Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party

About This Collection

Selection Criteria

Resources permitted scanning only 17 percent of the 2,650 images in the NWP records. Accordingly, two Manuscript Division specialists carefully reviewed all the images and made selections based on various goals and criteria including the following:

  • A focus on the NWP suffrage campaign from 1913 to 1920 and its immediate aftermath. Those years are among the best documented in the NWP records and the images tend to be of the greatest research interest. Selections predating the founding of the CU in 1913 consist primarily of portraits of suffrage pioneers and early CU members. Images selected from the two decades after the August 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment principally document the initial campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment, events commemorating the suffrage movement and the 75th anniversary of the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848, NWP’s "Women for Congress" campaigns in 1924 and 1926, the relocation of NWP headquarters to the historic Sewall-Belmont House, the death of NWP patron Alva Belmont, and the NWP’s increasing involvement in international feminism that culminated with the founding of the World Woman’s Party (see Historical Overview and Detailed Chronology [PDF]).
  • Dividing the selections between portraits and action or group shots in a proportion that roughly mirrors the approximate 60 to 40 percent ratio in the NWP collection as a whole. There are 249 portraits and 199 action/group shots in Women of Protest.
  • Documenting as many of the key events, activities, and tactics as possible. The number of links from the Women of Protest Detailed Chronology (PDF) to digitized selections suggest that nearly every significant activity during the suffrage campaign is represented by at least one digitized image. Many of these events (for example, inaugural parades in 1913 and 1917, as well as various demonstrations, pickets, and arrests) occurred in the nation’s capital, but the final selection also showcases NWP activities elsewhere nationwide.
  • Documenting the NWP’s organizational history. There is at least one photograph of each of the five buildings that served as NWP headquarters: 1420 F Street-First Headquarters, Cameron House, Jackson Place, Old Brick Capitol, and Belmont House. There are also portraits of women who played key roles in the organization or who were prominently represented in the manuscript records of the NWP. These included the women who served as chairs of the CU or NWP from 1913 to 1949, or as vice chairs from 1913 to 1918; national officers, staff, and advisory board members active during the suffrage phase of the organization’s history; and state suffrage activists who served on CU or NWP national committees or who corresponded significantly with the national organization.
  • Selecting photographic portraits to represent both well-known and unheralded women involved in the suffrage campaign. In addition to representing the NWP leadership and its rank and file, the selection includes leaders of rival or associated suffrage organizations; as well as selected suffrage pioneers, international suffragists, and women who were active in related reform movements.
  • Selecting portraits to reflect the nationwide character of the suffrage campaign. The selections include at least one woman from every region in the country and nearly every state. Some regions are better represented than others, however, reflecting overall NWP membership distribution. For example, the NWP drew heavily from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic areas, and from western states where women already had the vote, but had fewer members in the South, partly because of issues of race and racism, and partly because some southern states rights advocates opposed the party’s emphasis on the federal amendment.
  • Selecting images with aesthetic merit as well as historical significance.
  • Selecting images with interesting captions.


Woman holding a sign for the Scandinavian Suffrage Association of Minnesota
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  Regional and state representation was important in selecting images for Women of Protest. Minnesota Day on the picket line in early 1917 [detail]. Harris & Ewing.

Woman walking by the headquarters of a suffrage organization
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon  Headquarters of the NAWSA Congressional Committee and the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, 1913-15. Harris & Ewing.