Lake Erie College to Celebrate 19th Amendment Anniversary with Research Project


In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, Lake Erie College faculty and staff have joined forces to organize a year-long celebration of the numerous Lake Erie College alumnae who fought for women’s rights and for the right to vote. 

The year-long project will see students engage in active research related to LEC alumnae activities at the local, state, and national levels of the suffrage movement. These activities include the Painesville Equal Rights Association and the Ohio Suffrage Association, both founded by Frances Jennings Casement, a LEC alumna and Painesville citizen. In 1885, Casement hosted Susan B. Anthony in her home for one week and organized her visits to Lake Erie College, the Painesville Methodist Church, and The Union Chapel in Newbury where she gave speeches and inspired the community to support the suffrage movement.

Recently, in an extraordinary find, a hand-written, personal letter, dated May 21, 1885 from Susan B. Anthony to then LEC President Mary Evans was discovered in the College archives. The letter thanks President Evans for the opportunity to visit and sums up with this heartfelt show of gratitude: “give my kindest regards to the teachers and the students alike -- I enjoyed that morning’s look into the faces and talk with the heads and hearts of those dear young girls...very much.” The letter was signed affectionately, “With great respect & love, Susan B. Anthony.”

In the letter, Mrs. Anthony also mentioned her forthcoming gift to the College of a set of History of Woman Suffrage. The cherished, commemorative volumes have since been located in the library and will be displayed with Susan B. Anthony’s letter among other letters and photos of Lake Erie College suffragettes, including Frances Jennings Casement, Elizabeth Bartlett Granniz, Luette Bentley, Emma Gillette and Ellen Spencer Mussey, among others.

As part of this initiative, the college is also inviting sponsorships and donations to support student research. A full sponsorship is $2,020 to support travel and entrance fee expenses, as well as copying and scanning of documents. Ten women have been identified for student research in the Rhetoric of Women’s Rights sequence, offered in successive semesters in 2020. These courses offer experiential learning through local tours and archival research. Students will have the choice to present their research through multi-media, exhibit display, historical interpretation and/or interactive website. LEC employees involved in this project include Assistant Professor of Communication Dr. Nichole Kathol, Assistant Professor of Sport Management Dr. Amanda Curtis, Dean of the School of Education and Professional Studies Dr. Katharine Delavan, Coordinator of Academic and Co-Curricular Engagement Annalise Kelleher and Director of the Lincoln Library Jeanna Purses. These women have agreed to collaborate from departments all across campus.

To kick off the Centennial Suffrage Celebration, Lake Erie College will host a Rally for Ratification event at the Helen Rockwell Morley Memorial Music Building on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 5 p.m. The event will feature Women of History in character as Susan B. Anthony, Victoria Woodhull and Frances Jennings Casement for historical reenactment. The Centennial Suffrage Celebration will continue throughout the year to bring awareness to the suffrage movement and its continual efforts in modern times.

Donate online at this address or to learn more about the Centennial Suffrage Celebration.

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