Published August 24, 2005
WASHINGTON – To celebrate the 85th anniversary of women's right to vote, the Library of Congress Web site has posted 448 photos of the suffrage movement, some going back 130 years.
A constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote in all U.S. elections was introduced in Congress in 1878 and was regularly defeated through 1915. Congress finally passed the Anthony Amendment, named for suffragist Susan B. Anthony (search), who had died in 1906, in 1919. A year later two-thirds of the states had ratified it, and the 19th amendment was added to the Constitution on Aug. 26, 1920.
The Library of Congress has 2,650 images that were donated by the National Woman's Party. The photos on the Web site trace the suffrage movement back to 1875. Then it was divided between suffragists who wanted national action and those who preferred to get voting rights from local authorities. For years the two sides worked together, winning victories especially in the Western states.
In 1914 the National Woman's Party (search) was formed. It adopted more aggressive tactics: marches, protests, picketing the White House, getting arrested and going on hunger strikes.
The library's program, called "Women of Protest," also illustrates the party's agitation for an equal rights amendment. Congress adopted that amendment in 1972 but only 35 of the necessary 38 states ratified it over the next decade, when the deadline set by Congress expired.
In polling more than five years ago, three-fourths of the U.S. population said they supported an equal rights amendment. Though resolutions have been reintroduced in Congress, they have not been brought to a vote.
Laura Hubbard, communications director at the National Woman's Party headquarters in the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum in Washington, said the party is no long actively lobbies and devotes itself to maintaining the museum.