Trademark No. 5153, Equality Tea
Date: 1910. Photo courtesy California State Archives, a division of the Office of the California Secretary of State

SACRAMENTO – This August marks 98 years since the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified and formally adopted, giving women the right to vote. To celebrate this anniversary, the California State Archives has launched a new digital compilation of records relating to the women’s suffrage movement in California. This is the first time that these records have been compiled into a publicly available digital compilation.

Click here to view “Women Get the Right to Vote.” 

“The adoption of the 19th Amendment is the moment that the right to vote finally included women, but the struggle for suffrage took years,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “This movement is an integral part of our democracy’s history and must not be forgotten. The State Archives has digitized records that tell the story of the suffrage movement in California, from 19th Century efforts to give women the right to vote in state elections to California’s role in passing the 19th Amendment.”

“When California women won the right to vote, they forever changed the state with an expanded and more inclusive democracy. The suffrage victory also gave rise to the League of Women Voters, created to finish the fight and aid in the reconstruction of our nation” said Melissa Breach, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of California. “Today, we reflect on how far we have come and acknowledge that the fight remains yet unfinished. The struggle continues to ensure our electorate reflects California’s rich diversity and to make certain all women are free to fulfill their highest potential.”

The records featured in this collection highlight suffragette efforts in California, including:

  • Petitions to the 1879 California Constitutional Convention for women’s suffrage
  • Suffrage movement campaign materials
  • Elections materials related to SCA 8, which gave women the right to vote in California state elections 8 years before the 19th Amendment was passed.

California’s women’s suffrage campaign inspired other states to join the movement, and nearly a decade after women won the right to vote in California, women were granted the right to vote nationally with the official adoption of the 19th Amendment on August 26th, 1920. August 26 is now recognized as Women’s Equality Day.

Secretary Padilla has made digitizing the treasures of the State Archives a priority. The California Digital Archives includes over a dozen digital exhibits on Google Arts and Culture, as well as several completely digitized collections of records on the Omeka platform. The Digital Archives were recognized as the 2018 IDEAS Award recipient at the National Association of Secretaries of State conference.