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Women's Suffrage in Tompkins County

Digital Exhibit - OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO VOTE: Woman Suffrage Movement in Tompkins County - One-Hundred +1 Years in the Making

Overcoming Barriers to Vote: Woman Suffrage Movement in Tompkins County - One Hundred +1 Years in the Making traces the timeline of the Woman Suffrage Movement in the United States, highlighting the numerous women who broke barriers in politics and worked for the right to vote in New York State and across the nation. The exhibit features Tompkins County residents and organizations, from the Haudenosaunee women who have long been political leaders in their communities to the founders and members of various clubs in Tompkins County advocating for suffrage, temperance, women’s issues, and many other reforms in the 19th and early 20th century.


Click on the display or use this link to explore this interactive audio-visual exhibit on the history of Women's Suffrage Movement in Tompkins County.

Click on the ">" symbol to navigate between pages. Select "Play" for audio to play on each page. 

Use this link to share the exhibit:

Designed by Cindy Kjellander-Cantu. Narrated by Sylvie Yntema. © 2021 The History Center in Tompkins County 

Please credit The History Center in Tompkins County if you reference these materials elsewhere. Eg. Overcoming Barriers to Vote: Woman Suffrage Movement in Tompkins County courtesy The History Center in Tompkins County, Ithaca New York. 


In 2020 the Tompkins County Historical Commission coordinated eleven commemorative markers placed in public spaces across Tompkins County recognizing notable individuals in Tompkins County suffrage organizing from the 1800s. In addition to the public markers, the Commission published a limited run of printed pamphlets distributed across Tompkins County. The names and research were drawn from Carol Kammen and Elaine Engst's book 'Achieving Beulah Land: The Long Struggle for Suffrage in Tompkins County' published in 2019. These markers were placed in public areas related to the honorees - near where they lived, where they studied or preached, or at a building named in their honor.

✦ Juanita Breckenridge Bates ✦ Lucy Hawley Calkins ✦ Robert T. Jones ✦ Cyrus Heizer ✦ Libbie Jayne Sweetland ✦ Helen Brewster Owens ✦ Carrie E. Bouton ✦ James Oliver ✦ Nathaniel Schmidt ✦ Harriet May Mills ✦ Isabel Howland ✦

In 2023 The History Center modified the pamphlet to create a self-guided walking tour of six of the markers placed in downtown Ithaca. 


    RURAL VOICES from Tompkins County on the Path to Women's Rights

    These resources were created through a Humanities New York grant. 

    Physical Address

    Located inside the Tompkins Center for History & Culture

    110 North Tioga Street

    (On the Ithaca Commons) 

    Ithaca NY, 14850 USA

    Gayogo̱hó꞉nǫˀ Territory


    Exhibit Hall Wednesday-Saturday 10am-6pm - CLOSED Sun-Tues

    Cornell Local History Research Library & Archives - By appointment only. Please contact


    Email: Refer to Contact page for individual emails, General inquiries to

    Phone: 607-273-8284


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