Created By: Ithaca Heritage
**This tour is from the 2020 printed "Recognizing Tompkins County's Suffrage Pioneers: A Commemorative Marker Project", modified for PocketSights by The History Center in Tompkins County in 2023. Text is unchanged from the original printing.**
We celebrate the rich history of the movement in Tompkins County to obtain the vote for women and recognize the local women and their allies who helped make the drive for the women’s vote reality. These women described themselves as suffragists, people who believed in peaceful, constitutional campaign methods, although they were called by their opponents many derogatory names, including suffragette.
In Tompkins County, as throughout New York State and across the nation, women fought to achieve the right to vote. More than a half-century of tireless advocacy brought about ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920, which gave women the legal basis to exercise their right to vote. It would be some decades before the vote was fully extended to all, and even longer for women to achieve full citizenship.
Many people in Tompkins County actively supported the suffrage movement, and were committed to winning the vote for women. They formed advocacy organizations, held community meetings, canvassed throughout the country and across New York State, linked with Prohibitionists and Grange members, and organized and conducted two state conventions of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association that were held in Ithaca in 1894 and 1911.
Partnering with property owners, the Tompkins County Historical Commission has erected building markers recognizing eleven local individuals key in the drive for women’s suffrage. These markers are placed in public areas related to these honorees- near where they lived, where they studied or preached, or at a building named in their honor.
**Please note we have only included five of the 11 individuals included in the brochure, as the other locations are not in walking distance of downtown. Please visit The History Archives to learn about: Libbie Jayne Sweetland, Helen Brewster Owens, James Oliver, Nathaniel Schmidt, Harriet May Mills, and Isabel Howland.
This pamphlet was written by Marcia Lynch and published by the Tompkins County Historical Commion, c/o The Tompkins County Historian, 125 E. Court Street Ithaca, NY.
Information has been drawn from, Achieving Beulah Land: The Long Struggle for Suffrage in Tompkins County, New York (2019) by Carol Kammen and Elaine D. Engst.
ACCESSIBILITY NOTES FOR THIS TOUR
Total distance travelled: 0.9 miles
Terrain: Mostly flat
This tour is recommend as a walking or bicycle tour.