Women’s Suffrage Exhibit on Display in Library

Image of the Women's Suffrage Exhibit

An exhibit on “Recognizing Women’s Right to Vote” will be displayed in SUNY Cortland’s Memorial Library through the month of February.

On loan from the South Central Regional Library Council, the exhibit may be viewed on the first floor between the Advisement and Transition Office and Bookmark Café.

It celebrates the right of women to vote and covers an era of American, and particularly, New York, history from pre-revolutionary times to the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.

“This is an important exhibit demonstrating the movers and shakers of the women’s suffrage movement in New York,” said Archivist and Instructional Services Librarian Jeremy Pekarek. “This exhibit is typically in high demand around our region. We could not reserve it for Women’s History Month but decided to display it during the month of February.

“We have local activists who took part in the national movement such as Amelia Jenks Bloomer,” Pekarek said.

The famed early women’s rights advocate was born in Homer in 1818 and fought for women’s suffrage, national dress reform and founded The Lily newspaper, providing a voice for women during that era, he said.

“Lydia Strowbridge, who came to live in Cortland, was a pioneer of medicine who advocated for abolition and women’s suffrage.”

Pekarek noted several local pioneers in women’s rights issues who are not featured in the exhibit but deserve recognition, including:

Helen E.A. Timko ’38 was elected as the first female student council president at the Cortland Normal School in 1937.
In 1941, Susan West became the first woman elected to the County Board of Supervisors for Cortland County.
Margaret Dexter was elected as a Cortland City Council alderperson in the 1950s, the first woman to hold this title.
Mary Ruth Boone Jacobus ‘65 created the first Cortland chapter for the League of Women Voters and participated in numerous events, especially regarding the 26th Amendment debate on raising the voting age.

For more information on this exhibit, contact Pekarek at 607-753-2759. Visitors are expected to follow SUNY Cortland’s COVID-19 safety policies, which include wearing a face covering at all times while in indoor spaces.

Learn more about the exhibit from New York Heritage’s digital collections website.

This article appeared in the Bulletin Online Newsletter on 02/08/2022