The Political Study Club of Ithaca in Tompkins County, New York, was an outgrowth of the Equal Suffrage Section of the Ithaca Women’s Club, which had been formed in 1894. The members of the Equal Suffrage Section felt that they could do more active work if they were an independent organization. In 1899 they separated and formed the Political Study Club of Ithaca, and began advocating more intensively for the right to vote for women in New York State. Around the same time other Tompkins County suffrage organizations formed, including the Groton Suffrage Club, the Newfield Suffrage Club, and the Equal Suffrage League of Cornell University. New York State sponsored a referendum on women’s suffrage in 1915 that failed, but in Tompkins County it passed by 115 votes. Final success came in 1917 when women won the right to vote in New York, and in 1920, with the ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution, giving women around the nation the right to vote.
Scope of Collection
This collection is comprised of three scrapbooks or ledgers that contain many pages of handwritten and typewritten meeting minutes, as well as brochures and other materials advertising suffrage meetings and programs. Most of the early materials in the first scrapbook concern Ithaca and Tompkins County, while later materials in all three scrapbooks cover suffrage matters around New York State and the nation. It also contains newspaper clippings of articles on suffrage matters, maps of the United States showing passage of suffrage in various states, and also highlights of anti-suffrage attacks. Photographs of suffrage gatherings around the US are contained as well. The books are thought to be the work of later members of the Political Study Club of Ithaca, mostly compiled around 1917.