Women’s suffrage exhibit opens March 6

Detail from a 1914 International Women’s Day poster demanding voting rights. Image courtesy of Karl Maria Stadler/Wikimedia Commons

A traveling exhibit on women’s suffrage in Alaska opens with a reception at the Cordova Historical Museum 5-7 p.m. Friday, March 6.

It commemorates the 2020 centennial of passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, which was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920.

The exhibit, Alaska’s Suffrage Star, describes how local and national activism helped Alaska women citizens get the right to vote in 1913, and highlights women voting rights activism from the 1910s to 1920s.

The first bill ever passed by the Alaska Territorial Legislature granted voting rights to women citizens. In 1924 all Alaska Native women became eligible voters when the federal government granted U.S. citizenship to Native Americans.

Among those featured in the exhibit is Nellie Cashman, a miner and entrepreneur, and the first woman to vote in a territorial election in Alaska. Others include Cornelia Hatcher, a temperance leader who led the successful effort to enact Prohibition in Alaska; socialist organizer Lena Morrow Lewis, the first Alaska woman to run for federal office in 1916; and Tlingit educator Tillie Paul, a tribal historian who was arrested for assisting a Tlingit man in voting.

The exhibit, sponsored by the League of Women Voters Alaska, League of Women Voters Anchorage, and Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum, runs through the end of March.