930 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association

Address: 930 Nicollet Avenue
Neighborhood/s: Downtown Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Historic Function: Organizational
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Brick

Downtown Minneapolis Minneapolis Hennepin



The Minnesota Woman, Suffrage Association (MWSA) was founded in Hastings, Minnesota, in 1881. The establishment of this group marked the beginning of a united effort to gain equal suffrage for women in Minnesota. Prior to this time, suffrage was an issue that had met with only sporadic success in Minnesota. Several special laws and an amendment to the state constitution had been passed that permitted women to vote for designated local candidates and issues. This early legislation was enacted in spite of the absence of a systematic organizational effort to promote the suffrage movement on both the state and national levels.

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the MWSA adopted a "moderate" approach to achieving equal suffrage. It promoted suffrage by distributing educational literature from suffrage booths at the Minnesota State Fair and at other expositions and by petitioning Minnesota state legislators to introduce suffrage legislation. The MWSA also began to establish local auxiliaries in communities around the state. Although these auxiliaries and other Minnesota suffrage groups shared a common goal, they were not yet linked by a statewide organizational network. Important individuals in the MWSA during this early period included Sarah Burger Stearns, first president, 1881-1883; Julia B. Nelson, fifth president, 1890-1896; Maud Stockwell, eighth president, 1900-1910; Alice Hall, tenth president, 1911-1913; and Harriet E. Bishop.

The so-called Anthony Amendment, which was first introduced in the United States Senate in 1878, finally was passed by Congress in June, 1919. After its passage, suffragists in Minnesota and around the country petitioned governors to call special legislative sessions to ratify the amendment. The Minnesota State Legislature ratified it at a special session held on September 8, 1919. [1]

Memories and stories

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Related Links

Minnesota Women's Suffrage Library Guide
Minnesota Scandinavian Women's Suffrage Association
Gentle Warriors


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