Votes for Women
This exhibition honors significant contributors to the American women’s suffrage movement, specifically Susan B. Anthony, who is represented by one of the thirty-nine place settings at The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago. Nine other women, whose names are inscribed on the Heritage Floor of The Dinner Party, are also acknowledged in this exhibition as important leaders of the movement—from early activists, such as Lucretia Mott and Lucy Stone, to Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul, who followed in the footsteps of “Aunt Susan,” and led the cause to see the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment (coined “the Anthony Amendment”), which granted women the right to vote.
Susan B. Anthony, who has been called the “legs” of the early women’s movement, toured the country for more than thirty years speaking publicly for women’s rights, especially the right to vote. She developed a friendship and lifelong collaboration with fellow women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and their efforts inspired younger generations to become involved. The images and objects in Votes for Women underscore the individual actions and overall achievements of these ten women while connecting them to the seventy-year struggle for women’s suffrage.
From 1848 to 1920, suffragists challenged conventional ideas of women’s roles in an effort to gain equal rights, using strategies and tactics deemed radical for women at the time, such as public speaking, and by creating women’s organizations, publishing newspapers, and organizing parades, marches, and pickets. These early models have been adopted and adapted since, notably in the women’s rights movement of the 1970s.
At a time when women have unprecedented roles in U.S. politics and a woman is again running for the highest office in this country, this exhibition pays tribute to the early pioneers who literally rewrote the history of patriarchal governmental policy to include the voices of women. We honor these leaders—such as Mary Church Terrell, an early African American and women’s rights activist, and Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for the U.S. presidency in 1872—and acknowledge their immensurable contribution to the long struggle for the equal rights of women.
Brooklyn Museum Presents the Special Exhibition Votes for Women Highlighting Susan B. Anthony’s Contribution to the American Suffrage Movement Votes for Women, the latest exhibition to be presented in the Herstory Gallery of the recently opened Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, opens at the Brooklyn Museum on February 29, 2008. The exhibition explores Susan B. Anthony’s contribution to the American Suffrage Movement, the contributions of eight other important American suffragists, and Victoria Woodhull’s historic run for the United States presidency in 1872.
The exhibition draws upon the Susan B. Anthony place setting in The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago, and the lives of women whom Chicago chose to name as significant contributors to the fight for women’s rights in America. Votes for Women examines the methods and tactics used throughout the generations of the suffrage movement with more than sixty objects and images from the days of Anthony’s leadership of the movement, to the increased activism after her death in 1906, to the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.
The lives and activities of these women, including Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Carrie Chapman Catt, Alice Stone Blackwell, Alice Paul, Mary Church Terrell, and Frances Willard, are revealed not only through displays of their portraits, newspapers, and speeches, but also through broadsides, banners, pennants, postcards, and political buttons. Other highlights include newspaper engravings and photographs depicting their actions in the media, and audio materials including suffrage songs and excerpts from speeches and writings.
The exhibition connects the strategies of the suffrage movement to those of the feminist movement of the 1970s, and to the latest campaigns for women for unprecedented roles in American politics, including Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency.
Votes for Women is curated by Melissa Messina, Independent Curator and former Research Assistant for the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.
A variety of public programs including films and lectures will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition. For more information visit www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa.