Further Resources for Researching Women's Suffrage in Iowa
From archives and books to online resources and historic sites, this page is a compilation of sources that provide insight or background to the history of women’s suffrage in Iowa. It is not an exhaustive list, but a place for researchers to get started. If you would like to have your collection or work listed on this page, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Special collections and archives and online resources related to Iowa are listed by the Iowa county in which they are located. Other resources are listed alphabetically.
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS & ARCHIVES (Including Iowa-based Online Resources)
Listed by county of origin
BLACKHAWK COUNTYBack to Top
Rod Library Special Collections and University Archives. University of Northern Iowa.
Cedar Falls, IA 50613 * phone: 319-273-6307
- Cedar Falls Historical Society Oral History Interviews. 1 linear foot.
Stella Robinson Wynegar recalls her 90 years of residence in Cedar Falls. Tape 9b includes commentary about wages for men and women in the late 1800s.
- Women's Studies Program Subject Files, 1969-1999. 8 linear feet.
This collection includes material on celebrations of women’s suffrage hosted by the UNI Women’s Studies department in 1995.
BOONE COUNTYBack to Top
Boone County Historical Society Center.
602 Story Street * Boone, Iowa 50036 * phone: 515-432-1907
- Presentations for public use: The Boone County Historical Society has three PowerPoint Presentations available for loan to interested organizations. One is on the women's suffrage movement in general, another explains Iowa's role, and the last includes information on the 1908 Boone parade.
- Suffrage parade materials: The society has accurate reproductions of the cloth banners used in the 2008 reenactment of the suffrage parade. A three-panel traveling display about the 1908 parade is available to schools, libraries, and museums.
Searching 'Boone Suffrage' on YouTube will bring up several videos of the reenactment.
Visitors to Boone can see a monument dedicated to the suffrage parade on the grounds of Boone High School, and the historical society's journal, Trail Tales, has published a handful of articles on women's suffrage.
- Primary resources: The Boone County Historical Society has a collection of Equality Club Membership booklets dating from 1900-1920 and information on a few people active in that movement.
DUBUQUE COUNTYBack to Top
Encyclopedia Dubuque: Northern Iowa Woman Suffrage Association (online resource)
This local online encyclopedia entry gives a brief history of the first suffrage organization in Iowa. Founded in 1869 after several women attended a Galena, Illinois suffrage event, this association hosted early suffrage meetings in Iowa. Other Encyclopedia Dubuque entries shed light on buildings, people, and events in Dubuque history.
FLOYD COUNTYBack to Top
19th Amendment Society.
2379 Timber Avenue * Charles City, IA 50616 * phone: (641) 228-3336
Constructed in 1866, the girlhood home of suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Today the home is maintained by the National 19th Amendment Society, a volunteer, not-for-profit organization. Members maintain the home in order to tell the story of the struggle for women’s suffrage.Carrie Chapman Catt Girlhood Home (online resource)
Maintained by the National Nineteenth Amendment Society, this site provides biographical information on Carrie Chapman Catt as well as an interactive timeline of her life. The Links section gives direction to other suffrage and women’s history materials on the web. There is also an audio recording of Catt speaking about the world suffrage movement.
JOHNSON COUNTYBack to Top
50-50 in 2020: Achieving Political Equality in Iowa (online resource)
This bipartisan initiative is seeking to achieve political equality in Iowa’s Legislature, Congressional delegation, and the governor’s office by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. Although Iowa women make up 53 percent of the population, only 22.6 percent of elected officials are female. This effort seeks to educate and support female candidates for office between 2010 and 2020.
THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWABack to Top
The Iowa Women’s Archives
100 Main Library University of Iowa * Iowa City, IA 52242 * phone: 319-335-5068
- League of Women Voters of Cedar Rapids-Marion, Metropolitan Des Moines, Mount Vernon-Lisbon, Muscatine and Sioux City records.
For those interested in League of Women Voters activities after the 1920s and 1930s, these collections have a wide variety of materials covering administrative and political issues.
Additional materials can be found in the League of Women Voters of Iowa records and the League of Women Voters of Johnson County records, a selection of which are located in the Women’s Suffrage in Iowa digital collection.
University of Iowa Special Collections and University Archives
100 Main Library * Iowa City, IA 52242 * phone: 319-335-5921
- Four letters from Carrie Chapman Catt to various individuals between 1900 and 1940 are cataloged in InfoHawk (the University of Iowa’s online library system) under the call number MsL C368. The 1900 letter concerns Catt’s thoughts on the suffrage movement in Montana. The others are tangentially related to suffrage, if at all.
- Ding Darling Editorial Cartoons digital collection and papers. 1897-
Iowa-raised Jay N. (Ding) Darling won two Pulitzer Prizes for his editorial cartoons, which he drew almost daily between 1900 and 1949. Special Collections has digitized more than 6,000 original images available in an online collection. A search for women’s suffrage produces 44 cartoons-many of which are specific to Iowa, especially Sioux City. These give insight into stereotypes and caricatures of suffragists.
The Darling physical collection includes originals of these cartoons as well as correspondence, writings, and information on his conservation work. It encompasses 60 linear feet in Special Collections.
- Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century Digital Collection
This digital collection presents promotional circulars (publicity brochures), musical and spoken word recordings, and programs drawn from the Records of the Redpath Lyceum Bureau, the largest booking agency for circuit Chautauqua. Between 1904 and 1932, the enterprise brought together thousands of performers and lecturers and millions of small town residents under large canvas tents. Take special note of lecturers Mrs. J. Redding Cole, Charles Zueblin, Belle Kearney, Jeannette Rankin, Charles Howard Plattenburg, Grace Wilbur Trout, S.A. Baldus, C.B. Rayhill, and Mecca Marie Varney for references to the suffrage movement, as these individuals each made a circuit stop in Iowa. Lecture titles include “Women Who Toil,” “Woman and the Ballot,” “The Fallacy of Woman’s Suffrage,” and “The Citizen Mother.”
- The Trident newsletter, ed. by Ella Bushnell Hamlin. 1904-1906. 2 folio cases.
Bushnell Hamlin founded The Trident newsletter in 1904 to cover news, society and women’s issues in the Tri City Area, which included Davenport, Moline and Rock Island.
Bushnell Hamlin was a suffragist and her publications often covered national and international suffrage news. She advocated for women’s involvement in clubs, and The Trident is full of clubwomen news. She refused to pay a license tax in 1909 and urged the mayor to throw her in jail. In 1910, she campaigned for the position of Davenport school director, and The Trident ceased publication. Although a fascinating source of society and business life, the newsletters provide little local information on suffrage. They have been scanned and will eventually be placed in the Iowa Institutional Repository.
The Putnam Museum in Davenport has additional clippings and publications by the Trident Publishing Company for 1904 and 1911.
- University of Iowa literary and debate societies and clubs (1890s - )
UI Special Collections has records from many literary and debate societies and university clubs. Some are specifically related to women, others are men’s clubs. In the 1890s and early 1900s many of the men’s clubs at the university had female counterparts with which they would socialize and plan events. Two men’s groups whose records briefly record women’s suffrage debates are Zetagathian and Philomathean. Most of the women’s club records make no mention of suffrage or women’s rights.
- George W. Clarke papers. 1904-1937. 0.5 linear feet.
Active in Iowa politics during the early 1900s, Clarke was governor during the failed suffrage referendum of 1916 and a supporter of women’s suffrage. The collection consists primarily of correspondence, clippings, and campaign literature from his campaign for re-election as Governor of Iowa in 1914. There are also voting records, speeches, ballots, and pamphlets relating to Republican politics in Iowa. (The State Historical Society of Iowa in Des Moines also has some material belonging to Clarke).
- George Cosson papers. 1903-1961. 2.5 linear feet.
Elected to the Iowa Senate in 1909 and appointed Attorney General of the State of Iowa from 1911 to 1917, George Cosson was married to suffragist Jennifer Riggs Cosson, and was listed in 1909 Woman’s Christian Temperance Union Proceedings as being favorable to suffrage. There is some personal material in his papers, including an oversize scrapbook, which contains clippings relating to the Progressive Party and the suffrage movement.
State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City
402 Iowa Avenue * Iowa City, IA 52240 * phone: 319-335-3916
- Cyrus Clay Carpenter papers. 9 linear feet. (Ms129).
Cyrus Clay Carpenter came to Iowa in 1854 and served in the first legislature elected after the enactment of the state constitution of 1855. In 1871, he began the first of two terms as Iowa’s governor. The newspaper clippings in this collection contain articles on women’s suffrage.
- James and Ruby Howorth oral history interview. 22-page transcript. (OH4, Tape 18).
Ruby and James Howorth discuss farm life in the early twentieth century, including women’s suffrage and the political activities of farmers. Other topics include the Great Depression, German discrimination during World War I, and daily farm life.
- Edward Renze oral history interview. 59 page transcript. (OH4 Tape 61).
Edward Renze and other family members discuss family history and the acquisition of farm land, the immigration of family members from Germany, farm economics, women’s suffrage, prohibition, and rural social events in the early twentieth century.
POLK COUNTYBack to Top
State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines
600 East Locust * Des Moines, IA 50319 * phone: 515-281-6200
- James Callanan Jr. papers. 2 linear feet. (C134).
Martha Coonley Callanan, suffragist and Woman’s Christian Temperance Union activist, was married to James C. Callanan, Des Moines financier and philanthropist. The Callanans were prominent in Des Moines social circles. Although Martha Callanan was an active and influential suffragist, she was conservative on issues such as marriage reform and reproductive issues. She contributed a great deal of money to the suffrage cause and was instrumental in establishing The Woman’s Standard, the Iowa suffrage newspaper. Most of the collection focuses on James Callanan’s activities, but there is one letter to Martha Callanan regarding her fight for social reform.
- Albert Baird Cummins papers. 1891-1926. 31 linear feet. (C192).
Albert Baird Cummins was a progressive Republican from Des Moines who served Iowa as state representative (1888-1890), governor (1902-1908), and United States senator (1908-1926). Throughout his career he supported women’s suffrage. The collection includes speeches, articles, campaign records, and political cartoons. Cummins’ wife Ida Cummins was active in child welfare reform.
- George W. Clarke papers. 1874-1936. 6 linear feet. (C5525)
Active in Iowa politics during the early 1900s, Clarke was governor during the failed suffrage referendum of 1916 and was a supporter of women’s suffrage. This collection includes speeches, correspondence, and newspaper clippings. (The University of Iowa Special Collections Department also has some of Clarke’s papers.)
- First Unitarian Universalist Church of Des Moines records. 1869-1996. 27 linear feet. (Ms 44/44.1).
The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Des Moines had many ministers, including women, who were active in the suffrage movement. The church and Rev. Eleanor E. Gordon pushed for a suffrage parade, which occurred in Boone, Iowa in 1908. The women’s Unity Circle, founded in 1879, is believed to be the oldest continuously operating women’s group in Des Moines. The collection contains files on ministers, minutes, financial records, histories, and scrapbooks.
- Arabella Babb Mansfield papers. 1846-1911. 1 folder.
The collection contains a letter, newspaper clippings, and biographical sketches of Mansfield. Born in Des Moines County, Mansfield went on to become the first woman to pass the bar exam and practice law in the United States. She and her husband were outspoken women’s rights advocates and Belle Mansfield was secretary of the first Iowa women’s rights convention in 1870. She also served as president of the Henry County Woman Suffrage Society.
- The Woman’s Standard. 1886-1911.
The Woman’s Standard was the women’s suffrage publication in Iowa. The 1908 issues have been digitized for the Women's Suffrage in Iowa Digital Collection as a sample of the kinds of news stories suffragists reported on.
The Women’s Standard is part of the Iowa Women’s Suffrage Collection in Des Moines. Microfilm copies are available in both the Des Moines and Iowa City branches of the State Historical Society.
Iowa Public Television has put together a brief, introductory history to women’s suffrage in Iowa. Although, Elizabeth Cady Stanton spent time in Iowa, she was an East Coast native. The Carrie Chapman Catt Pathway shows Catt’s introduction to the suffrage movement and her eventual political leadership through the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).
The Iowa Commission on the Status of Women is the state agency that serves in a direct advocacy role for women and girls. Each year, through a public input process, the Commission develops a policy agenda aimed at providing optimal results for women through changes in the law or other changes in the actions or policies of state government. ICSW engages in direct advocacy and works with a variety of partners to support grassroots advocacy on women’s issues.
The ICSW encourages equal participation of women and men in politics to more accurately reflect the composition of society. The following pdf discusses this initiative and highlights trends in female political participation in the state of Iowa: http://www.women.iowa.gov/about_women/docs/2006_SR_6.pdf
To highlight women’s heritage and recognize their contributions, the ICSW established the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame in 1975.The list of inductees provides links to biographical information about many women involved in the suffrage movement in the state of Iowa.
POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTYBack to Top
Council Bluffs Public Library Special Collections
400 Willow Ave * Council Bluffs, IA 51503 * phone: 712-323-7553
- Amelia Bloomer letters. 1851-1894.
This collection consists of 298 letters written and received by suffragist Amelia Jenks Bloomer between 1851 and 1894, most from her home in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (Some of Bloomer’s speeches have been published in Hear me patiently: the reform speeches of Amelia Jenks Bloomer edited by Anne C. Coon. For more information, see the Books section).
POWESHIEK COUNTYBack to Top
Grinnell College Special Collections and Archives
1111 6th Ave * Grinnell, IA 50112-1770 * phone: 641-269-3350
- Louise Rosenfield Noun papers. 1961-1969. 5.5 linear feet.
The bulk of this collection consists of Noun’s notes for Strong-minded Women: The Emergence of the Woman-Suffrage Movement in Iowa. The collection also includes correspondence, clippings, and photocopies from various sources, other background material, and negatives of photographs used in the book.
SCOTT COUNTYBack to Top
The Putnam Museum of History and Natural Science
1717 W. 12th Street, Davenport, IA * phone: 563-324-1933
The Putnam’s library and archives have a handful of suffrage materials, mostly of national origin. There are a few posters, political buttons and one 1883 letter addressed to Mrs. L.N.R. Clark from the National Society for Women’s Suffrage. The Putnam also has a copy of Bonnie Bridgeford’s master’s thesis: “Women Suffrage: A Review of the Davenport Democrat’s press coverage of women suffrage in the late 19th Century,” November 1985.
The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center, Davenport Public Library
321 Main Street * Davenport, IA 52801 * phone: 563-326-7902
Two collections at Richardson-Sloane contain materials on the League of Women Voters. While these collections mainly contain materials after the 1930s, researchers may find them of interest.
- The bulk of suffrage materials will be found in the extensive local newspaper collections.
- The Mona Martin papers (2006-15) contain a scrapbook and record carton from the Davenport League of Women Voters. They include photos and descriptions of the League’s activities as well as a history of the Davenport League, which disbanded during the Great Depression due to low membership but later revived.
- The League of Women Voters records (2004-40) may include information about suffragists’ activities after winning the right to vote.
STORY COUNTYBack to Top
Iowa State University
Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics
202 Catt Hall * Iowa State University * Ames, IA 50011
- Founded in 1992, the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics (CCWP) is involved in leadership development and mentoring for women and men interested in pursuing political careers. In addition, the Center gives awards for research on women in politics and has a few articles about women in politics in Iowa on its website. Researchers can find a short biography and timeline of Catt’s life here as well.
- Women’s Political Communication Archive
Hosted by Iowa State University, this online archive includes the texts of speeches by women political figures from all throughout the United States. The historical section includes profiles and speeches of several suffragists including Carrie Chapman Catt and Susan B. Anthony, as well as African American activists such as Mary Church Terrell and Ida B. Wells. Researchers can search by name or by subject.
403 Parks Library * Iowa State University * Ames, IA 50011 * phone: (515) 294-6672
- Ames Business and Professional Women’s records, 1921-1988. 19 boxes.
After women won the right to vote, there were several efforts to educate new voters about the political process and political issues. The Ames Business and Professional Women’s records contain information about voting drives and support for political rallies in the years following the passage of the 19th Amendment.
- Adams Family Papers, 1618-1976. 2.94 linear feet.
In 1866, Mary Newbury Adams became interested in women’s suffrage and did much to promote it through writing and speaking, and as an organizer of state, regional, and national meetings. She was a founding member of the Northern Iowa Woman Suffrage Association, the first suffrage organization in Iowa. She was chosen to be the corresponding secretary as she carried on correspondence with women and women's groups in Iowa and other states.
- Carrie Chapman Catt papers, 1878-ongoing. 1.68 linear feet.
This collection contains biographical data, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, bibliographies, publications, reviews, addresses, awards, a scrapbook of tributes, material relating to the Woman’s Centennial Congress, artifacts, and her will. Suffrage buttons from this collection are in the Women’s Suffrage in Iowa Digital Collection.
- Department Blog: Women’s History Month: Online Collections. March 8, 2011.
This blog entry describes Iowa State’s holdings of three suffrage cookbooks available through their digital collections. The first was compiled by Mary Welch, the wife of Iowa State’s first president, Adonijah Welch, and the organizer and head of the Department of Domestic Economy at Iowa State University. The second was edited and published by Hattie A. Burr in 1886. The third cookbook in the digital collection, “The Suffrage Cookbook,” was compiled by Mrs. L.O. Kleber in 1915 and was owned by suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt. One of the recipes was “Pie for a Suffragist’s Doubting Husband.”
- Hortense Butler Heywood papers, 1899-1977. 2.52 linear feet.
Hortense Butler Heywood, a native of Cherokee, Iowa wrote several historical articles about Iowa in addition to scientific articles about entomology and paleontology. In addition, she was active in the cause of women’s suffrage. Heywood had ties to the Iowa Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Webster City Women’s Club.
- League of Women Voters of Ames records, 1941-ongoing. 22.11 linear feet.
In 1925, the Ames League of Women Voters established “Citizenship Schools” to promote its mission. Although this collection mostly has later material in the 1940s and 1950s, there are some histories which may provide insight on early voting activities.
- Woman Suffrage Collection, 1916-1919. 21 linear feet.
This collection includes both local and national items such as printed material regarding the June 1916 Iowa suffrage referendum, blank enrollment cards for the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association and the Boone County (Iowa) Suffrage Association, and postcards of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
- YWCA of Ames-ISU records. 1873-ongoing. 12.39 linear feet.
Newsletters, press releases, and several histories of the YWCA may relate to suffrage. There is also a folder on Carrie Chapman Catt in this collection.
Ames Public Library
515 Douglas Avenue * Ames, IA * 50010 * phone: (515) 239-5656
- Farwell T. Brown Photographic Archive (online resource)
This online archive has a handful of photographs from the women’s suffrage movement and biographicalinformation about leaders, including Rowena Edson Stevens, who played a role in the 1908 Boone Suffrage Parade. Visitors can browse other Iowa related photos by keyword.
LOCAL NEWSPAPERSBack to Top
Local newspapers covered the suffrage movement from its inception until women won the right to vote. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, conversations about social and political issues were often carried out through the pages of the editorial sections. In addition, many newspapers either defended or vilified suffragists--and sometimes switched sides. Public libraries are often a good source for Iowa newspapers. They may have physical, microfilm or online copies.
- Ericson Public Library
702 Greene Street * Boone, IA 50036 * phone: 515-432-3727
The Boone News Republican is available on microfilm here and includes extensive coverage on the October 1908 suffrage parade and convention at the Universalist church.
- Leonard A. Good Community Library
208 West Mulberry Street (P.O. Box 696) * Ogden, IA 50212 * phone: 515-275-4550
The public library in Ogden has the Ogden Reporter on microfilm, which may have coverage of Boone County suffrage conversations.
- State Historical Library of Des Moines
600 East Locust * Des Moines, IA 50319 * phone: 515-281-6200
The Essex Independent (Essex, Page County, Iowa) was published by Dugdale and Miller. Joseph A. Dugdale was involved in the fight for equal suffrage and helped organize the first women’s suffrage conference in Iowa in 1874. This newspaper is available on microfilm in Des Moines and in the original in Iowa City.
- The Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center at the Davenport Public Library
321 Main Street * Davenport, IA 52801 * phone: 563-326-7902
Special Collections has at least one newspaper title for Davenport from 1841 to the present, plus a few publications from Muscatine and DeWitt that may have suffrage information. For a listing of these historic newspaper collections, visit their website: http://www.qcmemory.org/Page/Newspapers.aspx?nt=206
ONLINE NEWSPAPER DATABASES AND ARCHIVES
- Ancestry.com: Newspapers and Publications
Normally considered for genealogical information, this site also includes newspaper and publication archives. A list of Iowa newspapers included in the database can be found here: http://search.ancestry.com/search/CardCatalog.aspx#ccat=hc%3D25%26dbSort%3D1%26filter%3D0*38%7C0*149%7C1*2%7C1*18%26. Access to search results requires a paid membership fee after a 14-day free trial.
- Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
This database allows you to search America's historic newspapers from 1860-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690 and the present.
- Iowa Digital Library: The Daily Iowan Historic Newspapers
Dating back to 1868, the Daily Iowan Newspaper Collection provides access to digitized versions of The Daily Iowan and its predecessors: the University Reporter (1868-81), the Vidette (1879-81), the University Mirror (1881), and the Vidette-Reporter (1881-1901). The newspaper editions are full text searchable.
This archive provides historical and genealogical information via billions of newspaper articles. A paid monthly membership is required for the general database, but this fee provides access to full-page and fully searchable articles. The following links take you to specific community or library newspaper holdings offered via NewspaperARCHIVE. Access to the following holdings is free, as of 2011, and each individual database often offers multiple newspaper listings.
- Adams County:http://adamscountyia.newspaperarchive.com/
- Altoona Public Library:http://altoonapl.newspaperarchive.com/
- Buffalo Center:http://buffalocenter.newspaperarchive.com/
- Carroll Public Library:http://carrollpl.newspaperarchive.com/
- Cedar Rapids Public Library:http://crpubliclibrary.newspaperarchive.com/
- Glendwood Public Library:http://glenwoodpl.newspaperarchive.com/
- Mills County:http://millscounty.newspaperarchive.com/
- Moravia Public Library:http://moravia.newspaperarchive.com/Default.aspx
- Musser Public Library:http://musserpl.newspaperarchive.com/
- Sioux County:http://siouxcounty.newspaperarchive.com/
- Sumner Public Library:http://sumnerpl.newspaperarchive.com/
BOOKS & BOUND WORKSBack to Top
Beran, Janice A. The League of Women Voters of Iowa: A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change. Des Moines, Iowa: League of Women Voters of Iowa, 1996.
Created as a way to celebrate the League of Women Voters of Iowa’s 75th anniversary in 1995, this booklet includes documentation of League members’ own stories about their involvement in League activities, studies, and action programs. Brief accounts of its founding and highlights of events throughout its history showcase the impact that the League of Women Voters had on individuals, their community, and local and state governments.
Bloomer, Amelia. Iowa. Vol. 3, chap. XLV in History of Woman Suffrage 1876-1885, ed. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage, 612-637. Rochester, New York: Charles Mann Printing Co., 1886
Part of a massive history of women’s suffrage compiled by the leaders of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, the Iowa chapter portrays the state as a land of honeysuckle and wild roses with “moral, virtuous, and intelligent people.”
Written by well-known suffragist Amelia Bloomer, this chapter was heavily edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and does not mention the free-love debate of the 1870s or suffragist Annie Savery. (See Louise Noun’s Annie Savery and the Campaign for Women’s Rights in Iowa.) Bloomer does, however, chronicle nineteenth century struggles of Iowa suffragists and conveys the hopeful mood of the mid-1880s. The full text of this work, including the Iowa chapter, is available on Google Books.
Bloomer, D.C., ed. Life and Writings of Amelia Bloomer. New York: Schocken Books, 1975.
Dexter C. Bloomer gives a glowing account of his wife’s suffrage and temperance work, including descriptions of her work in Council Bluffs starting in 1855. Bloomer’s account illustrates how difficult suffrage and temperance work were in an Iowa frontier town.
Bordin, Ruth. Woman and Temperance: The Quest for Power and Liberty, 1873-1900. ed. Allen F. Davis. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981.
Bordin provides analysis of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) as an organization and a social movement. She devotes considerable space to suffrage activities of the WCTU, including a brief explanation of campaigns in Iowa in the early 1880s. The inter-organizational arguments over partisanship and the subsequent split with the Iowa WCTU delegation are also discussed.
Bordin claims the WCTU provided women with an acceptable avenue to advocate for suffrage within existing religious and family structures. Bordin has also written a biography of Frances Willard, national president of the WCTU during the organization's early suffrage efforts.
Buhle, Mari Jo, and Paul Buhle, eds. The Concise History of Woman Suffrage: Selections from History of Woman Suffrage edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage and The National American Woman Suffrage Association. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2005.
The Buhles critically analyze the History of Woman Suffrage as a partisan and defensive view of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), only one organization in the national struggle for suffrage. Pulling excerpts from Stanton, Anthony, and Gage’s original work, they contextualize certain events and provide a more nuanced view of the movement. Iowa is specifically mentioned in regards to Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 1871 lecture tour, where she spoke out about birth control and the state’s support for the 1877 Colorado suffrage campaign.
Catt, Carrie Chapman, and Shuler, Nettie Rogers. Woman Suffrage and Politics: The Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1923.
Written shortly after women won the vote, Catt and Schuler look back at the work of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). They provide insight into lessons learned from legislative failures in Iowa and how women’s suffrage crossed the “devious trail” of politics. Although written as a history, it is more a first-hand account of the struggles and triumphs Catt saw through her involvement with NAWSA.
Coon, Anne C., ed. Hear Me Patiently: The Reform Speeches of Amelia Jenks Bloomer. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1994.
Amelia Jenks Bloomer started as a temperance advocate but soon developed strong opinions about women’s rights through her work outside of the traditional “woman’s sphere.” She became a popular lecturer in the early to mid-1850s, speaking about social, moral, and legal themes. She believed that “for woman to vote. . .is to elevate her in the scale of humanity,” and stressed this throughout her speeches.
Speeches in this book include “Equality in Rights and Privileges,” which argues for human rights (December 7, 1855 Council Bluffs Methodist church), “Alas! Poor Adam,” which responds to Biblical arguments against suffrage (June 1870, Des Moines Baptist church,) and “A Principle of All Free Governments,” in which Bloomer uses the title phrase “hear me patiently” to refute arguments against enfranchisement.
The introduction includes commentary and photos of the famous “bloomer costume” and a reference to Bloomer’s feelings of resentment toward Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony after her contributions to the book History of Woman Suffrage were heavily edited.
DuBois, Ellen Carol. Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Women's Movement in America 1848-1869. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978.
DuBois analyzes the women's suffrage movement through the context of feminism and claims suffrage was not an isolated institutional reform, but a true social movement. Early Iowa struggles are mentioned several times.
Egge, Sara Anne. “The Grassroots Diffusion of the Woman Suffrage Movement in Iowa: the IESA, Rural Women, and the Right to Vote.” Ames, Iowa: Masters thesis, Iowa State University, 2009.
This thesis examines how rural women thought of, talked about, and organized around women’s suffrage. By looking at a segment of the population often ignored by suffrage histories, Egge uncovers some unique challenges faced by suffrage activists in farming communities, but also shows that rural Iowa women were aware of the suffrage debate. She includes a discussion of several automobile tours used to promote suffrage in Iowa in the early 1910s.
Evans, Sara M. Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.
Evans places the suffrage movement in historical context by providing a broad look at how social, political and economic factors affected women and women’s movements throughout American history. She also discusses how the national suffrage movement changed over time and how that may have influenced state organizations. The town that hosted a suffrage parade in 1908, which Evans calls Boomer, Iowa, refers to Boone, Iowa.
Flexner, Eleanor, and Fitzpatrick, Ellen. Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1996.
Considered one of the seminal works on women’s suffrage in the United States, this book discusses social and political factors that influenced the suffrage movement. Iowa’s role in the national campaign strategy and Carrie Chapman Catt’s leadership are discussed in Chapters 21 and 22. Flexner and Fitzpatrick also examine the opposition of Midwest brewing companies and associations to suffrage and the impact this opposition had on state campaigns.
Gallaher, Ruth. Legal and Political Status of Women in Iowa. Iowa City, Iowa: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1918.
Gallaher traces suffrage trends in the United States from the colonial era through the early twentieth century before focusing on the history of suffrage in Iowa.
Although published before a final suffrage victory, this book is thorough in its coverage of legislative efforts from 1843 through 1918, as well as the efforts of Iowa players Amelia Bloomer, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Helen M. Gougar, the first woman to address the House of Representatives in the new state capitol building in 1888.
Gallaher mentions clubs such as the Northern Woman Suffrage Association in Dubuque and the Men’s League for Woman Suffrage. Gallaher also researched gubernatorial support or opposition during this time frame - including Governor Larrabee’s experimental support of school and municipal suffrage. When Gallaher wrote, property owning Iowa women had been granted the right to vote on municipal and school elections regarding levy and tax issues, as well as drainage district administrative concerns.
Giele, Janet Zollinger. Two Paths to Women's Equality: Temperance, Suffrage and the Origins of Modern Feminism. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1995.
Giele examines what she sees as two separate and distinct feminist movements: temperance and suffrage. She discusses the role of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the leading suffragists through the lens of the 1970s women’s movement. Although Giele does not specifically look at Iowa, women with Iowa ties such as Amelia Bloomer and Carrie Chapman Catt are mentioned.
Horack, Frank E. Equal Suffrage in Iowa. Vol. II, in Applied History, ed. Benjamin F. Shambaugh. Iowa City, Iowa: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1914.
Horack presents arguments for and against suffrage in the years leading up to the 1916 referendum. Part of a larger examination of Iowa government and social legislation, this chapter provides insight into the rhetoric used by suffragists and anti-suffragists in Iowa at this time. This section also includes a Minority Report on Suffrage by Thomas B. Reed arguing for women’s right to vote. The full text of Horack’s essay is available on Google Books.
Hudson, David; Bergman, Marvin; and Horton, Loren. Biographical Dictionary of Iowa. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2010.
This biographical dictionary highlights important figures in Iowa history with brief biographies compiled from primary and secondary sources specific to the state. Suffragists profiled include: Mary Newbury Adams, Martha C. Callanan, Mary Jane Coggeshall, Flora Dunlap, and Anna Bell Lawther.
The Iowa Digital Library has scanned the entire Biographical Dictionary of Iowa for online use. Users can search the book and browse by topic, including women's rights.
Kraditor, Aileen S. The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement 1890-1920. Garden City: Anchor Books, Doubleday and Company, 1971.
Kraditor looks at the ideas behind the suffrage movement and debunks the myth that suffragists had an official ideology or even a unified vision. She examines subjects such as religion, politics, and social reform and explains how ideas within those spheres changed with time, as did the suffrage movement. She also devotes considerable space to the suffrage movement in the South and racism within various suffrage organizations.
Mary Jane Coggeshall of Iowa is briefly mentioned, as is Carrie Chapman Catt. This work provides a good background on the arguments for and against suffrage and the context in which these were made.
Marshall, Susan E. Splintered Sisterhood: Gender and Class in the Campaign Against Woman Suffrage. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997.
Marshall takes a look at motivations behind the anti-suffrage movement and concludes that many “antis” were women who wanted to protect the status quo. She mentions several powerful Iowans opposed to suffrage, including members of the Iowa Association of Men Opposed to Woman Suffrage, which was formed to defeat the 1916 referendum. She also examines the role of immigrants and brewing interests in opposing suffrage in the Midwest.
National American Woman Suffrage Association. Victory: How Women Won It--A Centennial Symposium 1840-1940. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1940.
Carrie Chapman Catt wrote the introduction and one of the chapters for this book. Written as totalitarianism and communism were spreading in Europe and Asia, it paints a rosy picture of American women’s fight for democracy. It is also very NAWSA-centric, similar to History of Woman Suffrage and Woman Suffrage and Politics. There are a few timelines of state milestones in the appendices.
Noun, Louise R. with Rachel Bohlmann. Leader and Pariah: Annie Savery and the Campaign for Women's Rights in Iowa. Iowa City: Iowa Women's Archives, 2002.
Annie Savery was an active suffragist in the early days of Iowa’s suffrage movement, but she was blacklisted after supporting a woman’s right to hold opinions outside of the social mores of the day. Her part in Iowa history was edited out of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony’s History of Woman Suffrage. Noun reprints speeches and letters written by Savery and provides insight into internecine warfare of the Iowa suffragists. This book is available in its entirety in the Women’s Suffrage in Iowa Digital Collection.
Noun, Louise R. Strong-Minded Women: The Emergence of the Woman-Suffrage Movement in Iowa. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1969.
Noun authored the seminal works on women's suffrage in Iowa. This book is cited in many national accounts of the suffrage movement. It focuses on the nineteenth century struggles Iowa women faced in obtaining the right to vote. Rich in details, this book describes the major events and players of the Iowa suffrage movement. Noun was thorough in her research and her bibliography is a valuable resource which lists primary source materials across the country and local Iowa newspapers that covered suffrage. This book is available in its entirety in the Women’s Suffrage in Iowa Digital Collection. (Noun’s research notes for this book are located in Grinnell College Special Collections).
Schwalm, Leslie. Emancipation’s Diaspora: Race and Reconstruction in the Upper Midwest. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
Schwalm investigates the ways in which the upper Midwest’s black and white residents became engaged in a process of redefining the meanings and implications of freedom and citizenship. Chapter 6 discusses how, even as the most economically disenfranchised of the Midwest’s black residents, African American women claimed the prerogative both to endorse an idealized black manhood and to challenge the extent of male privilege in their communities. Specifically, issues of personal and familial gendered viewpoints are touched on in relation to the law and practice of discrimination, as well as the resulting increased activism for some black mothers living in the Midwest.
Scott, Anne Firor, and Andrew MacKay Scott. One Half the People: The Fight for Woman Suffrage. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982.
The Scotts provide a basic, brief introduction to the suffrage movement, drawing on the work of Ellen DuBois among others. Further, they include primary documents highlighting moments of the movement. One of these is Maud Wood Park’s recollection of the unveiling of Carrie Chapman Catt’s “winning plan” in which the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) attacked the suffrage question from the federal and state levels.
Silag, Bill, ed. Outside In: African-American History in Iowa, 1838-2000. Des Moines: State Historical Society of Iowa, 2001.
This overview of African-American history in Iowa includes a chapter on women by Kathryn M. Neal, that highlights African-American women “pioneers” who broke ground professionally or women considered to be “builders of their communities” by serving in clubs and organizations.
The sections about the women of Buxton and Vivian Smith of the Waterloo Suffragette Council illuminate African-American women’s participation in the state’s suffrage movement.
Tucker, Cynthia Grant. Prophetic Sisterhood: Liberal Women Ministers of the Frontier, 1880-1930. Boston: Beacon Press, 1990.
Tucker focuses on Unitarian and Universalist female ministers in the Midwest. A significant number of these women lived and worked in Iowa and many of them were also active in the suffrage movement including: Mary Safford, Eleanor Gordon, and Mary Collson. TUcker describes the social reform and religious activities of these suffragists and how these women interacted with other Iowa suffragists and the national organizations.
Women's Suffrage in Iowa: 90 Years After the “Winning Plan”. Des Moines: Blanden Art Museum, 2009.
Published as a catalog to the Blanden Art Museum’s exhibition of suffrage paintings, photographs, and artifacts, this brief, visual history of the Iowa suffrage movement provides a good introduction for readers. The catalog includes an essay about Carrie Chapman Catt as well as an overview of the suffrage movement in Iowa. This work is available in its entirety in the Women’s Suffrage in Iowa Digital Collection.
JOURNAL ARTICLESBack to Top
Fuller, Steven J., and Mellecker, Alsatia. “Behind the Yellow Banner: Anna B. Lawther and the Winning of Suffrage for Iowa Women.” The Palimpsest 65, no. 3 (1984).
Fuller and Mellecker profile Dubuque activist Anna Lawther and her role in the 1916 campaign and as Iowa Equal Suffrage Association president during World War I and discussesCarrie Chapman Catt’s request for state information to inform national campaign tactics. The State Historical Society of Iowa published The Palimpsest; researchers can request a copy at: http://www.iowahistory.org/publications/index.html
Jordan, David W. “Those Formidable Feminists: Iowa's Early Women Vote-getters.” The Iowan 31 (Winter 1982): 46-52.
Jordan profiles the Iowa women who held political office soon after enfranchisement in 1920, discussing the struggles and achievements of these early politicians.
McCowen, Jennie. “Women in Iowa.” The Annals of Iowa 3 (1884).
McCowen examines the legal and economic status of women in Iowa in the 1880s. McCowen applauds “the progressive and liberal attitude of the State toward women,” and lists occupations that women had attained. She briefly touches on the tenacity of the suffragists and their play on the state motto: “Our rights we prize, and our liberties we will secure.” [The actual motto is “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”] This item is available in its entirety through the IA Gen Web Project.
Noun, Louise Rosenfield. “Amelia Bloomer, A Biography: Part 1, the Lily of Seneca Falls.” The Annals of Iowa 47, no. 7 (1985): 575-617.
The first part of Noun’s biography of Amelia Bloomer covers her life before she moved to Council Bluffs in 1855. Noun provides a good explanation of bloomers as a fashion trend and how they became associated with Amelia Bloomer. Bloomer did not invent the loose fitting costume but did help to popularize it. Noun explains that Bloomer was reluctantly won over to the suffrage movement after her efforts to enact temperance reform were blocked because of her gender. The State Historical Society of Iowa publishes The Annals of Iowa; researchers can request a copy at: http://www.iowahistory.org/publications/index.html
Noun, Louise Rosenfield. “Amelia Bloomer, A Biography: Part II, the Suffragist of Council Bluffs.” The Annals of Iowa 47, no. 8 (1985): 575-619.
The second part of Noun’s biography focuses on Bloomer’s time in Iowa, particularly her early suffrage speeches and newspaper editorials. Noun gives readers a picture of what social activism and daily life were like in an Iowa pioneer town. This article also provides context for the fledgling suffrage movement in Iowa. The State Historical Society of Iowa publishes The Annals of Iowa; researchers can request a copy at: http://www.iowahistory.org/publications/index.html
Noun, Louise Rosenfield. “Carrie Lane Chapman Catt and her Mason City Experience.” The Palimpsest, (1993): 130-144.
Noun examines Catt’s early political experience in Cerro Gordo County schools and the beginnings of her suffrage work in Mason City. She argues that Catt and her husband left Mason City in the mid-1880s under a cloud of ill-will after their campaign efforts to get Catt elected to county office. Since then, Mason City history has been rewritten to portray Catt as a beloved hometown heroine. Noun also looks at Catt’s early political mistakes and assumptions. (Research notes and early drafts of this article are in Louise Noun’s papers at the Iowa Women’s Archives). The State Historical Society of Iowa published The Palimpsest; researchers can request a copy at: http://www.iowahistory.org/publications/index.html
Noun, Louise Rosenfield. “Queen for a Session: Iowa’s First Legislative Clerk.” The Annals of Iowa 36 (1962).
This look at Mrs. Mary E. Spencer’s term as Iowa’s legislative clerk in 1870 illuminates attitudes about gender roles held by members of the Iowa legislature in the nineteenth century. One of Spencer’s claims to fame was delivering the House resolution on women’s suffrage. The State Historical Society of Iowa publishes The Annals of Iowa; researchers can request a copy at: http://www.iowahistory.org/publications/index.html
Pounds, Diana. “Suffragists, Free Love and the Woman Question.” The Palimpsest 72, no. 1 (1991): 3-15.
Pounds looks at three Iowa newspapers (in Burlington, Des Moines, and Dubuque) and analyzes their treatment of suffragists in 1871 and 1872 during the Victoria Woodhull free love scandal which was rocking the nation. The State Historical Society of Iowa publishes The Palimpsest; researchers can request a copy at: http://www.iowahistory.org/publications/index.html
Ryan, Thomas G. “Male Opponents and Supporters of Woman Suffrage: Iowa in 1916.” The Annals of Iowa 45, no. 7 (1981).
This statistical analysis of voting surveys and polls from the 1916 referendum shows strongest support for equal suffrage in dry counties, British-American counties, Protestant counties, and Republican counties in Iowa. Ryan also finds the size of the community or its rural location did not have a correlation in how men voted for or against equal suffrage. The State Historical Society of Iowa publishes The Annals of Iowa; researchers can request a copy at: http://www.iowahistory.org/publications/index.html
Trail Tales: The Journal of Boone County History (Boone County Historical Society) 110 (Summer/Fall 2008).
This issue of Trail Tales focuses on women’s suffrage and provides a detailed account and discussion of the 1908 Boone parade. Suzanne Caswell’s article analyzes the debate over whether or not Boone hosted the first suffrage parade in the U.S. The issue also includes a first-person account of the parade written by Rev. Eleanor E. Gordon and an edited transcript of the minutes from the 1908 Iowa Equal Suffrage Association Conference in Boone. Other articles examine the Unity Circle at the First Unitarian Church, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and why the struggle for suffrage is relevant to women today.
ONLINE RESOURCESBack to Top
Library of Congress. By Popular Demand: “Votes for Women Suffrage” Pictures, 1850-1920. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/vfwhtml/vfwhome.html
This is a small collection of 38 photos selected according to the following guidelines: “...images that have been popularly requested in the past, to include images of people and events that are mentioned prominently in standard works on women’s suffrage, and to select images for which no copyright restrictions are known and that are of reasonable image quality. Portraits of women active on behalf of woman suffrage and, more generally, women’s rights are included, as are images depicting the public, often symbolic, way in which suffragists campaigned for the right to vote. The set also features cartoons commenting on the movement, as well as a photograph depicting the activities of anti-suffragists, illustrating the manner and terms in which women's voting rights were debated.” There is one photo of Carrie Chapman Catt and photos of national leaders who campaigned in Iowa.
Viewers may be interested in a national timeline of events from 1776 to 1920.
Library of Congress. American Memory. American Women: A Gateway to Library of Congress Resources for the Study of Women’s History and Culture in the United States.
Unlike most American Memory presentations, “American Women” is not a collection of digital items. It is a gateway--a first stop for Library of Congress researchers working in the field of American women’s history.
The site contains a slightly expanded and fully searchable version of the print publication American Women: A Library of Congress Guide for the Study of Women’s History and Culture in the United States. The guide has been redesigned for online use, with added illustrations and links to existing digitized material located throughout the Library of Congress Web site. These materials are supplemented by a small number of newly digitized items that provide a sample of the many relevant types of materials available in Library of Congress holdings. This gateway collection also provides information about African-American women’s involvement during the “Final Push” for women’s suffrage.
Library of Congress. American Memory. Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/suffrage/millerscrapbooks
Between 1897 and 1911 Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter, Anne Fitzhugh Miller, filled seven large scrapbooks with ephemera and memorabilia related to their work with women’s suffrage. The scrapbooks are a part of the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. These scrapbooks document the activities of the Geneva Political Equality Club, which the Millers founded in 1897, as well as efforts at the state, national, and international levels to win the vote for women. They offer a unique look at the political and social atmosphere of the time and chronicle the efforts of two women who were major participants in the suffrage movement. This collection includes digitized materials (images, newspaper references, bulletins, and some correspondence) from the Carrie Chapman Catt Collection.
Library of Congress. American Memory. Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921.
These online selections give users an idea of the wealth of information available in the complete National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection available at the Library of Congress. The items were collected between 1890 and 1938 by members of NAWSA. The bulk of the collection is derived from the library of Carrie Chapman Catt.
The collection includes an article entitled Legal Status of Women in Iowa written by Jennie L. Wilson in 1894 and printed by the Des Moines Printing Company.
In addition, Iowa suffrage researchers may be interested in Victoria Woodhull’s 1871 speech defending free-love. The free-love question rocked Iowa suffragists in 1871 and 1872 and is blamed for the legislature failing to put an equal suffrage amendment to the people of Iowa at that time.
Library of Congress. American Memory. Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman’s Party.
The National Woman’s Party represented the militant wing of the suffrage movement. This collection of photographs is a representative selection illustrating the NWP’s tactics and techniques such as picketing, pageantry, parades, and demonstrations, which often led to arrests, imprisonment, and hunger strikes. The collection also highlights individual organization leaders and party members.
Take note of two photographs highlighting Iowa women:
The first is a portrait of Ilia Carpenter, secretary of the Iowa Branch of the NWP, who helped raise funds to bring an organizer to the state of Iowa.
The second is a 1917 photograph of a suffrage picket line. The first woman in line is from Eagle Grove, Iowa.
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Harvard University. Schlesinger Library.
The Schlesinger Library dates from August 26, 1943, when Radcliffe College received a collection of books, papers, and memorabilia on women reformers from alumna and suffragist Maud Wood Park. Her “Woman’s Rights Collection” became the nucleus of a research library called the Women’s Archives, which the college gradually augmented during the 1940s and 1950s. When the women’s movement surged in the 1960s and 1970s, the library’s collections grew rapidly as feminist activists recognized the importance of women’s history and created their own documents and publications. The collections listed below have a connection to the state of Iowa. Most of the documents themselves are not online, but links to the finding aids are included below.
- Coggeshall, Mary Jane Whitely, 1836-1911
Mary Jane Whitely Coggeshall was born in 1836. Known as “the Mother of Woman Suffrage in Iowa,” Coggeshall was a founding member of the Polk County Iowa Woman Suffrage Society in 1870. She held numerous positions in the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association and served three terms as president. She was elected an auditor for the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1902 and 1904, attended several NAWSA conventions, and was a speaker at those held in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. She also served as editor of The Woman’s Standard for its first two years of publication (1886-1888) and its last (1911).
This collection, consisting almost entirely of her speeches and writings, is arranged in three sections: Iowa, NAWSA, and biographical sketches. The bulk of the collection is made up of Iowa material: speeches, responses by Iowa editors to the question of publishing suffrage articles, a history of the Polk County Woman Suffrage Society, a report on the 1904 state convention, and several letters to the editor, as well as clippings about the 1902 state convention, a suffrage poster, and memorabilia. The NAWSA section consists of speeches at and reports of national conventions.
- Harbert, Elizabeth Boynton, b.1845
Elizabeth Morrison (Boynton) Harbert, suffragist, lecturer, author, and editor, was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana in 1845. She lived in Chicago, in Iowa, and later in California. The collection includes clippings, programs, flyers, brochures, reports, correspondence, photographs, minutes, and speeches documenting the suffrage movement, particularly in Illinois. Correspondents include well-known women involved in the suffrage and temperance movements. Clippings from the “Woman’s Kingdom” were pasted into scrapbooks and provide information about a variety of women’s activities, particularly in the Midwest.
- Harrison, Ella, 1859-1933
Ella Harrison was born in 1859 in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. From 1890 to 1900, she was active in the temperance and woman suffrage movements. She organized temperance unions throughout southwest Missouri for the Missouri Woman’s Christian Temperance Union; was one of the early presidents of the Equal Suffrage Association of Missouri; and in the late 1890s worked in the suffrage movement in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Iowa.
Harrison studied law at the University of Iowa and she attended Stanford University in 1894. Included in this collection are letters to her from suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony, Rachel Foster Avery, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Mary Garrett Hay, and letters from Harrison to her father describing her experiences in and impressions of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Iowa.
- McCulloch, Catharine Waugh, b. 1862
Catharine Gouger (Waugh) McCulloch was born near Ransomville, New York, in 1862. As legislative superintendent of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association, she was extremely active in the movement for women’s rights, seeking state legislation permitting woman suffrage in presidential and local elections not constitutionally limited to male voters, a bill which passed in 1913. The papers primarily document her research on women's legal status.
Included in Subseries D of this collection is a note of the Legal Status of Women project and subsequent correspondence with the state of Iowa as well as information about the Committee on Uniform Laws Concerning Women (of which McCulloch was chairman) with further correspondence regarding Iowa reports and legislation.
- Paul, Alice, 1885-1977
Quaker, lawyer, and lifelong activist for women’s rights, Alice Paul was born in 1885, in Moorestown, New Jersey. In 1912, she was appointed chair of the Congressional Committee of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which campaigned for the passage of a federal amendment and for a time functioned concurrently with the new Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, founded by Paul in April 1913. Included in this vast collection is mention of a state summary of Iowa regarding the effect of labor laws on men and women and the legal postion of women. (Series III>Programs>Legal Research Department>Summaries.)
- Stewart, Ella Jane Seass, b. 1871
Chicago lecturer and suffragist Ella Jane (Seass) Stewart was born in 1871, in Arthur, Illinois. Stewart was a lecturer for the franchise department of the National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in Chicago, 1898-1908; vice president of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association (IESA), 1902-1905; president of IESA, 1905-1911; and recording secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), 1908-1911. Some material from the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association is included in her collection.
Seneca Falls Historical Society
While the Society’s website does not offer access to digitized materials, the most extensive collection of Amelia Jenks Bloomer’s papers is housed within the Seneca Falls Historical Society. Those interested in further access can find contact information on the homepage.