What happened: “A great gathering of women” assembled at the State Capitol to celebrate congressional approval of the “Susan B. Anthony Resolution.”


When: June 9, 1919.


Let’s party: The resolution would eventually become the 19th Amendment.

It wasn’t the law yet; the states had to approve it. (That took about 13 months.)

But everyone expected that Minnesota would vote yea as soon as it had the chance, so it was time to celebrate. From the Morning Tribune:

“To certain radiant veterans, who were working and planning for [the event] not so many years ago, when it was unfashionable to be what was then called a ‘suffragette,’ it was the most glorious meeting ever held in the Northwest.” Chairs were set up on the lawn, yellow bunting hung on the Capitol. And then, said the paper’s account, it began to rain.

“It wasn’t any ordinary rain, either, but a hard, furious rain, and it lasted right through. At 7 o’clock, the workers were standing about the entrance in gloomy groups.” The hosts wondered if anyone would come. But at 8 o’clock, “A flash of yellow appeared at the foot of the hill. More yellow, then the faint strains of band music. The suffragists were coming up the hill.”

More than a hundred cars. The crowds grew, the rain faded, the light of the Capitol dome glowed in the dusk and the music began — bagpipers, a fife and drum corps, a marching band. “As loud and merry as the Fourth of July,” the paper said.

Then, of course, came the speechifying.

University President Marion Burton said “a new epoch for men and women has begun [for] the value of the human being, regardless of class, color or occupation.”

Gov. J.A.A. Burnquist looked far into the future to a time when equal rights for women would seem commonplace.

  “What seems strange today and will seem stranger in days to come is the fact that the women have been compelled to make a struggle to secure those government rights to which they are as much entitled as the men.”


Somebody missed the point: Amid the celebration of impending equality, one speaker said, “Tonight we stand, millions of American women, forgetting differences in social conditions, of religion, or nationality — we stand united while all over America there glows a brighter light, and liberty is born anew in the land we love.”

The speaker was identified in the paper as “Mrs. Peter Oleson.”