Archival Collection

Library of Congress National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection

Library of Congress: National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Era: Suffrage Era | Media: Curated Photos/Ephemera, Letters, Newspapers, Pamphlets, Posters

This extensive digitized collection from the Library of Congress contains hundreds of suffrage-era resources related to the National American Woman Suffrage Association, a prominent American suffrage organization whose founders included Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The collection consists of a wide array of media, including books, pamphlets, scrapbooks, newspapers, and posters.

The following description comes from the Library of Congress overview of the collection:

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.

Click here to view other NAWSA-related resources from Women’s Suffrage and the Media.

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