March is Women’s History Month, which means throughout the month HEB will highlight premiere titles in Women’s Studies that can be found in our collection. If you would like a Women’s Studies specific title list from HEB, please email Chris Plattsmier. Also, don’t forget you can recommend a title for inclusion in the HEB collection on our title recommendation page.
The history of women’s suffrage is complicated and intertwined with issues of class and race more so than many of us realize, especially for those only exposed to the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. The list of titles below is by no means intended to represent a complete set of ideas related to women’s suffrage, but we hope to provide a jumping off point for your research or interests on this topic . For a fairly comprehensive timeline of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States, see this timeline provided by Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University¹. For a timeline providing context on women’s suffrage in Canada and internationally, see this timeline provided by the Nellie McClung Foundation.²
Descriptions for each title highlighted are from the original publisher’s website.
1) “Timeline of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in the U.S.”, (Center for American Women and Politics, August 2014).
2) “Timelines of the Women’s Suffrage Granted”, (Nellie McClung Foundation, 2018).
Click on the bars below to expand your selection.
Splintered Sisterhood: Gender and Class in the Campaign against Woman Suffrage
Splintered Sisterhood: Gender and Class in the Campaign against Woman Suffrage, by Susan E. Marshall
University of Wisconsin Press, 1997
“When Tennessee became the thirty-sixth and final state needed to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment in August 1920, giving women the right to vote, one group of women expressed bitter disappointment and vowed to fight against “this feminist disease.” Why this fierce and extended opposition? In Splintered Sisterhood, Susan Marshall argues that the women of the antisuffrage movement mobilized not as threatened homemakers but as influential political strategists.
Drawing on surviving records of major antisuffrage organizations, Marshall makes clear that antisuffrage women organized to protect gendered class interests. She shows that many of the most vocal antisuffragists were wealthy, educated women who exercised considerable political influence through their personal ties to men in politics as well as by their own positions as leaders of social service committees. Under the guise of defending an ideal of “true womanhood,” these powerful women sought to keep the vote from lower-class women, fearing it would result in an increase in the “ignorant vote” and in their own displacement from positions of influence. This book reveals the increasingly militant style of antisuffrage protest as the conflict over female voting rights escalated. Splintered Sisterhood adds a missing piece to the history of women’s rights activism in the United States and illuminates current issues of antifeminism.”
African-American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920
African-American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920, by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn
University of Indiana Press, 1998
“This comprehensive look at the African American women who fought for the right to vote analyzes the women’s own stories and examines why they joined and how they participated in the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. Terborg-Penn shows how every political and racial effort to keep African American women disfranchised met with their active resistance until black women finally achieved full citizenship.”
The Right To Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States
The Right To Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States, by Alexander Keyssar
Perseus Books Group, 2000
“Originally published in 2000, The Right to Vote was widely hailed as a magisterial account of the evolution of suffrage from the American Revolution to the end of the twentieth century. In this revised and updated edition, Keyssar carries the story forward, from the disputed presidential contest of 2000 through the 2008 campaign and the election of Barack Obama. The Right to Vote is a sweeping reinterpretation of American political history as well as a meditation on the meaning of democracy in contemporary American life.”
Sojourner Truth's America
Sojourner Truth’s America, by Margaret Washington
University of Illinois Press, 2009
This fascinating biography tells the story of nineteenth-century America through the life of one of its most charismatic and influential characters: Sojourner Truth. In an in-depth account of this amazing activist, Margaret Washington unravels Sojourner Truth’s world within the broader panorama of African American slavery and the nation’s most significant reform era.
Born into bondage among the Hudson Valley Dutch in Ulster County, New York, Isabella was sold several times, married, and bore five children before fleeing in 1826 with her infant daughter one year before New York slavery was abolished. In 1829, she moved to New York City, where she worked as a domestic, preached, joined a religious commune, and then in 1843 had an epiphany. Changing her name to Sojourner Truth, she began traveling the country as a champion of the downtrodden and a spokeswoman for equality by promoting Christianity, abolitionism, and women’s rights.
Gifted in verbal eloquence, wit, and biblical knowledge, Sojourner Truth possessed an earthy, imaginative, homespun personality that won her many friends and admirers and made her one of the most popular and quoted reformers of her times. Washington’s biography of this remarkable figure considers many facets of Sojourner Truth’s life to explain how she became one of the greatest activists in American history, including her African and Dutch religious heritage; her experiences of slavery within contexts of labor, domesticity, and patriarchy; and her profoundly personal sense of justice and intuitive integrity.
Organized chronologically into three distinct eras of Truth’s life, Sojourner Truth’s America examines the complex dynamics of her times, beginning with the transnational contours of her spirituality and early life as Isabella and her embroilments in legal controversy. Truth’s awakening during nineteenth-century America’s progressive surge then propelled her ascendancy as a rousing preacher and political orator despite her inability to read and write. Throughout the book, Washington explores Truth’s passionate commitment to family and community, including her vision for a beloved community that extended beyond race, gender, and socioeconomic condition and embraced a common humanity. For Sojourner Truth, the significant model for such communalism was a primitive, prophetic Christianity.
Illustrated with dozens of images of Truth and her contemporaries, Sojourner Truth’s America draws a delicate and compelling balance between Sojourner Truth’s personal motivations and the influences of her historical context. Washington provides important insights into the turbulent cultural and political climate of the age while also separating the many myths from the facts concerning this legendary American figure.
Women, Feminism, and Social Change in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, 1890-1940
University of Nebraska Press, 1998
“Feminists in the Southern Cone countries—Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay—between 1910 and 1930 obliged political leaders to consider gender in labor regulation, civil codes, public health programs, and politics. Feminism thus became a factor in the modernization of these geographically linked but diverse societies in Latin America. Although feminists did not present a unified front in the discussion of divorce, reproductive rights, and public-health schemes to regulate sex and marriage, this work identifies feminism as a trigger for such discussion, which generated public and political debate on gender roles and social change. Asunción Lavrin recounts changes in gender relations and the role of women in each of the three countries, thereby contributing an enormous amount of new information and incisive analysis to the histories of Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay.”
Women's Suffrage and Social Politics in the French Third Republic
Women’s Suffrage and Social Politics in the French Third Republic, by Steven C. Hause & Anne R. Kenne
From the Preface: “This is a history of the women’s suffrage question in France. It surveys the political rights of French women from the twelfth century to the national elections of I98I, but it studies in detail only the period between the 1890s (when a mass suffrage movement began to develop) and the 1920s (when the French Senate soundly rejected women’s suffrage). The first objective of the book is simply to bring this important subject back to the history of the Third Republic. One need only glance at the standard histories of that regime-such as those by Brogan, Bury, Cobban, Thomson, and Wolf-to see that the subject (inter alia) has been omitted even in traditional political history.”