August 26, 1920
American Women won the vote*
The Exhibit: A modest stroll through the U.S. Women’s brave, often painful and relentless on-going campaign to become full citizens. The exhibit is curated by Ellen Snortland from her collection gathered over decades of being a women’s rights activist and author
Susan B. Anthony — painting by Mary Rosalie Wright
*Not all women were included in the act of voting:
Black women in the south, Indigenous women and Asian women
were excluded through acts of violence, fraud and polling place discrimination.
To download the PDF version of this Guide,
To see the photos of the items in this Guide,
Deepest thanks to:
the PasadenaCelebrates2020.org people, Martha Wheelock, Lisa Verlo,
Cate Shaffer-Shelby, Pauline Field, Mary Rosalie Wright, Melissa Perez,
Christine Reeder and the Pasadena Central Library for making this display possible!
Special Thanks to Ken Gruberman
Very special thanks to the National Women’s History Alliance! If this guide and exhibit result in you saying “I didn’t know that!” more than once, the NWHA will definitely rock your world. Please visit the NWHA to expand your view of history!
Guide commentary was written primarily by
Ellen Snortland, except where noted
CASE LOCATION GUIDE
Case 1 (two sides)
Case 1 is the Left (NE) case as one enters from North. There are two sides to Case 1: facing west and facing east.
Shelves are designated top, middle, and bottom.
Cabinets are numbered horizontally 1-3, Cabinet 1 being closest to North entrance and 3 closest to the main library area.
Case 2 (two sides)
Case 2 is the Right (NW) case as one enters from the North. There are two sides to Case 2: facing east and facing west.
Shelves are designated top, middle, and bottom.
Cabinets are numbered horizontally 1-3, Cabinet 1 being closest to North entrance and 3 closest to the main library area.
◊ Case 1 (facing west), Cabinet 1, Top Shelf ◊
The Haudenosaunee, a.k.a. The Iroquois Confederation, is arguably the oldest true Democracy on the planet — more egalitarian than the Greek model, as women were included as equals and considered essential. Founder Benjamin Franklin knew of their societal ideals when he invited Haudenosaunee leaders to Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention in the late 1700s. The first thing the two leaders said was, “Where are the women?” They could not fathom forming a nation without the counsel and participation of women. The Haudenosaunee women are examples of gender equality typical of most indigenous nations, before colonization.
(Book) Sisters in Spirit: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Influence on Early Feminists by Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner — Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner recounts the compelling history of women’s struggle for freedom and equality in the USA and documents the Iroquois influence on this broad social movement. Iroquois women possessed rights beyond the wildest imagination of their European sisters. Their roles of responsibility and power within their tribes inspired and set into motion the revolutionary changes sought by women in the early days of America. (Amazon)
Artifacts – Tourist “Whimsies” crafted, beaded and sold in the Northeastern US and Canada by women of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora) around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
◊ Case 1 (facing west), Cabinet 1, Middle Shelf ◊
What does a pair of Ruby Slippers have to do with U.S. women’s fight for the vote?
L. Frank Baum, in addition to being the author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was a suffragist and journalist. He was influenced by his wife, Maud Gage Baum, the daughter of Matilda Joslyn Gage. Matilda Joslyn Gage, Baum’s mother-in-law, challenged him at every turn. Gloria Steinem called Gage “the Woman Who Was Ahead of the Women Who Were Ahead of Their Time.” It’s very likely that without Matilda Joslyn Gage, we would never have seen a strong female protagonist like Dorothy.
(Book) Our Landlady by Lyman Frank Baum — the book has pro-women’s suffrage columns in it.
(Book) Woman, Church, and State: The Original Expose of Male Against the Female Sex by Matilda Joslyn Gage — Ms. Gage’s germinal work was banned via the Comstock Act of 1873 because it was so radical, and thereby considered “obscene.” The book was confiscated and relegated to obscurity until the “second wave” of feminism in the early 1970s and resurrected by women’s studies heroes like Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner.
(Book) Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts — This is a historical novel that focuses on Maud Gage Baum, daughter of Matilda Joslyn Gage and married to L. Frank Baum.
◊ Case 1 (facing west), Cabinet 1, Bottom Shelf ◊
(Presidential Candidate Firsts)
(Book) Notorious Victoria: The Uncensored Life of Victoria Woodhull — Visionary, Suffragist, and First Woman to Run for President by Mary Gabriel — What a woman!!
(Book) Shirley Chisolm — the first female African American to run for President. Chisolm said, “Service is the rent you pay for room on this earth.”
(Figurine) Hillary Clinton — First Lady of Arkansas and the U.S.; Senator; Secretary of State, and two-time candidate for president… the first female presidential candidate of a major party. The state of Texas had removed her and Helen Keller from their history textbooks because they were deemed not important; the decision was reversed two months later.
◊ Case 1 (facing west), Cabinet 2 ◊
What an American Suffragist would have worn in a pro-suffrage march
Colors have been important in campaigns. The Suffragist’s colors were purple, gold and white. The color theme was seen in banners, clothing, jewelry, accessories, and ephemera. The British Suffragettes used purple, green and white.
A note about the terms “suffragist” and “suffragette.” Generally speaking, the term suffragette was used in England. The media at the time used it to minimize and marginalize the people (including men) fighting for the female vote. Ridicule has always been a powerful force in resistance to social change. Americans, for the most part, referred to themselves in the gender-neutral term “suffragist.” Suffrage, after all, is essential for citizenship and is noble, not ridiculous.
The dress is authentic white embroidered lawn cloth, circa 1910. (The curator and her mother bought the dress in Huron, South Dakota, in 1963. We guessed that someone was clearing out their grandma’s trunks.) The accessories are reproductions.
(Book) Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement by Robert P. J. Cooney, Jr. — This is an encyclopedic and brilliant survey with pictures of the extensive campaign to win the female vote. This is an essential book for American, human rights and civil rights history buffs.
◊ Case 1 (facing west), Cabinet 3, Top Shelf ◊
The existential question for suffrage: How do you win the vote if you can’t vote? You enroll the voters who can vote to vote for you!
From Frederick Douglass (portrait on left) to L. Frank Baum (portrait on right) and too many men to name here, our fathers, brothers, husbands, sons, and nephews voted for us — but just barely in some states. The suffragist relationship with Frederick Douglass was long, complicated and often painful.
(Book) The Suffragents: How Women Used Men to Get the Vote by Brooke Kroeger — a long-needed look at the partnership that notable white New York men provided to get up and under the women’s suffrage movement.
◊ Case 1 (facing west), Cabinet 3, Middle Shelf ◊
Suffrage poster depicting Inez Milholland Boissevain dressed in white, riding a white horse, as she did for the March 3, 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, D.C.
Inez Milholland Boissevain was a suffragist, labor lawyer, World War I correspondent, and public speaker who greatly influenced the women’s movement in America.
Born: August 6, 1886: Brooklyn NY
Died: November 25, 1916: Los Angeles, CA
A point of pride in the Women’s Suffrage movement was that it was a prime example of civil disobedience and non-violence for the citizenship of half the population. That said, there was loss of life and violence.
Ms. Milholland Boissevain literally dropped dead from her exhaustive schedule advocating for women’s rights and the vote.
Suffragists were also attacked physically by anti-vote hooligans, cops, and bystanders during their demonstrations and parades.
◊ Case 1 (facing west), Cabinet 3, Bottom Shelf ◊
(Book) Cartooning for Suffrage by Alice Sheppard — This book features women cartoonists who were rarely published in the mainstream press, but who nonetheless used their talents to promote women’s suffrage.
Postcards — These depict both anti- and pro-suffrage images. The anti-suffrage cartoons were mostly targeted toward the “unsexing” of both women and men. Women were warned, “If you vote, your ovaries will dry up!” For women with 8 kids, that sounded like a good idea, not a threat. Men were very insecure about their so-called masculinity, as you can see in these propaganda cartoons.
◊ Case 1 (facing east), Cabinet 1, Top Shelf ◊
(Book) The Women’s Suffrage Movement by Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner; foreword by Gloria Steinem — “In her new book, The Women’s Suffrage Movement, the historian Dr. Roesch Wagner aims to finally give a voice to the women history forgot.” (NY Times)
(Book) The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss — Soon to be a major television event, the book covers the nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political battles in American history: the ratification of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote. (Amazon)
(Book) Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States by Eleanor Flexner — One of the first history books I ever read that caused me to weep while reading it.
(Photo) Harry T. Burns — Harry Burns was the junior Tennessee legislator whose vote tipped the ratification of the 19th Amendment, a.k.a. The Susan B. Anthony Amendment, granting women the vote. Mr. Burns was originally anti-woman suffrage, but after a letter arrived for him from his mother exhorting him to vote “pro” he did and voilá! We Won!! By the skinniest margin possible: one vote.
◊ Case 1 (facing east), Cabinet 1, Middle Shelf ◊
Florists made out like bandits in women’s vote “battle states.” The anti-suffragists claimed the red rose; the pro-woman’s suffrage, the yellow rose. Swags, corsages, boutonnières, and bouquets of one color or the other signaled the suffrage position of the person or place.
(Artifact) Prudential Life Insurance letter opener — This was a promotional gift reflecting the early 1900s-era radical idea that women’s lives could have financial value in the event of their death. The inscription reads: “Life Insurance Both Sexes.”
◊ Case 1 (facing east), Cabinet 1, Bottom Shelf ◊
Popular culture has always been a conduit for social change. There’s nothing like a good story about characters we love to sway thoughts, feelings and social mores.
(Left Photo) Louisa May Alcott — best known for “Little Women,” Alcott also was an ardent abolitionist and suffragist.
(Artifact) – quilled fountain pen
(Right Photo) Charlotte Perkins Gilman — Gilman, an author, and suffragist lived in Pasadena while writing her best-known novel “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The book exposed the cruelty of the “rest cure” prescribed to many white women as a treatment for so-called “hysteria.” Her lesser-known book, “Herland,” is considered to be one of the first science fiction novels by an American author of any gender.
◊ Case 1 (facing east), Cabinet 2, Entire Cabinet ◊
Back view of suffragist outfit
◊ Case 1 (facing east), Cabinet 3, Top Shelf ◊
(Art) Sojourner Truth by Hope Demetriades (author of North Stars: Canonizing the American Abolitionists) — Preacher and self-liberator Sojourner Truth is known for being an abolitionist. She was also a passionate suffragist.
(Book) And the Spirit Moved Them: The Lost Radical History of America’s First Feminists by Helen LaKelly Hunt; foreword by Cornel West — Regretting the absence of “Christian zeal” among contemporary feminists, Hunt urges a union between secular and faith-based feminism, inclusive of all religions. The author’s call for renewed feminist action, based on “the spirit and ethic of love,” makes for timely reading. (Kirkus Reviews)
Intersectionality and diversity are not new. Years before Seneca Falls, the women of faith in the U.S. gathered and wrote about race and gender… all for one, and one for all.
(Portrait) Lucretia Mott — Lucretia Mott was a Quaker preacher and a foremother of the abolition and suffrage movements. She and her husband interacted with the Haudenosaunee as “missionaries” and wound up learning more from the indigenous people than they had ever dreamed they could about democracy and gender equity.
◊ Case 1 (facing east), Cabinet 3, Middle Shelf ◊
(Figurines) (From L to R): Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Senator Elizabeth Warren; Senator Kamala Harris — FCTRY, a creative mass-production studio, has found a big audience for political and pop culture “action” figures. I like to imagine: What would our foremothers think if they knew about the women on the Supreme Court? What if they knew about the large field of serious presidential candidates that also happen to be women? What if they knew that a woman of color was in the field of top 5 favorite presidential hopefuls? I think they’d say, “Of course! What do you think we gave our lives for?”
◊ Case 1 (facing east), Cabinet 3, Bottom Shelf ◊
(Artifacts) Suffrage and female campaign “doo-dads,” er, “doo-moms.” — From temporary tattoos, fans, postage stamps, coins, bumper stickers, and window signs, citizens create many ways to promote women’s rights and the responsibility and joys of voting.
◊ Case 2 (facing east), Cabinet 1, Top Shelf ◊
(Book) In Her Own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton by Elisabeth Griffith — Had Elizabeth Cady Stanton been a man, she’d been a great lawyer, politician and perhaps even president. Alas, she was born a girl; even her taciturn father, a judge, rued her having the “wrong” gender since he could see her passion and intellect.
(Book) Heart on Fire: Susan B. Anthony Votes for President by Ann Malaspina; illustrated by Steve James — Few people know the degree to which our suffrage foremothers practiced non-violent civil disobedience. Susan B. Anthony voted illegally in 1872 and was arrested for it. This young person’s book is a beautiful review of a woman’s courage.
(Art) Susan B. Anthony Watercolor by Mary Rosalie Wright — “We little dreamed when we began this contest, optimistic with the hope and buoyancy of youth, that half a century later we would be compelled to leave the finish of the battle to another generation of women…” Susan B. Anthony in a letter to Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton stood together in one of the most productive, enduring and remarkable friendships in American history. They enjoyed victories, made huge mistakes and stood together through thick and thin.
◊ Case 2 (facing east), Cabinet 1, Middle Shelf ◊
(Photo) Carrie Chapman Catt — After Susan B. Anthony passed away, Carrie Chapman Catt picked up the mantle of suffrage leadership. Catt was a bit shocked by the radical young generation of suffragists headed by Alice Paul. In retrospect, no one was right or wrong, since winning the vote was an “all hands on deck” proposition.
(Art) Gandhi Watercolor by Mary Rosalie Wright — Anecdotally, Gandhi credited the US and UK women’s suffrage movements for confirming his ideas of civil disobedience and non-violent demonstrations. He observed the women campaigning peacefully as a “colored” young lawyer practicing in South Africa.
(Book) The Story of Alice Paul and the National Women’s Party by Inez Haynes Irwin — Considered too radical by establishment suffragists, Alice Paul led the charge during the last years of the fight for American Suffrage. She is the author of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which we have yet to attain. A Quaker, she was committed to creating “spectacles” so citizens of the US couldn’t ignore women’s passion for the vote.
(Artifact) Brooch — a medal of sorts for the women who were “Jailed for Freedom” at the notorious Occoquan jail. The government wanted Alice Paul committed to an asylum and had a physician examine her. He said, “Courage in women is frequently mistaken for insanity.”
◊ Case 2 (facing east), Cabinet 1, Bottom Shelf ◊
Who knew that Mattel and their iconic “Barbie” line got swept up in the wave of enthusiasm for women presidential candidates? A canny move, it turned out to be one of the best-selling Barbie series in the company’s history. The first Barbie For President (left) is a 1992 “edition.” The 2016 edition of Barbie For President (right) even envisioned a double-female ticket!
(Book) What Is the Women’s Rights Movement? (What Was?) by Deborah Hopkinson — A smart editor once told me that if I needed to learn something outside my field quickly and with minimal pain, find a children’s or young person’s book on the topic. This is one of the best “primers” about the U.S. women’s movement that I’ve come across.
◊ Case 2 (facing east), Cabinet 2, Entire Shelf ◊
(Clothing) This is an outfit that an anti-suffrage woman could have worn. The colors of the anti-suffrage movement were white, rose and black. There were many arguments against the vote, and many women, as well as men, held the view that voting was improper for women. These women fought the idea of the political equality with every fiber they could, within proper lady-like bounds of course.
The anti-vote women were primarily white and elite. They stood on the foundation of the artwork on the bottom of this case, “The Greatest Moments of a Girl’s Life.”
◊ Case 2 (facing east), Cabinet 3, Top Shelf ◊
(Art) Items created by Stitchin’ by the River founder Lola “Lolita” Newman, using Civil War-era fabric — The fabric-covered head and shoulders are of an unknown African-American woman that commemorates all of the nameless, lost and enslaved women we’ve lost to the ages. Our country was built on their backs. “She” was never a citizen and never voted. Reparations are due and forgiveness must be asked.
(Figurine) Frances Ellen Watkins Harper — Watkins Harper was an African-American abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, public speaker, and writer who never got to vote.
(Book) Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told by Walter Dean Meyers — This picture book introduces the extraordinary Ms. Wells. Long before boycotts, sit-ins, and freedom rides, Ida worked to better the lives of African Americans. She was an activist, educator, writer, journalist, and suffragist. Extremely important to know about.
◊ Case 2 (facing east), Cabinet 3, Middle Shelf ◊
(Art) Multimedia collage by Ellen Snortland — Eddie Cantor graced the sheet music cover for the Prohibition-era song “If I Meet the Guy Who Made this Country Dry.” Also shown is a souvenir “hatchet” used by Carrie Nation to raise money for her “Hatchetations.” Hatchetations involved Carrie Nation — an anti-alcoholic saint to some, terrorist to others — going into saloons and literally chopping up the joint. The button is for a Pro-dry initiative, “dry” referring to an alcohol-free county, city or state. The irony of the Eddie Cantor song is that it wasn’t a “guy” who dried up the country, it was women who drove the anti-alcohol movement, who were often also involved in suffrage and abolition.
(Figurines and Art) British Suffragettes – As noted in another display case, the term Suffragette is British while the Americans preferred the gender-free term “suffragist.” These are Suffragette keepsakes, starting from left to right with a “tin” nurse. Most professions were closed off to women, and nursing became an alternative at that time. Boys had tin soldiers, so girls also got tin toys. The campaign pin has the UK suffrage colors of green, white and purple. The postcard is a reduction of a popular poster; the tin suffragette is sporting the colors of the movement.
(Art) Edith Margaret Garrud Watercolor by Mary Rosalie Wright — Garrud was well known for teaching scores of British women how to protect themselves from physical attacks by anti-vote men. Jujitsu was perfect for women who were generally smaller than their male assailants. These men who were also not constrained by corsets and dresses! Garrud’s form of self-defense became known as “Suffrajitsu.”
◊ Case 2 (facing east), Cabinet 3, Bottom Shelf ◊
(Photo) The Sixth Star — Stanford University, which was co-ed in 1911, had a drama club for women; rare for the time. They performed plays about suffrage and demonstrated for the vote. One of the Stanford suffragists is placing the SIXTH STAR on the flag, to indicate the victory of California Suffrage in 1911.
(Artifacts) VOTES FOR WOMEN Teapot, Cup, Saucer and spoon holder from Alva Belmont’s Newport Beach, RI home — Alva often held tea parties for Suffrage. Sets like these were used by Suffragists to have tea with the President or First lady; they often left behind at least one cup as a suffrage reminder.
◊ Case 2 (facing west), Cabinet 1, Top Shelf ◊
(Photos) (From L to R) Charlotte Woodward Pierce — What’s considered to be the first women’s rights convention occurred in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848, where dozens of people gathered to launch the women’s movement. Only one person there actually lived to see women win the right to vote: Charlotte was 15 when she attended the Seneca Falls meeting.
Lucy Stone — Stone was considered the most “pragmatic” of the major suffragists. However, she was radical for many reasons, including not taking her husband’s last name. Ms. Stone and her husband, Mr. Blackwell, also made their vows a statement against the enslaving nature of marriage for women.
Jeannette Rankin — Jeannette Pickering Rankin was an American politician and women’s rights advocate, and the first woman to hold federal office in the United States. Rankin hailed from Montana and was elected in 1916 even though she was unable to vote! She’s also notable for being the only true pacifist to hold office, consistently voting against any and all wars… from WWI through Vietnam.
◊ Case 2 (facing west), Cabinet 1, Middle Shelf ◊
(DVD) Legalize Equality— “Equal Means Equal” is a documentary film by Kamala Lopez that examines and reveals how women are treated unequally in the United States in all areas, including the workplace, the judicial system, and healthcare. Ratify the ERA!!!
Pasadena Celebrates 2020 “Baseball Hat” — This souvenir and fundraising tool commemorates the 100th anniversary of US women’s vote, along with the postcard. Go to pasadenacelebrates2020.org for more info.
(DVD) Feminist Stories from Women’s Liberation — Local resident Jennifer Hall Lee’s documentary film on the women’s liberation movement in the United States. Interviewees include Betty Friedan, Robin Morgan, Frances M. Beal, Sonia Pressman Fuentes, Byllye Avery, and many more. A must-see. (HuffPo)
◊ Case 2 (facing west), Cabinet 1, Bottom Shelf ◊
Modern Entertainment & Suffrage
(Photos) (From L to R) Gertrude Stein, American ex-pat novelist & poet — “The Mother of Us All” is an opera by Virgil Thomson with a libretto by Gertrude Stein. It chronicles the life of Susan B. Anthony, one of the major figures in the fight for women’s suffrage in the United States. In fanciful style, it brings together characters, fictional and non-fictional, from different periods of American history.
(DVD) Iron Jawed Angels — A 2004 American historical drama that aired on HBO, directed by Katja von Garnier. The film stars Hilary Swank as suffragist leader Alice Paul, Frances O’Connor as activist Lucy Burns, Julia Ormond as Inez Milholland, and Anjelica Huston as Carrie Chapman Catt. It received critical acclaim after the film premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.
(Graphic) She’s History – Amy Jan Simon created and stars in “She’s History,” a live show featuring a pantheon of “Dangerous Women,” women most people have never heard of. Amy was inspired by her daughter, who came home and said she’d been assigned to write about a historical woman for March, Women’s History Month. The daughter selected Cher, and a play was born!
◊ Case 2 (facing west), Cabinet 2, Entire Cabinet ◊
Back view of Anti-Suffrage outfit
◊ Case 2 (facing west), Cabinet 3, Top Shelf ◊
Voter registration form – If you are not registered to vote at your current residence, click here to register online!
(Photo) Exhibit Curator Ellen Snortland and Dolores Huerta at a Ms. Magazine event — Ms. Huerta is a major figure in U.S. history and also a champion of voter registration. She is the head of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, co-founded the United Farm Workers and is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She stars in Ms. Snortland’s feature-length documentary film Beauty Bites Beast.
(Graphic) Card Urging Spanish Speaking Voter Registration — English Translation: A quote from the book Folk Wisdom of Mexico: “Thank God that she made poor people. If she had not, the rich would starve!” Please register! Or, if you cannot register, encourage others to do so. Our lives depend on it. Thank you in advance!
◊ Case 2 (facing west), Cabinet 3, Middle Shelf ◊
(Art) Votes for Women 1913 poster by B.M. Boye — a reproduction
◊ Case 2 (facing west), Cabinet 3, Bottom Shelf ◊
(Book) History of Women’s Suffrage, Volume 6 by Ida Husted Harper — Harper, a suffragist, columnist and speaker, co-edited and collaborated with Susan B. Anthony on Volume Four (1902) of the six-volume History of Women’s Suffrage and completed the project by solo writing volumes five and six in 1922 after Anthony’s death.
(Brochure) Matilda Joslyn Gage Museum — Feminist studies champion Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner and her foundation have the Fayetteville, NY home of Matilda Joslyn Gage as a tribute to the leadership and vision of one of the most significant women you’ve never heard of. The Foundation started in 2000 when Dr. Roesch Wagner, the leading authority on Gage, brought together a network of diverse people with a common goal: to bring this vitally important suffragist back to her rightful place in history.
(Book) Susan B. Anthony Slept Here: A Guide to American Women’s Landmarks by Lynn Sherr — A witty and informative illustrated guide to over 1000 historic landmarks commemorating the words and deeds of American heroines from Anne Hutchinson to Christa McAuliffe. Carry this with you when you visit other states to find out more about that which you never knew… or even knew to ask.