Battle for the ballot

Local women plan 100th anniversary celebration of women’s suffrage movement

LOCK HAVEN — If you were a woman living in the United States 100 years ago you did not have the right to vote. Women’s Equality Day celebrates the ratification of the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote on August 26, 1920.

A local group, the Clinton County Women’s History Coalition, led by Loretta Coltrane whose hobby is researching women’s history, is planning a series of year-long events to commemorate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

“Our group hopes to educate Clinton County citizens of all ages about the history of the American women’s rights movement and the suffragists’ 72-year-long battle to obtain the right to vote. We also want to acknowledge local, Pennsylvania, and national suffragist leaders and encourage women to exercise their hard won right to vote,” said Coltrane.

The group requested that the Clinton County Commissioners issue a proclamation recognizing August 26, 2019, as Women’s Equality Day.

The group is sponsoring a Women’s Suffrage reception and mini-exhibit at the Clinton County Historical Society’s Poorman Gallery on Monday, August 26, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

The exhibit will include period clothing; a copy of the Declaration of Sentiments issued by Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848; photographs and information about local suffragists and the Pennsylvania Justice Bell; news clippings about prominent Suffrage speakers who came to Clinton County; and 1914 Pennsylvania Laws regarding women.

“The Women’s Suffrage 100th anniversary is a great opportunity to work collaboratively within our communities, to focus on the history of women’s suffrage and to learn more about what it took to win the right to vote,” group member Bonnie Hannis shared.

Ross Library Executive Director and Clinton County Women’s History Coalition member Tammy Garrison said, “We are looking for input from everyone. If you are aware of a family member who was a suffragist or have artifacts, letters, diaries, scrapbooks, or news clippings about the local effort to win women’s right to vote, please contact us.”

“We are especially interested in hearing any family stories about local women and men who supported or opposed women’s suffrage,” noted Karen Elias, coalition member and former Lock Haven University professor.

The Express will publish a series of articles from August 26, 2019 through August 26, 2020, to promote the Centennial Celebration of Women’s Suffrage in Clinton County. The first article, written by Karen Elias to present an overview of the Women’s Rights and Suffrage Movement, will be included in Monday’s paper.

For more information about the Clinton County Women’s History Coalition and Women’s Suffrage Commemoration events, contact Loretta Coltrane via Messenger on Facebook or call 570-769-2472. Anyone having artifacts or stories to share can also stop by the Ross Library or Clinton County Historical Society.