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Women’s Suffrage in Idaho

Leading the Way: Idaho Women and the Vote

This exhibit highlights women whose work led to Idaho amending its Constitution to allow women to vote in 1896, as well as those who pushed for Idaho’s ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920 that granted national suffrage. The efforts of women to secure these constitutional amendments illustrate persistence, perseverance, determination, and leadership among women in Idaho’s history. This exhibit supports the Idaho Women 100 Initiative in 2020. This exhibit is based on collections held by the Idaho State Archives and was available to the public from September 2020 to January 2021.  

2020 Women Legislators
Idaho's First Lady, the Lt. Governor, women Legislators, and esteemed guests for the Idaho Women's Day celebration, March 13, 2020. AR Collection, 2020 Accession.

Democracy extended dramatically in Idaho in 1896 when the State Supreme Court confirmed the passage of a state constitutional amendment extending suffrage to women. Twenty-four years later, the U.S. Congress extended this right nationally with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Between 1870 and 1920, Idaho women fought hard for this civil liberty, and while these legislative actions prescribed universal voting rights, many women of color remained disenfranchised through the 1960s. This year, the Idaho Women 100 initiative commemorates this historic struggle.

The efforts of Idaho women to secure these constitutional amendments illustrate persistence, perseverance, and determination. This exhibit highlights these characteristics and features original items from the collections of the Idaho State Archives. Together, these artifacts, documents, and photographs tell the story of Idaho’s suffrage history and celebrate the courageous women leaders of Idaho’s past.

A digital exhibit featuring content from Leading the Way: Idaho Women and the Vote is available. 

Suffragist Minnie Priest Dunton
Suffragist Minnie Priest Dunton (1864-1921). Minnie P. Dunton Scrapbook, Ms 613.

Women’s suffrage exhibit at the Idaho State Archives.

Temporary Exhibits at the Idaho State Archives

The temporary exhibition space is located in the Merle W. Wells Research Center at the Idaho State Archives. The exhibits in this space are curated and assembled by Archives staff to showcase the unique materials within our collections and educate visitors on various topics. The exhibit is rotated approximately three times a year, with each display in place for about three months. To encourage further research on the selected topics, Archives staff also assemble a collection of related readings available in the research center. 

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