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History of Woman Suffrage: Wikis


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This page refers to the book by American suffragists. For a history of women's suffrage, see Women's suffrage.

History of Woman Suffrage was produced by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage and Ida Husted Harper in six volumes from 1881 to 1922. It was a history of the suffrage movement, primarily in the United States.

The first three volumes were composed in a blaze of inspiration from 1876 to the 1880s, as Anthony and Stanton realized that the earliest pioneers of the women's movement were passing on or would soon be. They are filled with recollections from such pioneering spirits as Lucretia Mott, Clarina I. H. Nichols and Ernestine Rose, as well as each of the co-authors.

Because of her key role in the fight for woman suffrage, Anthony and Stanton asked Lucy Stone to help write the history of the movement. Stone refused; she believed that Anthony and Stanton would not accurately portray the divisive split in 1869 between radical National Woman's Suffrage Association (NWSA), formed by Anthony and Stanton to fight against African American male suffrage so that woman suffrage could be achieved first, and centrist American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), formed by Stone and a greater number of supporters who were willing to work toward black male suffrage as a political expedient followed in due course by a renewed effort for woman suffrage. After she declined to assist Stanton and Anthony, Stone's wide influence in the field of women's rights was marginalized in History of Woman Suffrage. The text was used as the standard scholarly resource for much of the 20th century, causing Stone's contribution to be overlooked in many histories of women's causes.[1]

The latter three volumes were more records-keeping in nature. They were compiled periodically over the next 35 years as the suffrage movement inched closer to its goal of a constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote. Anthony's protege Ida Harper edited these volumes, which appeared in 1902 (Volume 4) and 1922 (Volumes 5 and 6). Anthony died in 1906.

The authors write in the introduction: "We hope the contribution we have made may enable some other hand in the future to write a more complete history of the most momentous reform that has yet been launched on the world—the first organized protest against the injustice which has brooded over the character and destiny of one-half the human race."

The first volume is dedicated to the memory of several pioneering women in the movement, with the name of Mary Wollstonecraft listed first, above all other names.


  1. ^ The Trustees of Reservations. Andrea Moore Kerr, Ph.D., Lucy Stone Home Site: A Women's History Landmark. Retrieved on March 18, 2009.

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