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College Archives Opens Exhibit about Wilson Students and Politics

Posted: June 25, 2012

CHAMBERSBURG, PA – A new exhibit at the C. Elizabeth Boyd ’33 Archives, From Suffragists to Officeholders: Politics at Wilson College, explores the changing roles of Wilson students in politics.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE:
June 21, 2012
CONTACT: Amy Lucadamo, Archivist
Phone: 717-262-2049
Email: amy.lucadamo@wilson.edu

CHAMBERSBURG, PA – A new exhibit at the C. Elizabeth Boyd ’33 Archives, From Suffragists to Officeholders: Politics at Wilson College, explores the changing roles of Wilson students in politics.

The exhibit encompasses a wide range of time, from before women had the right to vote in this country to today, and examines the roles of several Wilson women in the suffrage movement, according to Wilson College Archivist Amy Lucadamo.

The exhibit includes correspondence from several U.S. presidents, including a telegram from President Richard Nixon dated March 1969, congratulating Wilson on its 100th anniversary. In addition, there are several letters of regret from U.S. presidents who were not able to attend events at Wilson, including one written by former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, explaining he would not be able to attend a lecture at Wilson given by former congresswoman Clare Booth Luce, his ambassador to Italy from 1953 to 1956.

The suffrage material includes information about a suffrage cartoonist, Ida Sedgwick Proper, who taught at Penn Hall, and artifacts relating to Wilson’s most prominent suffragette, Hannah J. Patterson. Patterson, a 1901 Wilson College graduate, was active in the cause for a woman’s right to vote both in Pennsylvania and nationally from 1910 through 1917. She began working with the Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association in Pittsburgh, organized and headed a state Woman Suffrage Party and was elected as corresponding secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in December 1915.

Patterson successfully lobbied both the Republican and Democratic political parties to commit to the promotion of state action on woman suffrage in their party platforms in 1916. In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson recruited Patterson to serve on the Woman’s Committee of the Council of National Defense, which was designed to coordinate the war work of American women. For her work in this post, she was awarded the civilian Distinguished Service Medal.

Other exhibit material includes items about Wilson graduates who became elected officials at the national, state and local level and results of straw polls and mock elections done on campus and published in the student newspaper for presidential elections from 1892 to 1960

The exhibit, which is housed in the college’s Hankey Center for the Education and Advancement of Women, is open now through Dec. 21.

Hours for the exhibit are 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by appointment.

For more information, contact Amy Lucadamo at 717-262-2049 or amy.lucadamo@wilson.edu.

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Founded in 1869, Wilson College is a liberal arts college dedicated to the education of women. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and located in Chambersburg, Pa. Wilson offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 areas and master’s degrees in education and the humanities. The college’s 2011-12 enrollment in the College for Women and the Adult Degree Program is 746 and includes 21 students from 10 foreign countries. Visit www.wilson.edu for more information.

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Last Updated: June 25, 2012