Washington County Historical Society hosts women’s suffrage exhibit

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 3:07 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2020 at 4:45 PM EDT
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UPDATE: The “Ohio Women Vote: 100 Years of Change” exhibit is now open on the bottom floor of the Marietta Armory.

The exhibit features quotes and pictures of historic women that were a key part of the Women’s Suffrage Act in 1920.

There is even a section showing a newspaper headline from 1920 in Marietta about how the movement was affecting the Mid-Ohio Valley at the time.

Although it has been 100 years since the act was passed, people within the Washington County Historical Society say it is important to reflect on that time, and link it to what is going on for other groups of people in the world who struggle today.

“We take it for granted now, that women have the right to vote,” said Jann Adams, of the HIstorical Society. “But the right to vote for all sorts of groups, are still a struggle in some ways. So, just acknowledge that over 70 years of extreme bias and prejudice and speeches and traveling by these women made this happen.”


The Washington County Historical Society is sponsoring a special exhibit commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. It is being held on the ground floor of the Armory, and will be open to the public from July 2 through July 25.

The exhibit is titled, “Ohio Women: 100 Years of Change. It consists of 12 standing panels that feature quotes from and information about women who participated in the suffrage movement. Material presented is drawn from books, speeches, letters, and interviews. It also explores the work of more contemporary activists, and the ways in which movements for women’s rights have evolved over the decades. The panels are provided by the Ohio History Connection in Columbus.

“It’s got banners in the voices of these early women who wanted suffrage, and their struggles,” said Jann Adams, the member of the Washington County Historical Society who is spearheading the exhibit.

Adams went on to discuss the some of the women featured in the exhibit, and their connections to Ohio. For example, Adams explained that one of the panels provides information about Frances Dana Barker Gage, a Washington County-born feminist and abolitionist who was deeply involved in the women’s suffrage movement and worked with movement leaders like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Gage also chaired the 1851 Women’s Convention in Akron at which prominent abolitionist Sojourner Truth delivered her famous “Ain’t I a Woman” speech.

In addition, Adams noted that the exhibit highlights the important role that people of color played throughout the suffrage movement.

“Everyone hears about Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as if no one else did anything,” Adams said. “Women of color were involved in this from the very beginning..It’s a very inclusive show,” she added.

All panels will be six feet apart to allow for social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be provided throughout the exhibit, and masks will be available while supplies last. In addition, much of the information provided at the gallery can be found on the website of Ohio History Connection, for those unable to attend in person. For more information about the exhibit, visit its Facebook event page.

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