This exhibit honors suffragists and events from the history of the women’s suffrage movement, with special recognition of those in Massachusetts and Needham. The information in this web page is a companion to the experiential exhibit on the Needham Common October 17 – 30, 2020. The exhibit commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which granted women the right to vote, and was signed into constitutional law on August 26, 1920.

In Massachusetts, the passage of the amendment provided full suffrage for all women. However, full voting rights for Chinese and Native Americans, male and female, was not fully granted until 1924 and 1943, respectively. For African Americans primarily in the southern states, full voting rights were not realized until the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Read more about the Women’s Suffrage Marks 100 Years: LWV Exhibit on the the Common.

Prominent Massachusetts and Needham Suffragists

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883)  was born into slavery in New York, lived in Northampton, Massachusetts, and lectured extensively in Massachusetts on...

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Lucy Stone

Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was born in West Brookfield, MA. She was a prominent orator, abolitionist, and suffragist, and a vocal advocate and organizer...

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Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) escaped slavery in Maryland. His lifelong commitment to women’s rights reflected a belief that rights should be...

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Eliza La Croix

Eliza La Croix was the founder of the Needham Suffrage Club, formed in 1873 at the La Croix home on May Street. In 1987 the name was changed to the...

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Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin (1842-1924) was born in Boston. She was an African-American publisher, journalist, civil rights leader, suffragist, and...

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Alice Stone Blackwell

Alice Stone Blackwell (1857 –1950) was the daughter of suffragists and activists Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell. She was born in New Jersey but...

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Maude Wood Park

Maude Wood Park (1871-1955) was born in Boston. She co-founded the Boston Equal Suffrage Association for Good Government. She served as chief...

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Susan Walker Fitzgerald

Susan Walker Fitzgerald (1871-1943) was born in Boston. She was a suffrage leader, speaker, writer and politician. In 1922, she became the first...

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Blanche Ames

Blanche Ames (1878 –1969) was born in Lowell. She was an American botanical researcher, artist, political activist, inventor, writer, and prominent...

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Florence Luscomb

Florence Luscomb (February 6, 1887–October 13, 1985) was born in Lowell. She was an American architect and women's suffrage activist in...

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Melnea Cass

Melnea Cass (1896 – 1978) was an American community and civil rights activist. She was deeply involved in women's suffrage activities for all of her...

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Massachusetts Suffrage Events

Prominent National Suffragists

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells (1862-1931) was born in Mississippi to a family of Reconstruction activists. She befriended Susan B. Anthony and founded the Alpha...

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Carrie Chapman Catt

Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) was the leader of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1900-1904 and then in 1915-1920. She founded...

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Additional Topics

Needham Suffrage

Needham Suffrage 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...

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Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was founded on January 13, 1913 at Howard University. They joined the March 3, 1913 parade in...

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Additional Resources

About the Exhibit

The League of Women Voters of Needham developed, researched, created, and donated this art installation to the Town of Needham in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment and the founding of the national and state League of Women Voters.

The public art installation on the Needham Town Common honors the people and events that had a role in the women’s suffrage movement. The intent is to draw attention to and educate residents of Needham about the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the US, Massachusetts, and Needham.

The installation is designed for viewers to wander through at their own pace, view from afar, or view close up and learn more about our history. Being outdoors and spread out on the trees, the installation is safe, enjoyable, and inspirational.

LWV-Needham has selected the dates of October 16 – 30 for public viewing to coincide with the 2020 Election Early Voting period, which seems appropriate for a display honoring “Votes for Women.”

The exhibit “wraps” the Common’s seven tree trunks with fabric “sashes” to suggest the traditional sash of the suffragist, using the suffrage colors of purple, white and gold. Sashes feature the names and events of the suffrage movement. A scannable QR code takes viewers to a website with further information about the person or event.


The League of Women Voters of Needham would like to thank the following people and groups for their support of this project.

The League committee developed the concept, made the sashes, chose the people and events to honor, and developed the education content and web page: Heidi Frail (chair), Chris Balmer, Jane Evans, Jan Soma, Andy Wizer.

Needham High School Art Teacher Linda Burke advised on the overall design of the installation.

Needham High School student (class of 2020) Julia Berkman, founder of the NHS Calligraphy Club “Scribbles that Matter,” hand-lettered the sashes.

Town staff Kate Fitzpatrick, Sandy Cincotta, and Ed Olson supported and assisted the League, and the Select Board approved the concept and final donation of the exhibit to the Town of Needham.

Click on the photo below to start the slide show.

The story behind the Women’s Suffrage Marks 100 Years: LWV Exhibit on the the Common.
Read a summary of the project.