Chronicles the history of the women’s rights and suffrage movements in New York State and examines the important role the state played in the national suffrage movement.
The work for women's suffrage started more than seventy years before the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and one hundred supporters signed the Declaration of Sentiments asserting that "all men and women are created equal. " This convention served as a catalyst for debates and action on both the national and state levels, and on November 6, 1917, New York State passed the referendum for women's suffrage. Its passing in New York signaled that the national passage of suffrage would soon follow. On August 18, 1920, "Votes for Women" was constitutionally granted.
Votes for Women, an exhibition catalog, celebrates the pivotal role the state played in the struggle for equal rights in the nineteenth century, the campaign for New York State suffrage, and the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. It highlights the nationally significant role of state leaders in regards to women's rights and the feminist movement through the early twenty-first century and includes focused essays from historians on the various aspects of the suffrage and equal rights movements around New York, providing greater detail about local stories with statewide significance.
The exhibition of the same name, on display at the New York State Museum beginning November 2017, features artifacts from the New York State Museum, Library, and Archives, as well as historical institutions and private collections across the state.
Jennifer A. Lemak is Chief Curator of History at the New York State Museum. She is the author of Southern Life, Northern City: The History of Albany's Rapp Road Community and (with Robert Weible and Aaron Noble) An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War, both also published by SUNY Press. Ashley Hopkins-Benton is a Senior Historian and Curator at the New York State Museum and the author of Breathing Life into Stone: The Sculpture of Henry DiSpirito.
"…Votes for Women: Celebrating New York's Suffrage Centennial provides an introduction to more than 200 years of women's history in one elegantly produced oversize paperback. Jennifer Lemak and Ashley Hopkins-Benton … should be given much credit for not only bringing the State Museum's women's history collections to light, but also for organizing significant loans for the exhibition from forty-five private and public collections from around the country. " — Hudson River Valley Review
"The catalog's greatest strength lies in the images it contains on a wide array of topics, from portraits and photos of suffrage leaders to memorabilia and important texts and documents. Such images would be useful in teaching, providing students with a sense of the organization required and the pageantry associated with the movement. " — H-Net Reviews (H-FedHist)
"The richly illustrated companion book co-edited by Lemak and Hopkins-Benton contains their master narrative along with a series of monographic essays authored by consultant scholars … the volume will be extremely useful to those teaching and studying women's history in high schools and colleges. " — Antiques And The Arts Weekly
"There is something intimate, inspiring, and strengthening about seeing words created by and names in the handwriting of women who fought the earlier stages of the struggle for equality and shared humanity that is so crucial today. I'm grateful for this exhibit and catalog that are just the kind of reminder we need to keep going. " — Gloria Steinem
"The New York State Museum has put on an extraordinary exhibit to commemorate the women's suffrage movement and the Nineteenth Amendment, and I hope it inspires a new generation of women and men to raise their voices about all the injustices in their lives. " — Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator for New York State
"Congratulations to Jennifer Lemak and Ashley Hopkins-Benton for their wonderful book, Votes for Women. The book, and the exhibition upon which it is based, are great gifts from the authors to all New Yorkers who seek to learn more about the varied and vital role women have played in history. The stories and images included in the book bring the valiant women who came before us vividly to life and challenge us to continue their fight for full equality for women. " — Pam Elam, President of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund