Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 14: Woman Suffrage

Chapter 14. Records of the Judiciary Committee and Related Committees

Table of Contents

Records of the Judiciary Committee and Related Committees from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Committee Records discussed in this chapter:
Committee on Woman Suffrage (1917-27)

Jurisdiction and History

14.49 The Committee on Woman Suffrage was created in 1917 and continued to exist until 1927, when it was abolished during the 70th Congress. The resolution to establish the committee gave it jurisdiction over all proposed legislation touching the subject of woman suffrage, a subject that had been in the jurisdiction of the Judiciary Committee.

Certificate of ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, August 24, 1920 (HR66A-H22.1) from NARA's National Archives Catalog.  

14.50 During the debate on the creation of the committee, proponents of the new committee argued that woman suffrage was an important issue and that it deserved the exclusive attention of a committee favorable to its passage. Those opposed to it noted that "the evident purpose . . . is to create a committee that will report a resolution proposing woman suffrage" and that "when it shall have brought that resolution before the body its functions will be ended, and it can be dismissed as a useless thing."1 Both analyses were essentially correct, for the committee reported a total of five pieces of legislation; its last report was on H.J. Res. 1, 66th Congress (1919), which became the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. The committee continued until 1927 even though its function had ceased after the ratification of the woman suffrage amendment in 1920.

Records of the Committee on Woman Suffrage, 65th-69th Congresses (1917-27)

Record TypeVolumeCongresses (Dates)
Minute Books1 vol.66th (1919-21)
Docket Books1 vol.66th (1919-21)
TOTAL:2 vols. (2 in.) 

14.51 The only records that have been preserved are a minute book and a docket book from the 66th congress. These volumes record bills, resolutions, and petitions and memorials that were referred to the committee, and committee action on these documents.

14.52 For additional records relating to woman suffrage, see the records of the Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee held hearings on woman suffrage as early as the 43d Congress (1873-75) and in every Congress between the 54th and the 66th (1895-1921). The Judiciary Committee records also contain a large number of petitions and memorials on the subject.

Table of Contents


1 Congressional Record, 65th Cong., 1st sess., Sept. 24, 1917, pp. 7370-74.

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245). By Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.