“WHY NOT? WOMEN GAIN THE RIGHT TO VOTE”
This exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of American women winning the right to vote and takes a closer look at what was happening on the local level in Falmouth. Its title comes from a letter Falmouth native Katharine Lee Bates wrote to the Lewiston Journal in 1917. The well-known professor, poet and author of “America the Beautiful” argued:
“Why not? Women are tax-payers, patriots, workers for every national cause,—why not citizens? Women may and do express their opinions freely on public questions, in home and school, from the platform and in the press,–why not through the ballot?”
The exhibit features a timeline of Falmouth suffrage and photos and memorabilia of outstanding local women who played a role in the movement. Women like Sylvia Donaldson, the first woman elected to the Massachusetts state legislature in 1923. She was born and buried in Falmouth. Mary (Dodd) Craig, Helen (Stone) Howland, Nellie (Powers) Burgess, Lena (Slawson) Drew and Zoulyne (Swindell) Milligan were also part of the pro-suffrage contingent.
Political cartoons and arguments for and against suffrage spark the debate and reveal some surprises. Mrs. Maisie (David) Weeks (1875-1946) owned a successful shop on Main Street for decades and employed several women there. Yet, from 1913-1915, the pioneering businesswoman is listed as the Falmouth contact person for the Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women.
2020 WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE COMMEMORATION PROGRAMMING
“Gaining the Vote: The Road to Women’s Suffrage” Virtual Series
August 2020 marks the centennial of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing American women the right to vote. The Museums on the Green has been awarded a Discussion Grant from Mass Humanities/the National Endowment for the Humanities to support “Gaining the Vote: The Road to Women’s Suffrage,” a series of virtual talks and performances highlighting the long road to women’s suffrage. We’ll feature upcoming programs in our Calendar as they become available.