Woman Suffrage collection


Date(s): 1869-1955
Bulk Dates: 1900-1920
Call Number: MSS 0477
Language: Materials entirely in English.
Abstract: The Woman Suffrage collection comprises ephemera, pamphlets, books, and realia that relate to the campaign for a woman's voting rights.
Physical Description:
  • 1 linear foot (4 boxes)
  • 1 oversize box
Source: Purchase, 2002.
Processing: Processed by Laura Cochrane, March 2003. Encoded by Lora J. Davis, August 2011. Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Alternative Format: A digital version of the collection is available through the University of Delaware Digital Institutional Repository.

Scanning of the collection was sponsored by "In Her Own Right: Women Asserting Their Civil Rights, 1820-1920," a pilot project executed by members of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL), with funding from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The materials in this collection can also be found at: http://inherownright.org/.

Biographical and Historical Notes

The fight for woman suffrage in the United States began in the early nineteenth century, growing out of the Anti-Slavery campaigns of that period.

Women who were actively involved in Abolitionism found themselves treated as second class-citizens even within that movement, being denied variously the right to serve as delegates at conventions and to speak publicly to a mixed audience. The discrimination shown to women who were fighting for the rights of African Americans caused Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott to begin a campaign for woman's rights.

The first major event of the woman suffrage movement was the Seneca Falls Convention, which took place in New York State in July of 1848. At the convention the delegates demanded suffrage for woman as well as improved access to educational and employment opportunities.

Early campaigns for woman suffrage focused on state voting rights. However, by 1869 it was apparent that an amendment to the federal constitution was preferable. In that year two organizations were formed to work toward that end: The National Woman Suffrage Association, led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and The American Woman Suffrage Association, led by Lucy Stone. In 1890, the two organizations joined under the name: National American Woman Suffrage Association.

In 1890, Wyoming entered the Union and became the first state in which women had the Vote. Over the next three decades various states changed their constitution to give women voting rights. However up until the 1910s, there was little progress toward a constitutional amendment.

After World War I, the major oppositions to woman suffrage had been broken down. In January of 1918 the House voted to amend the constitution, followed by the Senate in June of 1919. The Nineteenth Amendment was enacted August 26, 1920 after Tennessee became the 36th State to ratify it.

Scope and Content Note

The Woman Suffrage collection comprises ephemera, pamphlets, books, and realia that relate to the campaign for women's voting rights.

Many of the materials are propagandistic in nature, including literature explaining the rational behind the idea of woman suffrage. The collection also includes various pieces of realia that represent the material culture of the movement. These include buttons, pennants, posters, and other objects such as a fan and a watchband.

Most of the materials date from the 1910s and document the movement in the last decade before woman suffrage was achieved.

Using these materials

Shelving Summary

  • Boxes 1-2: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)
  • Box 3: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes
  • F27-F30: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (32 inches)
  • F32: Shelved in SPEC VAULT MSS wall

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

MSS 0477, Woman Suffrage collection, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware.

Materials Cataloged Separately

The items listed in this bibliography have been removed from the Woman Suffrage collection and cataloged separately with the print holdings of Special Collections.

Björkman, Frances M., and Annie G. Porritt, eds. Woman Suffrage: History, Arguments, and Results. New York: National Women's Suffrage Publishing Co., 1915.


Brackett, Anna C., ed. Woman and the Higher Education. New York: Harper & Bros., 1903.


The Case Against Woman Suffrage: The Most Important Question on the Ballot at the State Election, November 2, 1915. Boston: Massachusetts Anti-Suffrage Committee, 1915.


Clarke, Ida Clyde, ed. Women of 1924. New York: Women's News Service, 1924.


Crepaz, Adele. The Emancipation of Woman and Its Probable Consequences. London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1893.


Harper, Ida Husted. The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony. 2 vols. Indianapolis and Kansas City: The Bowen-Merrill Company, 1898.


Hoar, George F. Woman's Right and The Public Welfare: Remarks of Hon. George F. Hoar, before a Joint Special Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature. Boston: New-England Woman's Suffrage Association, 1869.


Inman, Mary. In Woman's Defense. Los Angeles: The Committee to Organize the Advancement of Woman, 1940.


Inman, Mary. Woman-Power. Los Angeles: The Committee to Organize the Advancement of Woman, 1942.


Oakley, Violet. Cathedral of Compassion: Dramatic Outline of the Life of Jane Addams. Philadelphia: Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (privately printed at the Press of Lyon and Armor), 1955.


Pankhurst, Emmeline Sylvia. My Own Story. New York: Hearst's International Library Company, 1914.


Pankhurst, Emmeline Sylvia. The Suffragette: the History of the Woman's Militant Suffrage Movement, 1905-1910. New York: Sturgis & Walton, 1912.


Pinkham, Lydia E. Famous Woman of History. Lynn, Mass.: Lydia E. Pinkham Medicine Company, ca. 1920s.


R., L. N. The True Institution of Sisterhood: or, A Message and Its Messengers. London: James Nisbet, 1862.


Sanger, Margaret H. Family Limitation. S.l.: Privately printed for the author, ca. 1914.


Taylor, Edward T. Speech of Hon. Edward T. Taylor of Colorado in the House of Representatives, April 24, 1912. Washington, 1912.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, http://library.udel.edu/spec/askspec/

Container List

Names & Subjects