A Guide to Digital Tours of Suffrage Artifacts
In the pre-amendment era, suffragists used flyers and posters (often called broadsides), campaign paraphernalia (such as buttons and pennants), sashes, photographs, even costumes to create awareness for their historic cause. They were also prolific letter writers and meticulous record keepers, and like many people of that era, they maintained personal diaries in which they chronicled their involvement in local and state suffrage efforts, as well their thoughts about the progress of the movement.
On the left: Diary entry from suffrage leader Jane Y. McCallum, who went on to become the Texas Secretary of State. From the Austin History Center.
Fortunately, many of these items survive today, with a number having found their way into curated suffrage and women’s history exhibits—and in many cases, you can view and enjoy them in digital archives:
Votes for Women Exhibit at the Austin History Center:
This intriguing online archive contains a collection of memorabilia related to the Texas campaign for votes for women, along with items specific to Texas suffrage leaders Jane Y. McCallum and
Jessie Daniel Ames. There’s also an exhibit for state education superintendent Annie Webb Blanton and other “first” women to hold statewide office in Texas, as well as an exhibit about Austin’s earliest city councilwomen.
On the left: Campaign poster for Minnie Fisher Cunningham, the first Texas woman to run for Congress. From the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Texas Women and the Right to Vote from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission:
Among the digital artifacts available in this exhibit from the TSLAC are handwritten suffrage song lyrics and a map showing suffrage progress across the nation (with Texas still to convert). The TSLAC also hosts digital exhibits about early efforts for African-American and Tejano equality that contain right-to-vote materials.
Suffrage Items in the Bullock Museum Texas Artifact Gallery:
Online Exhibits at the National Women’s History Museum:
For a look at the national suffrage movement, check out this exhaustive artifact timeline from the National Women’s History Museum, which covers the earliest days of the movement through the amendment’s adoption. The Museum is also home to a collection of suffrage propaganda that features buttons, pins, cartoons, and more.