On this Mother’s Day, it’s hard to believe that 100 years ago most women in America – except in a few states – didn’t have the right to vote. They could bring children into the world, but had no say in electing the officials who would have an impact on their children’s lives and on their own.
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, a milestone of democracy.
New Jersey has a rich history in the suffrage movement, joining the federal pursuit of women’s right to vote. In 1776 the New Jersey State Constitution allowed women property owners the right to vote. This was unique in the nation at the time. However, in 1807, the New Jersey Legislature stripped women of their voting rights, limiting the ballot to white males. For more than a century New Jersey women fought for the reversal of the 1807 legislation.
New Jersey became the 29th state to ratify the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote on February 9, 1920. Shortly after, Margaret Laird and Jennie Van Ness were the first two women elected to the New Jersey Assembly in 1921. Four years later Rebecca Estelle Bourgeois Winston of Estell Manor was elected New Jersey’s first woman mayor.
https://www.womensvote100.org/ is the official site commemorating this centennial celebration.
For more information on the history of women’s suffrage in NJ including a timeline and biographies of suffragists like Alice Paul, and for additional resources on the national level women’s suffrage movement please go here https://discovernjhistory.org/njwomenvote2020/
The Library of Congress is having a special exhibit starting in June–”Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote.”
Livingston Public Library digital resources
The following ebooks/audiobooks on Overdrive/Libby can further enlighten you on the topic:
Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote by Ellen Carol DuBois
Honoring the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the Constitution, this exciting history explores the full scope of the movement to win the vote for women through portraits of its bold leaders and devoted activists.
Votes for Women!: American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot by Winifred Conkling
From Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who founded the suffrage movement at the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, to Sojourner Truth and her famous “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech, to Alice Paul, arrested and force-fed in prison, this is the story of the American women’s suffrage movement and the private lives that fueled its leaders’ dedication.
The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss
The nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political battles in American history: the ratification of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote.
Hoopla also carries a number of titles on women’s suffrage and suffragists
2 research databases that you can use to delve further into the topic are:
-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian