Tonight’s “Women’s Suffrage in Southwest Washington” talk could just as easily be titled “Susan B. Anthony Slept Here.”
The famous suffragist visited Vancouver twice, presenter Tracy Reilly Kelly discovered in her research.
Reilly Kelly will present a history of women’s suffrage at 7 p.m. at the Clark County Historical Museum as part of its 2020 speaker series. She’ll speak about major suffragists and Anthony’s visits to Vancouver in 1895 and 1905.
“What’s fun is that this talk is about Clark County specifically, which makes me a detective,” said Reilly Kelly, retired program manager for Clark College Economic and Community Development. “There are a lot of really terrific old documents that I have been looking at in the basement of the historic museum.”
A few Washington women managed to exercise the right to vote before the Territorial Supreme Court in 1888 determined that the legal term “citizen” really meant “male citizen.”
Then, in 1910, Washington passed a state constitutional amendment extending women the right to vote, well before the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Tonight’s talk about that historic fight is the first of three related events at the museum this month.
From noon to 2 p.m. March 14, the museum will host “Community Conversation: Women and Politics in Clark County.”
Historians and scholars Donna Sinclair and Sue Peabody will lead a discussion about the role women play in Clark County politics. The panel will include Betty Sue Morris, who served as a state legislator and Clark County commissioner; Nan Henriksen, former Camas mayor; and Pat Jollota, a former Vancouver city councilor.
Sinclair, who’s challenging Republican Rep. Larry Hoff in the 18th Legislative District, returns to the museum from noon to 2 p.m. March 28 for “Women’s Stories: A Writing Workshop,” which invites participants to unlock and share their personal stories as leaders and women in the community.
The series is part of Clark County Historical Museum’s ongoing celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment leading up to the Aug. 21 opening of the exhibit “(Her)story: Founders, Leaders, and Visionaries.”