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Connecticut Woman Suffrage Movement Collection

Identifier: MS 003

Scope and Content Note

The collection comprises 2 linear feet of material and consists mainly of sources for Schnare's paper on the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association. The collection dates from 1906-1980, the bulk of which dates from 1906-1925.

Researchers are encouraged to examine the entire collection especially the folders marked Sources, Miscellaneous Data and Information, Bibliographies, General Information, and Miscellaneous Information folders. In many cases there is information concerning an event or person among more than one Source folder.

Sources (box 1, folders 1-8) contain research notes, bibliographies, inventories, indexes, newspaper articles, clippings, and a biography and notes regarding Senator Frank B. Brandegee (folder 6) who opposed woman suffrage. Folders 7 and 8 contain The Sophia Smith Collection catalogs from Smith College, The Blackwell Family, Carrie Chapman Catt and the National American Woman Suffrage Association register of papers in the Library of Congress.

The Early Years of the CWSA (folders 9-11) contain bibliographies, manuscript sources, clippings, and a list of women voters in Waterbury for 1899. A thesis entitled Isabella Beecher Hooker As A Reformer: The Vote For Women Or A Quest For Personal Power? by Elsie Anne Farnam can be found in box 1, folders 12-14.

Also included are copies of correspondence to and from Governor Simeon Baldwin (1911-1915) and Governor Marcus H. Holcomb (1915-1921) during the turbulent years of the woman suffrage movement in Connecticut (box 1, folders 40-41, and folders 23-28). The correspondents include various Connecticut suffragists, governors and leagues that dealt with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Of special interest are the original suffrage news bulletins The American Suffragette, National Suffrage News, and The News Bulletin (box 2, folders 57-58), which detail the progress of the suffrage movement. Copies of The Suffrage News Bulletin (1918-1920) are located in folders 59-61. Researchers should also see copies of The Suffragist (box 1, folders 15-22), which also contains copies of the Woman's Journal.

The Organization of American Historians (box 1, folder 39) contains Research in Progress in the History of Women by the OAH's Committee on the Status of Women; Women in American History, 1896-1920: Their Manuscripts in the Library of Congress; and, A Guide to Manuscripts in the Library of Congress; American History, 1896-1920.

The Hartford Equal Rights Club Records (box 2, folders 52-53) contains the activities of the club previous to the granting of suffrage to women and newspaper clippings of historical interest concerning the organization of the club in March 1885 and its early career. The Club's Constitution is also included.

Biographies of state officials and their voting records on woman suffrage can be found in General Information (box 2, folders 55-56). The folders also contain original pamphlets and programs published by the CWSA and the Connecticut League of Women Voters. Party Machinery by Ruth McIntire Dadourian is also included.

The National Women's Party files (box 2, folders 63-68) contain information pertaining to the 19th Amendment, journal articles, bibliographies, book reviews, research notes, copies of letters, archival sources, and a paper entitled The Woman's Party Pickets of 1917: The First Victims of the Red Scare (folder 64) by Janice Law Trecker. Folder 68 contains a thesis by Pamela Elam, How Long must Women Wait for Liberty? Perceptions of the Militant Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States, 1916-1920.

An original copy of Life Magazine, January 2, 1950, several pages from Life Magazine's September 4, 1970 and August 13, 1971 issues, and Women In Revolt; The Fight for Emancipation, concerning the woman's movement in England can be found in Publications (OS 1).


  • 1876-1982 , (Bulk 1906-1925)
  • Majority of material found within 1906 - 1925


Access Restrictions

Open for research without restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the:
Ruth A. Haas Library
Archives and Special Collections
181 White Street
Danbury, CT 06810
Phone: 203-837-8992

Historical/Biographical Note

In August 1920 the Nineteenth Amendment was approved by the required number of states, and American women had thus achieved the right to vote. Connecticut's male leadership was stubborn on this issue until the end. Connecticut's United States Senators, Frank Brandegee (1864-1924) and George McLean (1857-1932), voted against the Amendment. Connecticut delegates to the 1920 Republican Convention were instrumental in crippling the suffrage plank in the party platform. Governor Marcus Holcomb shrugged off a petition with the signature of 103,000 women and refused to call a special session of the General Assembly to consider ratification.

The official resistance of Connecticut to extending the vote to women obscures the existence of an organized suffrage movement in the state. In 1869 the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association was born. Under the direction of Isabella Beecher Hooker (1822-1907) for thirty-six years, the CWSA achieved some success. In 1903 and 1909 women were allowed to vote on school and library matters. The combination of aging leadership in the CWSA and the resistance of the conservative, rural-dominated General Assembly, however, made more significant advances impossible.

In 1910 a group of young, middle-class women led by Katherine Houghton Hepburn (1878-1951), Katherine Ludington (1869-1953), Emily Pierson (1881-1971), Caroline Ruutz-Rees (1865-1954), Valeria Parker (1879-1959), and Grace Seton (1872- 1959) took control of the CWSA. College-educated and often with careers outside the home in education, medicine, and literature, they advanced arguments of both idealism and expediency to promote their cause. Working closely with the Connecticut National Woman's Party, organized in 1916 by Alice Paul (1885-1977) and other militants, they concentrated on a new strategy of building support for the Federal Amendment. Between 1917 and 1920 a network of women, by means of petitions, letters, meetings, publications, and political threats, sought in vain to convince the Connecticut General Assembly to act favorably on the Nineteenth Amendment.

Following the national passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, few Connecticut females were elected to office in the next decade. By 1931 only forty-seven women had served in the General Assembly, and none had gained positions of influence. The Republican-dominated state government ignored issues of interest to women such as childcare. During the 1920s women were forced to operate outside the power structure through such organizations as the Connecticut Association of Collegiate Women, the League of Nations Association, and especially, the League of Women Voters, to perpetuate the unity and reform zeal that was the strength of the woman suffrage movement.

For Further Reading: There is a vast literature on woman suffrage in the United States. Two key books are Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle (New York, 1973) and Aileen Kraditor, The Ideas of Woman Suffrage Movement, 1890-1920 (Garden City, New York, 1965). Carole Nichols, A New Force in Politics: The Suffragists' Experience in Connecticut (Master's Thesis, Sarah Lawrence University, 1979), is an excellent detailed study of the state scene.


  • Dr. Herbert F. Janick []


4.5 Linear Feet (, 4 boxes)

Language of Materials



Collection contains Connecticut State Librarian Robert Schnare’s research on the Connecticut suffrage movement between 1910 and 1920, and additional information on the movement prior to 1910 and from the relatively recent past.


Folders are arranged alphabetically.

The files are grouped into 1 series:

Missing Title

  1. Inventory


Robert E. Schnare, former Connecticut State Librarian, generously gave his research papers on the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association to Dr. Herbert F. Janick, Professor of History at Western Connecticut State University. Dr. Janick deposited the collection in the Ruth Haas Library, Archives and Special Collections, in order to make the collection accessible to students researching Connecticut history.

Guide to the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Movement Collection
Unverified Full Draft
Mary Rieke
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from Women's Suffrage.doc

Repository Details

Part of the Western Connecticut State University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Haas Library
181 White St
Danbury 06810 USA US
203.837.8322 (Fax)