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COLLECTION Identifier: WRC; M-133, reels D27-28

Records of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1893-1918


Minutes, constitution, bylaws, etc., of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association, an affiliation of the American Woman Suffrage Association. These records are part of the Woman's Rights Collection.


  • 1893-1918

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association 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.


9 Volumes
1 folders

This series consists of Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association records from its incorporation in 1892 to 1918, including minutes, constitution, by-laws, and some correspondence, clippings, and flyers. The minutes, mostly of the board of directors or executive board, include superintendent, committee, financial, and local league reports, documenting in some detail Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association's activities, its work with such suffrage organizations as the Political Equality Union, and disagreements with both more radical suffrage groups (such as the Congressional Union) and ???

Volumes 100-101 and 103-105 were dismantled for preservation purposes. Volume 101 contains a variety of unreliable page numbering systems.


In 1870, within a year of forming the American Woman Suffrage Association, Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe, and others founded the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association. Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association was affiliated with American Woman Suffrage Association and shared both its goals and activities. It lobbied legislatures, educated people about the benefits of woman suffrage, promoted school and later municipal woman suffrage, founded local leagues, sought male support, and worked with associations in other states.

The merger, in 1890, of American Woman Suffrage Association with the National Woman Suffrage Association to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), along with other changes in the suffrage movement and a need for financial stability, prompted Alice Stone Blackwell and Ellen Batelle Dietrick to write a new constitution in April 1892. The constitution was designed to enable Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association to become a truly state-wide organization, to become less reliant on the work and support of a few leaders by developing grass-roots work and donations, and to increase its membership and voice in National American Woman Suffrage Association. To gain the benefits of a legal existence, such as receiving bequests, Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association incorporated in December 1892. In 1901, Massachusetts healed its own National/American split as Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association merged with the smaller National Suffrage Association of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association became the Massachusetts League of Women Voters in 1920. For further historical information, see Lois Bannister Merk, Massachusetts and the Woman Suffrage Movement (Ph.D. thesis, 1961), Schlesinger Library microfilm (M-19), or Sharon Strom, "Leadership and Tactics in the American Woman Suffrage Movement: A New Perspective from Massachusetts," Journal of American History 62 (September 1975): 296-315.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These records of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association fill nine volumes and one folder of the Woman's Rights Collection, which was given to Radcliffe College in August 1943 and formed the nucleus of the Women's Archives, later the Schlesinger Library. The material in this series was prepared for microfilming in July 1990 by Kim Brookes. It was microfilmed as part of a Schlesinger Library/University Publications of America project.

Related Material:

This material forms part of the Schlesinger Library's Woman's rights collection, 1853-1958 (WRC).

Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association. Records of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1893-1918: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

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.

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