Her Hat Was In The Ring: New site shares stories of women in politics before 1920


Rose Schneiderman
Full image
Rose Schneiderman speaking at a union rally, c. 1910s. Courtesy of Brown Brothers.

Kristen Gwinn, Wendy Chmielewski, and Jill Norgren, students of women's history, had a goal: To explore whether women ran for elective office in substantial numbers before ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. Thanks to their work, we now know THEY DID. The fruits of their research are now available in a database on a new, free website: www.herhatwasinthering.org.

The site is up and running, with more than 1,200 women currently listed who ran, and often won, elective office at some level of government in the United States from the 1860s through 1920. As they continue researching and adding women to the database, Gwinn, Chmielewski, and Norgren believe that number could reach three or four thousand.

The women on www.herhatwasinthering.org are listed with their biographical information and, where available, party affiliation, photographs, and short bibliography. There are also cartoons, short essays, literary works about women political candidates, and interesting links. An extensive timeline is in development. As funding is secured, Gwinn, Chmielewski, and Norgren plan to expand and improve the website.

The story of women in politics is an important one, and as this project demonstrates, so much of it is unknown and unheralded. How inspiring is it that so many women were empowered to run for office even though they had not yet won the right to vote? Jewish women are a part of this history too, although most of the stories we know begin around the time of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, like that of Rose Schneiderman (pictured above) who unsucessfully ran for Senate in 1920. Gwinn, Chmielewski, and Norgren’s research is critical. Support their work and the legacy of women in politics by visiting www.herhatwasinthering.org and making sure these stories are learned, taught, and remembered.

Rising Voices


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