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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The effort to grant women the right to vote dates back to 1848, with the meeting of hundreds of women and men in Seneca Falls, New York. In the following decades, women lobbied state and federal officials for equal suffrage rights.
In 1919, Congress passed the text of the 19th amendment, which read, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." After congressional passage in June, the amendment was sent to state legislatures for final ratification. By March 1920, 35 states had ratified the amendment; 36 states were necessary to enact the amendment.
Delaware, had the opportunity to be the 36th and final state. In 1915, a bill for recognizing the right for women to vote at the state level was considered and rejected by the Delaware General Assembly. On June 2, 1920, the Delaware General Assembly again rejected suffrage and voted against ratification. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment.
Delaware would later ratify the amendment in 1923.
"Delaware and the 19th Amendment." National Park Service. https://www.nps.gov/articles/delaware-and-the-19th-amendment.htm (accessed September 2023). "Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution." Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution (accessed September 2023).
One-page typed letter from Attorney General Mitchell Palmer to Delaware state judge Robert H. Hollet. In the letter, Palmer discusses the critical role Woman Suffrage will play in creating a peaceful and equitable nation. He writes in part: "As you are aware, the Federal Suffrage Amendment will be submitted at the... session of your Legislature for passage or rejection. Both the national parties have indorsed [sic] the ratification of the Woman Suffrage Amendment, and most of the leading nations of the world have already secured this measure of justice to their women. We do not want to see American women lagging behind... In view of the present movements of unrest in this country…I feel it is highly important that every possible influence be used to stabilize our institutions and prevent unrest. I am convinced that the immediate extension of suffrage to our women will be a most important force in this direction."
Box 8, F0218: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0098 manuscript boxes
Processed and encoded by John Caldwell, September 2023.
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2023 September 11
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research
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