More than 40 years before women achieved the vote in the U.S. in 1920, Emily Howland (1827-1929), a Quaker reformer, educator and philanthropist was petitioning the New York legislature to act equitably. In an 1876 letter just added to our collections,
Howland reminds the Honorable A.S. Russell that under the Constitution as written, the legislature has the power to give women of New York the right to vote. To encourage him, she suggests that grateful women would vote for those who empower them, and, conversely, refers to the historical outcome of “taxation without representation”: peril to a government that disallows the vote to women. By the time this letter was written in 1876, Howland had already accomplished a great deal — as a teacher in a school for African American girls, as an organizer of the Freedom Village for refugee slaves during the Civil War, as an advocate for women’s rights alongside Susan B. Anthony; she would later also become a champion of world peace.
The letter takes its place alongside Haverford’s other Howland materials, including the Emily Howland Papers, which illustrate her interest in African American education.
Tags: Women's rights