WS 101 M/W- Cora Agatucci

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Women's StudiesTable of ContentsHistorical Timelines
(Do you know about these women? If not, consider Robert Cooney's article
"Taking a New Look –The Enduring Significance of the American Woman Suffrage Movement."
Part IV: Struggle for the Vote

Learn more about selected WS topics by clicking the hyperlinks embedded in these timelines.
And if you find inaccuracies, bugs, or other websites relevant to timeline topics, please let me know:
The timeline pages are under construction and probably always will be...

1995 marked the 75th anniversary of women's suffrage in the United States. Over the course of 72 years, thousands of determined women circulated countless petitions, and gave speeches in churches, convention halls, meeting houses and on street corners for suffrage. They published newspapers, pamphlets, and magazines. They were harassed in the press and attacked by mobs and police. Some women were thrown in jail, and when they protested with hunger strikes they were brutally force-fed. In the end, the suffragists' long and courageous campaign won the right of citizenship for half of our citizens--the women.
Learn about "75 Suffragists"

1851 Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton first meet, on a street corner in Seneca Falls, New York. "This meeting proved to be a momentous one for women's history. Together they built the historic campaign to gain political rights for women. Along the way they fought for abolition, temperance, women's property rights, divorce laws, and a host of reforms deemed of interest to their sex. For more than half a century, their message of equality challenged women to question their exclusion from politics, and from their teachings generations of women learned the importance of political power. At the same time, Stanton's and Anthony's insistence that voting rights be based upon citizenship rather than sex forced politicians to see that the woman question was a political issue" (From the Library of Congress Papers of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pages: see photo of Anthony and Stanton and links to document images; see also a detailed essay "ELIZABETH STANTON: A Leader of the Women's Suffrage Movement," by Barbara Salsini).

Sojourner Truth addresses a woman’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio with her spontaneous ''Ain't I a Woman'' speech (as recorded by Frances Gage) and electrifies the audience: "The leaders of the movement trembled on seeing a tall, gaunt black woman in a gray dress and white turban, surmounted with an uncouth sunbonnet, march deliberately into the church, walk with the air of a queen up the aisle, and take her seat upon the pulpit steps." (see biography on Truth and other Black leaders in the Black History Month profiles.)

The second National Woman's Rights Convention is held in Worcester, Massachusetts.

"That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman?
Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me!
And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?"

Sojourner Truth [1797-1883], from "Ain't I a Woman?" a speech delivered in 1851 at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio. To read the full text, click here.

1851/1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin ignited the abolitionist cause and precipitated talk of a civil war. In 1862, Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe and reportedly said, "So you're the little woman that wrote the book that made this great war."(p. 152, Davis) In the midst of these fugitive slave troubles," wrote Frederick Douglass," came the book known as Uncle Tom's Cabin, a work of marvelous depth and power...Its effect was amazing, instantaneous, and universal." (Read also "Woman's True Mission," a May 1853 review of the novel from The Southern Literary Messenger. For more links to contemporary reviews and images, see Stephen Railton's UNCLE TOM'S CABIN & AMERICAN LITERATURE)
1853 The Una premiers in Providence, Rhode Island, edited by Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis. "A Paper Devoted to the Elevation of Woman," it is acknowledged as the first newspaper of the woman's rights movement.

Sojourner Truth delivers "The Women Want Their Rights" at the Broadway Tabernacle on 6-7 September 1853.

1855 Lucy Stone delivers her speech "Disappointment is the Lot of Women" at the Cincinnati Convention on 17-18 October.
1856 Dorothea Dix (an essay by "Gina," Voorhees Township Schools) successfully petitioned Congress to fund an almshouse for the insane.
1858 The YWCA was founded.
1860 Susan B. Anthony pressed for the enactment of the Women's Property Act, which granted divorced women rights to property and to their children.

Frederick Douglass protested against the break-up of an anti-slavery meeting in Boston's Music Hall: see text of Douglass's "A Plea for Free Speech in Boston," (according to David J. Brewer, recorded in December 4, 1860 in William Garrison's Liberator [World's Best Orations (St. Louis: Ferd. P. Kaiser, 1899), vol. 5, p. 1906.])

1860 At the close of the Crimean war in 1860, with a fund raised in tribute to her services, Florence Nightingale--"the Lady with the Lamp"--founded the Nightingale School and Home for Nurses at Saint Thomas’s Hospital in London. The opening of this school marked the beginning of professional education in nursing. Nightingale (1820-1910), British nurse, hospital reformer, and humanitarian, received a thorough classical education from her father. In 1849 she went abroad to study the European hospital system, and in 1850 she began training in nursing at the Institute of Saint Vincent de Paul in Alexandria, Egypt. In 1853 she became superintendent of the Hospital for Invalid Gentlewomen in London. After the Crimean War broke out in 1854, Nightingale, stirred by reports of the primitive sanitation methods and grossly inadequate nursing facilities at the large British barracks-hospital at Üsküdar (now part of Istanbul, Turkey), dispatched a letter to the British secretary of war, volunteering her services in the Crimea. At the same time, the minister of war proposed that she assume direction of all nursing operations at the war front. She set out for Üsküdar accompanied by 38 nurses. Under Nightingale’s supervision, efficient nursing departments were established at Üsküdar and later at Balaklava in the Crimea. Through her tireless efforts the mortality rate among the sick and the wounded was greatly reduced. (See a word to nursing students from E. Jean M. Hill, Chair, Department of Nursing Education, University of Kansas Medical Center.)
1861 Kansas women won the right to vote in school board elections.

Under the Emancipation Oak in Hampton, Virginia, Mary Perake taught emancipated slaves.

At the last national Women’s Rights convention, New York lobbies for a liberalized divorce bill. Horace Greeley opposes the bill, which loses.

1861-1865 U.S. Civil War: Over the objections of Susan B. Anthony, women put aside suffrage activities to help the war effort. (See the Univ. of Rochester's Anthony Pages, of the Susan B. Anthony Univ. Center, named for "Susan B. Anthony who opened the doors of the University to women," including links to History of Women's Suffrage.)
1862 More women traveled west to settle the untamed frontier after the Homestead Act encouraged families to settle on free parcels of 160 acres.
1863 Angelina Grimke Weld's "The Rights of Women & Negroes," New York, May, 1863.
Olympia Brown (d.1926 ) successfully presented her case for ordination to the Northern Association of Universalists. When she was ordained in 1863, Dr. Fisher, who had first opposed her entrance to St. Lawrence Seminary, participated in the ceremony. Rev. Olympia Brown later paid tribute to Dr. Fisher, who at first opposed her entrance into St. Lawrence, as well as to other somewhat reluctant males, by saying: "This was the first time that the Universalists or indeed any denomination had formally ordained any woman as a preacher. They took that stand, a remarkable one for the day, which shows the courage of these men." Rev. Brown campaigned forcefully and actively as a Woman’s Suffrage leader and saw U.S. women gain the vote before she died.
1864 21-year-old Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, posing as Private Lyons Wakeman, died of dysentery after distinguishing herself at the Battle of Pleasant Hill. (See Women in the Armed Services, Barbara R. Donnelly's bibliography)

Camille Claudel (1864-1943), a French sculptor, was the sister of the poet Paul Claudel and became the student, model, and mistress of August Rodin. Her works, while close to his, nonetheless show great individuality. Their fiery relationship overshadowed Claudel’s attempts to establish an independent career. Claudel and Rodin parted company in 1898, but she continued to sculpt and achieved great renown around the turn of the century. However, the break with Rodin brought her financial troubles and affected her mental stability; in 1906 she destroyed much of her own work, and from 1913 until her death 30 years later, Claudel was confined to mental institutions.

1865 Lucy Stone (see photo) and Julia Ward Howe established the American Woman Suffrage Association in Boston. (Julia Ward Howe is also known from writing the words to "The Battle Hymn of the Republic.")
1866 At the end of the Eleventh National Woman's Rights Convention, the American Equal Rights Association is formed, with Lucretia Mott as president. The members pledge to work toward the achievement of suffrage for both women and Negroes. Suffragists present petitions bearing 10,000 signatures directly to Congress for an amendment prohibiting disenfranchisement on the basis of sex.
1867 Kansas puts woman and black suffrage amendment proposals on the ballot, the first time the question of women’s suffrage goes to a direct vote. Both proposals lose.

The Fourteenth Amendment passes Congress.

Susan B. Anthony forms the Equal Rights Association, working for universal suffrage.

1868 The Fourteenth Amendment is ratified including the word "male" defining citizen, for the first time in the Constitution. The Fifteenth Amendment, proposed shortly thereafter, granted Black men the vote. Women petition to be included, but are excluded from suffrage rights. In New Jersey, 172 women attempt to vote, but their ballots are ignored.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Parker Pillsbury publish the first edition of The Revolution, which becomes one of the most important radical periodicals of the women's movement, although it circulates for less than three years. Its motto: "Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less!"

In Vineland, New Jersey, 172 women cast ballots in a separate box during the presidential election, inspiring similar demonstrations elsewhere in following years.

The federal women's suffrage amendment is first introduced in Congress, by Senator S.C. Pomeroy of Kansas.

1869 The first national women's trade union, the Daughters of St. Crispin, united in Lynn, Massachusetts.

Frederick Douglass and others back down from woman suffrage to concentrate on fight for black male suffrage.

The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) was founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, to achieve the vote through a Congressional amendment, while also addressing other women's rights issues.

The American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) is formed by Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell and other more conservative activists, with Henry Ward Beecher as president, to work exclusively for woman suffrage, focused on amending individual state constitutions.

Wyoming Territory grants women the right to vote.

Learn about some of "The Men Behind the Women" from:

1869 In England, John Stuart Mill, economist and husband of suffragist Harriet Taylor, published The Subjection of Women.

"The object of this Essay is to explain as clearly as I am able grounds of an opinion which I have held from the very earliest period when I had formed any opinions at all on social political matters . . . That the principle which regulates the existing social relations between the two sexes--the legal subordination of one sex to the other--is wrong itself, and now one of the chief hindrances to human improvement; and that it ought to be replaced by a principle of perfect equality, admitting no power or privilege on the one side, nor disability on the other." --John Stuart Mill, from Ch. 1 of The Subjection of Women, 1869 (full electronic text is based upon the Everyman's Library edition, originally published in 1929, reprinted in 1992; from

1870 Esther Hobart Morris was appointed justice of the peace in South Pass City, Wyoming.

The Woman's Journal debuts, edited by Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and Mary Livermore. In 1900 it is adopted as the official paper of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

The Fifteenth Amendment is ratified. The Grimke sisters, now quite aged, and 42 other women attempt to vote in Massachusetts, but their ballots are ignored.

Utah Territory grants woman suffrage.

1871 Victoria Woodhull addresses the House Judiciary Committee, arguing women's right to vote under the 14th Amendment (See also 1885 photograph of Woodhull.).

The Anti-Suffrage Party is founded by wives of prominent men, including many Civil War generals.

1872 For casting a ballot, Susan B. Anthony and 15 other women are arrested in New York. Anthony is held for $1000 bail, and denied a trial by jury. In 1873, she is tried and fined $100, which she refuses to pay.
1874 In Myner v. Happerstett, the U.S. Supreme Court decides that being a citizen does not guarantee suffrage.
Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) is formed.

Mary Cassett (1844-1926), daughter of an affluent Pittsburgh businessman, had her first work accepted at the Paris Salon, and soon came to know Degas and the Impressionists. She continued to exhibit her paintings, which critics received very favorably, emphasizing pictural qualities of everyday life, inclining towards the domestic and the intimate rather than the social and the urban (Lady at the Teatable, 1885; Metropolitan Museum, New York), with a special emphasis on the mother and child theme in the 1890s (The Bath, 1891; Art Institute of Chicago). By the 1890s, largely as a consequence of the exhibition of Japanese prints held in Paris, Cassett’s draughtsmanship became more emphatic, her colors clearer and more boldly defined. Her print-making techniques were also among the most impressive of her generation.

1876 Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage disrupt the official Centennial program at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, presenting a "Declaration of Rights for Women" to the Vice President.
1877 Helena Modjeska, noted Polish-American actor, debuted in Shakespearian theater.
1878 The first black female doctor, Caroline Virginia Anderson, began practicing medicine.

Senator A.A. Sargent (California) first introduces the woman suffrage amendment, the wording of which remains unchanged until it is finally passed by Congress in 1920.

1879 Mary Eliza Mahoney graduated as the first black registered nurse.

Belva Ann Lockwood (1830-1917), American lawyer, reformer, and women's rights advocate, drafted the law, passed by Congress in 1879, which admitted women to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, and become the first woman lawyer to practice before that Court. Lockwood was admitted to the bar in Washington, D.C., in 1873. She was successful in securing congressional enactment of a bill providing for the payment to female federal employees of wages equal to those paid male employees. In 1884 and in 1888 Lockwood was the candidate of the Equal Rights party for the presidency of the U.S. She was the author of the congressional enactment in 1903, granting suffrage to women in Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico. The most important case in which she participated was that brought against the United States by the Cherokee people for damages resulting from encroachments on their territory. Partly through her efforts, the Cherokee, in 1906, were awarded damages totaling $5 million. (See also First in Law: Belva Lockwood)

"I have never stopped fighting.
My cause was the cause of thousands of women."
Belva Lockwood (1830 - 1917), first woman admitted to argue before the United States Supreme Court

1878, 1882 Both houses of Congress appoint Select Committees on Woman Suffrage and both report favorably on the measure.
1880 Lucretia Mott (b. 1793) dies.
1881 Clara Barton, "Angel of the Battlefield," established the American Red Cross. The next year, Congress ratified the Geneva Convention to strengthen the position of the Red Cross during war. Barton was also a teacher, battlefield nurse, and lecturer.
American Association of University Women was founded.
1882 Aletta Jacobs opened Holland's first contraceptive clinic.


1884 Belva Lockwood runs for president.
The US House of Representatives debates woman suffrage.
1886 Lucy Craft Laney established the Haines Normal Institute in Macon, Georgia.
Leonora O'Reilly,
aided by Josephine Shaw Lowell, Arria Huntington, and Mrs. Robert Abb?, founded the Working Women's Society.
Emily Dickinson (b. 1830) died on 15 May 1886, and after her death over 1700 poems, which she had bound into booklets, were discovered. The fame of her poetry has spread until now she is acclaimed throughout the world
(from one of several Emily Dickinson Pages; see also Emily Dickinson Page, U. Minnesota English Dept.; and Emily Dickinson, Barteby Project, Columbia Univ.)
1887 The first vote on woman suffrage is taken in the Senate where it is defeated 34 to 16, with 25 members absent.
1889 Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr opened Hull House as a community aid and educational center for women. Hull House stood as a model for social workers. (See photo)
1889-1939 Fifty black women were lynched in the United States.
1890 Native American women and children were massacred by white soldiers at the battle of Wounded Knee.

American Federation of Labor declares support for a woman suffrage amendment.

Wyoming is admitted to the Union, becoming the first state to give women the vote in its state constitution since New Jersey (1776-1807). Women had been granted voting rights in the Wyoming Territory since 1869. (The Western states followed Wyoming's example and influenced Eastern states: 1893 Colorado, 1896 Utah, Idaho 1910, Washington 1911, California 1912, Oregon, Arizona, Kansas in 1913; Illinois 1914; Montana and Nevada 1917; North Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas and Rhode Island in 1918; South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas in 1919; Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio 1920, and the nation as a whole.)

The American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) and the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) merge, becoming the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), and pledge to state-by-state campaigns for suffrage.

Headed by Anna Howard Shaw and Carrie Chapman Catt, the National Woman Suffrage Association merged with the Equal Rights Association, and allied with women's clubs and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in a mass rally for voting rights.

1890s Mary Elizabeth Lease, a self-educated attorney, led the organization of the Grange, a farmers' cooperative.
1893 After a vigorous campaign led by Carrie Chapman Catt, Colorado adopts woman suffrage.
1894 Despite 600,000 signatures, a petition for woman suffrage is ignored in New York.
Lucy Stone
, born in 1818, dies.


Late 1890s Reindeer Mary, the first female Inuit businesswoman, opened a successful meat market near Point Barrow, Alaska.
1895 Mary Church Terrell founded the Colored Women's League of Washington,

Elizabeth Cady Stanton publishes The Woman's Bible.

1896 Utah joins the Union, granting women full suffrage.

Idaho adopts woman suffrage.

Emily Dickinson's Poems are published posthumously. {British Poetry 1780-1910: a Hypertext Archive of Scholarly Editions at the Electronic Text Center, Alderman Library, University of Virginia}

1898 Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote her influential "feminist manifesto" Women and Economics (1898), advocating financial independence for women and characterizing the home as inefficient compared with the mass-production techniques of the modern factory. She wrote The Yellow Wallpaper after a nervous breakdown, a divorce, and a move to California. She also edited monthly progressive magazine The Forerunner (1909 – 1916), wrote utopian fantasy Herland, founded the Woman's Peace Party, and laid away chloroform when she learned she had breast cancer to avoid being a burden or incapacitated, took it and died in Pasadena, CA.


1898 Japan's Meiji Civil Code reinforced Japanese dominance over their wives and the right of husbands to take concubines.
Early 1900s Christabel Pankhurst edited The Suffragette and led England's suffragists in the Women's Social and Political Union. (See Spartacus International and John Simkin's links for the story of Emancipation of Women [in the United Kingdom]: 1860-1920)

TOP of this page Part IV: Struggle for the Vote
Women's Studies Historical Timelines were prepared by Cora Agatucci, 1997

Part I: Women Make Early History
Part II: 17th & 18th Century Women
Part III: Modern Struggles for Equality

Go to Part V: U.S. Woman Suffrage Is Won

Part VI: Women in the 20th Century & "Second Wave" Feminism
Part VII: Women of the 1990s & Sources and Resources for Further Study

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