Timed to coordinate with the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, The Library of Congress is doubling the library’s holdings related to the National Woman’s Party. Already in the LOC’s holdings are 200,000 items from the NWP. This valuable donation unites the remaining archive of 300,000 documents, photographs, letters, broadsides, scrapbooks and other items relating to the party with the earlier acquired collection. The donated items include some 2,400 books and 750 periodicals from the Florence Bayard Hilles Library. The Florence Bayard Hilles Library is the oldest feminist library in the United States. It contains items dating from the 1860s to the 1970s.
Founding of the Party
The National Woman’s Party was founded in 1916 by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. It advocated for increased militancy in the suffrage battle. In early 1917, the party organized the first regular pickets of the White House. Protesters, known as the Silent Sentinels, challenged President Woodrow Wilson to support a federal amendment giving women the right to vote. Initially ignored, the government began arresting and jailing suffragists. They were denied the status of political prisoners. In protest, some went on hunger strikes. The result was the brutal force feedings of the women.
These new materials relate to all stages of the party’s history. The NWP was continually active long after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. The Equal Rights Amendment, drafted by founder Alice Paul, was introduced in 1923. The archive also documents the party’s advocacy for the 1963 Equal Pay Act plus its push to have a ban on sex discrimination included in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
For the entire article on the donation to the LOC and the National Woman’s Party Click. Thank you to member Carolyn Sung for sharing this story.