Sisters for SuffrageStatehood and Suffrage

Statehood and Suffrage

With Utah’s admission to the United States as the 45th state on January 4, 1896, having secured female suffrage in the new state constitution, Utah women had won the right to vote for a second time.

After disenfranchisement many Utah women—both Latter-day Saint and not—united their efforts to regain the right to vote despite polygamy still being a polarizing factor. After the 1890 Manifesto announced the beginning of the end of Latter-day Saint plural marriage, tensions eased.

National suffragists openly supported Utah statehood, hoping that suffrage would be included in the new state constitution. Despite some opposition at the 1895 constitutional convention, suffrage was included in the constitution. On January 4, 1896, Utah became the 45th state and the third state in the country with equal suffrage (following Wyoming and Colorado).

1895 Suffrage Convention. From May 12–15, 1895, national suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Anna Howard Shaw visited Salt Lake City for a regional convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, where this photograph was taken.

Salt Lake Tabernacle Decorated for Statehood Celebration, 1896. Volunteers cut and sewed the flag that adorned the Salt Lake Tabernacle to celebrate Utah’s statehood. It was 74 feet wide and 132 feet long. Its weight is unknown, but it reportedly took five men to carry it. From 1897 to 1903 the flag was hung once a year on the south wall of the Salt Lake Temple.

This pen was found in the drawer of a bishop’s desk in Silver City, New Mexico, attached to a note stating that it had been used to sign the Utah State Constitution. Researchers recently traced the pen’s ownership to Charles Crane (1843–1921), a delegate from Millard County to the 1895 Utah State Constitutional Convention. Crane supported woman suffrage and, on May 8, 1895, used this pen to add his name to the 106 other signers of the new state constitution.