MNHS Marks 100 Years Since Passage of 19th Amendment with Online Exhibit

For immediate release

Release dated: 
August 3, 2020
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, 651-259-3148, or Julianna Olsen, 651-259-3071, julianna.olsen@mnhs.or

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MNHS Marks 100 Years Since Passage of 19th Amendment with Online Exhibit

‘Votes for Women’ premieres Aug. 26, 2020, on

On August 26, 1920, lawmakers signed into law the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution which upheld the right for women to vote. This momentous legislation was one step in the struggle to overturn barriers to voting rights that persist to this day.


“Votes for Women” is an online exhibit that will launch on the Minnesota Historical Society’s website at on Aug. 26, 2020. Developed in partnership with the League of Women Voters Minnesota, the exhibit shares the stories of more than 40 Minnesota women whose commitment to civic responsibility, as well as the many voices who have been left out, can inspire us to participate more fully in the democratic process. 

Hear about:

  • (NOTE CORRECTION of city) Marguerite Newburgh of South St. Paul, widely acknowledged as the first woman in the country to vote following the passage of the 19th Amendment when she cast her ballot in the early morning hours for a waterworks bond election;
  • Hannah Jensen Kempfer of Fergus Falls who was one of the first four women elected leaders in Minnesota in 1922 and who served nine terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives; 
  • Sarah Burger Stearns, who founded some of the first suffrage groups in the state when she moved to Rochester in 1866 and Duluth in 1872; 
  • and Nellie Francis of St. Paul who used her vote to advance the rights of African Americans and who led the effort to enact a state anti-lynching statute in 1921.

In addition, a video with interviews from today’s Minnesota civic leaders will share how different communities view the right to vote and what work still needs to be done to ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Visitors can learn about the League of Women Voters, how to register and ways to vote in the upcoming November election, plus they can explore related resources including MNHS Press books, MNopedia articles and more. 

Special programs will be offered throughout the fall including a Facebook live event on Aug. 26, at 7 p.m., with Joan Growe and Lori Sturdevant who will talk about their new book "Turnout: Making Minnesota the State that Votes". Hear from the former Secretary of State, Joan Growe, about how Minnesota’s high voter turnout is no accident. 

Exhibit and Program Support
“Votes for Women” is made possible thanks to a generous donation from Judy Schwartau and by major sponsor, Securian and associate sponsor, Dorsey & Whitney. Additional support is provided by the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008. 

About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us at

The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by Premier Partner: Explore Minnesota Tourism.