“Woman’s Suffrage and the Progressive Era” was the latest exhibit in the Barn at Allison-Antrim Museum.
The exhibit is a cooperative effort between Wilson College and Allison-Antrim Museum, Inc. Amy Ensley, Director of the Hankey Center for the History of Women's Education, has helped coordinate the loan of pamphlets. Also, included in the exhibit are framed and hung copies of a set of suffrage pamphlets from Wilson College’s archives at the Hankey Center. State and local organizations, including the Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association and the Pittsburg Men’s League for Woman Suffrage, published such pamphlets. The goals of organizations which published the suffrage pamphlets were “to make suffrage seem logical, beneficial, and non-threatening.”
In 2001, during the first Suffrage exhibition at AAMI, Dr. Kay Ackerman, Associate Professor of History, at Wilson College, collated a timeline of important milestones in the suffrage movement’s history. The timeline puts into perspective the difficult struggle, which women fought in order to acquire the right to vote.
Also highlighted in the exhibition, is the story of Hannah Patterson, a 1901 graduate of Wilson College. She was a very active suffragist at the local level “and” in the state and national organizations. A profile of her involvement in the woman’s movement is featured in the exhibit.
1776: Abigail Adams writes her husband John and tells him to “Remember
the Ladies” when it comes to giving them political equality in the new government.
1790 – 1807: Women in New Jersey have the right to vote
1848: Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments adopted, including a call for the
franchise for women
1850: The First National Women’s Rights Convention meets in Worcester, Mass.
1861: The Civil War begins. Suffragists establish the Women’s National Loyal
League to lobby for passage of an amendment to end slavery
1865: Thirteenth Amendment ratified
1866: American Equal Rights Association established to promote universal
First state suffrage referendum held in Kansas. It is defeated.
Fourteenth Amendment provokes conflict as for the first time the word
“male” appears in the US Constitution and female suffragists push to
explicitly include women in its voting provisions
1870: Fifteenth Amendment ratified, which gave black men the right to vote
1868: Susan B. Anthony asks both political parties to add Woman Suffrage to
their platforms in this presidential election year; both refuse.
The movement splits. Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell form the American
Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA); Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA)
1872: Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Virginia Minor and other women attempt to vote in the presidential election. Anthony is arrested, convicted and fined.
First anti-suffrage group organized in Boston.
1875: Minor v. Happersett decision handed down by the Supreme Court, which
rules that women are citizens but were not enfranchised by either the Fourteenth or Fifteenth Amendments
1876: Anthony leads a group of women onto the Senate floor with suffrage
petitions. The senators refer them to the Committee on Public Lands.
1877: Senator Aaron Sargent of California introduces, for the first time, the
suffrage amendment in Congress
1882: Both houses of Congress appoint Select Committees on Woman Suffrage
which report the amendment favorably.
1886: The Senate votes the amendment down, 34-6
1890: The two wings of the Woman Suffrage movement are reunited for form the
National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA)
Wyoming becomes the first state to enfranchise women. In 1869, Wyoming “Territory” had enfranchised women.
1893: Colorado gives women the vote. (1877) Dates in parentheses following
states indicate dates of failed referenda.
1896: Idaho and Utah
1900 – 1904: Carrie Chapman Catt serves first term as President of NAWSA
1909: Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of a militant suffrage party in England, first
visits the US.
1910: Washington state (1889, 1898); Oklahoma, full suffrage
1911: California (1896)
National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOWS) organized
1912: Oregon (1884, 1906, 1908, 1910), Kansas (1867, 1893) Arizona
Alice Paul and Lucy Burns organize the Congressional Committee under
NAWSA to lobby Congress for passage of a national amendment
1913: Illinois grants women the right to vote in presidential elections. This is the
first state east of the Mississippi to grant women even a partial voting right.
March 3: Paul and Burns upstage Woodrow Wilson’s arrival on March 3 for his inauguration by holding a massive suffrage parade
NAWSA parts company with Paul and Burns, who begin to organize a group that will employ militant tactics, which in 1917 becomes the National Women’s Party (NWP)
1914: Montana, Nevada.
US Senate vote on suffrage fails to pass.
1915: The campaign for New York fails. Pennsylvania defeats a state suffrage
Catt becomes president of NAWSA for a second time.
US House vote on suffrage fails to pass.
1917: North Dakota (1914), Nebraska (1882, 1914), Rhode Island (1887),
Michigan (1874, 1912, 1913), all grant presidential suffrage. New York grants full suffrage. Arkansas grants primary suffrage, i.e. women can vote in state party primaries. By the end of 1917 the number of electoral votes which women could influence totaled 172.
Both political parties endorse Women Suffrage in their party platforms. Paul and Burns organize a Woman’s Party of Western Voters to vote as a bloc to pursue a strategy of “holding the party in power responsible.”
In April, the United States enters World War I. NAWSA comes out in support of the war. The NWP continues to focus on suffrage and confronting President Wilson.
NWP begins picketing the White House. By the summer, the government begins arresting and imprisoning them. Those that go on hunger strikes are force-fed.
1918: Michigan (full suffrage), Texas (primary suffrage), South Dakota (six
campaigns), Oklahoma (full suffrage, denied 1910)
In January the House approves the suffrage amendment, 274-136. 90% of the men from states that enfranchised women voted in favor; 50% did from states that did not enfranchise women.
In September, President Wilson appears in person before the Senate to urge it approve the suffrage amendment, but it is defeated.
In the November elections, NAWSA targets four anti-suffrage senators; two of them are defeated, which shifts the balance in favor of the amendment in the new congress. In this election women could vote for presidential electors in 30 states, with a total of 339 electoral votes out of 531.
Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee all grant presidential suffrage.
1919: May 21, 1919, The US House of Representatives again passes the suffrage
June 4, 1919, the US Senate passes it by a margin of 2 votes.
On June 10, 1919, Wisconsin becomes the first state to ratify the amendment.
By August, 35 states had ratified the amendment. Only one more was needed.
1920: On August 18, 1920, Tennessee was the last of the 36-state majority needed
to ratify the 19th Amendment. This was 14 months after the US Senate
passed the amendment.
August 26, 1920 the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution became the
law of the land, 72 years after the Seneca Falls Declaration had first called for it. The 19th Amendment was certified by U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby the same day it became law.
On November 2, 1920, 8,000,000 plus women, from coast-to-coast in the United States, voted for the first time in a presidential election.
Addendum: Three more states -- Connecticut, Vermont, and Delaware – ratified the Nineteenth Amendment within three years after its initial passage.
The remaining states were all in the South.
1941: Maryland ratified the amendment.
1952: Virginia ratified the Nineteenth Amendment but gave, statewide, women the right to vote in 1920.
1969: Florida symbolically ratified the Nineteenth Amendment. That being said, Florida granted suffrage to all its residents in 1921.
1969 – 1971: South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina ratified the amendment between 1969 and 1971.
1984: March 22, Mississippi became the last state to symbolically ratify the Nineteenth Amendment, 64 years after the US Senate passed the Nineteenth Amendment.
We thank Wilson College for the loan of the following pamphlets and buttons.
Though born in Smithton, Pennsylvania, Hannah Jane Patterson forged a connection with Franklin County when she attended Wilson College and graduated with an A. B. degree in 1901. Accounts by those who knew her at Wilson, emphasize her initial timidity about leaving home, tell a story that for her first three months at college, Patterson refused to unpack her trunk; she was so homesick. Encouraged by a faculty member, Patterson decided to stay and went on to participate in many college activities such as baseball, basketball and serving as class president.
The daughter of a banker, Patterson was interested in finance and went on to take courses in that subject at Columbia University; she also studied law at the University of Pennsylvania. Like many college women at the time, Patterson was caught up in the Progressive spirit of reform and worked for many organizations designed to improve society. She became involved in the Consumer’s League of Western Pennsylvania and was instrumental in getting a juvenile court set up in Allegheny County.
Opening up opportunities for women was a special cause for Patterson. From 1910 until the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, she worked for the women’s suffrage campaign. Along with the president of the Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association, Jennie Bradley Roessing, Patterson spearheaded the 1915 effort to add a suffrage amendment to the state constitution. Though the amendment failed, Patterson’s organizing ability was such that when Carrie Chapman Catt assumed the leadership of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1915, she succeeded in getting Patterson elected to the position of corresponding secretary. In 1916, an election year, she worked successfully to get both parties to add suffrage planks to their platforms.
When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Patterson was among the suffragists who offered their services to the federal government. She was a member of the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defense and Patterson’s work there was honored when President Wilson awarded her the Distinguished Service Medal.
continued next . . .
After the war, Patterson returned to the field of finance and sought to set an example for women in that field. She became the head of the women’s department in a Pittsburg brokerage firm, J. Y. Holmes & Company. Patterson succeeded her father as president of his bank in West Newton, Pennsylvania; and in a newspaper interview in the mid-1920s, she advised women not to “play the market.” That was sound advice, given what occurred in 1929 – the great depression.
Throughout her career, Patterson continued to be an active supporter of Wilson College. In 1906 she was elected treasurer of the Alumnae Association of Wilson and in 1908 decided that the association should establish a college inn. Such an establishment would provide housing for parents and visitors and raise money for the association. The venture was a successful one, and the College Inn was a fixture of Wilson College life for many years. Patterson was also one of the primary movers in the alumnae association’s first campaign in 1910 to raise money, which commemorated the 40thanniversary of the college’s founding. Later she served as president of the alumnae association and as a trustee of the college. Today Patterson’s portrait hangs in the Patterson Lounge and board room, where she watches over the social and intellectual life of the college and the deliberations of the trustees.
Kay Ackerman, 2007 (Dr. Kay Ackerman)
Associate Professor of History, Wilson College
From the era of the sinking of the Titanic
The black square neckline lace dress with lots of beading and sequins (circa 1912 –1913) was worn by Julia C. McLaughlin (b. 1870; d. 1942), grandmother of Dr. James H. Craig, Jr. Julia was married to Harry McLaughlin, who built the McLaughlin Hotel in 1904.
The under dress is of black satin with lots of black net and lace heavily beaded and sequined. The beads and sequins cover the entire bodice and down the center front. Lace drapes at the side over the hips similar to the 1885-1888 time period. The waistline is at the top of the hip and the shoulders are shirred and have a lace cap sleeve. The closures are hooks and eyes and snaps at center front and left of center at the shoulder. The center front closures of hooks and eyes on the bodice of the satin under dress alternate closing left and right.
The dress is a gift from Dr. and Mrs. James H. Craig, Jr.
The sheer handkerchief style crinkle chiffon dress (2nd from right, circa 1926 – 1927) with a geometric floral design in red, pink and green on black bands was worn by Gemma Annabel McLaughlin Craig (b. 1/6/1903; d. 9/20/1988), mother of Dr. James H. Craig, Jr. The sleeveless boat neck has a cape collar that repeats the handkerchief hemline. The collar is accented with a single row of machine hemstitching. The waistline seam at the hip is scalloped. Hemlines wavered from above the knee, 1925 - 1926, and down to the ankle by the 1930's. Uneven hemlines, such as this handkerchief hemline, helped the transition from up or down. Day dresses remained short for some years even after long evening gowns became fashionable again.
The self-standing, Progressive Era and Woman’s Suffrage exhibit panel was developed by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Individual panels displayed below.
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