10 Suffrage Celebrations 2017

The Edwardian era officially lasted from 1901-1910, encompassing the rule of British King Edward VII. The blurry line that melds one era into another reaches back into the last decade of the 1800s and moves forward perhaps, until the end of World War 1. There is much to explore about this transitory period in history. One of the most important historical events that took place during this time is the success of women’s suffrage. Since it is Women’s History Month, we decided to explore women’s suffrage during the Edwardian era. We’re highlighting 10 events coming up for the remainder of the year.

Women’s suffrage was a global movement. In Australia, women gained the right to vote between 1895 and 1902. By 1918, women were also allowed to serve in Parliament. In the U.K., women over thirty (along with other qualifiers) won the right to vote in parliamentary elections in 1918. Full voting rights for women age 21 and older would not be achieved until 1928. Women in Canada won the right to vote between 1916 and 1922 (each province voted separately), with Quebec holding out until 1940.

In America, the seeds of equality were sown during the Revolutionary War. The right to an education and the right to own property were sought by women in the new nation. Indeed, Abigail Adams implored her husband to remember that women are people, too. The result was that by 1807, the right of women to vote was revoked from every state in the Union. Most of the century would see women’s voting rights granted and revoked in many states and territories. Although Wyoming was the first state to grant women voting rights in 1869, it wasn’t until the 1890s that the women’s suffrage movement led to the permanent granting of voting rights to women in states and territories in the United States.

The year 1917-1918 was an important year in women’s history. North Dakota, Indiana, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Michigan granted women the right to vote in presidential elections. Arkansas allowed them to vote in primary elections. New York, South Dakota, and Oklahoma state constitutions granted suffrage. (The Liz Library) The National Constitution Center offers a map that shows when states granted women the right to vote.

This year, the state of New York is celebrating the first women’s rights convention in the United States, which was held on July 19, 1848 in Seneca Falls. It was organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. They met in London during the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention. The conference was attended by almost 200 women including Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Harriet Stanton Blatch. The Declaration of Sentiments that came out of that convention was signed by 100 of the attendees; 68 women and 32 men. New York State is also celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s voting rights this year.

So, here are some of the upcoming events related to the Edwardian era and the women who made a difference.

collage of suffrage photos

Historical Remembrances

History in the Hall Women’s History Exhibit

100 Years: Votes for New York Women is currently on view at the Suffolk County Historical Society Museum in Riverhead, New York. The exhibit not only celebrates the centennial of women’s suffrage in New York, it tells the stories of “Long Island women activists who dedicated themselves to the powerful grassroots movement. The exhibit is on display opened on March 11 and is on display through December.

Convention Days

Convention Days is an annual weekend celebration “commemorating the nation’s first women’s rights convention. The 2017 celebration takes place July 14-16 in Seneca Falls, New York. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s full voting rights, this year’s celebration honors the descendants of the original signers of the Declaration of Sentiments that came out of the 1848 women’s rights convention. Many other activities will take place during weekend. To see an example of what to expect, peruse the 2016 schedule of events.

Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial

The New York State Museum in Albany is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the success of women’s suffrage in the state. It started with a lecture about the suffrage movement on March 2nd and continues with this exhibit from November 4, 2017 through May 13, 2018. The exhibit not only celebrates the anniversary but also serves to raise awareness of the path from the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention through the vote in 1917 that granted women the right to vote.

This is a large-scale exhibition presented in the West Gallery of the museum. A six-panel travelling exhibition will travel around the state so those who are unable to travel to Albany my experience the spirit and meaning of the main exhibit. (New York State Museum)

Arkansas Women’s Suffrage Centennial

There are many events taking place between 2017 and 2020. Although most of 2017’s events have taken place already, there is plenty more to come during the years leading up to the centennial of women receiving the right to vote. The Arkansas Women’s Suffrage Centennial Project also has a virtual exhibit at their website covering many topics related to women and the struggle for the right to vote.

A point of interest highlighted at their website is From S-Bend Corsets to Suffragette City, 1904-1924. It looks at how the changing times were reflected in fashion.


Women’s Suffrage March Reenactment

The Women’s Center at the University of Louisville (Kentucky) is celebrating Women’s History Month with a women’s suffrage march on Wednesday March 22. The event includes a short history lesson and hot chocolate! Check their website for more information.


The Susan B. Anthony Museum & House is sponsoring this event that takes place July 16-22 along the Erie Canal. According to their website, “Throughout the week, VoteTilla boats will dock at several towns and villages along the route” that extends from Seneca Falls to Rochester, New York. The museum has many partners including the National Park Service, Bristol Valley Theatre, the University of Rochester’s Susan B. Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership. Anthony Museum president and CEO, Deborah L. Hughes, provides some insight as to what to expect from this event. “VoteTilla will be a vivid reminder of the work and cooperation required to secure the vote for women. Educational, historical, and civic organizations and community members of all ages can come together to host events, greet the passing boats, and participate in special events, on both land and water.”

Women’s Suffrage and the Reenactment of the 1914 Debate

The Rochester (New York) Regional Library Council (RRLC) presents the Fairport Historical Club’s reenactment of the 1914 local debate on women’s suffrage on July 19, 2017. This free event runs from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Fairport  Public Library. It is free to attend but advance registration is required.


Music in the Time of Women’s Suffrage

One of the events during this year’s Women Composers Festival of Hartford featuring music composed in the USA and UK during the time of Women’s Suffrage. The concert takes place at the Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford, Connecticut on March 30th. The pre-concert lecture with Elizabeth Wood starts at 7 p.m. and the performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Festival passes and individual tickets are available.

One of the featured composers, Ethyl Smyth, composed the official anthem of the Women’s Social and Political Union. This event features her Violin Sonata, Op. 7. Other featured compositions include Florence Price’s Five Folksongs in counterpoint, and Amy Beach’s Piano Quintet, Op. 67. Performers include Luciana Arraes on violin, Minjung Nohon violin, Eugenio Figueroa on viola, Pablo Issa on cello, and Miguel Campinho on piano.

Songs of Suffrage

The Rochester Oratorio Society presents Songs of Suffrage on April 29th from 1 – 2 p.m. at Harold Hacker Hall, Rundel Memorial Building at the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County in Rochester, New York. The group is presenting “songs that were sung by the suffragists as they fought for the right of women to vote, and songs about women suffragists.” (Rochester Regional Library Cooperative) The event is free to the public and no registration is required!

Because of Women Like Her

The Central Library of Rochester, New York offers this exhibit of the “history and contemporary application of the state suffrage history” this summer. It is a collaboration of many partners including the city, area museums, and colleges. (WXXI News)

– Donna Klein

Please think of Recollections when you are looking for just the right thing to wear to your next Edwardian era event.


Arkansas Women’s Suffrage Centennial Project

Conventions Days

Liz Library: Letters between Abigail Adams and Her Husband John Adams

New York State Museum: Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial

Rochester Oratorio Society: Songs of Suffrage

Rochester Regional Library Council: reenactment of the 1914 local debate on women’s suffrage presented by the Fairport Historical Club

Sufflok County Historical Society Museum Exhibits and Events

Susan B. Anthony Museum and House: VoteTilla

Women’s Center at the University of Louisville: Women’s Suffrage March Reenactment

Women Composers Festival of Hartford: Music in the Time of Women’s Suffrage

WXI News: Because of Women Like Her