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Women's Suffrage in Virginia

h/t Encyclopedia VA

Time Line

·         July 1848 - The first women's rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, New York, to argue for women's right to vote.

·         1870 - Anna Whitehead Bodeker organizes the first Virginia State Woman Suffrage Association and serves as president.

·         November 1871 - Anna Whitehead Bodeker tries unsuccessfully to vote in a Virginia municipal election.

·         November 27, 1909 - A group of women, including Ellen Glasgow, Mary Johnston, Kate Langley Bosher, Adèle Clark, Nora Houston, Kate Waller Barrett, and Lila Meade Valentine, found the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia.

·         February 1910 - The Equal Suffrage League of Virginia joins the National American Woman Suffrage Organization.

·         1912 - Lila Meade Valentine persuades a group of Richmond businessmen to form the Men's Equal Suffrage League of Virginia.

·         1912 - Anti-suffragists in Virginia organize a counter organization to refute the arguments of suffragists.

·         1912 - Virginia suffragists bring a suffrage bill to the floor of the General Assembly three times between 1912 and 1916 but it is not passed.

·         1914 - The Equal Suffrage League of Virginia begins publishing a monthly newspaper called the Virginia Suffrage News.

·         1914 - The Equal Suffrage League of Virginia has forty-five local chapters.

·         1916 - The Equal Suffrage League of Virginia has 115 local chapters.

·         1919 - Membership in the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia reaches 32,000, making it most likely the largest state association in the South.

·         1919 - Despite pressure from the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia, the Virginia General Assembly rejects the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

·         June 1919 - The United States Congress passes the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote.

·         1920 - State archivist Morgan P. Robinson registers women to vote.

·         1920 - The newly founded Virginia League of Women Voters begins to sponsor registration drives and voter education programs.

·         1920 - Charlotte Woodward, at age nintey-one, becomes the only surviving member of the Seneca Fall meeting to legally vote under the Nineteenth Amendment.

·         1920 - Mary-Cooke Branch Munford is appointed to the Democratic National Committee.

·         August 1920 - Virginia women gain the right to vote after the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution becomes law.

·         September 1920 - The Equal Suffrage League of Virginia disbands.

·         October 1920 - Thirteen thousand Richmond women, 10,645 white and 2,410 black, register to vote.

·         November 6, 1923 - Sarah Lee Fain, of Norfolk, and Helen Timmons Henderson, of Buchanan County, become the first women elected to the Virginia General Assembly.

·         1924 - Kate Waller Barrett of Alexandria serves as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

·         1924 - Six women serve in the Virginia General Assembly, which allows a wider role for women in Virginia politics.

·         June 1948 - The town of Clintwood elects an all-female town government.

·         February 21, 1952 - The Virginia General Assembly ratifies the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, thirty-two years after it became law.

·         November 1953 - Kathryn H. Stone becomes the first woman elected to the Virginia General Assembly since 1933.

·         1961 - Hazel K. Barger receives the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

·         November 1979 - Eva F. Scott becomes the first woman elected to the Virginia state senate.

·         1984 - Edythe C. Harrison receives the Democratic nomination for United States senator.

·         November 1985 - Mary Sue Terry becomes the first woman elected attorney general of Virginia.

·         1989 - Elizabeth B. Lacy becomes the first woman elected to the Virginia Supreme Court.

·         November 1989 - Mary Sue Terry wins reelection as attorney general of Virginia.

·         November 1992 - Leslie Byrne becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress from Virginia, beating Republican Henry N. Butler for the seat in the new Eleventh Congressional District.

·         November 1993 - Mary Sue Terry becomes the first woman to run for governor of Virginia but is defeated in the election.

·         2000 - Mary Margaret Whipple becomes the first woman chair of the Virginia Democratic Senate Caucus.

Further Reading

 

Green, Elna C. Southern Strategies: Southern Women and the Woman Suffrage Question. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.

Harper, Ida Husted. The History of Woman Suffrage. Vol. 6. Rochester, NY, 1922.

Lebsock, Suzanne. "Women Suffrage and White Supremacy: A Virginia Case Study." In Visible Women: New Essays on American Activism, edited by Nancy A. Hewitt and Suzanne Lebsock, 62–100. Urbana, IL: University of Illininois Press, 1993.

McDaid, Jennifer Davis. "All Kinds of Revolutionaries: Pauline Adams, Jessie Townsend and the Norfolk Equal Suffrage League." Virginia Cavalcade 49 (Spring 2000): 84–95.

Terborg-Penn, Rosalyn. African-American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850–1920. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

 

Contributed by Jennifer Davis McDaid, Local Records Appraisal Archivist, Library of Virginia and Deputy Coordinator of the State Historical Records Advisory Board.