The debate over woman’s right to vote reached into Needham as well, with groups in in town aligned on both sides of the issue. On June 12, 1873, the Needham Woman Suffrage Club was formed, meeting at the home of Eliza LaCroix on May Street, and by the end of the year had 50 members.
A year later, more than two hundred people gathered for a program in favor of suffrage. A picnic was held to celebrate the first anniversary of the Needham Suffrage Club at which Lucy Stone spoke.
By 1885, it was the second largest suffrage club in Massachusetts. In 1887 the club changed its name and became Needham Woman’s Suffrage League to conform with other national groups.
The Needham Woman Suffrage Club Banner is on display in The Needham History Center and Museum.
On November 2, 1915 there was a statewide referendum that would allow women in Massachusetts to vote in all elections. Two rallies were held in Needham on two nights in October—one for and one against. A Suffrage Bluebird, which was displayed on the sides of barns and other buildings prior to the 1915 election is also in the History Center’s collection.
The 1915 Massachusetts referendum failed statewide by a wide margin, and in Needham by 595–389.