How Women Have Shaped the State

Women in Minnesota: Weaving the Web of Society in the North Star State

Expert Essay: Rhoda R. Gilman, a founding member of Women Historians of the Midwest and a former candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, considers the influence of women in Minnesota: the Willmar 8, the Schubert Club, the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association, and much more.

“Women Vote in Norway” sash

“Women Vote in Norway” sash

This sash, used by the Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association in the 1910s, emphasized the voting rights already held by Norwegian women and the desire for the United States to follow suit.

Portrait of Nanny Mattson Jaeger

Nanny Mattson Jaeger

Nanny Mattson Jaeger, second SWSA president, ca. 1919. From the National Woman's Party Records (Group I, Container I:152, Folder: Jaeger, Nanny Mattson). Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Woman Citizen Building

Woman Citizen Building

Located on the State Fairgrounds, the Woman Citizen Building was intended to be a place for women to congregate. The Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association raised the funds to build the center, then turned it over to the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association in 1917.

Photograph of Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association fundraising for the Red Cross

Members of the Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association fundraising for the Red Cross

Dressed in traditional Scandinavian clothing, members of the Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association sell Danish pottery to fundraise for the Red Cross. From the Woman Citizen Journal, September 15, 1917.

Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association members picketing in Washington, DC

Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association members picketing in Washington, DC

Members of the Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association participate in “Minnesota Day” at a suffrage picket line in Washington, DC, 1917. From the Library of Congress’s National Woman's Party Records (Group I, Container I:160, Folder: Pickets, 1917). Photographed by Harris & Ewing, Washington, DC.

Photograph of Unveiling of Gunnar Wennerberg staute

Unveiling of Gunnar Wennerberg statue

A statue honoring Swedish icon Gunnar Wennerberg is unveiled in Minnehaha Park on June 24, 1915. Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association members stand on the right holding their suffrage banner.

Swedish folk dancers at Loring Park

Swedish folk dancers at Loring Park

Swedish folk dancers pose at a Loring Park festival organized by the Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association in Minneapolis, 1915. Minneapolis Morning Tribune (May 12, 1915)

Political Equality Club leaders

Political Equality Club leaders

Scandinavian Woman Suffrage Association founder Ethel Edgerton Hurd (back row, center) and president Nanny Mattson Jaeger (front row, holding umbrella) pose with members of the Political Equality Club, ca. 1915.

Photograph of 1914 women' suffrage parade

Suffrage Procession

Women display Scandinavian costumes and flags in a Minneapolis suffrage parade on May 2, 1914. The march drew 2,000 participants.

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