Women's Suffrage: Highlights from the Collections of The Henry Ford
19 artifacts in this set
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Portrait of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, circa 1870
Carte-de-visite (Card photograph)
An outspoken leader of the early women's rights movement, Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) is perhaps best remembered for her contributions to the fight for women's suffrage, or equal voting rights. Stanton was a powerful strategist and writer. She influenced her contemporaries and later suffragists, laying the groundwork for the ratification of a constitutional amendment that guaranteed women's suffrage in 1920.
Portrait of Sojourner Truth, "I Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance," 1864
Carte-de-visite (Card photograph)
Sojourner Truth, best known as a champion of the abolition movement, also advocated for other social issues, such as temperance, civil rights for Black Americans, and women's rights including suffrage.
Music Sheet, "Female Suffrage," 1867
Music rallied support around the fight for women's suffrage, or equal voting rights. This piece of sheet music was dedicated to four early suffragists: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who formed the National Woman Suffrage Association; George Francis Train, who financed the group's monthly publication, The Revolution; and Lucy Stone, who led the American Woman Suffrage Association, a second national suffrage organization.
"The Revolution," a Newspaper Edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Issue for March 10, 1870
The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) distributed The Revolution, a weekly publication. Edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a pioneer in the early fight for women's rights and NWSA president, The Revolution featured essays supporting NWSA's agenda -- namely suffrage, or equal voting rights -- and reported on truly revolutionary advances toward equality in the workplace, at home, and under the law.
Button, "Votes for Women: Patriotism," circa 1910
Button (Information artifact)
In the early 20th century, women and men alike joined the already decades-long fight for women's suffrage, or equal voting rights. Suffragists often appealed to patriotic sentiments, delivering speeches, staging parades, and distributing items with symbolic imagery.
Postcard with Message Demanding Equal Suffrage for Women, 1910
This postcard suggested that denying women the right to vote opposed the republican ideals on which this country was founded -- the right of Americans to elect their own political leaders to represent the voters on issues such as taxation.
"The Ballot is Denied to Woman, The Blot on the Escutcheon," 1910
This postcard suggested that denying women the right to vote tainted the reputation of the United States of America.
Postcard, "Votes for Women. Suffrage First!," 1915
Without the ability to vote themselves, suffragists had to rely on men's votes to change state and national voting laws. Many men opposed women's suffrage, but women found supporters to champion their cause.
Pennant, "Votes for Women," circa 1915
By the early 20th century, only a handful of states had granted women the right to vote. New efforts -- parades and public demonstrations -- made national headlines and rallied growing support for the cause.
Olive Schultz at the Wheel of a Buick Automobile with Other Suffragists Prior to the New York to Washington, D.C. Suffrage Hike, 1913
In 1913, National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) activist Rosalie Jones led a well-publicized hike from New York City to Washington, D.C. Jones' "army" of suffragists hiked more than 200 miles in 20 days, distributing literature and delivering speeches along the way. Olive Schultz piloted the group's scout vehicle. Reaching Washington on March 3, the hikers joined thousands of demonstrators in a NAWSA-organized suffrage procession.
Suffragettes Procession, Moving Up Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., 1913
Alice Paul, a leader in the fight for women's suffrage, or equal voting rights, zealously targeted President Woodrow Wilson. The day before his first inauguration, Paul executed a parade of 8,000 women that included veteran suffragists, working women in uniform, and female students, who marched past the White House from the Capitol calling for suffrage.
Postcard, "Head of Suffragette Parade Passing Treasury," Washington, D.C., 1913
Alice Paul's well-orchestrated procession drew a multitude of spectators and made national headlines, rallying support for the cause.
Political Banner, New York State Woman Suffrage Party, 1910
This banner was carried in rallies and marches by members of the New York State Woman Suffrage Party. Reformers had been advocating giving women the vote since the 1840s.
Medal, "Woman's Liberty Bell," 1915
This medal identifies the suffragists' cause with two ideals -- "justice" and "equality" -- symbolized by the Liberty Bell.
Button, "Vote No on Woman Suffrage," circa 1910
Button (Information artifact)
During the struggle for women's voting rights in the early 20th century, many men and some women strongly opposed the notion of women voting. These "anti-suffragists" argued that women were both physically and emotionally incapable of dealing with the strains of politics. This button urged a "no" vote on women's suffrage.
American Flag, "Mr. President, What Will You Do For Women's Suffrage?" circa 1916
Women's suffrage leader Alice Paul continually aimed strong messages directly at the President. In the midst of World War I, President Wilson found this negative publicity both distracting and embarrassing. As a war measure, he supported an amendment for women's voting rights.
Poster, "Patriotic Suffrage Rally," circa 1917
This rally poster features a woman in a tricorne hat, associating suffragists with the patriots of the American Revolution.
Poster, "Woman Suffrage is Coming in 1917"
Women continued the suffrage fight even after the United States entered World War I. Their constant efforts to win the vote finally contributed to the adoption of a constitutional amendment that guaranteed women the right to vote in 1920.
Hood Ornament, "Votes for Women," 1900-1920
The suffragists' efforts made national headlines and rallied support for the cause. Congress finally passed and then sent the 19th amendment to the states for ratification in June 1919. In August 1920, the 36th state needed for the two-thirds majority approved the amendment. Women had won the right to vote.