Highlights from the History of Needham in 100 objects
Women's Suffrage Banner
Silk, metallic fringe, gold paint
Banner of the Needham Woman Suffrage League
As early as the 1830s some Massachusetts women were lecturing in public about the oppression of women, and a Women's Rights Convention was held in Worcester in 1850. In 1879 Massachusetts women won the right to vote in School Committee elections, since that was considered to be a fit concern for mothers, but in the beginning few voted. By the late 1800s however, women became more politically educated and became involved in more causes outside their homes, including the campaigns for Temperance and Suffrage.

During the long debate on women's suffrage, there were groups in Needham who were aligned on both sides of the issue. In 1873, the Needham Woman Suffrage Club was formed at the home of Eliza LaCroix on May Street, and by the end of the year it had 50 members. A year later, more than two hundred people gathered for a program in favor of women's suffrage.

On November 2, 1915 there was a referendum on the state ballot to give women the vote. The tin Bluebird was distributed by the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association to supporters of the Massachusetts suffrage referendum. The bluebird - a symbol of hope, resilience, and optimism - was displayed by supporters on July 19, "Suffrage Bluebird Day." Nearly 100,000 of these tin bluebirds were displayed around MA. Two referendum rallies were held in Needham in October 1915 - one for and one against. The 1915 referendum failed statewide by a wide margin, and in Needham the vote was 60% against passage. It was five more years before women gained the vote.

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Suffragette BannerSuffragette Banner
"Votes for Women" Bluebird
"Votes for Women'" pins