Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

View All Posts

Aug 21

The 19th Amendment and the Fight for the Vote

Posted on August 21, 2020 at 9:11 AM by Melissa Dalton

We’ve been highlighting our online exhibit, Votes for Women: Greene County Suffragists and the 19th Amendment, and the Rightfully Hers pop-up exhibit from the National Archives, as the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment approached (the anniversary was on Wednesday, August 18). We wish we could show you how the records here at the Archives help tell the story of the suffrage movement, but unfortunately, we really do not have anything related to the movement or event. However, the passage of the 19th Amendment was a long and hard fight for women to gain the right to vote, and we would be remiss to not discuss it.

The suffrage movement gained momentum at the First Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, NY in 1848, and had been fighting ever since for women to have equal access to voting rights. As municipalities and states began providing voting rights to women, it was hard for Congress to resist the passage of the proposed amendment.

To give everyone an idea of the movement in our region, we looked to the newspapers. Of particular interest is the Dayton Daily News. In 1912, they provided the suffrage and anti-suffrage factions an opportunity to voice their arguments, allowing each to edit a full page. Below are a couple of examples. The first is of the August 3, 1912 edition of the Dayton Daily News, and this is the page edited by the Woman’s Suffrage Party of Montgomery County (Fig 1). You’ll notice some notable names that support the movement, such as John H. Patterson, Orville Wright, and Bishop Milton Wright (Fig 2).

Fig 1. Dayton Daily News page edited by Woman's Suffrage Party of Mont Co, 3 Aug 1912 (JPG)
Fig 1. Dayton Daily News dated August 3, 1912 (Newspapers.com)

Fig 2. Dayton Daily News excerpt of supporters of women's suffrage, 3 Aug 1912 (JPG)
Fig 2. Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News dated August 3, 1912 (Newspapers.com)

The second is from the August 24, 1912 issue, and the page was edited by the Dayton Branch of the Ohio Association Opposed to Women’s Suffrage (Fig 3). This page also had a section for prominent men in the region to express why they were supporting the anti-suffrage movement (Fig 4). These two pages are great examples of each movement, and why each side believed in their particular cause.

Fig 3. DDN page edited by Dayton Branch of Ohio Asso Opposed to Women's Suffrage, 24 Aug 1912 (JP
Fig 3. Dayton Daily News dated August 24, 1912 (Newspapers.com)

Fig 4. Excerpt from DDN highlighting comments from anti-suffrage supporters, 24 Aug 1912 (JPG)
Fig 4. Excerpt of the Dayton Daily News dated August 24, 1912 (Newspapers.com)

Ohio was seen as an example of how suffrage could be won in the east (Fig 5). The article claims that “a victory in Ohio will go far toward insuring victory in the 1915 contests.” It seems Ohio has always been an indicator of the social and political movements of the United States. Greene County also had its own suffrage movement, and in 1917, Henrietta Monroe, a member of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association and resident of Xenia, invited a suffragist speaker to her home, Mary Cowper (Fig 6).

Fig 5. Article from the Greenville Journal dated 22 Oct 1914 (JPG)
Fig 5. Article from the Greenville Journal dated October 22, 1914 (Newspapers.com)

Fig 6. Article from the Xenia Daily Gazette dated 6 July 1917 (PNG)
Fig 6. Article from the Xenia Daily Gazette dated July 6, 1917 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)

On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed the amendment, with the Senate following two weeks later. However, it would take three fourths of the states to ratify for it to pass. On June 16, 1919, Ohio became the sixth state to ratify the Amendment. Two months later, Tennessee would become the 36th state to ratify the Amendment, and the Amendment was officially adopted to the Constitution on August 26, 1920 (Fig 7).

Fig 7. 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution (JPG)
Fig 7. 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution (National Archives)

However, the suffrage movement and the passage of the 19th Amendment were fraught with disparities. Although women from all walks of life were involved in the movement, many were denied the right to vote after the passage of the amendment. Even with their continuous involvement and activism to gain voting rights, women of color did not fully realize those rights for another forty-five years with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which guaranteed all minorities the right to vote.

Today, we commemorate the fight of all women to gain access to equal voting rights. It is because of their struggles and sacrifice that we have the privilege to make our voices heard.

Until Next Time.

Sources:
Greene County Archives
National Archives
NewspaperARCHIVE.com
Newspapers.com

Comments

You must log in before leaving your comment