OGDEN — Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment — the constitutional revision that guaranteed women’s right to vote.
As the centennial nears, Weber State University’s special collections department is putting together a project that will give a nod to the breakthrough, but on a hyper-local level.
“Beyond Suffrage: A Century of Northern Utah Women Making History,” is an endeavor by Stewart Library’s Special Collections — with help from WSU’s Archives, the Ogden Union Station and a host of other partners — that seeks to explore the women who most impacted Northern Utah’s history.
Or as Special Collections Curator Sarah Singh says, the “Women who made Ogden and those who are making Ogden.”
The group will also explore how women helped shape the legacy of WSU. Singh said Ann Millner was the first female university president in Utah and some of WSU’s professors have been pioneers in their fields.
Singh says the project will look at how the 19th Amendment became a catalyst for the way women became involved in the local community. A team of researchers is looking at trailblazing Northern Utah women from 1870, up through the present day.
The group is including the time frame 50 years prior to the 19th Amendment’s passage because women’s suffrage in Utah was first granted in 1870, years before the state became part of the union. The action was repealed in 1887 with the Edmunds–Tucker Act, which attempted to slow Mormon influence in the Utah Territory.
“So 2020 is actually the 150th anniversary (of women’s suffrage) in Utah,” Singh said.
Singh’s team researched more than 400 Northern Utah women for the project. The list will be whittled to 55 (40 Northern Utah women and 15 women from WSU), then people will be asked to vote for their favorites. Trading cards will be created for the top 15 vote-getters. An exhibit featuring oral histories, photographs and more, will go on display March 14 at the Union Station, 2501 Wall Ave.
Singh said local women have had a large impact on education, health care, business, innovation and politics in the area, “but far too often, have been left out of the history.”
“We hope this project can help change some of that,” she said.