About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote"

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
May 10, 2019 

Good afternoon, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us for today’s program, whether you are here in the theater or joining us through Facebook or YouTube.

Before we hear from Susan Ware about her new book, Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote, I’d like to let you know about two other programs coming up soon.

Today at 4 p.m., Kate Campbell Stevenson will combine music and theater in a one-woman performance called “Amending America: How Women Won the Vote,” which tells the story of the early 20th-century fight for the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

And on Thursday, May 16, at noon, David Maraniss will discuss his new book, A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father, which tells the story of his family’s ordeal, from blacklisting to vindication.

Check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Visit its website—archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about the Foundation and join online.

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Today our new exhibit, Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote, opened upstairs in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery. This exhibit is the cornerstone of our centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

The 19th Amendment is rightly celebrated as a major milestone made possible by decades of suffragists’ relentless political engagement, yet it is just one critical piece of the larger story of women’s battle for the vote.

Rightfully Hers begins with the struggle for suffrage but doesn’t end with the 19th Amendment’s ratification. The final sections examine both the immediate impact of the suffrage amendment and the voting rights struggles that persisted into the modern day.

One of the goals of the exhibit is to recognize both the broad diversity of suffrage activists and the many bases on which American women have been barred from voting.

As Susan Ware does in Why They Marched, the exhibit looks beyond the familiar names—such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul—and brings to our attention activists from a variety of backgrounds, showing that the cause of suffrage was advanced by American women across race, ethnicity, and class.

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Susan Ware, a pioneer in the field of women’s history and a leading feminist biographer, is the author and editor of numerous books on 20th-century U.S. history including American Women’s History: A Very Short Introduction; Still Missing: Amelia Earhart and the Search for Modern Feminism; and Letter to the World: Seven Women Who Shaped the American Century. Educated at Wellesley College and Harvard University, she has taught at New York University and Harvard, where she served as editor of the biographical dictionary Notable American Women: Completing the Twentieth Century. Since 2012, she has served as the general editor of the American National Biography. Ware has long been associated with the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, where she serves as the Honorary Women’s Suffrage Centennial Historian. She is also a member of the National Archives Foundation’s Honorary Committee for Rightfully Hers.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Susan Ware.