Women's Suffrage Resource Guide: Printed Books and Documents

Access to primary source materials from the Kenneth Spencer Research Library, American History resources, and selected Women's Suffrage websites.

Printed books and documents from the Kenneth Spencer Research Library

For those conducting research on women’s suffrage or for classes exploring the topic more broadly, the Spencer Research Library houses various primary source materials related to suffrage at the state, national, and even international levels. The majority of the Spencer’s suffrage-related materials are printed books and documents that can be found using KU Libraries’ online catalog. Available items include perspectives and campaign materials from both the national pro- and anti-suffrage movements, as well as materials that document the history of women's suffrage in Kansas.

Some noteworthy and interesting print sources are highlighted here:

  • Address to the Voters of Kansas, 1867 (Call Number: RH C4463)

The authors of this pamphlet offer arguments for their position in support of amendments to the Kansas state constitution that would approve voting rights for African Americans and women and would restrict voting rights to “loyal persons.”

  • The Suffrage Song Book: Original Songs, Parodies, and Paraphrases, Adapted to Popular Melodies by Henry W. Roby, 1909 (Call Number: KAC B29)

The twenty-eight songs in this book express the women's rights perspective set to popular tunes of the time – for example "Three Blind Men" set to “Three Blind Mice.” Roby was a prominent medical doctor in Topeka, Kansas.

  • The Gee-Gee’s Mother Goose by Lilla Day Monroe, 1912 (Call Number: KAC C2)

A long-time resident of Topeka, Monroe was a lawyer and journalist who contributed significantly to the women's suffrage movement in Kansas. The Gee-Gee’s Mother Goose contains verses, nursery rhymes, and illustrations supporting women’s suffrage.

  • Anti-suffrage Campaign Manual by Mrs. Albert T. Leatherbee, 1915 (Call Number: Howey B2600)

This pamphlet presents reasons why women are opposed to giving women the right to vote and serves as an instructional manual for anti-suffragists to learn public speaking and debate.

  • Are Women People? A Book of Rhymes for Suffrage Times by Alice Duer Miller, 1915 (Call Number: Howey C6148)

This collection of poetry concerns suffrage and women's rights; many of the poems were first published in the New York Tribune.

  • Woman Suffrage: A Study Outline prepared by Justina Leavitt Wilson, 1916 (Call Number: Howey B2562)

Wilson explains the purpose of her work in the introductory note, writing that it “is for suffragists of experience, therefore, no less than for many who are facing or hoping soon to face state campaigns for the first time that this study outline has been prepared. Its scope, from Plato to the present, offers the breadth of view necessary not only for a good perspective but also for deep appreciation of the meaning of the subject.”

  • The International Woman Suffrage News: The Monthly Organ of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, 1916-1926 (Call Number: Howey E176)

This journal published news about the progress of the women's suffrage movement around the world. It also reported on various other women's issues, including women leaders, women working in male-dominated fields, women's and children's health, marriage and divorce law, prostitution, women's education, maternity benefits, working conditions, and the age of consent.

  • The Woman Patriot: A National Newspaper for Home and National Defense Against Woman Suffrage, Feminism and Socialism, 1918-1922 (Call Number: Howey E 175)

              Published from 1918 until 1932, The Woman Patriot was the bimonthly newspaper of the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOWS).

These highlighted materials show only a small portion of the suffrage-related printed materials available at Spencer. To find and explore additional resources, please use the online catalog  and consider these search tips:

  • Utilize a variety of search terms and phrases. While searching for ‘suffrage’ will retrieve a great deal of relevant material, the term ‘suffrage’ also will return results related to any suffrage or voting rights – not just women’s suffrage. Suggested search terms and phrases include woman’s suffrage, women’s suffrage, women’s rights, suffragist, suffragette, Nineteenth Amendment, and feminism.
    • To search for phrases, add quotation marks around the words (i.e. “women’s suffrage” instead of women’s suffrage).
    • Search for the names of individuals and organizations involved with the women’s suffrage movement. It can be helpful to search both ‘First Name, Last Name’ and ‘Last Name, First Name’ when searching for specific names.
  • Limit and sort the search results. The online catalog shows items from all KU Libraries locations. While it is beneficial to see everything available at KU in one place, it can be helpful to add limits to the search to find more relevant or specific material. On the right-hand side of the search results there are a variety of tools under ‘Tweak my results’ that can help do just that! Try sorting results by date instead of relevance, setting a date range for desired materials, or limiting the search results to only those found at Spencer.