Shanna Stevenson

WSU Press, 2009


This year marks the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage in Washington state. As the fifth state in the Union to allow women to vote, Washington’s landmark was more than a half-century in the making. In fact, in 1883, when Washington was a territory, woman did win the right to vote. Then, just five years later, the right was revoked and they had to campaign all over again.

In her latest book, historian Shanna Stevenson examines both Washington’s history and the effect of Washington’s women winning the vote on the national effort to pass the 19th Amendment. As coordinator of the Women’s History Consortium, Stevenson is a key member of the state’s efforts to recognize the centennial. This book coordinates with a Washington State Historical Society exhibit titled “Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices” that is now traveling the state.

Peppered with snapshots, illustrations, and stories both before and after the state opened to women’s votes, Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices is rich with detail and entertaining to peruse. It also provides profiles of such women leaders as Spokane’s May Arkwright Hutton, a silver mine millionaire who became an advocate for labor, women’s voting rights, and orphans, and her west-side counterpart Emma Smith DeVoe, a Puget Sound activist who helped bring the national women’s caucus to Washington in 1910.

The book doesn’t stop with women winning the right to vote, though. It goes on to examine the effect and accomplishments of women throughout the state’s history, right up to today. Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices will be a valuable teaching tool, as well as of interest to anyone wanting to know more of our state’s history.