New Book Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial


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votes for women bookJennifer A. Lemak and Ashley Hopkins-Benton’s new book Votes For Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial (Excelsior Editions, 2017) chronicles the history of the women’s rights and suffrage movements in New York State and examines the important role the state played in the national suffrage movement.

The work for women’s suffrage received a boost more than seventy years before the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and one hundred supporters signed the Declaration of Sentiments asserting that “all men and women are created equal.”

This convention served as a catalyst for debates and action on both the national and state level, and on November 6, 1917, New York State passed the referendum for women’s suffrage. Its passing in New York signaled that the national passage of suffrage would soon follow. On August 18, 1920, “Votes for Women” were constitutionally granted.

Votes for Women, an exhibition catalog, celebrates the important role citizens of the state played in the struggle for equal rights in the nineteenth century, the campaign for New York State suffrage, and the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

It highlights the nationally significant role of state leaders in regards to women’s rights and the feminist movement through the early twenty-first century and includes focused essays from historians on the various aspects of the suffrage and equal rights movements around New York, providing greater detail about local stories with statewide significance.

The exhibition of the same name, on display at the New York State Museum beginning November 2017, features artifacts from the New York State Museum, Library, and Archives, as well as historical institutions and private collections across the state.

Jennifer A. Lemak is Chief Curator of History at the New York State Museum. She is the author of Southern Life, Northern City: The History of Albany’s Rapp Road Community and (with Robert Weible and Aaron Noble) An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State in the Civil War, both also published by SUNY Press.

Ashley Hopkins-Benton is a Senior Historian and Curator at the New York State Museum and the author of Breathing Life Into Stone: The Sculpture of Henry DiSpirito.

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