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 offers short biographies of more than 3500 grassroots women suffragists whose activism was concentrated in the period 1890-1920, but also occurred before and after those years. Using 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 agenda, 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 June 15, 2021

Introduction

We have now posted six installments of the Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States containing about 3,250 biographical sketches of grassroots women suffragists. We will be adding to the database regularly over the next year and when complete it will include crowdsourced biographical sketches of more than 3,500 women suffrage activists, primarily concentrated in the period 1890-1920. We are aiming for an inclusive collection, including white and black suffragists, mainstream and militant suffragists. The sketches will place women's suffrage activism within the frame of women's broader social agenda, before and after the passage of the 19th Amendment in August 1920.

In March 2015 we published the first six biographical sketches of militant suffragists who were active in the picketing of the White House in response to the call of the National Woman's Party. At that time we began the crowdsourcing effort that has made this project possible, reaching out to interest our readers in researching and writing biographical sketches of NWP activists. Since then we have expanded the project to include black women suffragists and mainstream suffragists affiliated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

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.

Combined with the online technology of Alexander Street, these contributions have made it possible to offer this freestanding edition of the Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States.

As of June 2021 we have identified 102 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 three 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].

OBD editor, Tom Dublin has prepared an Editor’s Guide to Using the Database.  CLICK HERE

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