Women's suffrage

Women's Suffrage

May 24, 1911

The news correspondent for the women's residence Lloyd Hall comments on women's suffrage.

Mary Eleta Witmer's 1911 Essay "Female Suffrage"


In her 1911 essay "Female Suffrage," Mary Eleta Witmer analyzes the history and condition of the Suffrage movement. She argues that the American Suffrage movement has fallen short due to its association with such groups as socialists, abolitionists, and orthodox theology. Witmer closes her essay by comparing the strengths and weaknesses of the American and English Suffrage movements.

Ruth W. Rinker's Essay "Frances Willard's True Place as Social Reformer"


In her essay "Frances Willard's True Place as Social Reformer," Ruth W. Rinker analyzed the life and work of Frances Willard. She argued that "In Frances Willard our age has lost one of its nobelest daughters, whose achievements for God and home and native land were such as to rank her as one of the most famous women of this century." Throughout her essay, she cited Willard's reform work in the women's ritghts and temperance movements.

Samuel W. MacDowell's Essay "American Motherhood"


In his essay "American Motherhood," Samuel W. MacDowell argued that motherhood is one of the most important position a woman can hold. He contended that it was through motherhood, not the vote, that women were able to assert their influence within American society. He referenced Washington's, Adams', Lincoln's and McKinley's mothers to illustrate his point.

Ella P. Davis's Essay "Woman and the Home"


In her essay "Woman and the Home," Ella P. Davis discussed the ways in which society limited women's opportunities based on their gender. She wrote, "In a country where public life is capable of so much further development, and where civil and political funcations, which in other lands have come to be regarded as the rights of common citizen, are so grudgingly bestowed upon men of even the lightest intelligence, it is no wonder that the position of women is not an ideal one." Throughout her essay, Davis cites the German women's movement's influence on women's education.

"Should Women Vote?" by H. M. Showalter, class of 1904


In his essay "Should Women Vote?", H. M. Showalter argues for women's suffrage in 1904. He acknowledges that women are not given the right to vote because they are often the dependents of men like "minors and paupers." Due to their dependence, their vote could be swayed. However, Showalter does not see this as a legitimate reason for denying women the vote. He lists six premises for his conclusion. They are:

1. God created man and woman equal.

2. The Constitution gives equal rights to all.

"The Suffragettes"


The photo depicts a group of female students at the 1910 Commencement. The photo was entitled "The Suffragettes."

Songs for the Inter-Society Debate Regarding Suffrage

February 17, 1914

In honor of the Annual Inter-Society Debate pertaining to the question of women's suffrage, male Dickinsonians composed and performed songs regarding women's suffrage. The songs included "What's the Matter with Suffrage?", "Suffrage all the Day," etc.

Belles Lettres and UPS Debate Women's Suffrage, 1914

February 17, 1914

In their 23rd Annual Inter-Society Debate, Belles Lettres and the Union Philosophical Society held a debate surrounding the question of women's suffrage. The debate prompt read, "Resolved, that the progress and prosperity of the United States of America would be increased if the elective franchise were not withheld from any one solely on account of sex." Because no women were allowed in either literary society, the question was debated and judged by male Dickinsonians.