From the Vault is a new series highlighting recent projects, research, and interesting finds from the Special Collections & University Archives department at Gleeson Library. Our first post features the ongoing digitization project of the library’s Woman Suffrage Collection.
Two thousand twenty marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, granting voting rights to American white women. For decades prior, women across the nation organized, lectured, protested, and petitioned Congress for their constitutional right to vote. This movement, known as the Woman Suffrage Movement, also advocated for social and political equality issues, such as equal pay for equal work, women’s education, and legalities around marriage and divorce.
The Special Collections & University Archives department at Gleeson Library maintains the Woman Suffrage Collection as part of our manuscript collections. The collection consists of correspondence, photographs, and ephemera belonging to Dr. Clara W. MacNaughton (1854 – 1948) and her daughter, Marie MacNaughton Davis. It also includes a scrapbook created by Marietta Stow (? – 1902). Dr. MacNaughton, a practicing dentist, was heavily involved in the organizations of the Suffrage Movement, including the Woman’s Suffrage Association of the District of Columbia, the Federal Woman’s Equality Association, the National Woman’s Equality Association, and the Federal Suffrage Association. Correspondence in the collection is mainly between prominent suffragists Olympia Brown (1835 – 1926), Clara Bewick Colby (1846 – 1916), Belva Lockwood (1830 – 1917), and Dr. MacNaughton.
The collection was donated to the Gleeson Library in the early 1970s by Dorothy and Mervyn Eidenmuller, who owned the Bonanza Inn Book Shop in downtown San Francisco from 1947 to 1987. The Eidenmullers became members of the Gleeson Library Associates in 1962.
Upon her hire in April 2019, Gleeson Library’s Digital Collections Librarian, Gina Murrell, discovered that Special Collections & University Archives had the Woman Suffrage Collection and suggested it be digitized for the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Since then, Special Collections & University Archives have worked with Digital Collections to create an item-level index and digitize the collection. With the help of staff–especially Digital Collections Assistant Marina Cuneo–and student workers, the Woman Suffrage Collection will be available online through the Gleeson Library Digital Collections site for research and instruction starting in the spring semester.
(L) Student Assistant, Olivia Caudill Indexing the Collection & (R) Digital Collections Assistant, Marina Cuneo Digitizing the Collection
We envision working with faculty and students across the disciplines on digital humanities projects such as interactive timelines, text mining and analysis, and online exhibitions, to name a few. There will be opportunities for student internships or independent study involving the collection.
If you would like to learn more about our Woman Suffrage Collection, or are interested in using the collection in your course, please contact University Archivist, Annie Reid or Head of the Donohue Rare Book Room, John Hawk.
Olympia Brown’s book, Acquaintances, Old and New, Among Reformers and Marietta Stow’s book, Probate Chaff: Or, Beautiful Probate; Or, Three Years Probating in San Francisco are both held by The Donohue Rare Book Room.