National Archives News

'A Suffragist Never Gives Up'—Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Descendant Continues Family Mission

By Victoria Macchi | National Archives News

WASHINGTON, August 20, 2020—If you slip up and say “suffragette,” Coline Jenkins will calmly but swiftly correct you, with only a hint of reprimand. There is no leeway for diminutives here.

“It’s suffragist.”

This is how Jenkins, the great-great granddaughter of women's suffrage activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the great-granddaughter of Harriot Stanton Blatch, leads her life: learning, informing, guiding, and building on the legacy of multiple generations of women in her family.

This is how she ended up ordering a free Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote pop-up exhibit for the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust, which she heads, to load into her car and drive to events, like the naming of a tugboat after Cady Stanton in Seneca Falls, NY, next month.

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Coline Jenkins at the site of a Central Park statue in New York City that includes her great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The sculpture will be unveiled publicly on August 26. (Photo courtesy of Coline Jenkins)

And this is how she marks the moments of her life, in terms of the work done and what remains to achieve equality for women.

“I want everybody to know that if you're a citizen, you have this right, and if someone is standing between you and your vote, you have to fight and protect your rights,” Jenkins said in an August 17 interview, ahead of the centennial anniversary later this month of the 19th Amendment, which permitted the right to vote regardless of sex.

The centennial for Jenkins isn’t a finish line, but a mile marker in a longer path to equal rights for all Americans.

“I'm an activist. I want to see change,” she says. “Find a solution and start where you are. There'll be different solutions if you're in Chicago, or unemployed, or you go to the voting booth and you can't vote… a suffragist never gives up.”

See more coverage from the National Archives and Records Administration of the 19th Amendment Commemoration at​.

Read about the second set of Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote pop-ups created by National Archives to honor the landmark moment in U.S. history when millions of women became eligible to fully participate in the nation’s democracy. This print run is in partnership with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission (WSCC).

Visit the Rightfully Hers online exhibit for more information about the 19th Amendment.

The National Archives’ Rightfully Hers popup display is presented by the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, Unilever, Pivotal Ventures, Carl M. Freeman Foundation in honor of Virginia Allen Freeman, AARP, Denise Gwyn Ferguson, and the National Archives Foundation.