Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States

Edited By Thomas Dublin and Kathryn Kish Sklar

The Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States includes more than 3,750 grassroots women suffragists whose activism was concentrated in the period 1890-1920, but also occurred before and after those years. Drawing the names of suffragists found in contemporary publications and other sources, we have used online databases and newspapers to support biographical sketches of thousands of women heretofore not featured in historical accounts of the movement. In this way we seek to expand historical understanding of the movement and its supporters. Written entirely by volunteers, the sketches include three groups: militants associated with the National Woman's Party, Black suffragists affiliated with a variety of local and national organizations, and mainstream suffragists affiliated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The sketches place women's suffrage activism within the frame of women's broader social agendas, before and after the passage of the 19th Amendment in August 1920. For the convenience of scholars and students, we also include previously published biographical sketches of well-known suffragists, such as those found in Notable American Women and Notable Black American Women.

Editor’s Guide to Using the Database available here.

Database last updated July 2024

Introduction

With the latest installment, the Online Biographical Dictionary has 3,760 sketches and is almost complete. We anticipate additional small installments in December 2024 and after. We have created an inclusive collection, including white and black suffragists, and mainstream and militant suffragists. The sketches will place women's suffrage activism within the frame of women's broader social agendas, before and after the passage of the 19th Amendment in August 1920.

Thanks to Our Hundreds of Volunteers—Especially State Coordinators

The database has grown organically from its modest beginnings with many decisions along the way that have shaped the database that you are accessing today. Database editor Tom Dublin has prepared a brief essay describing the work process that has been involved.

As of June 2024 we have identified 67 suffragists as "impossible to find." They are part of the original groups of activists--NAWSA, Black Suffragists, and NWP-- but volunteers have been unable to find enough information about them to write biographical sketches. Click here to view the lists and contact Tom Dublin if you know something about any of these suffragists and would like to write a 500-word biographical sketch.

To cite a biographical sketch from the Online Biographical Dictionary follow this example:
Author, "Biography of [Name of activist]," Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States, accessed online at [provide URL of the sketch].

Because the free-standing version of the OBD is freely accessible, it is best to cite the URLs for those biographical sketches.

Search help