Winning the West for Women: The Life of Suffragist Emma Smith DeVoe

Winning the West for Women: The Life of Suffragist Emma Smith DeVoe

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by Jennifer M. Ross-Nazzal
     
 

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In 1856, in an opera house in Roseville, Illinois, Susan B. Anthony called for the supporters of woman suffrage to stand. The only person to rise was eight-year-old Emma Smith. And she continued to take a stand for the rest of her life. As a leader in the suffrage movement, Emma Smith DeVoe stumped across the country organizing for the cause, raising money, and

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Overview

In 1856, in an opera house in Roseville, Illinois, Susan B. Anthony called for the supporters of woman suffrage to stand. The only person to rise was eight-year-old Emma Smith. And she continued to take a stand for the rest of her life. As a leader in the suffrage movement, Emma Smith DeVoe stumped across the country organizing for the cause, raising money, and helping make the West central to achieving the vote for women.

DeVoe used her feminine style to great advantage in the campaign for the vote. Rather than promoting public rallies, she encouraged women to put their energies toward influencing the votes of their fathers, brothers, and husbands. Known as the still-hunt strategy, this approach was highly successful and helped win the vote for women in Washington State in 1910. Winning the West for Women demonstrates the importance of the West in the national suffrage movement. It reveals the central role played by the National Council of Women Voters, whose members were predominantly western women, in securing the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Winning the West for Women also tells a larger story of dissension and discord within the suffrage movement. Though ladylike in her courtship of male support for the cause, DeVoe often clashed with other activists who disagreed with her tactics or doubted her commitment to the movement. This fascinating biography describes the real experiences of women and their relationships as they struggled to win the right to vote.

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University of Washington Press

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Ross-Nazzal has nicely woven DeVoe's story into the politics of both the West and of the suffrage movement, exposing the gritty realities of both." -Angela Firkus, North Dakota History

"The book provides vivid glimpses of America in its passage from the 19th into the 20th century. . . . We could use more voices like DeVoe's nowadays." —Judy Lightfoot, Crosscut, July 2011

North Dakota History - Angela Firkus
Ross-Nazzal has nicely woven DeVoe's story into the politics of both the West and of the suffrage movement, exposing the gritty realities of both.

Crosscut - Judy Lightfoot
The book provides vivid glimpses of America in its passage from the 19th into the 20th century.... We could use more voices like DeVoe's nowadays.

Pacific Northwest Quarterly - Loretta Kensigner
This text does vital work in reclaiming the life of Emma Smith DeVoe, giving scholars deeper knowledge of the contradictions and complexities of the suffrage campaign.

The Annals of Iowa - Kathleen M. Green
Ross-Nazzal argues convincingly that DeVoe made a vital contribution to the woman suffrage movement on both the state and national levels. While concentrating on DeVoe, this study reaffirms the important role western women played in the suffrage struggle.

Montana The Magazine of Western History - Sunu Kodumthara
What makes DeVoe's story particularly fascinating is that suffrage leaders, including Susan B. Anthrony, disapproved of DeVoe's insistence on a more feminine approach. Ross-Nazzal correctly notes that not only were suffragists critical of DeVoe's strategy but historians have been as well.

South Dakota History - Lisa R. Lindell
Ross-Nazzal brings the experiences of the movement to life. Her well-researched and closely chronicled account helps illuminate the significant role of women in the West and Midwest in attaining the vote for women.

Oregon Historical Quarterly - Rebecca Mead
Ross-Nazzal's study helps us understand her difficult position—determined and resourceful but constrained by financial problems and prevailing gender norms—and appreciate the extent of her impressive accomplishments.

The Bellingham Herald - Barbara Lloyd McMichael
Winning the West for Women is an intriguing study of the hard work, varying strategies and shifting alliances that were involved in securing the vote for women.

H-Net - Jason McCollom
Ross-Nazzal is right to suggest that Emma Smith DeVoe's important role in the women's suffrage struggles of the West has been overlooked and that western women did in fact play a crucial role in winning passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780295990866
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Publication date:
03/09/2011
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.05(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Jennifer M. Ross-Nazzal is a historian at the NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.

University of Washington Press

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