The Fight for Washington Women's Suffrage: A Brief History

by Shanna Stevenson, WHC Coordinator

Women's voices and influence have always been a part of Washington's history, even without the vote. The fight for permanent woman's suffrage in Washington, however, spans over 50 years in territorial and state history. Washington was the first state in the 20th century and the fifth state in the Union to enact women's suffrage. Washington women's success in 1910 helped inspire the campaign that culminated in passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, when women won the right to vote nationally. More...

Suffrage Topics

Susan B. Anthony in Washington                         
Read about Susan B. Anthony's controversial 1871 tour through Washington as she promoted women's rights.

House Bill 59                      
Follow House Bill 59, Washington's Suffrage Constitutional Amendment, through the Washington Legislature via House and Senate Journals and period newspaper articles.

Mercer Girls                           
Learn about the role of the Mercer Girls in the Washington women's suffrage movement. The Mercer Girls came to Seattle in 1864 to balance the male-to-female ratio of the city.

Washington's Role in the 19th Amendment                    
Discover how women in Washington helped secure a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.

Suffrage Resources

Download a .pdf copy listing collections, court cases, publications, and websites related to suffrage in Washington.

Entertainment to Make Votes for Women, 1910
Play performed during the Washington Suffrage Campaign set in 2099.

The Breakthrough State: The Washington State Suffrage Campaign of 1906-1910
by Mary Susan Pacey

Debating Suffrage? The ‘Still Hunt’ in Spokane, 1898
by Nancy Driscol Engle

The Earnest Ladies: The Walla Walla Woman's Club and the Equal Suffrage League of 1886-1889
by Nelson A. Ault

Emma Smith DeVoe

Equal Rights for Washington Women                           
exhibit, WSHS

The Fifth Star
The short film The Fifth Star follows Naomi Nelson as she explores the history of Washington State suffrage. Used with permission of creator, Reel Grrls.

Harland v. Territory of Washington (1887)

The History of Woman Suffrage in the State of Washington
by Clyde Barrett Simmons

How Washington Women Regained the Ballot
by C. H. Baily

Labor and Women's Suffrage 
exhibit, Northwest Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association

Laura Hall Peters

May Arkwright Hutton

Nevada v. Todd (1888)

The Nevada Bloomer Case
by John Fahey

Rosencrantz v. Territory of Washington (1884)

Sacagawea and the Suffragettes: An Interpretation of a Myth
by Ronald W. Taber

The Souvenir of Western Women

Suffrage Timeline Poster 
Download a timeline of women's suffrage in Washington.

Thornton v. Territory of Washington (1888)

Votes for Women                     
by Gardiner Vinnedge

Washington Women's Cookbook

White v. Territory of Washington (1888)

The Woman Suffrage Issue in Washington 1890-1910
by Marte Jo Sheeran

The Woman Suffrage Movement in Washington
by T. A. Larson

Women's Suffrage: No Constitutional Franchise
by Doris Pieroth