On Jan. 16, 1920, the Indiana General Assembly ratified the 19th Amendment.
In August of that year, the U.S. Congress finally approved it—nearly 70 years after the first women’s rights convention in Indiana. One hundred years later, activities across the state will commemorate these historic votes and celebrate the Hoosiers who helped women in Indiana and across the country secure the right to vote.
Events, exhibits and talks about women’s suffrage will happen across the state—from Angola to Evansville and nearly every county in between.
The Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial is catalyzed by Indiana Humanities, the Indianapolis Propylaeum, the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana Historical Bureau, and the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission.
“The centennial of women’s suffrage is an opportunity to honor the Hoosiers who played a role in the suffrage movement and to learn about its complicated history,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We’re excited so many communities across Indiana will have the chance to learn more about this important milestone and the issues that surrounded it. Wherever you live, you’ll be able to take part in the celebration.”
There are many ways Hoosiers can participate in the women’s suffrage centennial commemorations, including:
- Celebrate ratification day. Hoosiers can head to the Indiana Statehouse on Jan. 16 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of that important day. The day’s activities include remarks by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, a performance by the Capital City Chorus, a presentation about Indiana’s suffrage history by Dr. Anita Morgan, and a special resolution presentation during the Indiana House and the Indiana Senate sessions. Securing the Vote, the new traveling exhibit from the Indiana Historical Society, also will be on display.
- Attend a speakers bureau talk. Nearly 40 talks about women’s suffrage will be happening across the state in 2020, thanks to funding from Lilly Endowment, Inc. and Hillenbrand, Inc. Nine scholars will travel to various locations (see below for locations).
- Visit the traveling exhibit. Securing the Vote: Women’s Suffrage in Indiana is a new traveling exhibit from the Indiana Historical Society. The exhibit, which will travel to more than 20 locations during 2020, explores how women across Indiana passionately labored for suffrage through countless meetings, campaigns and grassroots efforts (see below for locations).
- Request a poster. Every school and library in Indiana received a poster that helps tell the story of women’s suffrage in Indiana, thanks to funding from the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. The posters explain key moments in the long march to the voting booth and stories of the inspiring Hoosiers who led the way. But anyone can request one until supplies run out.
- Read a book. A new book is coming in March—just in time for Women’s History Month. Written by historian Dr. Anita Morgan, “We Must Be Fearless”: The Woman Suffrage Movement in Indiana examines the struggles and triumphs of myriad Hoosier women—black and white, rich and poor, urban and rural—who banded together to seek equal rights with men at the ballot box.
Other upcoming events of note include:
- March 6, 2020 | We Wait., a women’s suffrage-related art exhibit and First Friday event (Harrison Center for the Arts, Indianapolis)
- March 7, 2020 | Hoosier Women at Work Conference: Suffrage and Citizenship (Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis)
- March 30, 2020 | Suffrage Teacher Workshop presented by the Indiana State Museum (Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis)
- May 30, 2020 | Suffrage Teacher Workshop presented by the Indiana State Museum (Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne)
- June 13, 2020 | Suffrage Teacher Workshop presented by the Indiana State Museum (Culbertson Mansion, New Albany)
- Aug. 22, 2020 | Women’s Suffrage Block Party presented by Indiana Historical Society, Eiteljorg Museum and Indiana State Museum (Downtown canal and museums, Indianapolis)
For more information on the teacher workshops visit www.IndianaMuseum.org/educator-resources.
Organizations selected to host speakers bureau talks include:
|Franklin County Public Library||Brookville||Kristen Garvey|
|American Assoc. of University Women, Goshen Branch||Goshen||Jamie Wagman|
|Anderson University||Anderson||Janine Giordano|
|Bartholomew County Public Library||Columbus||Marsha Miller|
|Carnegie Public of Steuben County||Angola||Melissa Gentry|
|Crown Point Community Library||Crown Point||Melissa Gentry|
|Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science||Evansville||Melissa Gentry|
|Fulton County Public Library||Rochester||Laura Merrifield Wilson|
|Girl Scouts of Central Indiana||Indianapolis||TBD|
|Harrison County Public Library||Corydon||Marsha Miller|
|Hussey Mayfield Public Library||Zionsville||Anita Morgan|
|Indiana Assoc. of Spiritualists||Chesterfield||Melissa Gentry|
|Indianapolis Propylaeum||Indianapolis||Anita Morgan|
|Indiana State Museum-New Harmony Historic Site||New Harmony||Einav Rabinovitch- Fox|
|Irvington Historical Society||Indianapolis||Jackie Swihart|
|Indiana State Bar Assoc. (Women in Law Div.)||Indianapolis||Laura Merrifield Wilson|
|Johnson County Historical Society||Franklin||Vivian Deno|
|Lake County Public Library||Merrillville||Jamie Wagman|
|La Porte County Public Library||La Porte||Einav Rabinovitch- Fox|
|League of Women Voters, Hamilton County||TBD||TBD|
|League of Women Voters, Indianapolis||Indianapolis||Vivian Deno|
|Levi & Catharine Coffin Historic Site||Fountain City||Jackie Swihart|
|Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society||Crawfordsville||Marsha Miller|
|Marion Public Library||Marion||Janine Giordano|
|Marshall Co Historical Society||Plymouth||Kristen Garvey|
|Miami Co. Indiana Worth Remembering||Peru||Melissa Gentry|
|Michigan City Public Library||Michigan City||Janine Giordano|
|Monroe County History Center||Bloomington||Laura Merrifield Wilson|
|Monticello Union Twp. Public Library||Monticello||Anita Morgan|
|Notre Dame Women’s Legal Forum||South Bend||Jamie Wagman|
|Porter County Public Library||Valparaiso||Laura Merrifield Wilson|
|Purdue Northwest Department of History & Philosophy||Hammond||Joan Marie Johnson|
|Putnam County Public Library||Greencastle||Vivian Deno|
|Southern Indiana Genealogical Society||New Albany||Anita Morgan|
|St. Joseph County Public Library||South Bend||Vivian Deno|
|Sugar Creek Historical Society||Thorntown||Marsha Miller|
|Vincennes University||Vincennes||Marsha Miller|
|West Lafayette Public Library||West Lafayette||Laura Merrifield Wilson|
The dates are still being finalized for the talks, but topics include:
- Traveling with Susan B. Anthony by Kristen Garvey
When, where and why did national figures visit Indiana in their quest to gain suffrage?
- Intersectionality in the Midwest Suffrage Movement by Jamie Wagman, St. Mary’s College
How did early Midwestern feminists, from various backgrounds, conceive of freedom?
- The Other Feminists: Socialists, Laborers and Anti-Lynching Activists by Janine Giordano Drake, Indiana University
Why did working women strategically align themselves with suffrage organizations?
- From Amanda to Zerelda: Hoosier Suffragists Who Raised a Ruckus by Marsha Miller, Indiana State University
What did the women’s suffrage movement look like in Indiana and who were its pioneers?
- From Seneca Falls to Seymour and South Bend: Mapping Indiana’s Suffrage History by Melissa Gentry, Ball State University
What can we learn by mapping Indiana’s women’s suffrage movement and its leaders?
- Have We Come a Long Way, Baby? by Laura Merrifield Wilson, University of Indianapolis
How successful have women been in elected politics post-suffrage? What barriers remain?
- Motors and Mass Rallies: Expanding the Movement after 1909 by Anita Morgan, IUPUI
How did the incorporation of new women’s groups and technology contribute to the suffrage movement’s growth after 1909?
- Fashioning Suffrage: Suffragists’ Political Style and Its Visual Legacies by Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, Case Western Reserve University
How did suffragists shape political style, and how did their political legacy inspire and affect more recent struggles for equality?
- The “Undefeatable” Grace Julian Clarke by Jackie Swihart
What does the trajectory of this Indianapolis suffragist’s political career tell us about the ways women were political before, during and after the 19th Amendment?
There are two copies of the traveling exhibit, and they will travel to the following locations:
- Indiana Statehouse, Indianapolis | Jan. 4 to Jan. 29, 2020
- Franklin High School, Indianapolis | Jan. 8 to Feb. 2, 2020
- Cass County Historical Society, Logansport | Feb. 4 to March 3, 2020
- Butler University Irwin Library, Indianapolis | Feb. 4 to March 3, 2020
- Hammond Public Library, Hammond | March 5 to April 2, 2020
- Avon-Washington Township Public Library, Avon | March 10 to April 8, 2020
- South Bend League of Women Voters at South Bend Civic Theatre, South Bend | April 6 to May 6, 2020
- Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County, Crawfordsville | April 10 to May 7, 2020
- Miami County Historical Society, Peru | May 7 to June 7, 2020
- Ruthmere Museum, Elkhart | May 12 to June 4, 2020
- South Whitley Community Public Library, South Whitley | June 6 to June 30, 2020
- Tippecanoe County Historical Association, Battleground | June 9 to July 6, 2020
- Howard County Historical Society, Kokomo | July 2 to July 27, 2020
- Bartholomew County History Center, Columbus | July 10 to Aug. 5, 2020
- Jasper County Public Library, Rensselaer | July 29 to Aug. 20, 2020
- Steuben County Historical Society, Angola | Aug. 8 to Sept. 7, 2020
- Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, Indianapolis | Aug. 25 to Sept. 29, 2020
- Delaware County Historical Society, Muncie | Sept. 9 to Oct. 6, 2020
- La Porte County Public Library, La Porte | Oct. 2 to Nov. 3, 2020
- Pike County Historical Society, Petersburg | Oct. 10 to Nov. 5, 2020
- Irvington Historical Society, Indianapolis | Nov. 5 to Dec. 6, 2020
- Guerin Catholic High School, Noblesville | Nov. 10 to Dec. 6, 2020
- Fairmount Public Library, Fairmount | Dec. 8, 2020 to Jan. 6, 2021
Contact local organizations for more details on the traveling exhibit and the speakers bureau talks.
Keep up to date with all things Indiana Women’s Suffrage by visiting Indianasuffrage100.org