November 6, 2017 marked the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in New York State. After almost seventy years of persistent, determined action by suffragists and their supporters, New York became one of the first states to fully enfranchise women in 1917. The gallery below displays imagery of pro- and anti-suffrage propaganda with historic photographs of the women who organized and marched until the vote was won.
They were mothers, wives, workers, rich and poor, and from every walk of life. They faced prejudice, harassment, and persecution from their opponents. Their pursuit of the vote was one goal among many in their battle for equality in the United States. This collection represents a portion of this historic struggle and a groundbreaking victory for women’s rights, a victory which continues to reverberate and inspire today.
Suffragettes climbing the steps of the NY State Capitol in March 1912. Courtesy of Coline Jenkins, Elizabeth Cady Stanton Family
New York State Woman Suffrage Party Banner. The “WSP” was founded by Carrie Chapman Catt and claimed over 100,000 members at its height. New York State Museum
Three suffragists casting votes in New York City, c. 1920. Library of Congress
Cartoon by Kenneth Russell Chamerlain, 1914. The American Red Cross, founded by Clara Barton, proved invaluable during World War I. Library of Congress
New York suffragettes demonstrating in Washington, D.C. c. 1917. Called the “Silent Sentinels,” the women faced harassment, arrest, and inhumane treatment during their two-year vigil. Library of Congress
Pro-suffrage World War I poster. Women going to work at wartime brought about many social changes, including increased support for suffrage. New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections
The Phyllis Wheatley Club, Buffalo, NY. Named for the 18th century African-American poet, the club supported social causes and gave African-American women a rare opportunity to express themselves on political...
Suffragists marching in New York City in 1913. Library of Congress
World War I sheet music cover. The expanded roles of women during the war convinced many that women had earned their place in the voting booth as well. New York...
Anti-suffragette cartoon, Harper’s Weekly, 1912. New York State Library Manuscripts and Special Collections