The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection is a library of nearly 800 books and pamphlets documenting the suffrage campaign. They were collected between 1890 and 1938 by members of NAWSA and donated to the Rare Books Division of the Library of Congress on November 1, 1938. The bulk of the collection is derived from the library of Carrie Chapman Catt, president of NAWSA from 1900-1904, and again from 1915-1920. Additional materials were donated to the NAWSA Collection from the libraries of other members and officers, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Alice Stone Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe, Elizabeth Smith Miller, and Mary A. Livermore.
The complete collection consists of a variety of materials—newspapers, books, pamphlets, memorials, scrapbooks, and proceedings from the meetings of various women’s organizations—documenting the suffrage fight.
The materials in the collection amount to approximately 65,683 pages and can be broken down as follows:
Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37,382
Memorials . . . . . . . . . . . . 278
Pamphlets . . . . . . . . . . . 4,165
Proceedings/Reports . . . 2,058
Serials . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21,800
TOTAL . . . . . . . . . . . 65,683
This online selection was based on a number of user groups in mind: students at both the high school and college levels interested in developing a basic understanding of the suffrage movement; teachers of courses at these levels; and advanced scholars engaged in research. In all cases, materials were selected that best represented the NAWSA organization and its place in the woman suffrage campaign.
Users should note that the collection mirrors the biases of NAWSA’s membership. For the most part, it represents the concerns of well-educated, middle- and upper-class white women living in the North, and especially in New England. There is little in the collection to document the role of Southern women or women of color. Working-class women receive a slightly larger share of attention, but, for the most part, the collection details the experiences of the affluent white women who formed the suffrage campaign’s leadership cadre.