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COLLECTION Identifier: WRC 112v-113v; M-133, reel D4

Records of the College Equal Suffrage League in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1904-1920


Essay, booklist, printed material, etc., of the College Equal Suffrage League, which worked on behalf of a constitutional amendment granting women the vote. These records are part of the Woman's Rights Collection.


  • Creation: 1904-1920

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Originals closed; use microfilm, M-133, reel D4.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the College Equal Suffrage League as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

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


2 Volumes

The two volumes contain minutes of executive board, board of managers, regular, and annual meetings of the College Equal Suffrage League, College Equal Suffrage League of Massachusetts, and College Equal Suffrage League of Boston, and a few annual reports. The volumes also contain a few clippings and announcements.

The minutes include committee reports, announcements, and decisions on such issues as organizing leagues across the state, raising and appropriating funds, sponsoring lectures, and working with high schools, colleges, and organizations, including the Boston Equal Suffrage Association.


In 1900, suffragists Maud Wood Park and Inez Haynes (later Irwin) founded the first College Equal Suffrage League in Boston. During the following decade, Park traveled across Massachusetts and then the United States founding branches, intending to persuade recent college alumnae to take an interest in suffrage work. The hope was that the alumnae would provide the suffrage ranks with younger members and interest current college women in the cause. Park believed that college women belonged in the suffrage movement because they were indebted to early woman's rights advocates, whose activities enabled many more women to attend college.

The league documented in this series apparently first called itself merely "CESL"; it later became the College Equal Suffrage League of Massachusetts and finally, the College Equal Suffrage League of Boston. It counted a number of prominent Boston suffragists among its members and devoted a large part of its time to educating high school and college students about woman suffrage and involving them in suffrage work. 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 College Equal Suffrage League fill two volumes 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 these volumes was prepared for microfilming in June 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).

College Equal Suffrage League. Records of the College Equal Suffrage League in the Woman's Rights Collection, 1904-1920: 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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