When considering the women’s suffrage movement, most Americans think of iconic national figures like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. However, the fight for the right to vote was by no means monolithic. In fact, much of the work was done on a state and local level by women whose names don’t make the pages of high school history textbooks. As I’m sure you all know, the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project has done amazing work to uncover and catalog the history of these women across the state. This year, Dr. Melanie Beals Goan is releasing a book detailing the history of the
Under the expert advice of Dr. Margaret Spratt, consultant with Making History Matter, when we were building the LexArts Gallery HOP exhibit in the offices of the Lexington History Museum, we undertook a brief experiment with recording audio clips relating to Kentucky woman suffrage. We're thinking we want to do more, but would very much appreciate your feedback on the ones we currently have done. (Click on the links below to get to each of the recordings and details about each of them.)
I recently traveled to the Harrodsburg Historical Society seeking information on Maria Thompson Daviess, a Kentucky native, suffragist, and writer. If you have never visited the historical society, it’s worth taking some time to stop by the next time you’re in Harrodsburg. The society’s research library is housed in a structure that was completed in 1813 and once served as an inn. The historical society possesses several files on Daviess’ family, including her grandmother, who was also named Maria Thompson Daviess and who wrote a history of Mercer County. Even though we were
This week I experienced first-hand just how indispensable local historical societies are to our project. I contacted the Christian County Historical Society in Hopkinsville where William Turner is the director. Even though we had never met, when I spoke with Mr. Turner I felt like I was talking to an old family friend. My ancestors settled in Christian County almost two hundred years ago, and I still have family living in Hopkinsville. As soon as I told Mr. Turner my last name he knew almost everything about my family, including the location of the first home my ancestors built in the
During the last decade of the fight for voting rights, many suffragists embraced public protests, and suffrage parades and other types of demonstrations became more common. Kentucky’s first suffrage parade (which the Kentucky Equal Rights Association claimed was the first in the South) was held in Louisville in 1913 and was followed in succeeding years by parades in other cities.
Lexington was the site of a memorable parade on May 6, 1916. The Lexington Herald reported that the event was a “mammoth demonstration” for suffrage. Estimating that the crowd numbered approximately 1,000 marchers
Leaders of every successful movement find ways to market their ideas. They may develop catchy slogans, enlist celebrity support, and even sell merchandise. It turns out that suffrage supporters and organizations “marketed” their cause through a wide range of consumer goods, from whimsical collectibles to practical household items. Thanks to my thoughtful sister, who at Christmas presented me with Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study and American Woman Suffrage Postcards: A Study and Catalog, I have been reading about the surprising array
This week I have continued to learn more about the Western Recorder (Kentucky’s Southern Baptist newspaper), and the social attitudes of J.W. Porter, its editor. Reading Bill Sumners’ research has helped me understand that many evangelicals, including Porter, believed that the suffrage issue was inseparable from the larger question of biblical authority. Moreover, the suffrage debate was not the only issue that seemed to challenge traditional notions of manhood and womanhood at that time. In 1918, for example, Southern Baptists argued over allowing women to serve as voting delegates to the
For several weeks I have been looking forward to researching Kentucky’s religious leaders’ attitudes toward the suffrage movement, and this week I was able to begin one portion of my research at the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville, TN. I began reading the Western Recorder, Kentucky’s Southern Baptist newspaper. I was hoping that the paper would provide me with glimpses of church leaders’ as well as lay people’s attitudes toward the movement. I initially expected to find support for woman suffrage, especially by the summer of 1919 when the Nineteenth Amendment
This week I had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Melanie Goan. Dr. Goan, an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Kentucky, is currently conducting research for a book on the suffrage movement in Kentucky. I asked her to address some of the ways she is seeking to fill the gaps in our knowledge of the movement, as well as some of the challenges and unexpected findings she has encountered along the way.
JL: What are some of the main questions you are hoping to answer through your research?
MG: I study Kentucky history and I’ve always known the story of Kentucky
Hello everyone! I wanted to take this opportunity on Election Day to introduce myself. My name is Joanna Lile and I am very excited to be a new fellow with the Kentucky Woman Suffrage Project. I graduated with a BA in History from Georgetown College and have a PhD in History from the University of Kentucky. I have taught US History, History of the South, and Kentucky History at Georgetown College, Transylvania University, and the University of Kentucky. I also want to thank Kristen Dawson for her impressive contributions to the project. Thank you, Kristen, for your careful research and