Cultural Events

Newtown Historical Society Program To Explore Women's Suffrage Movement

Published: May 11, 2018 at 12:00 am


The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are very much male oriented documents, and the Founding Fathers clearly had no thought of including the Founding Mothers in full equality, including the right to vote. Not until 1920 was the right of suffrage extended to the women of America.

Newtown Historical Society, in conjunction with C.H. Booth Library, will trace the long history of that right in a program on Monday, May 14, at 7:30 pm. The free presentation will be in the community room of the library, 25 Main Street.

The program will be presented by Carolyn Ivanoff.

While the struggle for voting rights for women in America might be said to date back to Abigail Adams's admonition to husband John to "remember the ladies," the real antecedents of the movement begin with the reform movements of the early 19th Century, which gave women the opportunity of learning and practicing organization skills in areas such as temperance efforts and the abolition of slavery.

By 1848, women gathered their strength and skills to put together the famous Seneca Falls Convention, supported by many male as well as female reformers. The equality forced on settlers in the west led to Wyoming offering women the right to vote by 1867, and states gradually followed suit. It was not until 1920, however, that the 19th Amendment was ratified nationally, and women received the right of suffrage so long overdue.

Carolyn Ivanoff will trace the 72-year-long trail of struggle from Seneca Falls to ratification through photographs, political cartoons, and editorial comment, and featuring many of the notable women who participated in the struggle. Many of the earliest supporters did not live to see fulfillment of their goals, but for those who did, participating in the electoral process for the first time was a proud moment often memorialized in their letters and diaries.

Ms Ivanoff will dress in period clothing in honor of the women who fought valiantly so that future generations would have the right to fully participate in this country's democracy.

Ms Ivanoff is a housemaster at Shelton High School. She has presented historical programs, including the suffrage story, before many local groups and historical societies. She often performs her programs in period dress in order to reinforce the feeling of immediacy to the events being depicted.

A short historical society business meeting will take place before the presentation. Refreshments will be served following the program.

For further information call the society at 203-426-5937 or visit


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