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[Detail] Woman suffrage headquarters in Upper Euclid Avenue.

Collection Overview

Votes for Women - The Struggle for Women's Suffrage, features portraits of leaders in the suffrage movement, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Julia Ward Howe, and Mary Church Terrell. The collection also highlights images of suffrage parades and women picketing for the right to vote.

This online illustrated reference aid is part of the "By Popular Demand" series. It is a pictorial partner for the text documents in "Votes for Women" Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Collection, 1848-1921.

Special Features

These online exhibits provide context and additional information about this collection.

Historical Eras

These historical era(s) are best represented in the collection although they may not be all-encompassing.

  • The Civil War and Reconstruction, 1850-1877
  • Development of the Industrial United States, 1876-1915
  • Emergence of Modern America, 1890-1930

Related Collections and Exhibits

These collections and exhibits contain thematically-related primary and secondary sources. Also browse the Collection Finder for more related material on the American Memory Web site.

Other Resources

Recommended additional sources of information.

Search Tips

For help with search words, go to the "Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures Name and Subject Index, or Votes for Women Subject or Author.

For help with general search strategies, see Finding Items in American Memory.

Subject terms such as abolition, union, child labor, etc. are not assigned to the images in this collection. Therefore, to find images of women who worked for other rights in addition to suffrage, you must search for them by name.

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U.S. History

This selection of 38 pictures is from the Library of Congress' extensive and varied resources related to the campaign for woman suffrage in the United States. Included are portraits, photographs of suffrage parades, picketing suffragists, and an anti-suffrage display as well as cartoons commenting on the movement.

This collection of images is best used in conjunction with its companion collection "Votes for Women:" Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Collection, 1848-1921. To facilitate this usage, the section below follows closely the content and format of the U.S. History section of the "Votes for Women" Collection Connection.

1) Woman Suffrage

Carrie Chapman Catt

Carrie Chapman Catt, March 28, 1914.

The images in this collection were selected from those frequently requested from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs and Manuscript Divisions.

Portraits of women active on behalf of women's rights, and woman suffrage in particular, are included.

Search on the names of well-known people who campaigned for women's right to vote including Susan B. Anthony, Alice Stone Blackwell, Carrie Chapman Catt, Lucretia Mott and Lucy Stone.


2) Other Legal Rights and Reform Movements

Frances Willard

Frances Willard, ca. 1880 - 1898.

It took many years of organized struggle for women to gain the right to vote. However, between the first woman suffrage convention in 1848, and the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, women and others did gain voting rights in some States. During this time, women also lobbied for abolition, child labor laws, women's labor rights, and education.

Search on the names of women who struggled for these rights such as Sojourner Truth, Alice Stone Blackwell, and Frances E. Willard.


To read writings by these women, search on abolition, slavery, child labor, laws, education and women's trade unions in the document collection "Votes for Women:" Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Collection, 1848-1921. Then search for images of these authors in "Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures.

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Critical Thinking

Chronological Thinking

The collection is useful for tracing the chronological development of the woman suffrage movement. Students can find pictures and images of people and events which lead to the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, originally proposed as the Sixteenth Amendment in 1878. Students can relate the collection contents to a timeline of women's rights.

Using Timeline: One Hundred Years Toward Suffrage on the collection home page, students will find a listing of events in the fight for woman suffrage. These events range from Abigail Adams' letter to her husband in 1776 asking the writers of the Declaration of Independence to "remember the ladies," to 1923, when the Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed. Students can find examples from the collection that illustrate events on the timeline.

Lucy Stone

Lucy Stone, ca. 1840 - 1860.

Anna Howard Shaw

Anna Howard Shaw, ca. April 3, 1920.

Students can also browse through the 20 portraits in the collection and use visual clues to determine when the photographs were taken in relation to one another. The quality, type, and setting of the photograph in addition to the women's style of fashion all suggest an era in which the image was created.

Search on the subject term portrait photograph to a retrieve a list of these twenty photographs.

2) Historical Comprehension

Florence F. Noyes as Liberty in suffrage pageant

Florence F. Noyes as "Liberty" in suffrage pageant in front of the Treasury Building, Washington, D.C., March, 1913.

A major objective of suffrage events in the 20th century was to gain publicity. Sometimes these events were intentionally flamboyant to attract the press and, thereby, get coverage for the issues.

Students can search on parades, pageants, and demonstrations to see what steps the suffragists took to attract attention.

3) Historical Analysis and Interpretation

Election Day!

Election Day!, ca. 1909.

"Votes For Women" Suffrage Pictures, 1850-1920 chronicles the life of a political cause, that of woman suffrage. There are extensive images of women in the act of struggling for women's rights. The images of anti-suffrage movements are more limited.

Search on speaker, vote, anti-suffrage and cartoon to see how women worked to gain their rights and those who opposed their efforts.

4) Historical Research Capabilities

This collection, while extensive in its coverage of suffrage, is limited in its coverage in anti-suffrage movements. Students can conduct research to identify the gaps in the available record, and then elaborate imaginatively to construct a sound historical interpretation.

5) Historical Issue Analysis

For experience in issue analysis, students might reconstruct opposing positions for debates. Suffragists also prepared for debate by reviewing arguments of both pro- and anti-vote activists and practicing speeches before an audience. Once students have written out their arguments, they can re-enact a debate concerning suffrage or other women's issues of the day.

Search on public speaking to see where suffragists spoke out for their rights.

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Arts & Humanities

1) Women in the News

Students can use the collection to practice both persuasive writing and news story writing. After viewing images of an event, students can do research using other resources. They can pretend they were organizing the event with the goal of gaining media attention. By developing slogans for signs, writing the event-day speeches, and editorials for the local newspapers, students can develop ways to draw attention to their event.

Students might also write news stories about the event. Students can use photographs from the collection to illustrate their stories, and create captions for them as well.

Students might search the collection on parades, pageants, and demonstrations to find images of events such as the May 16, 1912 Suffrage Parade in New York City.

2) Generations of Women's Rights

Suffragists' work to win the vote spanned many generations. Students can write journal entries for different generations of women whose lives were affected by this movement. They might choose historical figures or common citizens of a certain social, economic, or political group, or from a specific geographic region.

3) Biographies

The people who made woman suffrage their ambition had varied experiences of working for that right. Students can research and write biographies for one of these individuals.

For example, students might search on Susan B. Anthony, Mary Church Terrell, or Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

4) Amending the Constitution

Legislative language must be written very precisely. As seen in the debate for woman suffrage, anti-suffragists could turn to the language of the U.S. Constitution to argue their position that only men should vote. Students can read the Constitution and its Amendments to see how an individual word can greatly effect the laws of a nation and the lives of its citizens.

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