Voices of the Southwest
Suffrage in the southwest took a somewhat different route than the traditional Eastern states’ narrative. Several western states and territories recognized women’s suffrage rights before the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920: Wyoming (1869), Utah (1870), Colorado (1893), Idaho, Washington (1883), California (1911), Oregon (1912), Montana (1914), Arizona (1912), and Kansas (1912) among others. In the South, Texas was first southern state to ratify amendment on June 28, 1919.
It was not all peace, love, and harmony among the suffragists. There was at times a regional divide. They disagreed on leadership, tactics, and money. While the militant suffragists went on hunger strikes and protested vehemently outside the White House in the east, women in the west placed emphasis on personal connections and took a non-confrontational approach to garnering support for women’s rights. The suffragists in the west generally opposed militancy and involvement of those from the east. Instead they opted to canvas door to door, lobby politicians, attend mass meetings, write newspaper articles, hand out pamphlets, and hold public forums.
“Voices of the Southwest” highlights documents from the suffrage movement in the western United States, providing insight into how regionalism affected women’s suffrage. From voting instructions to campaign materials, from Wyoming to Texas, these materials document the efforts of suffragists and politicians to secure the right to vote for women. Many of these pieces come from the DeGolyer Library’s Archives of Women of the Southwest (AWSW). Established in 1993, the AWSW’s primary mission is to document the historical experience of women in the Southwest, with special emphasis on Dallas and North Texas, as well as a regional focus.
Andrew Jackson Hamilton (1815-1875). Impartial Suffrage League.
An address on "Suffrage and Reconstruction," the duty of the people, the President, and Congress by Hon. A.J. Hamilton, of Texas; delivered at the invitation of the Impartial-Suffrage League, at the Tremont Temple in Boston.
Boston: Impartial-Suffrage League, 1866.
Hamilton was a lawyer, state representative, and the 11th Governor of Texas. The Impartial Suffrage League was founded in Boston in 1866. League members expressed support for women’s suffrage, but the league’s constitution was confined to attaining black male suffrage, and its leadership consisted only of men.
DeGolyer Library, Pamphlet Collection, JK1929.A2 H35 1866
Edmund Jackson Davis (1827-1883), author.
Circular: To the end that the election to be held on the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th of November may be lawfully conducted, and that all citizens may have an opportunity to vote freely and without restraint ... the following regulations are established...
Austin, Tex.: publisher not identified, 1872.
Davis was a lawyer, soldier, and politician. He served as a general in the Union Army during the Civil War. He also served for one term as the Governor of Texas (1870 to 1874). From the Governor's Office, Austin, Texas, September 23, 1872, the circular sets the regulations for the lawful conduct of elections, “that all citizens may have an opportunity to vote freely and without restraint.”
DeGolyer Library, Pamphlet Collection, KFT1620 .D38 1872
Nine years' experience of woman suffrage in Wyoming.
[Boston: W.K. Moody], .
Pamphlet reassured men that granting suffrage to women would not be a threat. The pamphlet quotes the governor of Wyoming as saying “I approved the bill giving Suffrage to woman, without looking favorably upon it, owing to my early prejudices, but have seen no reason to regret the step, and am rather forced by the results to become an advocate of it (p.11).”
DeGolyer Library, Pamphlet Collection, JK1911.W8 N56 1879
United States District Court (Texas). James Bentley, Supervisor of elections.
United States Circuit Courts for the District of Texas, Office Chief Supervisor of Elections, Dallas, Texas, September 24, 1882: to U.S. Supervisors of elections ... James Bentley, Chief Supervisor of Elections.
[Dallas, Tex.: U.S. Circuit Courts, District of Texas], .
Publication contains revised statues regarding elections of representatives and the duties assigned to supervisors of elections. Includes “what shall entitle a person to vote” and the penalty for hindering someone’s ability to vote.
DeGolyer Library, Pamphlet Collection, KF4885 .A3 1882
Powell Clayton (1833-1914)
Speech of Hon. Powell Clayton delivered before the Lincoln Club, of Little Rock, Ark., September 22, 1888: and his letter of Sept. 24th to Gov. Hughes.
[Little Rock, Arkansas: Lincoln Club], 1888.
Powell Clayton served as the Republican Governor of Arkansas (1868-1871), as a United States Senator (1871-1877) and as United States Ambassador to Mexico (1899 to 1905). According to Clayton “the ballot box is the foundation of our American institutions.” This piece exposes election methods and corruption in Arkansas including voter intimidation.
DeGolyer Library, Pamphlet Collection, F411 .C623 1888
Constitution of the proposed state of Wyoming: adopted in convention at Cheyenne, Wyoming, September 30, 1889.
Cheyenne, Wyo.: Cheyenne Leader Printing Co., 1889.
Wyoming was the first state in the Union to grant women equal suffrage with men. Legislators passed the Wyoming Suffrage Act of 1869 which gave women in the territory the right to vote. When the Wyoming became a state in 1890, women retained the right to vote.
DeGolyer Library, General Collection, JK7625 1889 .A33
J. G. (Joseph G.) Brown (1844-)
The history of equal suffrage in Colorado, 1868-1898, by Joseph G. Brown; endorsed by the Non-Partisan Colorado Equal Suffrage Association.
Denver, Colo., News Job Printing Co., 1898.
The suffrage question was first raised in Colorado in 1868 when it was suggested that the idea be tested in the territories before being adopted nationally. Nothing more was done until the 1890s when a new state suffrage organization concentrated on newspaper and political party support. Colorado women were enfranchised in 1898.
DeGolyer Library, General Collection, JK1911.C6 B7
Women Suffrage Association of Oklahoma. Indian Women's Woman Suffrage League of Indian Territory.
Memorial of the women of Oklahoma and Indian Territory to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention.
Guthrie, Okla.: [s.n.], 1906.
Suffragists from Oklahoma and Indian territories met in 1904 in Oklahoma City and established the Woman Suffrage Association of Oklahoma and Indian Territory. After the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention delegates voted against women's suffrage in 1906, the association moved to Oklahoma City and changed its name to the Oklahoma Woman's Suffrage Association.
DeGolyer Library, Pamphlet Collection, JK1911.O5 W7 1906