The Suffrage Plaque

Virtual Visit: Object Stories - Suffrage Memorial Tablet

Discover the story behind the Suffrage Memorial Tablet at the New York State Capitol.
Virtual Visit: Object Stories - Suffrage Memorial Tablet
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Virtual Visit: Object Stories - Suffrage Memorial Tablet

Discover the story behind the Suffrage Memorial Tablet at the New York State Capitol.

Fast Facts

 

  1. There are 83 suffragists listed on the plaque. One male, a “suffragent,” is included.
  2. The plaque was dedicated on November 22, 1931, with many suffragists and their descendants present.
  3. Four women have been elected Lt. Governor including our current Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Mary Anne Krupsak became New York’s 1st female Lt. Governor in 1975 and rededicated the plaque during her administration.
  4. Susan B. Anthony is listed on the plaque and her likeness is carved into the Capitol’s Great Western Staircase just down the hall.
  5. Suffrage plaques can be found in other states. A national was installed in Washington, D.C.
  6. For decades, suffragists came to the Capitol every year to lobby their cause to legislators. These “squadrons” of demonstrators organized by the hundreds and thousands. Some of their petitions had so many signatures they had to be carried in wheelbarrows
Trivia

 

By how much (percentage) did the suffrage vote pass in New York?
In 1917, 53.92% of voters voted Yes but 46.08% voted No.

How often did women lobby for the right to vote in the New York State Capitol?
Women lobbied for the right to vote in Albany at the New York State Capitol from 1854 until 1917.

How was a woman’s name chosen for the Memorial Tablet?
The majority of the 84 names listed on the plaque were involved with fundraising for the Suffrage Memorial Tablet.

Who were Harriet and James Laidlaw?
Harriet Laidlaw organized for women’s right to vote and became the first woman elected to the board of directors of Standard and Poor’s. Her husband, James Laidlaw was president of the Men’s League for Women Suffrage and the only man with a name listed on the Suffrage Memorial Tablet.

When was the first female legislator elected?
It did not take very long to have the first female legislator after gaining the right to vote in New York. In 1919, Ida Sammis (Suffolk County, 2nd District) was elected by winning every town in her district.

If Lieutenant Governor Krupsak was the first female to serve in the role, how many female Lieutenant Governors have there been currently?
Including our current Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, there have been four female Lieutenant Governors in New York.

Who was the first woman in NYS to officially cast a vote?
In January 1918, Florence B. Chauncey from Central New York was the first woman to exercise her right to vote.

Why did it take until 1930 to get a Women’s Suffrage plaque in the Capitol, when the state allowed the right to vote in 1917?
The Suffrage Plaque not only commemorated women’s right to vote but was installed to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the National League of Women Voters. Suffragists donated money to the organization to put themselves or their colleagues listed on the plaque.

Were the Roosevelts involved in getting the plaque installed?
In order to install the tablet, the State League of Women Voters wrote to Governor Franklin Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt was a former State League official. After the installation, the Roosevelts hosted a reception at the Executive Mansion.

How long did it take before women were elected to state office?
Two women were elected to the New York State Assembly one year after women’s suffrage, in 1918: Ida Sammis, a Republican from Suffolk County, and Mary Lilly, a Democrat from Manhattan.