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From the Archives

Suffrage in the United States

American Jewish women were heavily involved in the suffrage movement from its earliest days, though mostly as individuals rather than through organizations. Middle-class Jewish women believed the vote was necessary to achieve their broader reform goals, while working-class women hoped enfranchisement would improve their working conditions and economic opportunities. By the time the Nineteenth Amendment finally passed in 1919 the American Jewish community overwhelmingly supported it.

Emma Goldman

After fleeing her tyrannical father and an arranged marriage in St. Petersburg, Emma Goldman came to New York at age 15. Inspired to activism by the Haymarket bombing of 1886, Goldman became a lifelong anarchist, feminist, political activist, and public figure. After spending time in federal prison, Goldman was deported from the United States and spent the rest of her life in exile.

Rose Schneiderman

After working as a salesgirl in New York City, Rose Schneiderman switched to less-respectable but better-paying factory work. Convinced that unions could help the working class, she became a union organizer for the United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers’ Union and, later, the Women’s Trade Union League. After the Triangle Fire in March 1911, Schneiderman became a statewide and national advocate for workers’ rights and women’s suffrage.

Pauline Perlmutter Steinem

Pauline Perlmutter Steinem, like her granddaughter Gloria Steinem, was an ardent activist for women’s rights, especially suffrage. She was also involved in Jewish activism, serving many local Jewish organizations and devoting a considerable amount of her income to send Jews to Israel just before World War II began.

Rosalie Loew Whitney

Rosalie Loew Whitney was the first woman to become the acting attorney of the New York Legal Aid Society. Following her husband’s death in 1934, Mayor LaGuardia appointed Rosalie Whitney first deputy license commissioner of New York City and, in 1935, a justice of the Domestic Relations Court.

Belle Winestine

During a career that spanned over seventy years, Belle Winestine devoted her time, money, and energy to the development of women’s rights legislation. As a member of the women’s movement, Winestine believed that she contributed to the historical process that encouraged women to seek public employment and to pursue professional lives.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "From the Archives." (Viewed on December 10, 2023) <https://jwa.org/suffrage/from-the-archives>.


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