Chautauqua-Wawasee presents Women’s Suffrage Centennial Program

On August 26, 1920, Hoosier women won the right to vote after years of demanding that their voices be heard. 

During the month of August, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial will be celebrated throughout Indiana and the United States. The Town of Syracuse has designated the week of August 23-29 as Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration week. Chautauqua-Wawasee will be hosting a number of events and will team with the Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum, Syracuse Public Library, Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber and the Indiana Humanities to bring area residents a glimpse into the events leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. “It is hard to believe that women had to fight so hard for so long for the passage of the 19th Amendment. And sad that so many of the early suffragists did not live long enough to celebrate their victory,” said Mark Knecht, Chautauqua-Wawasee President. 

“From Seneca Falls to Seymour and South Bend: Mapping Indiana’s Suffrage History” will be the first program presented by Melissa Gentry on August 26 at 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Oakwood Resort Inn in Syracuse 

Gentry is the supervisor of the Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection. Since 2001, she has been providing instructional programs and has curated special exhibits for Ball State University and the Muncie community. Gentry will give listeners insight into important Indiana women in the suffrage movement and share her paper maps which picture events and people and places in the movement to secure the vote. 

On Saturday, August 29, Margo Wilson, children’s librarian at the Syracuse Public Library, will host a program for children at the library from l0-11 a.m. At 11:30 a.m., an old-fashion ice cream social is planned for Lakeside Park. The featured speaker will be Beth Beams, Chautauqua-Wawasee’s program director for the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration. Syracuse’s Joes Ice Cream is providing the ice cream. 

Marsha Miller, research librarian at Indiana State University, will present the fourth and final program at the Syracuse Community Center on Saturday, September 5 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Her topic will be “From Amanda to Zerelda: Hoosier Suffragists Who Raised a Ruckus.” Through costume and song, Miller will introduce the audience to women such as Amanda Way, Grace Julian Clarke, Mary Garrett Hay, Helen Gougar, Zerelda Wallace and May Wright Sewall.” 

All programs are free and open to the public. 

Chautauqua-Wawasee is a non-profit organization which provides life enriching programs for the northern Indiana region. 

Mary Hursh is a freelance writer who lives on Syracuse Lake with her husband Stanley.