Photo of the Week


“Men of New York, Cast Your Votes for Women!” Advertisement, 1917. This New York State Woman Suffrage Party advertisement appealing to “Men of New York” appeared in the South Side Signal on Nov. 2, 1917. Four days later, on Nov. 6, 1917, women won the right to vote in New York state. Three years later, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (right) granted suffrage rights to women nationwide.

For Women’s History Month, this year marks the 104th anniversary of the Woman Suffrage Movement’s great success: the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This moment had been preceded by a hard-fought political campaign spanning generations and involving tens of thousands of activists. To win the right to vote, women circulated suffrage petitions and gave speeches in churches, convention halls, meeting houses, and on street corners. They published newspapers, pamphlets, and magazines. They were frequently harassed and sometimes attacked by mobs and police, and some women were thrown in jail and treated brutally. Still, they persevered, and by August 20, 1920, women nationwide had won the right to vote and to hold elective office.

Numerous Long Islanders — both women and the men who stood with them — played a role in the suffrage movement. Here are just a few of them:

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Shoreham: The first president of the National American Women Suffrage Association, Stanton was a dedicated suffragist captain from Long Island. She and others collected six thousand signatures in ten weeks in 1857, demanding both economic and political change. Their challenge to the status quo outraged the New York State Assembly. After Stanton presented the petitions to the legislators, they mocked the petition, saying “ladies always get the choicest tidbits at the table, the best seat in the carriage, and the best side of the bed to lie on. If there is inequity or oppression, the gentlemen are the sufferers.”

Elizabeth Oakes Smith, Patchogue: A champion of women’s rights, Smith fought for “women [to] be accepted as citizens.” She was a nominee for both the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidate on the Woman Suffrage tickets of the 1860s. She stirred the nation with her pamphlet, Woman and Her Needs, which was originally published as a series of articles in the New York Tribune.

Mary Louise Booth, Yaphank: An accomplished writer, Booth, following the Civil War, joined the National Women Suffrage Association after supporting the Fifteenth Amendment, which in 1870 gave the vote to black men. Booth was soon named editor of a new magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and persistently argued “that the first practical thing to be done is to work in unison to get the ballot for women.”

Henry Selden, the man for whom the hamlet of Selden may have been named, was an attorney, a Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals, and a NY State Lieutenant Governor. He represented Susan B. Anthony after she had been arrested for voting in Rochester, NY, in 1872.

Mary and George Stackpole, Riverhead: Four years before woman’s suffrage was granted in New York state in 1917, Mary Stackpole ran a good campaign to be the Republican nominee for Tax Collector. At “the largest Republican Town Convention ever held in Riverhead,” four people sought the nomination–three men and one woman. Mary Stackpole’s candidacy was part of the militant suffrage strategy to vote illegally, get arrested if necessary, and go to jail in order to publicize the injustice of denying women the ballot. Her husband, George Stackpole, was a staunch supporter of woman’s suffrage.

Ida Bunce Sammis, Huntington: Founder of the Suffolk County Political Equality League in 1911, Sammis appeared at many rallies held in Suffolk County. The suffragists would attend weekend meetings at places like Greenport and Port Jefferson and stay overnight in the homes of local suffragists. Sammis has the distinction of being the first woman elected to the New York State Legislature.

by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian

Suggested Reading: Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement, available at


Today , March 8, is International Women’s Day!



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