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The Lindseth Woman Suffrage Collection

The Lindseth Collection of Woman Suffrage chronicles women’s struggle for the right to vote from the early nineteenth century through 1920, when the nineteenth amendment to the United States Constitution, enfranchising women, finally became law.

The gift of Jon and Virginia Lindseth ’56, the collection gives a fascinating account of the generations of American women who dedicated their lives to winning the right to vote.

Displayed in this case are highlights representing the more than 500 rare books, periodicals, pamphlets, letters, cartoons, photographs, campaign buttons, and other objects in the Lindseth Suffrage Collection.

Cornell gratefully acknowledges Jon and Virginia Lindseth for their spectacular gifts to Cornell University Library on the occasion of their fiftieth Cornell Reunion.

Poster. Inez Milholland Boissevain Who Died for the Freedom of Woman. [1917].

Inez Milholland Boissevain, pictured here in a memorial poster as she appeared at the March 1913 woman suffrage parade in Washington D.C., was a symbol, ambassador, and later martyr of the woman suffrage movement. In 1916, despite ill health, she agreed to an arduous tour through twelve western Equal Suffrage states to promote the cause. She collapsed on stage in Los Angeles that September while giving a speech for the National Woman’s party and died ten weeks later.

Julia Ward Howe. Manuscript of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in Howe’s hand, [ca. 1885].

First written in 1862, Howe’s “Battle Hymn of the Republic” became the best known Civil War song of the North. This manuscript of the famous song, written out by Howe in about 1885, is one of numerous autograph copies. After the Civil War Howe became active in the fight for woman suffrage. Her song was adapted as a pro-suffrage anthem, the much loved lyrics replaced with stirring verses urging equality between the sexes:

Day of hope and day of glory! After slavery and woe,
Comes the dawn of woman’s freedom, and the light shall grow and grow
Until every man and woman equal liberty shall know,
In Freedom marching on!

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Carte de Visite. Philadelphia, [ca. 1870].

This photographic visiting card of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony records their remarkable partnership. Working together from 1852 onward, Stanton and Anthony became the two dominant figures of the nineteenth-century American woman suffrage movement.

Official Program. National Woman Suffrage Association. Washington D.C., 1913.

The 1913 march on Washington was the first nationally-organized parade sponsored by the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Over 8,000 participated in the march, and thousands more gathered to watch. When some onlookers began to assault women, Washington police failed to protect them. The resulting scandal proved embarrassing to the authorities. The March 1913 parade captured the imagination of the American public and became one of the movement’s defining moments.

Suffrage Postcards
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The great number and variety of suffragists pictured in the popular press demonstrate how debate over suffrage for women permeated the culture of the period.

Suffrage pins, ribbons, and leaflets, [ca. 1910-1915].
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Suffrage leaders became increasingly adept at building political support and solidarity through lectures and rallies, spreading their message with banners, pins, and leaflets.

These are just a few examples of suffrage campaign ephemera in the Lindseth collection.

Hunger Strike Medal. Awarded to Suffrage Activist Dorothy Bowker. London: Women’s Social & Political Union, 1912.

During the first two decades of the twentieth century, England’s Women’s Social and Political Union began using more militant methods to forward the goals of the woman suffrage movement, including smashing windows and setting fire to buildings. Medals such as this one were given to members in recognition and reward for arrest and imprisonment, and the hunger strikes and forced feedings they endured in protest.

Inscribed in the box containing this medal are the words: “Presented to Dorothy Bowker by the Women’s Social and Political Union in recognition of a gallant action whereby through endurance to the last extremity of hunger and hardship, a great principle of political justice was vindicated.”

Votes for Women! The Woman’s Reason Because... Boston, [ca. 1910].

Suffragists used cheaply printed literature such as this broadside to stir support for their cause.

Why We Do Not Approve of Woman Suffrage. Cincinnati and Hamilton County Association [ca. 1915].

Opponents of the suffrage cause used similar methods to circulate anti-suffrage messages.

View a photo of this exhibition case

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