100 books like Suffrage

By Ellen Carol DuBois,

Here are 100 books that Suffrage fans have personally recommended if you like Suffrage. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of No Votes for Women: The New York State Anti-Suffrage Movement

Nancy C. Unger Author Of Belle La Follette: Progressive Era Reformer

From my list on the fight for American women’s suffrage.

Why am I passionate about this?

History is my passion as well as my profession. I love a good story! Because understanding the past can be a powerful tool to improving the future, I have written dozens of op-eds and give public talks (some of which can be found in the C-SPAN online library as well as on YouTube). Most of my work focuses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1877-1920) and includes two award-winning biographies, Fighting Bob La Follette: The Righteous Reformer, and Belle La Follette Progressive Era Reformer. I’m also the co-editor of A Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and author of Beyond Nature’s Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History.

Nancy's book list on the fight for American women’s suffrage

Nancy C. Unger Why did Nancy love this book?

It’s easy to forget that many women, as well as men, actively opposed women’s suffrage. Susan Goodier details the anti-suffrage movement in New York State, but her analysis of its motives, victories, and ultimate defeat reveals much about the philosophies and implications of conservative movements nationwide. This is a fascinating study of the women who joined together in a political movement to keep women out of politics. A highlight is how these women fared after the vote was won.

By Susan Goodier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Votes for Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No Votes for Women explores the complicated history of the suffrage movement in New York State by delving into the stories of women who opposed the expansion of voting rights to women. Susan Goodier finds that conservative women who fought against suffrage encouraged women to retain their distinctive feminine identities as protectors of their homes and families, a role they felt was threatened by the imposition of masculine political responsibilities. She details the victories and defeats on both sides of the movement from its start in the 1890s to its end in the 1930s, acknowledging the powerful activism of this…


Book cover of Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener

Allison Lange Author Of Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women's Suffrage Movement

From my list on American suffragists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Allison Lange, and I’m a historian who writes, gives talks, teaches, and curates exhibitions. For the 19th Amendment centennial, I served as Historian for the United States Congress’s Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. I am also creating the first filmed series on American women’s history for Wondrium (formerly The Great Courses). My first book, Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement focuses on the ways that women’s voting rights activists and their opponents used images to define gender and power. My next book situates current iconic pictures within the context of historical ones to demonstrate that today’s visual debates about gender and politics are shaped by those of the past.

Allison's book list on American suffragists

Allison Lange Why did Allison love this book?

Helen Hamilton Gardener secured crucial support from leading politicians in Washington, DC for the 19th Amendment’s ratification. Despite her significance, few know the story of her exciting and controversial life. Fortunately, Kimberly Hamlin tells Gardener’s dramatic story in her book Free Thinker. Born Alice Chenoweth in 1853, she had to leave her job as a teacher in Ohio after an affair with a married school commissioner in 1876. She adopted the name Helen Hamilton Gardener and a range of modern ideas: women’s rights, opposition to the sexual double standard, and freethought. Gardener eventually became the highest-ranking female official in the federal government by the time of her death in 1925. Free Thinker provides a fascinating glimpse into the behind-the-scenes politics that led to the 19th Amendment’s ratification.

By Kimberly A. Hamlin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Free Thinker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Ohio newspapers published the story of Alice Chenoweth's affair with a married man, she changed her name to Helen Hamilton Gardener, moved to New York, and devoted her life to championing women's rights and decrying the sexual double standard. She published seven books and countless essays, hobnobbed with the most interesting thinkers of her era, and was celebrated for her audacious ideas and keen wit. Opposed to piety, temperance, and conventional thinking, Gardener eventually settled in Washington, D.C., where her tireless work proved, according to her colleague Maud Wood Park, "the most potent factor" in the passage of the…


Book cover of Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement

Nancy A. Hewitt Author Of Radical Friend: Amy Kirby Post and Her Activist Worlds

From my list on racial politics and women’s activism in the US.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Rochester, New York, where I was raised, Susan Anthony and Frederick Douglass are local heroes. But in the late 1960s, I was drawn more to grassroots movements than charismatic leaders. Despite dropping out of college—twice—I completed a B.A. in 1974 and then pursued a PhD in History. My 1981 dissertation and first book focused on three networks of mainly white female activists in nineteenth-century Rochester. Of the dozens of women I studied, Amy Post most clearly epitomized the power of interracial, mixed-sex, and cross-class movements for social justice. After years of inserting Post in articles, textbooks, and websites, I finally published Radical Friend in hopes of inspiring scholars and activists to follow her lead. 

Nancy's book list on racial politics and women’s activism in the US

Nancy A. Hewitt Why did Nancy love this book?

Cathleen Cahill explodes the conventional history of women’s suffrage by tracing the stories of suffragists of color from 1890 to 1928. Analyzing the efforts of African American, Native American, Mexican, and Chinese American activists, Cahill shifts the focus away from each group’s interactions with white suffragists and explores, instead, the commonalities and differences among women of color. She interweaves compelling vignettes of individual suffragists, including Carrie Williams Clifford, Nina Otero-Warren, and Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, with the larger issues addressed in their communities. In wielding dynamic analyses of these communities of color, Cahill creates a powerful new narrative of the long fight for women’s suffrage.    

By Cathleen D. Cahill,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Recasting the Vote as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We think we know the story of women's suffrage in the United States: women met at Seneca Falls, marched in Washington, D.C., and demanded the vote until they won it with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. But the fight for women's voting rights extended far beyond these familiar scenes. From social clubs in New York's Chinatown to conferences for Native American rights, and in African American newspapers and pamphlets demanding equality for Spanish-speaking New Mexicans, a diverse cadre of extraordinary women struggled to build a movement that would truly include all women, regardless of race or national origin. In…


Book cover of One Woman Against War: The Jeannette Rankin Story

Nancy C. Unger Author Of Belle La Follette: Progressive Era Reformer

From my list on the fight for American women’s suffrage.

Why am I passionate about this?

History is my passion as well as my profession. I love a good story! Because understanding the past can be a powerful tool to improving the future, I have written dozens of op-eds and give public talks (some of which can be found in the C-SPAN online library as well as on YouTube). Most of my work focuses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1877-1920) and includes two award-winning biographies, Fighting Bob La Follette: The Righteous Reformer, and Belle La Follette Progressive Era Reformer. I’m also the co-editor of A Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and author of Beyond Nature’s Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History.

Nancy's book list on the fight for American women’s suffrage

Nancy C. Unger Why did Nancy love this book?

Jeannette Rankin is so well known for being the first woman elected to the US Congress, and for voting against American entry into both world wars, that her vital role in achieving women’s suffrage goes unappreciated. In this full biography, Giles engagingly recounts her tireless work across the nation as a suffrage campaigner, as well as her introduction, as a member of the House of Representatives, of the Susan B. Anthony amendment that would guarantee women the vote. There are many biographies of Rankin—this one is especially balanced and lively.

By Kevin S. Giles,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Woman Against War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One Woman Against War is a historical biography.Women's rights leader, pacifist, feminist. She was the lonely dissenter, committed to following the dictates of her conscience no matter the consequences. Jeannette Rankin, an early leader for woman suffrage and the first woman elected to Congress, crusaded for peace her entire life. "Killing more people won't help matters," she said.
The Montana native was an American icon of extremes in politics, applauded as a beacon of hope by many people and vilified as a traitor by others. Rankin is widely known as the first woman elected to Congress. Lesser known is that…


Book cover of The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote

Jennifer Schwed Author Of 19 The Musical: An American Suffrage Story

From my list on suffrage fights and voting rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

We are the creators, writers, lyricists, directors, and producers of the original musical, 19: The Musical. These are the best books we read on the topic of Alice Paul, suffrage, and the fight for the passage of the 19th Amendment. The amendment finally gave women the right to vote, but almost immediately, legislatures around the country began disenfranchising women of color by clawing voting rights back away from them. Researching the background for 19: The Musical was intense. These books were essential background for us to understand the historical landscape enough to write about it and, where necessary, combine events or create composite characters for our musical.

Jennifer's book list on suffrage fights and voting rights

Jennifer Schwed Why did Jennifer love this book?

This is a remarkable book about a remarkable chapter in the fight for women’s right to vote. The story of the suffrage fight throughout the Summer of 1920 in Tennessee is so incredible that it seems impossible.

And what is even more bonkers is how remarkably similar some of the issues and players are to those of today. We could have done an entire show based on what we learned in The Woman’s Hour!

By Elaine Weiss,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Woman's Hour as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Both a page-turning drama and an inspiration for every reader" -- Hillary Rodham Clinton

Soon to be a major television event, the nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political battles in American history: the ratification of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote.

Nashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have approved the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote; one last state--Tennessee--is needed for women's voting rights to be the law of the land. The suffragists face vicious opposition from politicians, clergy, corporations, and racists who don't want black women voting. And then there are the…


Book cover of Princess of the Hither Isles: A Black Suffragist’s Story from the Jim Crow South

Elisabeth Griffith Author Of Formidable: American Women and the Fight for Equality: 1920-2020

From my list on formidable Black women, whose lives mattered.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic, activist, author, and a student of American women’s history, I’m passionate about recognizing the contributions of diverse American women. I graduated from Wellesley College, on the cusp of the 1970s women’s movement. My doctoral dissertation, a biography of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in Her Own Right, hailed by both Oprah and the Wall Street Journal, was the basis of Ken Burns’ documentary, Not for Ourselves Alone. My career centered on women: working to advance women’s rights, writing and teaching women’s history, and leading a girls’ school. As a cisgender white woman, I’m a member of the Society of American Historians and Veteran Feminists of America. 

Elisabeth's book list on formidable Black women, whose lives mattered

Elisabeth Griffith Why did Elisabeth love this book?

This is the biography of the author’s grandmother, Adella Hunt Logan (1863-1915), a teacher at Tuskegee.  W.E.B. DuBois, who challenged Booker T. Washington’s vocational vision for Black Americans, gave her the title princess. Like Terrell, Logan could “pass” for white, but rarely did: to travel safely north and to have kidney surgery in a white hospital. Unlike Terrell, she was the product of her mother’s and grandmother’s longstanding, consensual relationships with slaveholders. Logan’s life was confined by racism, sexism, marriage, and motherhood, yet she urged reluctant Black women to pursue suffrage, lobbied for equal pay, and espoused reproductive rights, before her tragic death. She was the only Black lifetime member of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association and the only member enrolled from Alabama. The author incorporates public records, family archives, stories handed down, and African myths to choreograph this compelling tour de force.    

By Adele Logan Alexander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Princess of the Hither Isles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A compelling reconstruction of the life of a black suffragist, Adella Hunt Logan, blending family lore, historical research, and literary imagination

"Both a definitive rendering of a life and a remarkable study of the interplay of race and gender in an America whose shadows still haunt us today."-Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

"If you combine the pleasures of a seductive novel, discovering a real American heroine, and learning the multiracial history of this country that wasn't in our textbooks, you will have an idea of the great gift that Adele Logan Alexander has given us."-Gloria Steinem

Born during the Civil War…


Book cover of Indian Suffragettes: Female Identities and Transnational Networks

Mona L. Siegel Author Of Peace on Our Terms: The Global Battle for Women's Rights After the First World War

From my list on feminism is a century-old global phenomenon.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was at university in the 1980s, I thought I wanted to become the ambassador to France. Then one of my roommates made me promise to take a women’s studies class—any class—before I graduated. I opted for “The History of Women’s Peace Movements.” Descending into historical archives for the first time, I held in my hands crumbling, 100-year-old letters of World War I-era feminists who audaciously insisted that for a peaceful world to flourish, women must participate in its construction. My life changed course. I became a professor and a historian, and I have been following the trail of feminist, internationalist, social justice pioneers ever since.  

Mona's book list on feminism is a century-old global phenomenon

Mona L. Siegel Why did Mona love this book?

All authors regretfully leave some things out of their books. If I had written a seventh chapter to mine, it would have focused on Indian feminists like Sarojini Naidu and Herabai and Mithan Tata who conducted a full-throttled campaign for the British Parliament to endorse women’s political rights in the 1919 Government of India Act. Fortunately, Mukherjee’s book tells this story in compelling detail. Based on research into previously ignored sources, this book follows Indian feminists’ battles as they pressed for women’s suffrage, initially within the constraints of the British empire and later, as anticolonial battles intensified, side-by-side with Gandhi and other nationalists fighting for Indian self-determination.

By Sumita Mukherjee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Indian Suffragettes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Popular depictions of campaigns for women's suffrage in films and literature have invariably focused on Western suffrage movements. The fact that Indian women built up a vibrant suffrage movement in the twentieth century has been largely neglected. The Indian 'suffragettes' were not only actively involved in campaigns within the Indian subcontinent, they also travelled to Britain, America, Europe, and elsewhere, taking part in transnational discourses on feminism,
democracy, and suffrage. Indian Suffragettes focuses on the different geographical spaces in which Indian women were operating. Covering the period from the 1910s until 1950, it shows how Indian women campaigning for suffrage…


Book cover of Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and The Scandalous Victoria Woodhull

Theresa Kaminski Author Of Dr. Mary Walker's Civil War: One Woman's Journey to the Medal of Honor and the Fight for Women's Rights

From my list on 19th-century women’s rights activists.

Why am I passionate about this?

My expertise: I specialize in writing about scrappy women in American history. I started with a trilogy of nonfiction history books about American women in the Philippine Islands who lived through the Japanese occupation during World War II. Then I found a biographical subject that combined the fascinating topics of war and suffrage, so I wrote Dr. Mary Walker’s Civil War: One Woman’s Journey to the Medal of Honor and the Fight for Women’s Rights. The next woman who grabbed my attention was a big name in Hollywood in the 20th century. Queen of the West: The Life and Times of Dale Evans is due out in 2022. 

Theresa's book list on 19th-century women’s rights activists

Theresa Kaminski Why did Theresa love this book?

Goldsmith vividly recreates the life and times of Woodhull, a shrewd manipulator who traded on her physical beauty and her intellect to run a successful brokerage firm after the Civil War. Woodhull, along with her sister Tennessee Claflin, used some of her profits to publish a women’s rights newspaper that supported suffrage and other women’s rights causes. Stanton and Anthony, initially intrigued by her keen business sense and her suffrage commitment, soon shunned her for her radical views on sexuality. Woodhull pushed all sorts of boundaries designed to contain women, even political ones--she ran for president in 1872.

By Barbara Goldsmith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Other Powers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Barbara Goldsmith's portrait of suffragette Victoria Woodhull and her times was hailed by George Plimpton as "a beautifully written biography of a remarkable woman" and by Gloria Steinem as "more memorable than a dozen histories."

A highly readable combination of history and biography, Other Powers interviews the stories of some of the most colorful social, political, and religious figures of America's Victorian era with the courageous and notorious life of Victoria Woodhull--psychic, suffragette, publisher, presidential candidate, and self-confessed practitioner of free love. It is set amid the battle for women's suffrage, the Spiritualist movement that swept across the nation in…


Book cover of Alice Paul: Equality for Women

Jennifer Schwed Author Of 19 The Musical: An American Suffrage Story

From my list on suffrage fights and voting rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

We are the creators, writers, lyricists, directors, and producers of the original musical, 19: The Musical. These are the best books we read on the topic of Alice Paul, suffrage, and the fight for the passage of the 19th Amendment. The amendment finally gave women the right to vote, but almost immediately, legislatures around the country began disenfranchising women of color by clawing voting rights back away from them. Researching the background for 19: The Musical was intense. These books were essential background for us to understand the historical landscape enough to write about it and, where necessary, combine events or create composite characters for our musical.

Jennifer's book list on suffrage fights and voting rights

Jennifer Schwed Why did Jennifer love this book?

This is an easy-to-read yet unflinching history about Alice Paul and her role in the fight for the vote. We found it to be written in an accessible manner, but the stories of what Alice Paul and the other suffragists went through (physically, mentally, and emotionally) during their arrests and incarcerations left a lasting impression on us. 

By Christine Lunardini,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alice Paul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alice Paul: Equality for Women shows the dominant and unwavering role Paul played in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting the vote to American women. The dramatic details of Paul's imprisonment and solitary confinement, hunger strike, and force-feeding at the hands of the U.S. government illustrate her fierce devotion to the cause she spent her life promoting. Placed in the context of the first half of the twentieth century, Paul's story also touches on issues of progressivism and labor reform, race and class, World War I patriotism and America's emerging role as a global power, women's activism in the…


Book cover of Alice Paul: Claiming Power

Jennifer Schwed Author Of 19 The Musical: An American Suffrage Story

From my list on suffrage fights and voting rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

We are the creators, writers, lyricists, directors, and producers of the original musical, 19: The Musical. These are the best books we read on the topic of Alice Paul, suffrage, and the fight for the passage of the 19th Amendment. The amendment finally gave women the right to vote, but almost immediately, legislatures around the country began disenfranchising women of color by clawing voting rights back away from them. Researching the background for 19: The Musical was intense. These books were essential background for us to understand the historical landscape enough to write about it and, where necessary, combine events or create composite characters for our musical.

Jennifer's book list on suffrage fights and voting rights

Jennifer Schwed Why did Jennifer love this book?

This book is so good that other authors and academics often reference it. It provided us with great background and insight into Alice Paul and how/why she was able to accomplish what she did.

It does a great job of fleshing out the person behind the movement, which helped us humanize Alice in our musical.  

By J.D. Zahniser, Amelia Fry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Alice Paul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alice Paul redirected the course of American political history. Raised by Quaker parents in Moorestown, New Jersey, she would become a passionate and outspoken leader of the woman suffrage movement. In 1913, she reinvigorated the American campaign for a constitutional suffrage amendment and, in the next seven years, dominated that campaign and drove it to victory with bold, controversial action-wedding courage with resourcefulness and self-mastery.

This riveting account of Paul's early years and suffrage activism offers fresh insight into her private persona and public image, examining for the first time the sources of Paul's ambition and the growth of her…


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Interested in suffrage movements, suffragettes, and women?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about suffrage movements, suffragettes, and women.

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