October 29, 2022

Nebraska Woman Suffrage Association [RG1073.AM]


RG1073.AM: Nebraska Woman Suffrage Association

Records: 1888-1920, n.d.
Nebraska: Organization promoting voting rights for women
Size: 2.5 cu.ft.


Efforts to enfranchise the women of Nebraska date to as early as 1855 when suffragist Amelia Bloomer spoke before an audience at Omaha’s Douglas House. In 1881, several local groups formed the statewide Nebraska Woman’s Suffrage Association. With their first periodical, The Western Woman’s Journal, the movement for equality gained a unified voice. Attempts to gain the vote over the next years sometimes met with reversals.

In 1917, women were given the municipal vote, but this was suspended when an anti-suffrage group produced a referendum petition seeking an annulment of the new statute. The suffragists contested the petition (in Barkley vs. Pool) and after a two-year court battle, the petition was declared fraudulent. While the results of this case came too late to achieve the statute’s original purpose, the court battle itself boosted support of the Nebraska suffragists while discrediting their opponents. On August 2, 1919, Nebraska became the fourteenth state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution giving women the right to vote. In the next year, the Nebraska Woman Suffrage Association reorganized as the Nebraska League of Women Voters, signaling a new era in the political life of the state.

See also Nebraska History, vol. 49, pp. 149-163.


This collection, records of the Nebraska Woman Suffrage Association, is arranged as follows:

Series 1 – Correspondence, 1910-1920, n.d.
Series 2 – Minutes, 1910-1920, n.d.
Series 3 – Miscellaneous business records, 1913-1920, n.d.
Series 4 – Printed matter, 1888-1920, n.d.
Series 5 – Court case materials, c. 1918
Series 6 – Miscellany

The materials in this collection relate to the operation of the Nebraska Woman Suffrage Association, particularly in the years 1910 to 1920, chronicling its efforts to secure the vote for women in the state of Nebraska. The records concentrate on official business, media coverage, relationship to the national organization, and details of the 1917-1919 court case, Barkley vs. Pool. The collection contains an abundance of primary materials (such as minutes, correspondence, and NWSA publications) and secondary materials (mostly clippings), and also contains some documents available elsewhere (such as national suffrage publications, and copies of court documents). Even the secondary and duplicated materials add to the scope of this collection, as it brings varied sources together into a cohesive resource.

Many of these materials were donated to the Nebraska State Historical Society in 1950, commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. The scrapbooks, compiled by Grace C. Richardson, include her commentary.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1910-1920, n.d.
Box 1

  1. Correspondence, 1910-1920, n.d.

Series 2 – Minutes, 1910-1920, n.d.

  1. Minutes, 1910-1913,
  2. Minutes, 1914-1920, n.d.

Series 3 – Miscellaneous business records, 1913-1920, n.d.

  1. Membership list (?), arranged by town, n.d.
  2. Check Registers, 1914-1916
  3. Lists of local officers, n.d.
    Lists of women in county office, 1920
  4. Stock certificate for Woman’s Journal, 1913

Series 4 – Printed matter, 1888-1920, n.d.
Box 2

  1. Clippings, 1911, 1913-1914
  2. Clippings, 1915-1916
  3. Clippings, 1917
  4. Clippings, 1918
  5. Clippings, 1919
  6. Clippings, 1919
  7. Clippings, 1919
  8. Clippings, 1920
  9. Clippings, n.d.
  10. NWSA programs, 1904, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1920
  11. NWSA flyers
  12. NWSA education programs for Nebraska Public Schools, 1914
  13. NWSA annual reports, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909
  14. NWSA periodical: Western Woman’s Journal, 1881-1882
  15. NWSA newsletter: The Headquarters Message, 1909-1912 (See OB028)
  16. NWSA newsletter: Nebraska Suffrage News, 1914, n.d. (See OB028)
  17. NWSA newsletter: The Suffrage Messenger, 1915-1917
  18. Other publications re: Women’s rights in Nebraska

Box 3

  1. Publications re: Women’s suffrage, rights, and issues
  2. Publications re: Women’s suffrage, rights, and issues
  3. National Woman Suffrage Association newspaper: The Woman’s Tribune, March-May 1888 (See OB028) (published for a time in Beatrice, Nebraska. See other issues on microfilm in the Library, 324.3/W84)

Series 5 – Court case materials, c. 1918

  1. Plaintiffs’ petitions, 1918
  2. Chart of testimony (See OB028)
  3. Copy of referendum petition
  4. Transcripts of testimony, vol. 1

Box 4

  1. Transcripts of testimony, vol. 2
  2. Transcripts of testimony, vol. 3

Box 5

  1. Note cards on testimony

Box 6

  1. Note cards on testimony
  2. Scrapbook re: court case. Includes correspondence, clippings, copies of court documents, etc. (See oversize)

Box 4 (cont.)

  1. Writings, press release re: court case

Series 6 – Miscellany
Box 4

  1. Writing re: Woman’s suffrage and legislation in Nebraska
  2. Poem by Julia Ward Howe
  3. Scrapbook titled “Suff. Stuff.” Includes correspondence, publications, clippings, etc. Contains commentary by its compiler, Grace C. Richardson. (See oversize)
  4. Scrapbook re: Suffrage state and national conventions. Includes publications, clippings, and commentary by Grace C. Richardson. (See oversize)
  5. Scrapbook re: individuals involved in the Nebraska Suffrage movement. Includes photos, clippings, and biographies written by Grace C. Richardson. (See oversize)

Subject headings:

Barkley, Edna (McDowell), -1956
Barkley vs. Pool. Lancaster County District Court
Dietrich, Margaretta Shaw Stewart, 1881-1961
Richardson, Grace Crandall
Wheeler, Grace Margaret Mason, 1864-1947
National Woman Suffrage Association

Law and legislation — Nebraska
Legislation — Nebraska
Women — Nebraska
Women — Suffrage

The Headquarters Message
Nebraska Suffrage Messenger
Women’s Journal
The Women’s Tribune

Revised TMM 11-30-2006

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