November 25, 2020

Archival Materials of Suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt Now Available Online For the First Time From Library of Congress

From the Library of Congress:

The papers of suffragist and political strategist Carrie Chapman Catt, including her time as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, have been digitized and are now available online for the first time from the Library of Congress.

The papers of suffragist, political strategist, and pacifist Carrie Love Chapman Catt (1859-1947) span the years 1848-1950, with the bulk of the material dating from 1890 to 1920. The collection consists of approximately 9,500 items (11,851 images), most of which were digitized from 18 microfilm reels. Included are diaries, correspondence, speeches and articles, subject files, and miscellaneous items, including photographs and printed matter.  The collection reflects Catt’s steadfast dedication to two major ideals–the rights of women, particularly the right to vote, and world peace.

Catt is perhaps best known for her second stint as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association beginning in 1915. She soon unveiled a two-pronged strategy to coordinate both state-by-state advocacy to win voting rights for women along with an aggressive lobbying effort in Washington for a federal suffrage amendment. Catt also helped found the International Woman Suffrage Association.

Catt and Alice Paul, who was president of the National Woman’s Party at the time, received much credit for securing passage and ratification of the 19thAmendment.

This year, the Library will explore the story of the long campaign for women’s suffrage in a new exhibition, “Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote,” opening June 4. The exhibition draws from the Library’s extensive collections of personal papers and organizational records of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Catt, Mary Church Terrell, Lucy Stone, Harriot Stanton Blatch, the Blackwell and Breckinridge families, the National Woman’s Party, the National American Woman Suffrage Association and others.

“Shall Not Be Denied” is part of the national commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, marking major milestones in 2019 and 2020. The exhibition is also part of a yearlong initiative inviting visitors to Explore America’s Changemakers.

Highlights of the Catt papers include:

  • A ratification notebook with Catt’s handwritten notes tracking ratification of the 19th Amendment in each state, recording the strategy and results;
  • A 1918 speech arguing for women’s voting rights based on women’s contributions to the nation during World War I;A 1916 letter outlining plans to travel the country to push for a federal suffrage amendment, including demonstrations at the Republican and Democratic conventions;
  • Diary entries recording visits with women’s groups in various countries during Catt’s world tour for the suffrage cause from 1911 to 1912; and
  • Correspondence and speeches documenting her founding of the National League of Women Voters and her lifelong work on behalf of pacifism and disarmament, including the creation of the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War.

The collection is arranged in six series:

  • Diaries, 1911-1923 (Reels 1-2)
    Typescript account of Catt’s travels. Includes duplicates. Arranged chronologically. Of particular note are the diaries, with embedded postcards, photographs, and other illustrations, recounting in detail Catt’s trip around the world on behalf of woman suffrage in 1911-1912.
  • General Correspondence, circa 1890-1947 (Reels 2-7)
    Letters received and copies of letters sent. Arranged alphabetically. A substantial amount of the correspondence is with prominent leaders of the women’s movement, including Grace Abbott, Jane Addams, Viscountess Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor, Alice Stone Blackwell, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ida Husted Harper, Mary Garrett Hay, Clara Hyde, Julia Clifford Lathrop, Rosette Suzanne Manus, Katherine Dexter McCormick, Maud Wood Park, Mary Gray Peck, Helen Rogers Reid, Rose Schneiderman, Rosika Schwimmer, Edna Lamprey Stantial, and Justina Leavitt Wilson.
  • Speech and Article File, 1892-1946 (Reels 7-9)
    Drafts, notes, handwritten manuscripts, typescripts, and near-print and printed copies of speeches and articles, most of which deal with women’s rights and peace. Titled speeches arranged alphabetically; untitled speeches arranged chronologically; articles arranged alphabetically at end of series.
  • Subject File, 1848-1950 (Reels 9-18)
    Correspondence, near-print and printed matter, newspaper clippings, awards, and miscellaneous material. Arranged alphabetically by subject. Included are biographical papers, awards, and birthday tributes, as well as manuscripts relating to the Woman’s Centennial Congress of 1940, the National Committee on the Cause and Cure of War, and other organizations with which Catt was affiliated.
  • Miscellany
    Autographs, bookplates, photographs, printed matter, and other material. Arranged alphabetically by type of material.
  • Oversize
    Photographs and drawing.

Direct to Carrie Love Chapman Catt (1859-1947) Collection

Direct to Carrie Love Chapman Catt Timeline

Direct to Collection Finding Aid ||| PDF Version

Read the Complete News Release

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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