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The 19th Amendment, Biddle Law Library, and the City of Sisterly Love

February 11, 2020

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 19th Amendment states that the right to vote will not be denied to an individual on the basis of their sex.

In honor of this momentous occasion, the American Bar Association (ABA) has planned a travelling exhibit detailing the decades of work that generations of dedicated women put into securing the right to vote for women.

Three suffragists casting votes in New York City, c. 1917, Library of CongressThree suffragists casting votes in New York City, c. 1917, Library of Congress

From 10 to 28 of February 2020, the ABA exhibit will be hosted by Penn Law’s Biddle Library. Along with the exhibit, Biddle’s librarians have pulled relevant artifacts from the library’s own collection. Featured alongside the ABA exhibit are photos of important figures in the fight for women’s suffrage, information on the suffrage movement as it happened in Pennsylvania, and pamphlets from court cases concerning women’s right to vote in Pennsylvania in the decades leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Though it would take another several decades for the 19th Amendment to be ratified in all 50 states, and it did not achieve the right to vote to all African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American women, the addition of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was a momentous occasion.

Official program - Woman suffrage procession, Washington, D.C. March 3, 1913 / Dale, Library of C...Official program - Woman suffrage procession, Washington, D.C. March 3, 1913 / Dale, Library of Congress

In honor of the significance of this event, the City of Philadelphia has changed the nickname of the city from “The City of Brotherly Love” to “The City of Sisterly Love”, with plans to continue commemorating the achievement of women suffragists throughout 2020.

Come celebrate this landmark moment in American history with Penn Law, by visiting Biddle Library’s exhibit on women’s suffrage. Library hours can be found here.