Illinois Suffrage Historic Sites

In Illinois, we are actively mapping and marking sites that tell the Illinois suffrage story. We are doing this work in partnership with the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS) and their initiative to create the National Votes for Women Trail. This trail “seeks to recognize and celebrate the enormous diversity of people and groups active in the struggle for women’s suffrage.”

From the NCWHS Website:

The Trail consists of two parts: 1) a database with a digital map and 2) a program of historical markers for about 250 women’s suffrage sites across the country, funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and the federal Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. Through crowd-sourcing, the digital map collects sites from all over our country to tell the story of suffrage for all women, of all ethnicities, classes, and geographic areas, from the colonial period to the present. In partnership with The William G. Pomeroy Foundation and the federal Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, the National Votes for Women Trail also promotes a program of historical markers to commemorate the people, places, and events important to passage of the Nineteenth amendment in 1920.

In Illinois, we have added more than forty sites to the National Votes for Women Trail. We have also proposed five sites for Pomeroy Markers in the state and are working on adding more as time and resources allow. The five we have proposed are:

  1. Oak Park – Grace Wilbur Trout
  2. Evanston – Catharine Waugh McCulloch
  3. Chicago – Alpha Suffrage Club – the suffrage club formed by Ida B. Wells in 1913
  4. Lombard – Ellen Martin – first woman to vote in Illinois
  5. Chicago – Michigan Avenue – the site of numerous suffrage parades; the headquarters of the Illinois Equal Suffrage Association and the Chicago Political Equality League; and the founding of the National Woman’s Party and the League of Women Voters U.S.

These markers are still in the process of being approved, final locations determined, and markers created. Stay tuned for more information about marker dedications and unveilings.

In addition to these five sites, several additional sites are being contemplated – including sites for Fannie Barrier Williams and Agnes Nestor. We also plan to add small markers to existing sites with markers in place, such as Jane Addams Hull House and Ida B. Wells’ home in Chicago, and the Frances Willard House in Evanston.

For more information on suffrage sites in Illinois, email ewhp@evanstonhistorycenter.org.