Skip to Main Content

Radcliffe College Suffrage

An Introduction to Suffrage at Radcliffe College

Before the 1900s women's colleges did not widely support the suffrage movement and Radcliffe College was no exception. There was a belief that support for suffrage would impede the progress of women's higher education.  It was also thought that higher education for women would ultimately lead to gaining full citizenship rights.  When Radcliffe College was chartered in 1894, the majority of the students, faculty and staff were strongly anti-suffrage.

These views did not go unchallenged, however. Radcliffe students Maud Wood (later Park; Class of 1898) and Inez Haynes Gillmore (later Irwin; Radcliffe 1896-1898) were spurred to action in 1897 after a tea was held to which an anti-suffrage leader had been invited seemingly for recruitment purposes.  The students were dismayed that both sides of the suffrage question were not represented. In response Park and Haynes invited Alice Stone Blackwell, then editor of the leading suffrage publication, The Woman's Journal, to speak to the Emanuel Club. Only a few years later in 1900 Park and Haynes would go on to organize other college-educated women to help further the fight for suffrage by founding the College Equal Suffrage League. See additional information about Park and Gillmore.

Getting Started

This guide provides information that will be helpful in exploring the history of suffrage and anti-suffrage activity at Radcliffe College and by its alumnae.

Some archival material is available online.  Most published material is freely available online.  

The title of each resource is linked to its HOLLIS catalog record.  When available, digital content can be accessed by following the link below the resource's description.  For resources linked to Harvard Mirador Viewer and ProQuest History Vault searching tips can be found below. 

Please ask us if you have questions about these resources.

Tips for Searching Harvard Mirador Viewer

Harvard Mirador Viewer is an open access image platform that provides free access to digitized material.  A number of resources within this guide can be accessed using this tool.

The "Full Text Search" button, highlighted below in red, allows you to do a key word search across all volumes contained in the list. 

The "Search" button, highlighted below in red, allows you to perform a keyword search within a specific document.  

Search terms may be combined using the following operators:

  • and, or, not, near

The default operator is "and", so the following two queries produce identical results:

  • equal suffrage
  • equal and suffrage

These search results will only match documents that contain "equal" and/or "suffrage".  

To search for a phrase, enclose it in quotation marks:

  • "equal suffrage"

These search results will only match documents containing the phrase "equal suffrage".

Tips for Using ProQuest History Vault

ProQuest History Vault is a subscription e-resource and requires a Harvard ID to access.  Not a Harvard affiliate? Please consult your library to see if they subscribe.

1. Once you click the link to go to the database, you land in the entirety of ProQuest History Vault. Choose "Women's Studies."


2. Navigate to desired module within the greater collection and select "Browse Collections".

NOTE: The collections in this guide are from the Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from the Schlesinger Library: Voting Rights, National Politics, and Reproductive Rights module. 


3.This will take you to a list of series within the larger collection, from here you can select the desired series. 


4. This page will allow you to do a keyword search (ex. Maud Wood Park, College Equal Suffrage Club, etc.) within the selected series.  You can also select "View All Documents" to see a list of material contained in the series.  



5. To view digital content look for the PDF button to the right side of the screen. Options are to download 50 pages at a time OR using the last selection, you can download all pages at one time.


6. To cross search across all series in the Women's Studies Manuscript Collections from the Schlesinger Library: Voting Rights, National Politics, and Reproductive Rights click here.