Cornell University Launches Online Exhibit Commemorating Women’s Suffrage

Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, has launched a new online exhibit that commemorates the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. The exhibit, “Woman Suffrage at Cornell,” highlights the university’s connections to the suffrage movement through digitized photographs, programs, letters and artifacts from the Jon A. and Virginia Lindseth Woman Suffrage Collection, and other holdings of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections of Cornell University Library.

The exhibit features prominent alumnae including Ethel Stebbins, grand marshal of the 1915 suffrage parade in New York City, Edith Anna Ellia, the first woman to run for office in Tompkins County, and Harriet May Mills, one of the first women to run for statewide office in 1920. It also features Cornell’s first-full time women faculty members, Martha Van Rensselaer and Flora Rose, who were co-directors of what was then the College of Home Economics.

Additionally, the exhibit exposes political rifts on campus, especially during the university’s first century, with its predominately male student body. One feature of the exhibit shows an opinion poll on women’s suffrage administered to the Class of 1880, which was made up of 71 men and 9 women. The results recorded 46 opponents of women’s suffrage. Only six of the nine women students who responded were in favor of women’s suffrage.

“The online exhibit is particularly important now, because we hear so much about how cynical some people have become about political action and voting,” said former university archivist and curator of the new exhibit, Elaine Engst. “For our predecessors, voting was seen as a right, a privilege and a responsibility.”

Filed Under: Women's Studies


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