Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mnwp000447/.
National Woman’s Party, Westport 1924 Three women sit outside during conference convened by National Woman’s Party, National Council in Westport, New York]. [Aug, 1924] Image.
ELIZABETHTOWN — Historians are looking for any suffragist memorabilia that might remain tucked in attics or among family collections.
Cards, photos, clothing, banners, tickets, shoes — really any item that relates to the marches women made 100 years ago to gain the right to vote.
Ratified in 1920, the 19th amendment allowed women to enter the ballot booth for the first time.
It was a hard fought effort started years prior.
And the Adirondack History Museum is planning an exhibit to mark the centennial of the women’s suffrage movement in New York State, according to museum spokeswoman Whitney Jackson.
“The Essex County Historical Society is planning an exhibit which will highlight the role and the accomplishments of Adirondack women and men who played an important role in the state and national movement.”
Titled Adirondack Suffragists, the exhibit will look to details from the local effort.
“In the early 1900’s, suffragists’ presence in our communities brought attention to the growing political movement,” Jackson said via email.
[Aug] Image Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mnwp000449/.
inez memorial (at gravesite) 1923 (1924) Inez Milholland Memorial, Westport, N.Y., 1923.
“Despite the rural and isolated nature of the Adirondacks, women and men from the area played an important role in the success of the movement. Essex County is the home of Inez Milholland, the famed suffragist known for leading parades on a white horse.”
Milholland spent summer’s on her family’s farm at Meadowmount in Lewis. The icon fell ill at a rally in California, having traveling extensively to marches all around the country.
She collapsed after one last question: “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”
And Milholland’s words became the motto for the National Women’s Party which stood sentinel in protest at the White House. The group went on to meet annually, at times in Lewis and on the lakeshore in Westport.
“We are currently gathering local stories, pictures, memorabilia and artifacts about suffragists,” Jackson of preparations underway.
“The exhibit will be in the Red Room, which is our seasonal exhibit space. We’re hoping to offer a tangible look at the past, and anyone who has memorabilia or artifacts is encourage to loan them to share with the general public.”
The museum wants to collect any local stories and pictures — not just of the “big names” like Inez, but of anyone who was involved in the movement, Jackson said.
[July-Aug, 1924] Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mnwp000446/.
Members of the first students’ “Women for Congress” Conference launching their campaign by flying the National Woman’s Party colors on private yacht in preparation for the Conference in Westport, N.Y., August 15, 16 and 17.
“People whose parents, grandparents, family members or friends were involved are encouraged to share what they know. Suffragists weren’t just female, so we’re also looking for anyone who has information on men who were involved as well.”
The stories will become part of a permanent collection at the Essex County Historical Society.
The exhibit looks to honor the foundation of democracy.
“The right to vote is the most cherished right of a democratic society,” Jackson said.
“When we look at life nowadays, it’s really hard to believe that women have only had the vote for a century.
“It’s important to recognize that generations of women and their allies had to advocate in order to secure this basic right. Recognizing who they were and remembering their stories is the least we can do.
“By understanding the past, we gain a better perspective on where we’re going today,” Jackson said.
Adirondack History Museum was one of 12 organization in New York State to receive a grant from Humanities New York to plan suffrage programming.
“The grant is helping us to plan our seasonal exhibit and work with other local organizations, including the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP), to develop programming throughout the region,” Jackson said.
It is hoped items can be collected through the beginning of March.
People can contact the museum to make arrangements to submit items for loan or donation - email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (518) 873-6466.