Mary E. McDowell, University of Chicago Settlement, Stock-Yards District
Title and information transcribed from item.
Summary: Three-quarter length portrait of Mary E. McDowell, seated, facing camera, in ornately carved chair, with book in lap.
Caption on cropped version of same image reads: "Miss Mary McDowell of Chicago is one of the prominent members of the Advisory Council of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage. Miss McDowell is the head of the University Settlement of Chicago and next to Jane Addams is perhaps the most prominent woman in social reform work in that state. Her work as a member of the Advisory Council of the Union has been a great strength to the Union among the social reform groups in general and particularly in that part of the country where she is well known."
Suffragettes Women's suffrage is the right of women to vote in elections. Beginning in the late 1800s, women worked for broad-based economic and political equality and for social reforms, and sought to change voting laws in order to allow them to vote. National and international organizations formed to coordinate efforts to gain voting rights, especially the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (founded in 1904, Berlin, Germany), and also worked for equal civil rights for women. Women who owned property gained the right to vote in the Isle of Man in 1881, and in 1893, the British colony of New Zealand granted all women the right to vote. Most independent countries enacted women's suffrage in the interwar era, including Canada in 1917; Britain, Germany, Poland in 1918; Austria and the Netherlands in 1919; and the United States in 1920. Leslie Hume argues that the First World War changed the popular mood: "The women's contribution to the war effort challenged the notion of women's physical and mental inferiority and made it more difficult to maintain that women were, both by constitution and temperament, unfit to vote. If women could work in munitions factories, it seemed both ungrateful and illogical to deny them a place in the polling booth. But the vote was much more than simply a reward for war work; the point was that women's participation in the war helped to dispel the fears that surrounded women's entry into the public arena..."