Following Ohio Women Vote: Stopping at the Stark County Law Library
By Kendel Croston
In 1920, the United States passed the 19th Amendment, granting many women the right to vote for the first time. As part of our commemoration of this Suffrage Centennial, the Ohio History Connection has created an exhibit that will travel the state in 2020 to tell the story of Ohio women’s activism. We will be using our blog to follow the exhibit as it travels, and to share what other organizations are doing to mark this important anniversary. In the post below, hear from Kendel Croston, Director of the Stark County Law Library, where the exhibit will travel from March to April.
Here in Canton we will be hosting the Ohio Women Vote: 100 Years of Change exhibit, provided by the Ohio History Connection, March 3 through April 30 at the Stark County Law Library. Canton’s most famous resident and future President, William McKinley as a young man supported the suffrage movement. In 1868, the YWCA of Canton hosted a debate on woman suffrage, where McKinley, then 25 years old, advocated for the cause of women having the right to vote. (Heald, E.T., Stark County Story: Industry Comes of Age, 1901-1917, p. 628) Ida McKinley, his wife, as First Lady, corresponded with Susan B. Anthony, and when her health permitted she spoke at organizations that supported women’s rights. (“Ida McKinley: Perseverance Through Hardship”)
The exhibit will provide area citizens with information about the struggle of women throughout Ohio to obtain the right to vote and fully participate in government. Educating voters about the political process has long been important In Stark County.
In 1920 Mrs. Joseph H. Himes (Eileen) director of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association for the 16th Congressional District, set up citizenship schools throughout the district with one in Canton held June 22nd through 24th in the Canton council chambers. Russell Burt and other area attorneys and members of the Board of Elections instructed in the judiciary, executive, and legislative branches of government, explained political parties, gave the purpose of the primary and demonstrated voting procedures.
On the last evening [of the citizenship schools], June 24th, the League of Women Voters of Canton was organized. Mrs. Roscoe McCullough, Sr. mother of the Congressman, was the first of 56 women to sign the charter.
(Heald, E.T., Stark County Story: The American Way of Life, 1917-1959, p. 693-694)
The League of Women Voters of the Canton Area continues to promote voter education, and will be hosting “Paving the Road to the 19th Amendment—Suffrage for Some or Suffrage for All” on March 14th at 10 AM at the Plain Branch of the Stark County District Library.
Here at the Stark County Law Library we have scheduled a presentation by Kim Kenney, director of the McKinley Presidential Museum, on March 26th at Noon to discuss “Women’s Suffrage: A Celebration of Persistence.” Also, longtime educator and Civil-War re-enactor Cathy Nelson will be with us on Wednesday, April 22nd at 1 pm to share the voices of those who fought for the vote using their words from letters and speeches in her presentation, “‘Remember the Ladies:’ The 1850 Women’s Rights Convention in Salem, Ohio.” We invite you to join us to hear how past struggles have built the foundation for future accomplishments.
Kendel Croston is the Director of the Stark County Law Library, with an MLS. Croston enjoys assisting legal researchers find the newest case law as well as statutes from the early days of Ohio’s statehood.
Not near Canton? Check out the traveling exhibit schedule here, to see if it will appear closer to you!