During 2020 the nation is celebrating the centennial of the
19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Both before and after the momentous occasion
of August 18, 1920 women were working as agents of change to improve their
lives, the lives of those in their community and around the
During the Great War local women organized the Transylvania chapter
of the National League of Women’s Services.
They worked on the behalf of mothers and wives of soldiers to ensure
that they received benefits due to them by writing countless letters to
civilian agencies and various government and military offices to obtain
information about their loved ones.
Reading through these offers a picture of life on the home front and the
monumental work and effort these women undertook to help others in their
|This letter in the March 28, 1919 Brevard News claimed to
support women’s right to vote.
Following the war many of these same women led the
push for women’s right to vote. Although
there was not a formal suffrage group in Transylvania County, a June 20, 1919
article in the Brevard News stated, “A number of ladies here have taken vital
interest in the question and they are now predicting that they will vote for
the president in 1920.”
Both women and men expressed viewpoints on the
subject of women’s right to vote when a war of opinions broke out in letters to
the Brevard News. It started when a
local woman wrote in refuting reasons she had recently overheard a local man express
against women’s suffrage.
A man responded in opposition using a fictitious
name. It begins, “Now I believe in
suffering all that we can and all that becomes necessary for us to suffer for
the good women of this county. But I
don’t believe in their being allowed to vote.
Not because they are not as well qualified as we men, but because it
will lower them in our eyes to see our women going out and raking up women from
the slums and bringing a dunken galoot up to the poles, and voting him while
poor John or Tom rocks the cradle at home.”
His comments led to several responses in support of
women’s right to vote. Rosman druggist
R.S. Morgan stated, “A good woman should vote and make the country and world
better—should teach her son by example as well as precept—should aid, assist
and guide him in the political work for justice, purity, truth, honor and
glory…If she is suited to mould the home she is suited also to aid in moulding
the nation into a higher and better life.”
This series of articles can be found in the June 20
through August 22, 1919 Brevard News available online at DigitalNC.org.
Next week Picturing the Past will continue the story
of women’s first effort to vote in Transylvania County.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at