Roseburg Public Library will recognize the historic women’s suffrage movement throughout 2020 with displays and programs presented in partnership with League of Women Voters of Umpqua Valley.

Last week the League set up a display in the library lobby titled “American Women Win the Vote: Three Generations, 1830s to 1920.” The panels provide a comprehensive overview of the national suffrage debate with information about the movement’s beginnings, strategies, conflict, opposition and victory, and notable figures such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Carrie Chapman Catt are highlighted.

I was struck by the reference in the first panel to the Grimke sisters, about whom I learned by reading the novel “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd. Sarah and Angelina were raised on a South Carolina plantation, moved to Philadelphia, converted to Quakerism and became vocal abolitionists and suffragists. The book made their history come alive.

The library also has a number of new nonfiction books on the movement, including “Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote” by Susan Ware; “The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote” by Elaine Weiss, which includes discussion questions; and “Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote” by Ellen Carol DuBois. These titles, along with several other books on the subject, may be placed on hold at

Coming this fall are two programs specifically related to suffrage. On Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m., Eliza E. Canty-Jones of the Oregon Historical Society will present “Nevertheless, They Persisted: The Woman Suffrage Movement & the Struggle for Voting Rights,” in which she will deliver a lecture and answer audience questions about Oregon’s role in the historical (and ongoing) fight for equal access to the ballot.

Canty-Jones has served as Editor of the Oregon Historical Quarterly since 2007 and Director of Community Engagement at the Oregon Historical Society since 2013. She produces scholarship, public programs and organizational partnerships that advance complex and diverse perspectives on Oregon’s past. She holds an M.A. in Pacific Northwest and Public History from Portland State University and a B.A. in English from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

On Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m., Dr. Kimberly Jensen, Professor of History and Gender Studies at Western Oregon University, will discuss the Oregon votes for women movement and Oregon’s ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment as the 25th state to ratify in January 1920.

Dr. Jensen, who is working on a new book about Oregon women, citizenship and civil liberties from 1913-1925, received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in women’s and U.S. history and is a board member of the Oregon Women’s History Consortium.

Thanks to the League of Women Voters of Umpqua Valley for partnering with the library to provide these educational opportunities, which are free and open to the public.

Kris Wiley is the director of the Roseburg Public Library. She can be reached by phone at 541-492-7051 or by email at

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