Suffrage Districts in New York City Discussion (Sept 1998)


Query From Irene Hall hallir@hugse1.harvard.edu 16 Sept 1998

I am writing about a woman who was supposedly head of a "suffrage district" in New York City around 1910 for the Woman Suffrage Party. I can't find any archives that has materials on New York suffrage districts--I think I've looked in all the obvious places. Does anyone know of any collection or published materials on the New York City work specifically? I thank you in advance for your help. I thought if anyone could help, you folks could.

Responses:

From Barbara Winslow Purplewins@compuserve.com 17 Sept 1998

I'm sure Ellen DuBois will come in on this, but look at the bibliography of her excellent book:_Harriot Stanton Blatch and the Winning of Women Suffrage_.
Also, Elinor Lerner "Immigrant and Working Class Involvement in the New York City Woman Suffrage Movement, 1905-1917: A Study of Progressive Politics,
(Ph.D. diss, U of Berkeley, 1981)

Other Suggestions for Sources: [Thanks to Jennifer McDaid]

A check of _Women's History Sources: A Guide to Archives and Manuscript Collection in the United States_(1979).

Queens Borough Public Library
Talbot and Perkins Papers, 1913-1915
Unpublished guide
Correspondence with New York State Woman Suffrage Association, New York State Federation of Women's Club and the Men's League for Woman Suffrage

Schlesinger Library
New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage 1894-1919. Unpublished guide.

Papers of the Suffrage Association of New York State and the Woman Suffrage Party of New York City

From Val Johnson vmj@net.blue moon.net 17 Sept 1998

...but a good way to trace the latter [electoral district] is through the map room
at the NYPL. They are immensely helpful with e-mail and in person questions, and may even have something directly about "suffrage districts." Their e-mail address is: mapref@nypl.org

Also, Mary Ware Dennett (primarily known for her birth control activism) was in
charge of the literature department of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA-district from Paul's Suffrage Party?) in NYC from 1910-1915, and there is extensive material in her collected papers about the organization.

From Sheila Shiki y Michaels SheMichael@aol.com 18 Sept 1998

Sandra Adickes has a book published this year, called something like _T'was Very Heaven to be Alive At That Time_ I forget where she teaches in Wisconsin...Appleton?

From Jo Freeman jfrbc@cunyvm.cuny.edu 23 Sept 1998

The materials from the New York City suffrage campaign are in NYPL's manuscript division. See also the Mary Garrett Hay scrapbook.

I haven't run across the term "suffrage district, but Catt's strategy was to
organize suffragists into Assembly Districts, because that was the basic form of political organization in New York. By focusing on the election and
defeat of Assembly members, she hoped to persuade the legislature to send a suffrage amendment to the people---and she succeeded.

From Genevieve G. McBride gmcbride@csd.uwm.edu 23 Sept 1998

Re: Jo Freeman's thoughts on "suffrage districts," I also suspect these were
organized along political district lined--and not just in New York City, although Carrie Chapman Catt certainly showed how effectively this structure could be used? But it was used previously at as early as 1911-1912 in Wisconsin, thanks to the loan of the voter list so organised (i.e. by district) be Belle Case La Follette (for the management of her spouse's campaigns. I found the concept also used (no doubt also owing to Follette ) in the initial district structure of the Wisconsin Federation of Women's Club. And it is no doubt was used elsewhere owing to the precedent by the first women's organization which I found to (re-)structured along political district lines, so as to be a special-interest pressure group--the WCTU. The was done about 1880 by Francis Willard abd reasons are described un her excellent manual on how to organize a WCTU club.