Sisters for SuffrageSuffrage for All

Suffrage for All

Although Utah women had won the vote (twice), women in most states still could not vote by the time of Utah statehood. Utah’s pioneer female voters, along with a new generation of enfranchised women, worked to help women across the country enjoy the right to vote.

Suffrage Hikers, 1913. Suffragists carried signs representing states where women had the right to vote as they marched in a suffrage hike from New York City to Washington, D.C. (Photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

Voter Envoys, 1915. Pioneer Utah voter Emmeline B. Wells stands at the front of women voter envoys from San Francisco who arrived in Salt Lake City on October 4, 1915. (Photograph courtesy of the National Woman’s Party.)

Picket Line, 1917. Salt Lake City resident Lovern Robertson (fourth from the left) participated in a picket line in Washington, D.C., on November 10, 1917. She was arrested later that day and sent to the Occoquan Workhouse, where, on November 14, she endured cruel treatment by prison guards during what suffragists named the “Night of Terror.” (Photograph courtesy of the Records of the National Woman’s Party, Library of Congress.)

Nationally, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony passed the suffrage leadership baton to Carrie Chapman Catt and Anna Howard Shaw. Some national suffragists, including Alice Paul, favored more militant action in the suffrage crusade.

In 1919 Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment. After ratification by at least 36 states, it would grant suffrage to women throughout the country. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, which officially became law eight days later. On November 2, 1920, more than eight million women across the United States voted in elections for the first time.

Susa Young Gates (1856–1933), a daughter of Brigham Young, was active in various women’s organizations, representing Utah at the 1914 International Congress of Women, held in Rome, Italy, and the 1920 Woman Suffrage Convention in Chicago, Illinois. She was an avid genealogist and founded magazines for the Young Women and Relief Society organizations.

Josephine Diantha Booth Woodruff (1877–1951) was one of the earliest single female missionaries for the Church. As a 22-year-old missionary, she attended the 1899 convention of the International Council of Women, in London, where she met Susan B. Anthony and many other influential women.

Dress Worn by Josephine Booth, circa 1910.