New Digital Prairie Collection Showcases Women’s Suffrage Documents in State Archives

On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by women suffragists.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this monumental occasion, ODL’s State Archives division has put together a special collection highlighting Oklahoma’s role in the Suffrage Movement. The Suffrage Collection consists of state government records from the Office of the Governor, Charities and Corrections, and the Legislature. There are 53 items currently in this collection… with more being added!

“Teleworking in March gave me the opportunity to create the metadata for each item,” Archivist Holly Hasenfratz said. “I really enjoyed reading the correspondence (both pro- and anti-suffrage) that was sent to Governor Robertson.”

Last year, State Archives staff started collecting, identifying and digitizing these suffrage-related materials in preparation for the 100th anniversary.

The Pro-Suffrage and Anti-Suffrage movements were both quite large in Oklahoma, as well as nationwide, Hasenfratz said. “The Dark and Dangerous Side of Woman Suffrage is supposed to be an anti-suffrage pamphlet, but it actually makes some great pro-suffrage arguments!”

You can view a letter from Carrie Chapman Catt (President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association) rallying Oklahoma women to urge Governor Robertson to call a special session of the Legislature to ratify the federal amendment.

On February 6, 1920, Governor Robertson decided to call a special session of the Legislature to ratify the federal suffrage amendment. View the letter written from the Governor’s Secretary to Mrs. James M. Hale.

On February 28, 1920, Oklahoma’s legislature voted to ratify the 19th Amendment.

Find the Women’s Suffrage collection on the newly redesigned Digital Prairie homepage.