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SHSI Des Moines. Iowa Women’s Suffrage Collection.

One of Iowa’s claims to fame in the suffrage movement is the 1908 suffrage parade held in Boone, Iowa. Prior to this, parades had been associated with militant English suffragettes. By 1908, however, Iowa suffragists realized that their methods had to change.

On October 29, 1908, about one hundred fifty women marched from the Boone Universalist Church to the downtown business district. Led by a band, the women marched and rode in cars, waving banners proclaiming their rights. At the end of the route, the women listened to speeches from National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) president Dr. Anna Howard Shaw and two English suffragettes.

In 1888, Davenport, Iowa had hosted an anti-suffrage parade, and women had marched in parades of other kinds, but Boone was the first in Iowa dedicated solely to suffrage.

There is debate over whether or not the Boone parade was the first suffrage parade in the entire country. IESA president Eleanor Gordon believed it was, but there were also suffrage parades in New York City and Oakland, California the same year.

Although parades and picketing were only used in the last phase of the suffrage movement, the images have remained iconic in national memory.

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SHSI Des Moines. Iowa Women's Suffrage Collection.