San Francisco Public Library

Votes for Women

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282;

October 6, 2011

Votes for Women

Celebrate the Centennial of Women Gaining the Right to Vote in California with San Francisco Public Library exhibit and exhibits throughout October-November 2011

One hundred years ago, on Oct. 10, 2011, California woman won the right to vote. The struggle for women’s political equality was waged by women and men from all walks of life. When the final votes were tallied, women’s suffrage in California narrowly passed, with an average of one vote in each voting precinct in the state. It would be another nine years before the 19th amendment was signed into law, guaranteeing all women in the U.S. the right to vote. The San Francisco Public Library celebrates this California centennial of woman suffrage with a display on the Third Floor of the Main Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco, and with an extensive schedule of programs at the Main Library and selected branches.

The exhibit, on view through Dec. 30, 2011, makes use of historic documents, photographs, and other ephemera which detail the long fight for California woman suffrage. Among the highlights of the exhibit will be the stories of a number of San Francisco and Bay Area suffragists; official arguments for and against woman suffrage; and propaganda – pro and con, through sheet music, humor, cartoons, and flyers.

In honor of the Centennial, the Library is hosting a number of inspiring commemorative programs this fall:

Lily Tung Crystal as Tye Leung: Bay Area actor Lily Tung Crystal portrays Tye Leung, a San Francisco woman who was the first Chinese American woman to vote in the U.S. Oct. 8, 1-2:30 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium; and Oct 18, 7 p.m., Excelsior Branch Library

The Sixth Star: Mae Kramer Silver discusses her book, The Sixth Star, Images and Memorabilia of California Women's Political History 1868-1915. Oct. 11, 6:30 p.m., Main Library, Third Floor, Gay and Lesbian Center

Celebrate California woman suffrage by registering to vote, Oct. 11, 10 a.m.-5 p.m, Main Library, First Floor lobby.


California Women and Politics from the Gold Rush to the Great Depression:  What Difference Did Suffrage Make - A panel discussion with editor Robert Cherny, Mary Ann Irwin, and Sue Englander, Oct. 12, 6-8 p.m., Main Library, Latino Hispanic Community Meeting Room

Selling Suffrage: Taking the Fight for Women’s Rights to the Streets of Downtown San Francisco: Historian Jessica Sewell will compare the tactics used in the successful 1911 woman suffrage campaign with the unsuccessful campaign of 1896. Oct. 15, 1-2:30 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Woman Suffrage Walking Tour of San Francisco: Historian Jessica Sewell will lead a walking tour of significant San Francisco locations of the 1911 woman suffrage campaign. Oct. 15, 3-5 p.m., Main Library, Fulton Street steps

Stories from the Road: Actor Bonda Lewis portrays suffragist Sara Bard Field who made an 88-day cross-country automobile trip in 1915, carrying a petition to Congress for the immediate adoption of the Susan B Anthony amendment giving the right to vote to all women of the United States. Oct. 19, 7 p.m., Merced Branch Library; and Nov. 16, 7 p.m., Excelsior Branch Library

California Suffragist Singers and Players: A family afternoon of music and theater that brings the California suffrage movement to life. Oct. 22, 1-3 p.m. Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Wherever There’s a Fight:  Women and Civil Liberties in California - Authors Elaine Elinson and Stan Yogi will share stories and historic photographs from their book. Oct. 29, 4 p.m., Potrero Branch Library; Oct. 30, 1-3 p.m., Main Library, Latino Hispanic Community Meeting Room; and Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m., Bernal Branch Library

We Cannot Fail: Actor Bonda Lewis portrays suffragist Sara Bard Field, who reflects on her 1915 cross-country automobile trip, her poetry and her unorthodox life tirelessly working for woman suffrage. Nov. 1, 6 p.m., Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Thursday@Noon Flm Series: When Women Got the Vote:

Oct. 13  - Iron Jawed Angels

Oct. 20 – Suffragettes in the Silent Cinema

Oct. 27 – Standing on My Sister’s Shoulders

All films screened at noon, Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Suffrage Centennial programs are sponsored by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and The Institute for Historical Study.