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Suffrage and its Limits: The Unfinished Agenda of Women’s Rights in New York

March 31 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


The New York State and national women’s suffrage victories, recently celebrated in 2017 and 2020 centennials, had been expected by their supporters to result in gender equality and political power for women. In fact, although women — including African Americans, though not Native Americans and Asians — won the vote in New York, suffrage did not create the utopian society envisioned by those who fought so hard to attain it. Why not? What obstacles have kept women from full political participation and representation over the past hundred years? This talk will explore the unfinished agenda of women’s rights in New York and propose ways in which the suffrage victory remains incomplete even today. The program will conclude with an open discussion of issues raised.

Meg Devlin is Associate Professor of History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She earned her B.A. in history and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Ph.D. in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She teaches and publishes in the areas of U.S. women’s history, Native American history, and feminist pedagogy. Her scholarship has appeared in The Chronicles of OklahomaTennessee Historical QuarterlyWomen’s History ReviewJournal of Family HistoryAtlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture, & Social JusticeThe Native South: New Histories and Enduring Legacies (University of Nebraska Press); and Teaching History: A Journal of Methods. In 2020, she co-edited Suffrage and Its Limits: The New York Story (SUNY Press) with Kathleen M. Dowley and Susan Ingalls Lewis.

Susan Ingalls Lewis is Professor Emerita in History, as well as an affiliate faculty member of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department at SUNY New Paltz. After retirement from full-time teaching, she has continued to offer courses on American women’s history and New York State history. Dr. Lewis is the co-editor of Suffrage and its Limits: The New York Story (SUNY Press, 2020), which includes her essay “1917: How New York Women Won the Vote.” She is also the co-author of Girls to the Rescue: the Impact of World War I on Girls’ Series Fiction (McFarland & Company, 2020), and recently published the essay “More than just Penny Capitalists: The Range of Female Entrepreneurship in Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Cities,” in Female Entrepreneurs in the Long Nineteenth Century, A Global Perspective (Palgrave MacMillan 2020). Dr. Lewis is a Fellow of the New York Academy of History and author of the blog New York Rediscovered.

This program is currently scheduled to occur in-person. The presentation may get moved to a virtual format depending on the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the area come March 2022. Information regarding the status and location of the program will be announced as it gets closer.

If the program occurs in-person, attendees will have the added experience of being able to purchase Suffrage and Its Limits: The New York Story and have it signed by the authors.

 General Admission $8

Discounted Admission $5 (For HHS Members, seniors, students, active military members, and veterans)

This program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and the New York State Legislature

This program is funded in part by a Humanities New York SHARP Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal American Rescue Plan Act

Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


March 31
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Historic Huguenot Street
(845) 255-1660