Grant Highlights Suffragette Collections at Elmira College

April 14 2016
Category: Events

The South Central Regional Library Council (SCRLC) recently awarded Elmira College a grant of $1,629.52 for the creation of a digital exhibition showcasing women’s suffrage-related materials.  The exhibit will highlight items from the Elmira College archive and the Records of the New York State Federation of Women’s Clubs, a collection held by the College.

The Elmira College collection explores the climate surrounding the mounting suffrage efforts in Elmira and at Elmira College from the 1890’s through the passage of the 19th amendment, August 18, 1920.  Additionally, the Elmira College archive documents important suffrage and anti-suffrage figures whom were graduates of the college, including Mary Grey Peck, a secretary of leading suffragist, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Alice Robertson, the first-elected congresswoman after the passage of the 19th amendment. 

The Records of the New York State Federation of Women’s Clubs document the complexity of the suffrage issue and contain evidence of support for each side of the suffrage issue including inter-organizational correspondence that reflects opposing viewpoints and reports from the suffrage and anti-suffrage committees.  Part of the grant funds will be used to acquire special scanners required to preserve the fragile nature of the historic documents.   


“The project seeks to provide insight and perspective into two distinctive groups of early 20th Century New York women: college-aged students and politically and socially active community women,” said Nathaniel Ball, Elmira College archivist and curator. 

“The goal is to use the centennial occasion to highlight hidden collections within the archive as well as to highlight our on-going commitment to creating access to digital collections.”

As 2017 marks the centennial celebration of the suffrage movement, the digital exhibition created from the grant will be available for access via New York Heritage, an online research portal providing free access to more than 170 distinct digital collections, totaling hundreds of thousands of items.