The Visual Culture of Women’s Suffrage

The year 2020 marks (only!) the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote. The story of the fight for universal suffrage is dramatic and rich, and intensely relevant in this Presidential election year. The text and imagery associated with the struggle reveals how it was imagined, publicized, debated, and documented. Our session begins with a discussion of the history and major figures of the women’s suffragism movement. We then pause to consider enfranchisement writ large, including some consideration of the African American experience, along with the sad and ongoing history of voter suppression. Equipped with a nuanced historical background, we will then examine rich primary sources from the Newberry’s own collection—newspapers, pamphlets, imagery, and letters––bringing this crucial topic to life. Narrated PowerPoint lectures and activities help guide this intensely relevant session.