Beginning in June 2015, we at Women and Social Movements in the United States launched a crowdsourcing project that will result in the online publication of the “Online Biographical Dictionary of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States.” When completed in 2020 this resource will include about 2,500 biographical sketches of women supporters of woman suffrage campaigns in the first two decades of the twentieth century.
The Online Dictionary will include three distinct groups of woman suffragists: about 350 supporters of the militant suffrage group, the National Woman’s Party, including women who picketed in 1917-1919 in Washington, D.C., New York and Boston to protest the slowness with which the administration of President Woodrow Wilson embraced the woman suffrage cause; about 100 Black women suffragists whose writings have been collected and published on the website; finally, more than 2,000 mainstream suffrage supporters affiliated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), whose names are listed in state reports printed in volume 6 of the History of Woman Suffrage (1922).
NAWSA supporters are recorded in reports covering state-level suffrage activism between 1900 and 1920. Taking advantage of the state residence information in these reports, we have organized this part of the work by state and are seeking historians and history students interested in researching and writing 500-word biographical sketches of suffrage supporters in their state. We have been particularly interested in finding faculty who might assign biographical sketches to their students as part of courses they are teaching. In the first phase of our work we have received excellent sketches written by high school, community college, and four-year college students, working under the direction of their history faculty. We also have had volunteers who are graduate students or independent historians, who have written one or two biographical sketches. On the current NAWSA portion of the project, we are also seeking historians, librarians, or museum or historical society staff who would be interested in serving as state coordinators, taking responsibility to recruit additional volunteers and copyedit completed biographical sketches of suffrage supporters in their state. As of this writing (July 2016), we still need state coordinators for 17 states. Follow this link for a listing of those states.
To facilitate review the state reports on which the NAWSA activists crowdsourcing is based, we have posted a .pdf version of The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6, 1900-1920 on this site. Click here to view the volume. For access to a research guide for volunteers preparing bio sketches, click here. To view a sample biographical sketch to use as a template, click here. This sample includes further suggestions for sketch writers.
If you are in a position to join in one of these capacities, please contact project director, Tom Dublin at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need volunteers who can write biographical sketches between 2016 and 2018 in order to post the sketches on the website in 2019 and 2020, in time for the centennial of the passage of the nineteenth amendment which assured all women in the United States the right to vote. We will follow up this project description with periodic updates tracking the progress of our work. Please join us in this important work and let others know about this prospect.