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The Woman's Suffrage Movement

On June 10, 1919, Wisconsin became the first state to ratify the 19th amendment granting national suffrage to women. From 1846 to 1919, different groups of women's rights supporters had focused much of their energy on winning the vote, though each pursued different strategies. Although Wisconsin had not been completely unenlightened in its approach to women's legal rights (the rejected 1846 constitution would have given married women property rights), neither had it been on the forefront of the cause. Just seven years before the 19th amendment passed, a statewide referendum on suffrage had met with a resounding two-to-one defeat, so... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: Suffrage publications from the Wisconsin Woman Suffrage Association  Suffrage publications from the Wisconsin Woman Suffrage Association
Link to article: A sketch of the life of Meta Berger  A sketch of the life of Meta Berger
Link to article: Jessie Jack Hooper runs for the Senate in 1922  Jessie Jack Hooper runs for the Senate in 1922
Link to article: Suffragists prove that Wisconsin ratified suffrage first  Suffragists prove that Wisconsin ratified suffrage first
Link to article: A secret woman suffrage club in Richland Center in 1882  A secret woman suffrage club in Richland Center in 1882
Link to article: Suffrage activists seek new members through a "suffrage school" in 1914  Suffrage activists seek new members through a "suffrage school" in 1914
Link to article: Wisconsin voting and civil rights legislation, 1846-1929.  Wisconsin voting and civil rights legislation, 1846-1929.
Link to article: Wisconsin passes the nation's first equal rights bill, 1921  Wisconsin passes the nation's first equal rights bill, 1921
Link to article: Prominent women journalists and editors  Prominent women journalists and editors
Link to article: A Wisconsin woman recalls the convention at Seneca Falls  A Wisconsin woman recalls the convention at Seneca Falls
Link to article: Wisconsin's first female lawyer challenges prevailing opinion  Wisconsin's first female lawyer challenges prevailing opinion
Link to artifacts: A Wisconsin tunic from a 1916 suffrage parade  A Wisconsin tunic from a 1916 suffrage parade
Link to book: A guide to Progressivism for women voters, 1922  A guide to Progressivism for women voters, 1922
Link to book: Baraboo women found their own cultural organization, 1880  Baraboo women found their own cultural organization, 1880
Link to book: Theodora Youmans urges supporters to keep up the fight in 1917  Theodora Youmans urges supporters to keep up the fight in 1917
Link to book: Theodora Youmans appeals for donations to the Wisconsin Woman's Suffrage Association  Theodora Youmans appeals for donations to the Wisconsin Woman's Suffrage Association
Link to book: Theodora Youmans emphasizes the need to educate women voters  Theodora Youmans emphasizes the need to educate women voters
Link to book: The Political Equality League makes the case for woman suffrage, 1912  The Political Equality League makes the case for woman suffrage, 1912
Link to book: Marion Dudley testifies on behalf of suffrage, 1880  Marion Dudley testifies on behalf of suffrage, 1880
Link to book: A list of women's suffrage activists in Wisconsin, 1880.  A list of women's suffrage activists in Wisconsin, 1880.
Link to book: A brief summary of women's suffrage legislation in the U.S. and abroad, 1907  A brief summary of women's suffrage legislation in the U.S. and abroad, 1907
Link to book: Women's charitable work before 1876  Women's charitable work before 1876
Link to book: Susan Frackelton recalls the Wheelock School for Girls (1926)  Susan Frackelton recalls the Wheelock School for Girls (1926)
Link to book: A Milwaukee woman urges woman and child labor reform, 1899.  A Milwaukee woman urges woman and child labor reform, 1899.
Link to images: Pictures of the woman suffrage movement in Wisconsin  Pictures of the woman suffrage movement in Wisconsin
Link to images: Anti-suffrage poster from the 1912 referendum  Anti-suffrage poster from the 1912 referendum
Link to manuscript: A timeline of Wisconsin women's suffrage legislation, 1848-1915  A timeline of Wisconsin women's suffrage legislation, 1848-1915

Primary Sources Available Elsewhere

Link to article: The Wisconsin legislature votes on a 1909 suffrage bill.  The Wisconsin legislature votes on a 1909 suffrage bill.
Link to article: An activist relates how Wisconsin women won the ballot  An activist relates how Wisconsin women won the ballot
Link to article: 1912 Bulletins of the Political Equality League  1912 Bulletins of the Political Equality League
Link to book: Frances Willard advises young women on how to reach their goals, 1897  Frances Willard advises young women on how to reach their goals, 1897
Link to book: What girls need to know to contribute to society in 1913  What girls need to know to contribute to society in 1913
Link to book: Wisconsin Blue Books  Wisconsin Blue Books
Link to book: Acquaintances, old and new, among reformers, by Olympia Brown (1911).  Acquaintances, old and new, among reformers, by Olympia Brown (1911).
Link to book: Mabel Raef Putnam decribes the passage of the nation's first bill of rights for women in 1921  Mabel Raef Putnam decribes the passage of the nation's first bill of rights for women in 1921

Related Links

Discover classroom resources available from our Office of School Services
A history of Wisconsin women's legal rights, 1846-1920
Search our catalogs for materials on this topic that aren't yet available online.
Borrow books about this topic through our interlibrary loan service
Borrow manuscripts about this topic through our Area Research Center network.
Learn about other topics from our new book, Wisconsin History Highlights
Read more about Milwaukee reformer Mary Blanchard Lynde
Read more about women's experiences in our book, Women's Wisconsin

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