Biography, by Dolores D. Johnson.
    [Minnesota: s.n., 197-?].
    MHS call number: JK 1911 .M6 J65 1971z.
  • Clara Ueland of Minnesota, by Brenda Ueland.
    [S.l.]: Robert Rossiter, 1967.
    MHS call number: F 605.1 .U22 1967.
  • Female Empowerment: A History of the Minnesota Woman's Christian Temperance Union, 1900 to 1910, by Kathleen Edith Kerr.
    Honors paper (Macalester College), 1992.
    MHS call number: HV 5235 .M6 K47 1992.
  • Gentle Warriors: Clara Ueland and the Minnesota Struggle for Woman Suffrage, by Barbara Stuhler.
    St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1995.
    MHS call number: JK 1911 .M6 S78 1995.
  • The Ideology of Minnesota's Woman Suffrage Movement, 1910-1920, by Carol A. Subialka.
    B.A. thesis (University of Minnesota), 1987.
    MHS call number: JK 1911 .M6 S92 1987.
  • "Organizing for the Vote: Leaders of Minnesota's Woman Suffrage Movement," by Barbara Stuhler.
    In Minnesota History, vol. 54, no. 7 (fall 1995): pp. 290-303.
    MHS call number: Reading Room F 601.5 .M66 v.54:7.
  • The Privilege for Which We Struggled: Leaders of the Woman's Suffrage Movement in Minnesota, edited by Heidi Bauer, with an introduction by Barbara Stuhler.
    St. Paul, Minn.: Upper Midwest Women's History Center, 1999.
    MHS call number: JK 1911 .M6 P74 1999.
  • Minnesota History index entries that may be useful:
    • Woman suffrage
    • Women: Suffragists
    • Women: Voters
    • Women's Suffrage Association

PRIMARY RESOURCES:

  • "A Voice from the Civil War, 1918," by Eugenia Berniaud Farmer.
    Typed reminiscence of Mrs. Henry Clay Farmer's Civil War experiences with Confederate sympathizers in Missouri and her efforts on behalf of women's suffrage in Kentucky, Ohio, and Minnesota. The reminiscence was read at the 1918 Minnesota Women Suffrage Association convention.
    MHS call number: P939; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for more details (there is only 1 item).
  • Minneapolis Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women Records.
    This archival collection consists of the organization's constitution and bylaws, [no date].
    MHS call number: P49; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for more details (1 item, only 5 pages).
  • Minnesota Equal Franchise League Papers.
    This archival collection (1911-1917) includes correspondence with the National American Woman Suffrage Association and with the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage regarding methods of influencing federal and state legislation on woman suffrage; copies of bills considered by the Minnesota legislature to grant suffrage to women, with information on United States congressmen from Minnesota and their views; and two "Traveling Kampaign Kits."
    MHS call number: BN2/.M667; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for more details (there is only 1 box).
  • Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association Records.
    The MWSA was founded in 1881 to coordinate statewide and local efforts to obtain universal equal suffrage for women. The collection contains correspondence, minutes and other record books, subject files, printed materials, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and miscellany, that provide information on the MWSA's organizational work at the state, district, and local levels; on public attitudes toward suffrage issues; on life in small-town Minnesota; on interstate cooperation among suffrage groups; on the role of various non-suffrage organizations in the movement; and on suffrage and related bills introduced into the Minnesota legislature. There is a history of woman suffrage in Minnesota, by Julia B. Nelson (ca. 1900); data on a convention of the Mississippi Valley Suffrage Association (1916); an extensive file of pro- and anti-suffrage literature; and information on peace, temperance, child welfare, women's rights, voter education, and other issues of interest to the suffragists.
    MHS call number: M508; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of contents (there are 18 reels of microfilm).
    Note: Microfilm may be borrowed on Interlibrary Loan.
  • Miscellaneous Records of the Legislature.
    This archival collection includes petitions for and against woman suffrage (1869?).
    MHS call number: See the black State Archives Notebooks—filed under Legislature—for a detailed list and locator numbers (there are 21 folders, but not all relate to this topic).
  • Political Equality Club of St. Paul Records.
    This archival collection (1910-1917) contains a minute book, a campaign committee record book, some correspondence and miscellany, and a historical sketch documenting a local women's organization devoted to the cause of female suffrage.
    MHS call number: P2124; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for more details (there is only 1 box).
  • Barbara Stuhler Papers.
    Personal papers (1945-1998) documenting the professional career, research interests, publications, and organizational activities of a University of Minnesota continuing education dean and professor who was particularly interested in foreign policy and was particularly active in the League of Women Voters. The papers include information about Minnesota women suffragists and suffrage history, and the planning and design of the Woman's Suffrage Memorial Garden on the state capitol grounds.
    MHS call number: See the green Manuscript Alpha Notebooks—filed alphabetically under Stuhler, Barbara—for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 9 boxes, but not all relate to this topic), or use an electronic version of the inventory.
  • Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
    • Minneapolis Star
    • Minneapolis Tribune
    • St. Paul Dispatch
    • St. Paul Pioneer Press
  • Visual Resources Database subjects that may be useful for this topic:
  • Check the library catalog for other materials.