Male Support of Female Suffrage Discussion (April 1996)

Male Support of Female Suffrage Discussion April 1996

Query From Melissa Smith      
         02 April 1996

I am looking for sources on men who actively worked in support of women's suffrage--by marching in parades, by fundraising, by writing speeches and editorials--in the early 10th century. I am especially interested in the activities of the various Men's Leagues for Woman Suffrage active ca. 1910-1920. Most helpful so far has been Kimmel & Mosmiller's _Against the Tide_ but any new leads would be very welcome.


>From Carolyn Brucken 04 April 1996

In working on a project on women's petitions to Congress, we have found several petitions and pamphlets from men in support of woman suffrage. The earlier petitions (pre 1900s) tend to be signed jointly by men and women. We do have some later petitions from men's groups. For example, we have 2 bound volumes (each 9.5"x12.5"x1.5") of petitions from men for woman suffrage dated December 1917 and a 1912 petition from the Chicago Painters Local Union in support of suffrage. Many suffrage pamphlets were written by men, included Henry Blackwell's 1896 "Objections to Woman Suffrage Answered" which we also have in our collection. If you are interested in the citations or more information on the National Archives women's petition project, contact me directly:

>From Anke Ortlepp

04 April 1996

There was a group of writers and artists in New York City that was actively supporting female suffrage. Most outspoken among them were Max Eastman and Floyd Dell who were editing _The Masses_ magazine(1911-1917). _The Masses_ claimed to be a journal dedicated to radical causes. One of those causes was woman's emancipation and if you look through the pages you'll find lots of interesting articles on suffrage,etc. Most of them were written by Eastman and Dell, and Eastman even was the founder and head of the Men's League for Woman Suffrage in New York City. There also is a lot of other stuff by Eastman and Dell that is worth reading. They both wrote biographies and a ton of other material. Good luck with your research.(I even know that _The Masses_ are in the basement of Widener/Pusey library!)

>From Jim Zwick fjzwick@mailbox.syr.ecu 04 April 1996

For a primary source on men active in the Female Suffrage Movement, you might want to look at the William Lloyd Garrison, Jr., section of the Garrison Family Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College Library. Garrison was married to Ellen Wright and was a frequent contributor to the _Woman's Journal_. >From the finding aid:

"William Lloyd Garrison II along with brothers, sisters, associates and friends became involved in the last stages of abolition and then in freedmen's welfare, women's rights, free trade, socialism, the single tax, anti-imperialism, immigration reform(especially for the Chinese), anti-vaccination, and anti-vivisection.

The papers are an especially important source on women's rights because they include the correspondence of Martha Coffin Wright with other leaders of the movement."

Major correspondents include Susan B. Anthony, the Blackwells, Lucy Conant, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and many others.

W.L.Garrison Jr. died in 1909. His son Frank Wright Garrison's correspondence in the collection is also considerable and may include additional information for later years(they are a great source for information on the single tax movement during WWII.)

>From Genevieve McBride 04 April 1996

A source on the British woman suffrage movement is Sylvia Strauss _Traitors to the Masculine Cause: The Men's Campaigns for Women's Rights_(Greenwood Press, 1982). Re: Men's Leagues for Woman Suffrage in the U.S., Max Eastman--editor of _The Masses_ chaired one for the Wisconsin referendum in 1912 at the request of Crystal Eastman, his sister, who was a campaign manager. That a New Yorker chaired another state's Men's League may have been unusual.

The reasons for its founding may also be unusual: it was a funding shelter because the state attorney general ruled, more than midway through the campaign, that pro-suffrage organizations(but not antis, whose funding was sheltered in brewers' and liquor dealers" organizations) could not have more that $10,000 in their campaign chests. There's info on this (and on other men, many of them prominent, in the League and in other activities listed below) in my book _On Wisconsin Women_. It's in the Harvard Library. I also have info, as yet unpublished, on the post-1920 editorial efforts of the spouse of the woman who led (and won) the Wisconsin ERA campaign of 1921, if you're interested in that era. Also, you might find it useful to look at a new book on another Midwestern campaign: Barbara Stuhler, _Gentle Warriors: Clara Ueland and the Minnesota Struggle for Woman's Suffrage_(Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1995) on a few good men there. Good luck!

>From Jennifer Davis McDaid 04 April 1996

Here in the Archives Branch at the Library of Virginia, we have some materials concerning the Men's League for Woman Suffrage and the Men's Equal Suffrage League(Virginia). They are part of the Equal Suffrage League Collection, Accession 22002, that was given to the library in 1942 by Ida M. Thompson, a clerk with the W.P.A. Historical Records Survey and former office secretary for the Virginia Equal Suffrage League and the League of Women Voters. The collection (approximately 25,000 items) includes a wide variety of materials, newspaper clippings, "Votes for Women" buttons, and postcards.

The Men's Equal Suffrage League of Virginia was formed by a group of Richmond businessmen at the prompting of Equal Suffrage League president Lila Meade Valentine. Men's League for Woman Suffrage membership lists(undated) are in Box 5, folder 333 of the Equal Suffrage League Collection; the Men's Equal Suffrage League(Virginia) resolutions, dated 1912, are in Box 5, folder 334. If either of these items would be of assistance in your research, or if you would like a copy of the relevant pages from our in-house finding aid, please do not hesitate to contact me.

In addition, there are several reference to the Men's Ratification Committee(and some men's anti-suffrage leagues) in Marjorie Spruill Wheeler, ed_Votes For Women: The Woman Suffrage Movement in Tennessee, the South and the Nation_(Univ. of Tenn. Press, 1995). Best of luck with your research.