Votes for Women: Hennepin County

Tour curated by: Jacqueline deVries and students in the Augsburg University History Department, in partnership with the Hennepin History Museum

August 2020 marks the centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in the United States. As national celebrations commemorate the fight for women’s right to vote in this country, we invite you to explore the local movement in Hennepin County.

Building on the "Votes for Women" exhibit at the Hennepin History Museum, this tour invites you to walk in the footsteps of local women activists and reformers over a hundred years ago. You'll see glimpses of their world, their challenges, their values.

You'll meet many of the women and men who fought for the rights of citizenship. The tour also encourages you to consider the ways that the women’s suffrage movement fell short in the quest for a fully inclusive movement. We hope this sparks conversation about our current struggles for justice.

Each stop includes photos. Please click on those and read the captions, which add to and deepen the story.

Research for this tour was begun in Summer 2019 with Alyssa Thiede, Curator, Hennepin History Museum; and Augsburg students, Hannah Dyson and Matthew Glavan.

In Spring 2020, six additional Augsburg University students in HIS 331 persisted during the Covid shut-down to dig up fascinating materials. Thanks to Grant Berg, Brendan Descamps, Jackson Gerber, A. J. Hanson, Ashley Heikkila, and Indy Weisman for their contributions. Sophie Hunt, Director of HHM's Public Programs, provided invaluable support and guidance.

We look forward to offering in-person tours of all these sites when it's safe again.

Jacqueline R. deVries, Professor of History, Augsburg University

August 2020

Locations for Tour

It is fitting to begin a tour about the struggle for women's rights at the Mary Tyler Moore statue. Moore was both a real actress (1936-2017) and the title character in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a popular sitcom set in Minneapolis that ran…

Minnesota was a vast prairie, the homeland of more 10,000 Dakota, Ojibwe and Anishinaabe peoples in July 1848, when the first woman's rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, NY. Early efforts to champion women's suffrage started in…

Clara Ueland, a tireless advocate for women's right to vote, once remarked that there couldn't be "too many clubs." The more grass-roots organization, the better. Suffragists organized themselves into a vast network of suffrage…

When Aretha Franklin and Tony Bennett came to town in 1968, they performed at the Minneapolis Auditorium. So, too, did the famed British suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst, when she visited in 1913. For more than fifty years, the Auditorium was…

Not all women believed in equal suffrage. Minnesota was among twenty states that had an organized anti-suffrage movement. There were two anti-suffrage organizations based in Hennepin County -- the Minnesota Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage…

The 1848 Seneca Falls convention is typically seen as the start of the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. But the roots of feminism can be found in church-based movements, like evangelicalism, abolitionism, missions, and philanthropic societies. …

The arts can be powerful tools for social and political change. Local suffrage organizations used a variety of creative strategies to engage the public. They organized historical pageants and skating carnivals. On special “suffrage days” they…

The main sources of news in 1914 were either neighborhood gossip or the local newspaper. Radio only became widely available in the late 1920s. Local papers could easily sway public opinion, so suffragists were keen to attract positive news coverage.…

Minneapolis was a city of industry. Logging, garment making, and flour milling were all prominent industries in the growing city. Thanks to river boats and trains, new transit routes linked the region to the rest of the country. Supported by this…

When Jamar Clark died after being shot by Minneapolis police in November 2015, hundreds of people gathered in the square outside Minneapolis's City Hall to demand justice. #BlackLivesMatter, then only two years in existence, led the march. The fight…

A turning point for the suffrage movement came in April 1917, when the United States entered the First World War. Historians have argued that suffrage volunteerism during the war helped persuade opponents of women's civic capacities. Clara…

On September 8, 1919, the Minnesota state legislature ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, becoming the 15th state to do so. Eleven months later, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment. Once it became law in August 1920, the…