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Johns Hopkins University women's suffrage collection

Identifier: MS-0857

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  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Johns Hopkins University women's suffrage collection documents the history of the women's suffrage movement both in the United States and abroad from 1879 to approximately the 1970s, with the bulk of the material dating from 1900 to 1920. The collection is artificially assembled and comprised of printed ephemera and postcards, as well as photographs, artifacts, buttons, and ribbons.

These materials were primarily created and distributed by local and national pro-suffrage organizations, such as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), the Woman Suffrage Party, and the Empire State Campaign. Organizations distributed broadsides, fliers, buttons, and other promotional materials to members and the public, as well as published essays and newsletters promoting their cause. Suffrage leaders such as Ida B. Wells, Inez Milholland, Carrie Chapman Catt, Frances Willard, and Cady Elizabeth Stanton were public figures and often spoke and published on behalf of their organizations. This collection documents the mission and ideals of the suffrage movement, as well as the structure and activism of the organizations of which it was largely comprised.

In addition to pro-suffrage views, this collection consists of materials that either satirize the suffrage movement or oppose it entirely, created by organizations such as the National League for Opposing Woman Suffrage based in England. Cartoon postcards and a phonographic record by comedian Frank Kennedy provide context for how the suffrage movement was perceived by the general public and in popular culture. The collection also features materials created by organizations with missions that coincided with the women's suffrage movement, such as the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). During World War I, suffragists published literature which argued the advantages of women's suffrage in the pursuit of world peace and the war effort. The collection includes perspectives on racial inequality, illuminating the ways in which white suffragists often promoted racist ideologies in order to further their own cause. Such materials demonstrate the intersection of the suffrage movement with other issues and events of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


  • Creation: 1879-approximately 1970s
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1900-1920


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

This collection primarily documents efforts of the women's suffrage movements in the United States and the United Kingdom. The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting women the right to vote, was ratified on August 26, 1920, following a decades-long suffrage movement. In the United Kingdom, women received the right to vote on the same terms as men in 1928 with the passing of the Representation of the People Act. See individual file descriptions for additional biographical and historical information.


3.07 Cubic Feet (16 boxes, 1 oversized folder)

Language of Materials



The Johns Hopkins University women's suffrage collection documents the history of the women's suffrage movement both in the United States and abroad from 1879 to approximately 1970, with the bulk of the material dating from 1900 to 1920. It is an artificially assembled collection of materials selected by the curators of Special Collections.

Custodial History

This collection contains postcards which were previously part of MS.0698, the Women's suffrage postcards collection. Those postcards were added to this collection in Summer 2019.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection consists of purchases from various antiquarian dealers and booksellers. Please see individual file descriptions for more information.



Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2019 by Kristen Diehl with additional processing by Austyn Wohlers. Please see the file descriptions for processing information regarding specific items.

Guide to the Johns Hopkins University women's suffrage collection
Kristen Diehl
2019 July
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA