Oregon Woman Suffrage History Month to Month

Portland Women Celebrate Federal Amendment Victory, August 28, 1920

Oregon women celebrated the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which states that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” at a luncheon at the Benson Hotel in Portland on August 28, 1920.

“Suffragists Here Celebrate Victory,” Oregonian, August 29, 1920, 20.

August 28, 1920 Oregon Women Celebrate the Achievement of National Woman Suffrage

Some 230 women gathered at the Benson Hotel in Portland on Saturday, August 28, 1920 to celebrate the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which made woman suffrage the law of the United States. Oregon women had had full voting rights for almost eight years. Both houses of the Oregon legislature had voted to adopt House Joint Resolution 1, introduced by Representative Sylvia Thompson, on January 12, 1920, making Oregon the twenty-fifth state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment. Tennessee was the last of the thirty-six states to ratify the amendment and it became part of the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 1920.

Mayor George Baker issued a proclamation asking all Portlanders to participate in a demonstration for noon on Saturday August 28 to recognize the event. Supporters urged mills, factories and churches across the state to ring bells and blow whistles to commemorate the day. At the Benson Hotel women “stood at attention around their tables” at noon for the ringing of the bells as the start of the victory luncheon.

The event commemorated the work of early leader Abigail Scott Duniway, who had died in 1915, and members of “the younger generation” who had been active in the successful 1912 campaign. And those present looked to the future as the Oregon Equal Suffrage Alliance became the League of Women Voters of Oregon with Effie Comstock Simmons as president.

—Kimberly Jensen

Suffragists Celebrate Victory

Further reading:

“Senate Gives Way for Mrs. Thompson,” Oregonian, January 14, 1920, 6

“Oregon Women Joyous Because Suffrage Wins in Tennessee,” Oregon Journal, August 18, 1920, 1.

“Women of Portland to Celebrate Saturday,” Oregonian, August 26, 1920, 1.

“Suffragists Here Celebrate Victory,” Oregonian, August 29, 1920, 20.

Jean H. Baker, ed., Votes for Women: The Struggle for Suffrage Revisited (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002)

Sara Hunter Graham, Woman Suffrage and the New Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996)

One Woman One Vote: Rediscovering the Woman Suffrage Movement, prod. Ruth Pollack, 1996, DVD, 146 minutes.

League of Women Voters of Oregon www.lwvor.org


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Posted by history class on 08/06 at 08:13 PM

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