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DEEDS NOT WORDS: 100 Years of the Vote for Women

Updated: Jan 30

Avon’s Historical Society, Library and Senior Center have received a grant from Connecticut Humanities to help fund a yearlong series — DEEDS NOT WORDS: 100 Years of the Vote for Women.

The series will focus on events that contributed to the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which gave women the right to vote — and will run from November 2019 to November 2020, with events at the Library and Senior Center. The $4,030 grant funds the first six months of events.


The goal of the DEEDS series is to have the audience consider what Connecticut was doing in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries and how those moving forces shaped the dialogue leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919 and its ratification in 1920.


The notion of voting equality started in 1848 but was quickly dismissed. It took the organizing of several national Progressive Suffrage groups, with state chapters, to move the needle in every corner of the country.


“In our research we found quite a detailed story of how the suffrage movement in Connecticut took shape and the women who were both for and against it.” — AHS president Terri Wilson

By 1869 Connecticut had an active state chapter in favor of suffrage, and in 1910 another chapter formed to oppose it. But what was the suffrage movement and who were these women who took charge to change their world?


“In our research we found quite a detailed story of how the suffrage movement in Connecticut took shape and the women who were both for and against it,” says Historical Society president Terri Wilson. "Our DEEDS series will examine this and how it impacted the national movement. ... We will uncover the many Farmington Valley women, and men, who played national roles on both sides of the cause."


The 12-month series will feature speakers, book talks, movies, exhibits and a debate.


"We invite the public to join us to learn about the complicated and deep story of the cause of women’s suffrage in America,” Wilson says.


The first two events in the DEEDS series will be held at the Avon Free Public Library:


Saturday, November 16 — 3:00 p.m.

DEEDS series launch event — A distinguished lecture presentation by Susan Ware, author of "Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote" (May 2019).


Monday, December 9 — 6:30 p.m.

A lecture — Fashioning Women’s Suffrage — by professor Heather Prescott plus a discussion, on how suffragists used dress and other outward symbols to promote their cause. Prescott teaches history at Central Connecticut State University and is member of the Connecticut Commission on Women’s Suffrage.


Contributor – Avon Historical Society

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