Over the summer I noticed a new sign in the town square where I live.
Votes for Women
Suffragists Helen Hurlbut of California & Elizabeth Upham Yates of Maine spoke here, the former Janssen’s Hall, for the 1896 Suffrage Campaign.
The sign had a QR code that led me to the National Votes for Women Trail website.
I was extremely excited and began to look into this.
The NVWT is part of the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites which advocates for more women and gender non-conforming individual’s history in the news and recognized with markers and sites.
The NVWT is collecting information on sites all over the country where events to further the National Votes for Women campaign occurred. It is an effort to recognize and honor the long struggle for voting rights in this country.
The NVWT notes that the voting rights campaigns were grassroots organizations that were able to make big changes and that the process was long and hard fought and continues today. Recognizing and honoring the efforts made for voting rights brings attention to this very important issue and encourages us all to keep fighting for voting rights for all.
Some of the sites acknowledged on the Trail also have markers like the one in my town, that are sponsored by the Pomeroy Foundation.
An interactive map
On the NVWT page there is an interactive map full of small purple circles indicating where events toward suffrage happened. All kinds of events are recognized: speeches, meetings, rallies, educational efforts or even birthplaces of people who worked toward suffrage.
Each circle, when hovered over, opens to details in a pop up box. Using the “Filter Map” button, the information on the map can be sorted by name, location, city, state, ethnicity and gender as well as to discover whether there is a Pomeroy Marker in that place.
There is also a box on the map that says “Narrative Table” which you can use to download or print information in a table format for further research on your own.
The site is full of information on the people who worked toward suffrage “all over our country to allow us to tell the untold story of suffrage for all women, of all ethnicities, that extends well past the passage of the 19th amendment. We currently have 44 State Coordinators and over 2000 sites on our database, which continues to grow at a rapid pace” (http://ncwhs.org/votes-for-women-trail/#trail).
What an amazing database. And it is growing.
The site currently lists 2300 sites and encourages us all to add more through the “get involved” tab.
“Anchoring the story of women’s suffrage in specific historic sites brings to life the enormous grassroots commitment all across this country to voting rights for women as citizens of the United States. Women’s suffrage was indeed a national struggle, part of the ongoing struggle for voting rights for all U.S. citizens, including African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos/as, indigenous people, people from farms as well as cities, rich as well as middle class and working class, people of all religions, men as well as women. By honoring the work of hundreds of thousands of participants in the movement for women’s suffrage, this project shows how social change happens through citizen action and inspires future generations to treasure their right to vote” (https://ncwhs.org/votes-for-women-trail/about-the-trail/).
The Pomeroy Marker in my local town opens to a page that informs that in 1896 when California suffragists were attempting to get a measure on the state ballot in favor of women’s suffrage, the National America Woman Suffrage Association sent representatives to help. They sent Elizabeth Yates to Sebastopol, California to speak with local woman Helen Hurlbut on behalf of that effort.
They both spoke at Janssen’s Hall which was then owned by Adelaide Janssen and served as a hotel and meeting place.
The two women from the Western Sonoma County Historical Society and Museum who are responsible for getting the marker put up in my town are Mary Dodgion and the Donna Pittman. It was the first Pomeroy Marker for the NVWT in California.
When I discovered the marker in my town I was about to head out on a trip to the East Coast. I looked in the database to see if there were any markers in the areas I would be traveling through and indeed found one located in Grafton, Vermont honoring a Lucy Daniels.
On our outing through Vermont my companions and I made a special effort to locate it. It was not difficult. Grafton is a very small town. The Pomeroy Marker was in front of the house Daniels lived in. It reads:
Lucy J.C. Daniels
Grafton Suffragist refused to pay property taxes in suffrage protest 1911.
Jailed in Washington DC for Suffrage Picketing 1917.
A QR code took me to her page that told me more of Lucy’s story.
Apparently at one point she displayed a sign on the side of the house that read: “A Square Deal Votes for Vermont Women.” Daniels was a delegate for Vermont at the 1903 National Equal suffrage convention. The Vermont Journal, reporting on the installation of the marker in Grafton reports that:
“Lucy Daniels made significant contributions to women’s voting rights, including her efforts to persuade the National American Woman Suffrage Association to include more Black women in the movement, specifically the infamous 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., in which she participated.”(https://vermontjournal.com/featured-articles/grafton-suffragist-honored-with-historic-marker/)
She was indeed jailed for 15 days for her silent protest picketing outside the White House. Once released, she went on to not only fight for women’s suffrage but for the right to silent protest outside the White House.
Thank you, Lucy Daniels.
Pomeroy Foundation website
On the Pomeroy Foundation website, one can search locations to find a specific NVWT maker or simply peruse the general map to see where suffrage markers are in place. There is even a YouTube created to teach one how to navigate the map.
Find the marker map here.
The Pomeroy Foundation has funded many markers besides the NVWT. On the map under “filter/search,” there is a drop-down box where you can find the National Votes for Women Trail to specifically search. Currently there are 209 NVWT markers listed.
Have fun using these amazing resources to research suffragists in your own town or in locations you are planning to visit.
©Theresa C. Dintino 2022