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Montana Women's Suffrage Movement

Page history last edited by Marcella Walter 3 years, 2 months ago

Montana women received the right to vote in 1914. Yet the question of women's suffrage forms a long chapter in Montana’s history, and is a fascinating social and political issue. Montana women began advocating for the right to vote during the territorial period. Suffrage campaigners such as Maggie Smith Hathaway, Jeannette Rankin (who became the first female U.S. congressional representative), and Belle Fligelman worked hard to convince Montanans to pass women's suffrage six years before women received the vote nationally.  The campaign for suffrage in Montana and across the nation required steady and courageous exploration of social and political thinking, as well as women and men willing to face very real conflict and work for compromise and change.


Primary Sources


Belle Fligelman Winestine, "Mother Was Shocked," Montana the Magazine of Western History 24, no. 3 (1974): 70-78.


Suffrage Daily News. Published in Helena, Montana, between September and November 1914, this periodical played a major part in the success of the women’s suffrage movement in Montana. The publishers of the Daily News included Mrs. Lora O. Edmunds of Absarokee, Mary O’Neill of Butte, and Belle Fligelman of Helena. Available online via the Library of Congress Chronicling America Project.


Secondary Sources


Baumler, Ellen, “A Sprig of Green,” More from the Quarries of Last Chance Gulch (Helena, 1995): 20-24.


Larson, T. A. “Montana Women and the Battle for the Ballot.” Montana The Magazine of Western History 23, no. 1 (Winter 1973): 24-41. Download here.


Schaffer, Ronald, "The Montana Woman Suffrage Campaign: 1911-14," Pacific Northwest Quarterly  55 (January, 1964): 9-15.


Wheeler, Leslie A. “Woman Suffrage’s Gray-Bearded Champion Comes to Montana, 1889.” Montana The Magazine of Western History 31, no. 3 (Summer 1981): 2-13. Download here.


Primary and  Secondary Sources on the Web


 "Montana Suffrage page," Women's History Matters website (a website commemorating the hundredth anniversary of women's suffrage in Montana). This site includes a bibliography for researchers, an interactive map showing how each Montana county voted on suffrage, and many other resources.


History of Woman Suffrage: 1883-1900, ed. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, et al., has a great Montana overview


http://www.suffragist.com/timeline.htm places Montana in context in a National Suffrage timeline


About.com: Women’s History includes a Jeannette Rankin article plus a bibliography 


“From Literary Societies to Suffrage” discusses the relationship between the women’s movement and women’s organizations




Vertical Files at the Montana Historical Society


Woman Suffrage (two files)

Emma Ingalls

Maggie Smith Hathaway

Belle Winestine

Harriet Sanders

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