In 2020, Rochester celebrates Susan B. Anthony’s 200th birthday and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, named for Anthony, that recognized women’s right to vote.

In 2017, Rochester celebrated another earlier milestone in the movement—the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in New York State. The first state east of the Mississippi River to pass woman suffrage, New York recognized women’s right to vote three years before the federal amendment that extended this right across the United States. The campaign that began in Seneca Falls and Rochester in 1848 took nearly 70 years to achieve.

Rochester-area women—and men—played an important role in these historic victories at both levels of government. In addition to universally recognized leaders like Anthony and Frederick Douglass, countless others worked at the local level to organize meetings and lectures, carry petitions door to door, and generally serve as the “boots on the ground” to drum up support for the cause.

During the 2017 celebration, a group of community partners banded together in the Rochester-Area Suffrage Centennial Alliance to coordinate commemorative events and mount an exhibition at the Rochester Public Library, June 2–October 17, 2017. This digital version of that exhibition brings together historical artifacts from throughout our community to help tell the stories of the local people and ideas that moved woman suffrage forward. Our theme, “Because of Women Like Her,” honors the legacy of our past while inspiring us towards an even better future.

Thank you to all the people and organizations who contributed time, expertise, material, and funding to this project.

Would you like to bring a version of this exhibit to your site? Learn about the traveling exhibit available for loan.