Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: A/W455

The Enfranchisement of women and the League of Women Voters, 1914-1944, by Marguerite M. Wells, 1946


Compilation of writings by suffragist and president of the League of Women Voters Marguerite M. Wells.


  • 1946


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Marguerite M. Wells as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1 folder

The collection consists of a typed manuscript (dated August 12, 1946) containing excerpts from speeches and writings of Marguerite M. Wells and entitled The Enfranchisement of Women and the League of Women Voters, 1914-1944. The excerpts include Wells's statement in 1919 that "The League of Women Voters is the political thing in the world;" her response to claims that the organization constitutes a third party; plans for annual conventions, Wells's remarks at conventions, and reports on those conventions; her views on women's relative freedom from "bad political habits;" her thoughts on the proposed child labor amendment and on the League's achievements in its first ten years; and advice on increasing membership, with Wells noting that the best way of improving membership is by "satisfying those [members] you have." Columns by Wells on topics including "Public Welfare in Government," "What Women are Thinking--Four Years of Suffrage," "When Father Pays the Bills," "Making the Job Fit for Your Daughter," and "Voting Is Not Easy," and excerpts from letters Wells wrote to a former board member are also included. Publications in which articles by or about Wells appear include The Smith College Quarterly, The Washington Post, The Woman Citizen, The Christian Science Monitor, and the League's member magazine. The collection includes explanatory notes by Jeanette Bailey (Mrs. M. Adolphus) Cheek and Wells regarding Wells's motivation in compiling the document.


Suffrage leader Marguerite M. Wells was born in 1872, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of Edward Payson Wells and Nellie (Johnson) Wells. Her father was a banker, politician, and railroad entrepreneur. Wells attended Miss Hardy's school in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, before graduating from Smith College in 1895. She joined the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association in 1917, serving as president from 1922 to 1932. In 1920 she joined the newly formed National League of Women Voters; she served as president of the Minnesota League for ten years and as president of the National League from 1934 to 1944. She died of pneumonia in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1959.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 1657

The Enfranchisement of Women and the League of Women Voters, 1914-1944, by Marguerite M. Wells was given to the Schlesinger Library by Jeanette Bailey Cheek in 1969.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital Surrogates of the items in this collection are available through the Adam Matthew online database Gender: Identity and Social Change (Access restricted to subscribing institutions).

Processing Information

Processed by: Schlesinger Library staff.

Updated and additional description added: February 2023

By: Susan Earle

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by Eliza Taylor and George W. Ransom Memorial Fund, Robert and Elizabeth Owen Shenton Fund, and the Fleisher Acquisition Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA