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 V: U.S. Woman Suffrage Is Won

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...

1900 Carrie Lane Chapman Catt (1859-1947) takes over the reins of NASWA. Chapman Catt, Iowa State College, teacher, school superintendent, journalist, lecturer, pacifist, was a field organizer with Susan B. Anthony. Catt worked tirelessly as a fundraiser, planner, and administrator; and led the New York campaigns, as well as national and international organizations for women's rights.
1902 Ida Tarbell exposed the monopoly of Standard Oil in articles for McClure's magazine.
The first U.S. postage stamp bearing a woman's likeness appeared. The woman is Martha Washington.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (born in 1815) dies.

Australia passes woman suffrage legislation.

"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."
Marie Curie, Nobel Laureate (1867-1934; Poland/France)

1903 Marie Curie, with her husband Pierre, became the first female Nobel Prize winner, for physics (and more biographies) when the Curies isolated enough radium to confirm its existence. Marie
also earned her doctorate, the first awarded to a woman in Europe, that year. Marie's success in isolating pure polonium and pure radium to remove any remaining doubts about the existence of the two new elements won her another Nobel Prize in 1911.
1903 Maggie Lena Walker, a former slave, opened the Saint Luke Penny Savings Bank, the first financial institute founded by a woman.

The Women's National Trade Union League was established, with Mary Morton Kehew as president. At the annual AFL convention, blue collar and middle class women unite to form the National Women's Trade Union League to help organize women.
Jane Addams was elected vice-president.. In 1907 the organization's name is changed to the National Women's Trade Union League.

1906 Susan B. Anthony, born in 1820, dies. (see interview on Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words with Lynn Sherr, Anthony biographer.)

Finland grants women the right to vote.

1907 Harriet Stanton Blatch, Elizabeth Cady Stanton's daughter, forms the Equality League of Self Supporting Women which becomes the Women's Political Union in 1910. She introduced the English suffragists' tactics of parades, street speakers, and pickets.

Qiu Jin, Chinese revolutionary and poet, was beheaded, then acknowleged immediately as a heroine and a martyr who died fighting enemies of the Chinese people and she became a symbol of women's independence.

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), Mexican artist, lived to be known as the 20th century’s quintessential autobiographical artist--though it is sometimes difficult to separate the cult of personality surrounding Kahlo from her artistic accomplishment. Most of Kahlo's works depict her personal saga (see images of Kahlo's Self-Portraits): the disabilities she suffered as a result of the accident; her turbulent marriage to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera; her involvement with Communism and the Mexican Revolution; and, ultimately, her indomitable will to create. Like many artists in the decade after the Mexican Revolution of 1917, Frida Kahlo's art was influenced by the surge of nationalism known as Mexicanidad. Eschewing European models, the simple, naive character of Kahlo's imagery, the sometimes fantastic subject matter and the vividness of her colors were influenced by Mexican folk art. She, herself, often wore traditional costumes and elaborately braided her hair with ribbons, bows, combs, and fresh flowers to express her identification with Mexico's indigenous culture. (See The Original Frida Kahlo Home Page, an announcement regarding the publication of The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait, Introd. and transl by Carlos Fuentes; and "Sonnet in Primary Colors" for Frida Kahlo by Rita Dove, formerly U.S. Poet Laureate.)

1909 Mary White Ovington helped found the NAACP.
1910 Pacifist attorney Crystal Eastman published Work Accidents and the Law, an influential work that led to her drafting of the first U. S. workers' compensation law. Two years later, she helped found the National Woman's Party.

The first suffrage parade in New York City is organized by the Women's Political Union.

Washington state grants women’s suffrage.

1911 The most elaborate campaign ever mounted for suffrage succeeds in California by only 3,587 votes, an average of one vote in every precinct in the state.

National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage is founded, issuing an official journal, the Woman's Protest.

1912 10,000 women marched down Fifth Avenue in New York City in a pro-suffrage demonstration, with up to a half million onlookers.

Teddy Roosevelt's Progressive Party includes woman suffrage in their platform.

Oregon, Kansas and Arizona adopt woman suffrage.

1913 The Congressional Union is formed by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns as an auxiliary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, for the exclusive purpose of securing passage of a federal amendment. Alice Paul (1885-1977), American feminist and social reformer, was a militant supporter of women's rights and used her skills as a speaker and propagandist to fight for the 19th Amendment to the United States Consitution. She also fought for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The ERA, which would remove in one stroke all legal, economic, and social restrictions on women, was to be introduced into the U.S. Congress in 1923, but did not pass.

The Territory of Alaska adopts woman suffrage. It is the first bill approved by the new governor.

The National Woman's Party is founded by Alice Paul and others to take a more "direct action" approach to gaining public attention for the suffrage cause. The day preceding President Wilson's inauguration, 5-8,000 suffragists parade in Washington, D.C., organized by Alice Paul. See also photo and bio of Ida Bell Wells-Barnett. They are mobbed by abusive crowds along the way and hundreds of women are injured but no one is arrested. The National American Woman Suffrage Association leadership expels the militants (Alice Paul, et al.).

Norway adopts woman suffrage.

"I myself have never been able to find precisely what feminism is.
I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat."

--Rebecca West, English writer, (pub. in The Clarion, 1913)

1914 Montana and Nevada adopt woman suffrage.
1915 A transcontinental tour by suffragists, including Mabel Vernon and Sara Bard Field, gathers over a half-million signatures on petitions to congress.

Margaret Sanger founded the National Birth Control League (now the Planned Parenthood Federation of America). Sanger began lecturing across the country and gathering supporters and funds to aid her efforts.

Denmark grants women the right to vote.

1916 36 National American Woman Suffrage Association state chapters endorse NAWSA President Carrie Chapman Catt's "Winning Plan," a unified campaign combining state and federal work to get the amendment through Congress and ratified by the states. Catt also founded the League of Women Voters and worked for world peace. "It is to Mrs. Catt more than to any single figure besides Susan B. Anthony that American women owe their right to vote." (Eleanor Flexner, Notable American .Women; see Links to Texts by Carrie Chapman Catt, and Jane Cox's Racism and Carrie Chapman Catt Today)
1917 New York adopts woman suffrage.

In January, National Woman's Party (NWP) pickets appear in front of the White House holding aloft two banners: "Mr. President, What Will You Do for Woman Suffrage?" and "How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty?" Sentinels remain stationed there permanently regardless of weather or violent public response, with hourly changes of shift. In June, arrests begin: nearly 500 women are arrested, 168 women serve jail time, and some are brutalized by their jailers. The jailed suffragists are released from prison in 1918, when appellate court rules that all arrests were illegal.

The Netherlands and the Soviet Union grant women the right to vote.


1917 Inessa Armand, Clara Zetkin, and Nadezhda Krupskaya pressured Russian officials to sanction International Women's Day. (see a history of International Women's Day and also 1996 United Nations' article.)
1917 Mary Pickford became America's first female movie star.
1917-1919 Pacifist Jeannette Rankin of Montana is served her first term as the first elected U. S Congresswoman (and again from 1941-1943).
1918 President Wilson first states his public support of the federal woman suffrage amendment, and argues for women’s suffrage at the end of WW I.

Canada and Luxembourg adopt woman suffrage.

1919 Crystal Eastman organized the First Feminist Congress, which supported the Equal Rights Amendment. The Volstead Act forbade the sale of alcohol, a law influenced by Frances Willard's Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU).

The most prominent members of the NWP who had been imprisoned for picketing the White House tour the country on a train called the "Prison Special." At each stop they speak about the need for suffrage and about their prison experiences.

First Lady Edith Wilson assumed presidential powers for eighteen months after Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke.

Jan: the NWP lights and guards a "Watchfire for Freedom," to be maintained until the Suffrage Amendment passes.
May 21
: The House of Representative passes the federal woman suffrage amendment, 304 to 89, a margin of 42 votes over the required two-thirds majority. Opponents block action in the Senate for another two weeks, delaying ratification as most legislatures have adjourned for the year.
June 4:
The Senate passes the 19th Amendment with just two votes to spare, 56 to 25. Drafted by
Susan B. Anthony and first introduced in 1878 with the same wording, it is now sent to the states: the battle for ratification by at least 36 states begins.

The Business& Professional Women/USA was founded.

Austria, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Germany, Poland, and Sweden grant women the right to vote.

1920s Mary Molly Dewson supported the New Deal and the Consumers' League.
Business leader and lecturer Mary Parker Follett earned the title "Mother of Management."
1920 Jane Addams, Jeanette Rankin, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and Helen Keller helped establish the American Civil Liberties Union.

Feb. 14: The League of Women Voters was founded as "a mighty experiment" at the Victory Convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Chicago, Illinois. By now, 33 states have ratified the amendment, but final victory is still three states away.
Aug. 18:
Tennessee becomes the 36th state to ratify the Amendment. A young state legislator casts the deciding vote after being admonished to do so by his mother. The ratified 19th Amendment is signed into law on Aug. 26, by Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby; added to the U.S. Constitution, the Amendment grants women the right to vote nationwide.

Woman Suffrage in Other Countries

Most other nations of the world have enacted woman-suffrage legislation, including Belgium (partial, 1919; full, 1948); Ecuador (1929); South Africa (1930); Brazil and Uruguay (1932); Turkey and Cuba (1934); France (1944); Italy and Japan (1946); China and Argentina (1947); South Korea and Israel (1948); Chile, India, and Indonesia (1949). Switzerland granted the franchise to women in 1971. By the 1980s, women could vote virtually everywhere in the world, except for a few Muslim countries. In addition, women who attained national leadership posts in modern times include prime ministers Golda Meir (Israel), Indira Gandhi (India), Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan, and see WIC bio), and Margaret Thatcher (United Kingdom), and President Corazon Aquino of the Philippines.

TOP of this page Part V: U.S. Woman Suffrage Is Won
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
Part IV: Struggle for the Vote

Go to 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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