The majority of American women gained the right to vote 100 years ago this year with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. To celebrate, the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS) and the William G. Pomeroy Foundation have partnered to place historic markers in each state and territory of the U.S. -- including five markers in Nevada -- recognizing significant events and people in the suffrage campaign.
The unveiling of a Las Vegas marker will take place at 10 a.m. March 5 in Centennial Park, adjacent to the Historic Fifth Street School. The event is free and open to the public.
The event was coordinated by Joanne Goodwin, UNLV professor of history and board member of the NCWHS, along with the Nevada Commission for Women, Mesquite Club, Girl Scouts, United States of Women, and the Women’s Research Institute of Nevada.
“It has been remarkable to discover the breadth and longevity of activity across the state that led to this win,” Goodwin said. “The organizations have demonstrated the truly national effort of the campaign.”
The project benefited from the research assistance of UNLV history Ph.D. student Christina Lamoureux. The entire application process of working with local communities and the Pomeroy Foundation took more than two years.
Las Vegas participated in the suffrage campaign through the auspices of the Mesquite Club and, in particular, its president Delphine Squires from 1912 to 1914. The club hosted suffrage speakers who came from as far as New York or as near as Reno. It also held talks on women’s legal status and political opportunities. The work succeeded as male voters in Clark County supported votes for women by 3-to-1 in the general election of November 1914.
The historic markers project emerged from the National Votes for Women Trail, a project of the NCWHS. This digital site visualizes approximately 1,100 places and people who worked for woman suffrage from the middle of the 19th century through 1920. Nevada passed a woman suffrage bill in 1914, and active members of the state campaign went on to work for suffrage in other states and set up voter education groups in the state.
Two markers have already been installed in Nevada – the first at the Mizpah Hotel in Tonopah, recognizing Marjorie Brown whose work with the state organization succeeded in gaining support in the middle of the state. The second installation, in Carson City, recognized Felice Cohn as co-founder of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society and for writing the draft of the legislation passed by the Nevada Legislature.
Additional markers will be placed in Reno at the state headquarters of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society, recognizing its president, Anne Martin, who organized the successful campaign from 1912 to 1914. On July 4, Battle Mountain will install the fifth marker near the former site of the first convention in the state to organize for woman suffrage, which was held at the Capitol Hotel on July 4, 1870.
About The National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites
The National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites is a non-profit organization established to support and promote the preservation and interpretation of sites and locales that bear witness to women’s participation in American history. NCWHS is dedicated to making women’s contributions to history visible so all women’s experiences and potential are fully valued. For more information, visit: www.ncwhs.org
About the William G. Pomeroy Foundation
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation is a private foundation established in 2005. The Foundation is committed to supporting the celebration and preservation of community history; and to raising awareness, supporting research and improving the quality of care for patients and their families who are facing a blood cancer diagnosis. To date, the Foundation has awarded nearly 800 grants for historic signage in New York State and beyond. For more information, visit: www.wgpfoundation.org