Recommended Reads - Suffrage and Women's Equality

We observe the anniversary of women’s suffrage and equality in August. One hundred years ago was the first national election in which women could vote. See what it took to get there, and how women continued to make strides in the next hundred years in the fight for equal rights.

Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women's Fight for Their Rights

by Mikki Kendall

Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is a fun and fascinating graphic novel-style primer that covers the key figures and events that have advanced women's rights from antiquity to the modern era. In addition, this compelling book illuminates the stories of notable women throughout history--from queens and freedom fighters to warriors and spies--and the progressive movements led by women that have shaped history, including abolition, suffrage, labor, civil rights, LGBTQ liberation, reproductive rights, and more.

Available as a physical book. Check availability in our online catalog!

The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience

by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, share the stories of the gutsy women who have inspired them -- women with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done. Ensuring the rights and opportunities of women and girls remains a big piece of the unfinished business of the twenty-first century. While there's a lot of work to do, we know that throughout history and around the globe women have overcome the toughest resistance imaginable to win victories that have made progress possible for all of us. That is the achievement of each of the women in this book.

Available in physical and digital formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

The Myth of Seneca Falls

by Lisa Tetrault

The story of how the women's rights movement began at the Seneca Falls convention of 1848 is a cherished American myth. The standard account credits founders such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott with defining and then leading the campaign for women's suffrage. Lisa Tetrault demonstrates that Stanton, Anthony, and their peers gradually created and popularized this origins story during the second half of the nineteenth century in response to internal movement dynamics as well as the racial politics of memory after the Civil War. As Tetrault shows, while this mythology has narrowed our understanding of the early efforts to champion women's rights, the myth of Seneca Falls itself became an influential factor in the suffrage movement. And along the way, its authors amassed the first archive of feminism and literally invented the modern discipline of women's history.

Available as an eBook, check Hoopla for availability!

Remember the Ladies: Celebrating Those Who Fought for Freedom at the Ballot Box

by Angela P. Dodson

From the birth of our nation to the recent crushing defeat of the first female presidential candidate, this book highlights women's impact on United States politics and government. It documents the fight for women's right to vote, drawing on historic research, biographies of leaders, and such original sources as photos, line art, charts, graphs, documents, posters, ads, and buttons. It presents this often-forgotten struggle in an accessible, conversational, relevant manner for a wide audience.

Important for today's discussions, REMEMBER THE LADIES does not extract women's suffrage from the inseparable concurrent historic endeavors for emancipation, immigration, and temperance. Its robust research documents the intersectionality of women's struggle for the vote in its true context with other progressive efforts.

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Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote

by Ellen Carol DuBois

Ellen Carol explores the links of the woman suffrage movement to the abolition of slavery. DuBois shows how suffrage leaders persevered through the Jim Crow years into the reform era of Progressivism. She introduces new champions Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul, who brought the fight into the 20th century, and she shows how African American women, led by Ida B. Wells-Barnett, demanded voting rights even as white suffragists ignored them.

DuBois follows women’s efforts to use their voting rights to win political office, increase their voting strength, and pass laws banning child labor, ensuring maternal health, and securing greater equality for women.

Available as a physical book. Check availability in our online catalog!

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Vote!: Women's Fight for Access to the Ballot Box

by Coral Celeste Frazer

In the battle for the right to vote, American women faced arrest, jail time, and ridicule. They organized marches, forged alliances with other social reform movements, and lobbied powerful politicians. They saw the right to vote as a guarantee of freedom and equality. Today, through voter purges, voter ID laws, and other tactics, many states make it hard for citizens--especially young people, poor people, and people of color--to register to vote and to cast ballots. What can we learn from history? And what can you do to protect your access to the ballot box?

Available in physical and digital formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote

by Susan Ware

For far too long, the history of how American women won the right to vote has been told as the tale of a few iconic leaders, all white and native-born. But Susan Ware uncovered a much broader and more diverse story waiting to be told. Why They Marched is a tribute to the many women who worked tirelessly in communities across the nation, out of the spotlight, protesting, petitioning, and insisting on their right to full citizenship.

Ware tells her story through the lives of nineteen activists, most of whom have long been overlooked. We also see the many places where the suffrage movement unfolded―in church parlors, meeting rooms, and the halls of Congress, but also on college campuses and even at the top of Mount Rainier. Few corners of the United States were untouched by suffrage activism.

Available in physical and digital formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country

by Illene Cooper

For the first 128 years of our country’s history, not a single woman served in the Senate or House of Representatives. All of that changed, however, in November 1916, when Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to Congress―even before the Nineteenth Amendment gave women across the U.S. the right to vote.

Beginning with the women’s suffrage movement and going all the way through the results of the 2012 election, Ilene Cooper deftly covers more than a century of U.S. history in order to highlight the influential and diverse group of female leaders who opened doors for women in politics as well as the nation as a whole.

Available in physical and digital formats. Check availability in our online catalog!


The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote 

by Elaine F. Weiss

Nashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have approved the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote; one last state--Tennessee--is needed for women's voting rights to be the law of the land. The suffragists face vicious opposition from politicians, clergy, corporations, and racists who don't want black women voting. And then there are the "Antis"--women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fearing suffrage will bring about the nation's moral collapse. And in one hot summer, they all converge for a confrontation, replete with booze and blackmail, betrayal and courage. Following a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle, The Woman's Hour is the gripping story of how America's women won their own freedom, and the opening campaign in the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights.

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The Women’s Suffrage Movement 

by Sally Roesch Wagner

Comprised of historical texts spanning two centuries, The Women's Suffrage Movement is a comprehensive and singular volume with a distinctive focus on incorporating race, class, and gender, and illuminating minority voices. This one-of-a-kind intersectional anthology features the writings of the most well-known suffragists, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, alongside accounts of those often overlooked because of their race, from Native American women to African American suffragists like Ida B. Wells and the three Forten sisters. At a time of enormous political and social upheaval, there could be no more important book than one that recognizes a group of exemplary women--in their own words--as they paved the way for future generations.

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