Timeline of women's suffrage in Ohio

This is a timeline of women's suffrage in Ohio. Women's suffrage activism in Ohio began in earnest around the 1850s, when several women's rights conventions took place around the state. The Ohio Women's Convention was very influential on the topic of women's suffrage, and the second Ohio Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio, featured Sojourner Truth and her famous speech, Ain't I a Woman? Women worked to create organizations and groups to influence politicians on women's suffrage. Several state constitutional amendments for women's suffrage did not pass. However, women in Ohio did get the right to vote in school board elections and in some municipalities before Ohio became the fifth state to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment.

Mrs. Kline and Mrs. Sara Bissell of Toledo, Ohio campaign for women's suffrage in 1912

19th century



  • November: The Ohio Constitutional Convention votes to provide suffrage in the state to only white men.[1] Ohio becomes the second state to restrict voting by race in their constitution.[1]



  • April: The first convention of women's rights held outside of New York took place. The Ohio Women's Convention had an attendance of 500 people.[2]
  • May 6: A state Constitutional Convention is convened in Columbus.[3] A proposal to remove both "white" and "male" from the legal description of a voter in the constitution fails by a large margin.[4]





12th annual convention of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association 1897




  • The American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) is established in Cleveland.[8]
  • November 24-25: AWSA holds its first convention in Cleveland.[9]
  • The Toledo Women's Suffrage Association (TWSA) is created.[5]
  • The Dayton Woman's Suffrage Association (DWSA) is formed.[10]




  • A women's suffrage petition is presented at the Ohio Constitutional Convention.[11] Proposals for women's suffrage fail at the convention.[12]



  • The Toledo Woman Suffrage Association (TWSA) refuses to participate in a Fourth of July celebration saying, "We feel it inconsistent as a disfranchised class to unite with you in the celebration of that liberty which is the heritage of but half the people."[14]




  • A small suffrage convention takes place in Columbus.[15]



  • Louisa Southworth of Cleveland starts enrolling the names of people from Ohio endorsing women's suffrage in order to counter the narrative that women don't want to vote.[17]
  • Two referendum for full and municipal women's suffrage were introduced in the Ohio Legislature, but both fail.[18]


  • Another bill for full suffrage is introduced in the Ohio Senate, but does not make a required three-fifths majority to pass.[18]



  • Suffragists petition the Ohio Legislature, but no bills for women's suffrage are introduced.[18]


  • A bill for women's suffrage in school board elections is introduced in the Ohio House by E. W. Doty.[19] It does not pass.[19]


Let mother vote pin Ohio 1911
  • Another bill for school board suffrage is introduced, but does not pass.[19]


  • January: Gustavus A. Wood introduces another school board suffrage bill in the House, but it is narrowly defeated.[19]
  • April 10: A similar school board suffrage bill is introduced in the Ohio Senate by William T. Clark and it passes by a large measure.[19]
  • April 24: The Senate bill is turned over to the House where it passes.[19]
  • Law passed in Ohio to allow women to vote in school board elections and also to run for office in the school board.[5]
  • December: Ida M. Earnhart in Columbus is one of the first women to register to vote in the next school election.[20]


  • January: A suit is filed against Earnhart and the board of elections to strike her name from the list of voters.[21] It is argued in the Franklin County Circuit Court in January.[21]
  • February 1: The Franklin County Circuit Court declares that the law allowing women to vote in school board elections is constitutional.[21]
  • Women vote in their first school board elections.[22]


  • Henrietta G. Moore of Springfield, Ohio and Laura A. Gregg from Kansas travel Ohio on behalf of OWSA to help set up additional local groups.[17]


  • A suffrage conference is held in the Fall in Toledo.[17]


  • February 10: An amendment introduced by A. J. Hazlett in the Ohio House to repeal school board suffrage is defeated by 76 against and 22 for.[21]
  • April: The National Woman Suffrage Conference is held in Cincinnati.[23]
  • May: The fifth annual Ohio Women Suffrage Convention takes place in Akron. Speakers include Susan B. Anthony, Anna Howard Shaw and Zerelda G. Wallace.[24]


20th century

Women from Woman's Suffrage Association of Montgomery County and Dayton in 1912.



  • Harriet Taylor Upton visits "fifteen principal towns" in Ohio to help set up organized suffrage groups.[25] By the end of the year, she had doubled organized suffrage participation.[18]
  • January: The Ohio Legislature considers an equal suffrage bill.[26]




  • NAWSA headquarters is moved from Warren.[5]



Toledo Woman Suffrage Association, 1912
  • January 18: Dora Bachman of Cincinnati presents a women's suffrage amendment proposal to the Ohio Constitutional Convention's committee.[29]
  • A women's suffrage voter referendum for an amendment to the Ohio Constitution is on the ballot.[30]
  • August 27: OWSA organizes a suffrage parade in Columbus.[16] Around 5,000 women attend the parade.[31]
  • September 3: The 1912 Ohio suffrage amendment does not pass.[5]
  • A law is passed in Ohio allowing individual municipalities to choose if they wished to grant women's suffrage within their city.[32]
  • An umbrella group, the Franklin County Women's Suffrage Association (FCWSA) is formed.[33]
  • The Woman's Suffrage Party of Montgomery County is formed.[10]
  • The Lima Federation of Women's Clubs invites Emmeline Pankhurst to speak in Lima, Ohio.[34]
  • Cornelia Cassady Davis wins the prize for "best suffrage poster" from OWSA for her "Let Ohio Women Vote" image.[35]
  • The Shelby Equal Franchise Association is formed in Shelby, Ohio and was part of the local WCTU.[36]


  • January: The Socialist Party and Progressive Party in Ohio came out in support of women's suffrage.[37]
  • May 9: Preachers who were members of the Ministerial Association of Columbus preached on Mother's Day how giving women the vote would help them "better fulfill their maternal duties."[38]
  • October: Carrie Chapman Catt and Harriet Taylor Upton came to speak in Lima, Ohio. A parade was held that drew more than 1,500 people in support of women's suffrage.[39]
  • October: Suffragists in Cleveland held a parade that drew more than 10,000 women and 400 men marching and riding on horseback.[8]
  • November 3: The 2nd Ohio women's suffrage amendment is rejected.[5]


  • The Ohio Woman Suffrage Association (OWSA) invites NAWSA and the Congressional Union (CU) to set up offices in Ohio.[13]


  • June 6: The Municipal Suffrage Amendment in East Cleveland passes with 426 votes, allowing women to vote in city elections.[40]
Suffragist from Ohio on Horseback 1914.


  • February: Representative from Cuyahoga County, James A. Reynolds introduces a bill into the Ohio legislature for women to vote in presidential elections.[40]
  • February 21: Governor James M. Cox signs the "Reynolds Bill," granting women the right to vote in presidential elections.[5]
  • Lakewood, Ohio passes municipal suffrage measures for women.[40]
  • Challenges to municipal suffrage are rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court.[5]
  • November 6: A voter referendum rejects the "Reynolds Bill."[5]


  • June 16: Ohio ratifies the Nineteenth Amendment.[2] It is the fifth state to ratify the amendment.[5]
  • The Colored Women's Republican Club changes their name to the Colored Women's Independent Political League.[13]



  • April 23: Hawke v. the Secretary of the State of Ohio decides that a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not have to be decided by direct voter referendum, which ended a problem Tennessee had with ratifying the 19th Amendment.[41]
  • April: The Cuyahoga County Woman's Suffrage Party dissolves and reforms as the League of Women Voters of Cleveland.[42]
  • September: The Political Equality Club of Lima dissolves and creates the Lima League of Women Voters.[39]


  • A voter referendum passes to remove the phrase "white male" from the description of a voter in the Ohio Constitution.[43]

See also


  1. Steinglass & Scarselli 2004, p. 12.
  2. "Ohio and the 19th Amendment". U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  3. Steinglass & Scarselli 2004, p. 20.
  4. Steinglass & Scarselli 2004, p. 22.
  5. Borchardt, Jackie; Balmert, Jessie (14 June 2019). "100 years ago Ohio ratified the 19th Amendment. Here are 6 women who made suffrage reality". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  6. "Ohio Women's Rights Association". Ohio History Central. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  7. "To Stump Ohio for Women's Suffrage". Daily Ohio Statesman. 1867-11-13. p. 2. Retrieved 2020-09-18 via Newspapers.com.
  8. Morton, Marian. "How Cleveland Women Got the Vote - and What They Did With It". Teaching Cleveland Digital. Retrieved 2020-09-06.
  9. "Caroline Severance and Women's Rights Associations". 19th at 100: Commemorating the Suffrage Struggle and Its Legacies in Northeast Ohio. Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  10. McCarty, Mary (18 August 2020). "The empowering story of how Dayton was at the forefront of women's suffrage movement". Dayton.com. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  11. Little 2005, p. 197.
  12. Shilling 1916, p. 172.
  13. "Woman Suffrage in the Midwest". U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  14. Shilling 1916, p. 173.
  15. Anthony 1902, p. 877.
  16. "Ohio Woman Suffrage Association". Ohio History Central. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  17. Anthony 1902, p. 878.
  18. Anthony 1902, p. 880.
  19. Anthony 1902, p. 881.
  20. Anthony 1902, p. 882.
  21. Anthony 1902, p. 883.
  22. Bulford, Sally Farran (8 September 1997). "Ohio Continues Lead for Women's Rights". Columbus Business First. Retrieved 2020-09-12.
  23. Staples 2020, p. 79.
  24. Elwell, Martah H. (1889-05-08). "Ohio Woman Suffrage Convention". Wellington Enterprise. p. 5. Retrieved 2020-09-20 via Newspapers.com.
  25. Anthony 1902, p. 879.
  26. "Woman Suffrage Again". The Dayton Herald. 1900-01-27. p. 4. Retrieved 2020-09-20 via Newspapers.com.
  27. Morton, Marian J. "Elizabeth J. Hauser: The Woman Who Wrote Tom L. Johnson's Autobiography". Teaching Cleveland Digital. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  28. "Ohio Suffrage Association". Perrysburg Journal. 1911-09-22. p. 3. Retrieved 2020-09-20 via Newspapers.com.
  29. Steinglass & Scarselli 2004, p. 41.
  30. Shilling 1916, p. 174.
  31. "10,000 Feet for Freedom: Ohio's 1912 Women's Suffrage Parade - March 26, 2020 5:30PM to 7:30PM". Southeast Ohio History Center. 2020-02-11. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  32. Benson, John (2017-11-21). "Lakewood officials mark 100th anniversary of city allowing women to vote". Cleveland.com. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  33. Pliley 2008, p. 8-9.
  34. Hoersten, Greg (2019-03-19). "The persistent Bessie Crayton". The Lima News. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  35. "'Let Ohio Women Vote' Poster" (PDF). Cleveland History Center. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  36. Drain, Christina Yetzer (2 September 2020). "Shelby was a hotbed of activity during women's suffrage movement". Richland Source. Retrieved 2020-09-07.
  37. Pliley 2008, p. 20.
  38. Pliley 2008, p. 14.
  39. Hoersten, Greg (2020-03-17). "100 years: A woman's right to vote". The Lima News. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  40. Trowbridge, David J.; Metzger, Kayla (4 June 2020). "Cleveland Woman's Suffrage Party Headquarters". Clio: Your Guide to History. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  41. National American Woman Suffrage Association 1922, p. 652.
  42. Exner, Rich (2014-07-01). "League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland formed with merger of three Cuyahoga County chapters". Cleveland.com. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  43. Steinglass & Scarselli 2004, p. 48.