The Nineteenth Amendment The Fight for Women's Suffrage as seen through 'The Woman Citizen'

The Woman Citizen

The Woman Citizen was one of the most influential of the American women’s suffrage periodicals. Its immediate predecessor, The Woman’s Journal, was founded in 1870 by Lucy Stone, a prominent abolitionist and suffragist, and her husband, Henry Browne Blackwell. The Woman’s Journal became the most prominent suffrage newspaper by the 1880s and became the official organ of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in 1910.

Carrie Chapman Catt, supported by funding from the Leslie Suffrage Commission, purchased The Woman’s Journal in 1917 and merged it with two other periodicals, The Woman Voter and National Suffrage News, to form The Woman Citizen, which then became the official organ of NAWSA. The editors were Rose Emmet Young (1917-21) and Virginia Roderick (1921-31); Catt contributed articles, including a regular feature, the Carrie Chapman Catt Citizen Course. A copy was sent each week to the members of Congress.

As described by Women's Periodicals in the United States (1996): “The Citizen attempted to deal with the many aspects of the ‘modern’ woman’s life. Feature stories covered everything from woman suffrage in Mexico … to the militarism and moral depravity of Germany … from … reporting on new developments in Congress, to accounts of how a U.S. suffragist helped immigrants; from fashions for garden work, to graphics illustrating how suffrage was organized.”

In 1920, with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, the NAWSA transformed itself into the League of Women Voters, which is still active today. The Woman Citizen focused on the political education of women and returned to the name The Woman’s Journal in 1927. The Great Depression forced the journal to cease publication in 1931.

The UC Berkeley Library owns some print copies of both periodicals, and most of the issues of both publications are available online via the HathiTrust.