On August 18, 1920, Congress ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, which guaranteed women’s constitutional right to vote. This display, in the hallway leading from the lobby to the Lewis Family Lounge on the first floor of the Leatherby Libraries, chronicles the struggle for voting rights and first sixty years of the women’s movement in the United States. How was this victory won? Did enfranchisement advance social equality? Does voting matter to women today?

The display was curated by archivist Wendy Gonaver with materials from the Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections & Archives and on loan from Dr. Kimberly Salter. The materials, as you can see in the pictures included here, range widely, from suffragist tracts, to tickets from meetings of suffragists, to objects like the cat bud vase pictured above, created by opponents of women’s suffrage who mocked the suffragists by comparing them to yowling cats.

A purple banner posed in front of several photographs

A section of the display focusing on the suffrage movement in California

On Wednesday, October 30th, we will mark the opening of the exhibit with a lecture by Lynn Dumenil, Professor Emerita at Occidental College and author of The Second Line of Defense: American Women and World War I. The event will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Center for American War Letters Archives, on the lower level of the Leatherby Libraries.

The book "The Second Line of Defense" standing in a display case next to other memorabilia

Dumenil’s book, included in the display