New San Diego Public Library hours start July 31, 2021. View hours and available library services.


San Diego

Accessibility Tools

  • Check if your spelling is correct, or try removing filters.
  • Remove quotes around phrases to match each word individually: "blue drop" will match less than blue drop.
  • You can require or exclude terms using + and -: big +blue drop will require a match on blue while big blue -drop will exclude results that contain drop.

Centennial Celebration of Women’s Suffrage

One hundred years ago, women picketed, lobbied, marched and protested for the right to vote. They earned that right in 1920 when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing American women – albeit not all American women - the right to vote.
The Library offers resources, programs, exhibits, and more that commemorate voting rights and explore the history of women’s political activism including a look at powerful women in the San Diego community!
Join us as we examine where we were, were we are and where we still need to go to ensure equal voting rights for all American women.
  • National Woman's Party activists watch Alice Paul sew a star onto the NWP Ratification Flag, representing another state's ratification of the 19th Amendment. Library of Congress.
  • Photo shows lawyer Inez Milholland Boissevain riding astride in the March 3, 1913, suffrage parade in Washington, D.C. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
  • Photograph shows nurses marching to support women's suffrage near the U.S. Capitol. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Crowd Sourced Poem by 2019 Local Authors



Hindsight is a six-episode podcast series from KMUW. Historian and host Dr. Robin Henry examines the history of women's suffrage, political involvement, and social activism in the United States. From the md 1800s’ through today she combines historical context and conversations with scholars, politicians, and activists, aiming to educate and entertain us as we gather a better understanding of women's diverse voices and roles in U.S. history.
Did you know the Equal Rights Amendment is still not part of the United States Constitution? From Wonder Media Network, Ordinary Equality tells the full story of this landmark amendment that passed, failed, was resurrected. Host and human rights attorney Kate Kelly reveals the revolutionaries, the activists, the dissenters, all set against a comprehensive framework of US legal, political and cultural context over the last century. As Alice Paul, author of the ERA, said, “Most reforms, most problems are complicated. But, to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.”
Brought to you from the National Endowment for the Humanities, this segment of Backstory*, places Hillary Clinton’s 2016 run for the Presidency in the historic context of the women who have fought for the vote. They contrast and compare her campaign to Alice Paul and the 1913 Women's Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., and to Shirley Chisholm's historic 1972 presidential campaign. *BackStory is a public radio program & podcast hosted by noted U.S. historians, that brings historical perspective to the events happening around us today.
Author and historian Ellen Carol DuBois discusses her new book Suffrage: Women’s Long Battle for the Vote and the history of the women’s suffrage movement. Her book explores the abolition of slavery and the granting of voting rights to African American men, but not to women of any race. DuBois delves into how suffrage leaders persisted against changing attitudes on politics, citizenship, race and gender during the era of Jim Crow and the beginnings of progressivism.
After all the work American women did to guarantee women’s suffrage, this weekly topical podcast attempts to make sense of arguably the most unusual and complex campaign for the 2020 election campaign and process. Not only for women, this practical micro-podcast hosted by The Takeaway's Politics host Amy Walter explores general voting related questions such as, “What the hell is Super Tuesday and where does it come from? Why does Iowa vote first? What's a caucus? Who gets to be a delegate?”
Brought to you from the National Park Service, this podcast takes a look at some of the lesser known suffragists that lent their voices to the fight for women’s right to vote. Hosts Rosario Dawson and Retta guide us through this seven-part series, bringing us the stories we didn’t learn in our history books including those from generations of diverse activists.
Another podcast from the National Park Service, hosted by gold medal gymnast and advocate Aly Raisman this podcast reaches out to children. Two modern fifth graders, Lotty and Isaiah, meet iconic heroes of the movement for women’s right to vote and experience big moments in women’s suffrage first-hand. They’ll share that what women (and men) fought for - women’s full political equality - isn’t dusty history at all.


Events: Women’s Centennial Series

Presented in collaboration with the Women’s Museum of California, the San Diego Public Library is honored to present our Centennial Celebration Series. Join us as we celebrate the bold women who made this historic event happen. Through this series we examine the history of women’s political activism - where it was, where we are and where we still need to go for ALL American women to feel empowered! Join us for this conversation.
Women’s Centennial Series: Looking Forward, I Believe...
Wednesday, December 9, 2020 | 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. | Watch Video Recording of Event
This is the final event in the Centennial Celebration of Women’s Suffrage. Asking “Where do we go from here?” Join us for a lively discussion with some of San Diego’s notable feminists, including Director of San Diego Public Library, Misty Jones; Women’s Museum President, Anne Hoiberg; SDSU Women’s Studies, Dr. Jess Whatcott; and, UCSD Award Winning Filmmaker, Zeinabu Irene Davis.
The 1970’s, Activism: Feminists & Feministas
Saturday, November 14, 2020 | 1 – 2:30 p.m. | Watch Video Recording of Event
In the 1970s Gloria Steinem and fellow equal rights activists were fighting for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, while conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly was leading the charge against it. Back in southern California, United Farmworker’s Dolores Huerta was a key labor organizer, simultaneously fighting the inherent sexism of the movement. Join Rita Sanchez and Sonia Lopez, authors of “Chicana Tributes,” and Anne Hoiberg, President of the Women’s Museum, for a stimulating discussion on women, feminism and the struggles for social justice in the 1970s.
Working Women of the Waterfront: From Lighthouses to Assembly Lines
Saturday, October 24, 2020 | 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. | Watch Video Recording of Event
You are invited to Zoom in with the San Diego Public Library, the Cabrillo National Monument and the Women’s Museum of California to this enlightening conversation on more of San Diego’s notable women. From lighthouse keepers and a bay pilot on Point Loma to the manufacturing industry of giants like Rohr and Convair, women were breaking gender barriers. Following the presentation, join us for a Q&A as we proudly bring these women out from the shadows of history.
Chicana Tributes: Activist Women of the Civil Rights Movement
Thursday, October 15, 2020 | 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Join local authors Rita Sanchez and Sonia Lopez for a virtual book discussion on their book, Chicana Tributes: Activist Women of the Civil Rights Movement. The work features many of San Diego's notable Chicana women. What was their impact on and contribution to women's voting/civil rights and social justice in the local San Diego community? To find out, join us for a live conversation followed with a Q & A.
Ladies of the Gaslamp: Famous and Infamous
Saturday, September 19, 2020 | 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Please zoom in with the Women’s Museum of California and the San Diego Public Library for a front-row seat and a virtual tour of the Gaslamp! Hear the stories of those who lived in the quarter during the Suffrage Movement. Who were these women who helped others living in the quarter, who lived to clean up the quarter and who enriched the quarter? What effect did the passage of 19th Amendment have on these ladies? Join us and find out with Anne Hoiberg, Board President, Women's Museum of California.
The Road from Ratification to Reality
Tuesday, August 18, 2020 | 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Please zoom in with the Women’s Museum of California and the San Diego Public Library in celebrating the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. How does the ratification of the law in 1920 reconcile with the reality of the subsequent 100 years? What changes in laws and policies enabled all women to exercise their right to vote? And, how important is it for all women to vote? Leading this discussion, Anne Hoiberg, Board President, Women’s Museum of California is joined by President, League of Women Voters of San Diego, Lori Theil; Sheryl Mallory-Johnson, Author and Founder 1619 National Celebration of Black Women; and, Ellen Nash, SDSU’s Human Resources Department (Ret.).
Suffragists Share their Stories
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 | 5:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Join us for another event in our series collaboration with the Women’s Museum of California as we celebrate the official adoption of the 19th Amendment. One hundred years ago, women picketed, lobbied, marched and protested for the right to vote. Join us on Zoom for stories and more from those who took part in the struggle and those who continue to ensure that all women can participate equally in the electoral process.


A documentary drama that chronicles the early struggles of the Women's Rights Movement and personalizes them through an exchange of letters between a sister and brother.
On March 3, 1913, after months of strategic planning and controversy, thousands of women gathered in Washington D.C. for the Women’s Suffrage Parade - the first mass protest for a woman’s right to vote. Michelle Mehrtens details how the march rejuvenated the fight for the 19th amendment.
It wasn't until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that all African Americans were granted the full right to vote, but the fight began in the 1800s alongside the women's suffrage movement. KD Hall presents a documentary that delves into the lives of the women who were leaders in the fight for equal rights for African Americans. to use the film for educational purposes and to spark discussion about the importance of voting.
One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, The Vote tells the dramatic culmination story of the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote - a transformative cultural and political movement that resulted in the largest expansion of voting rights in U.S. history.
Hosted by the 14th Librarian of Congress, Clara Hayden and other prominent women introduce and discuss the significance of the “Shall Not Be Denied” exhibit on display in the Library of Congress. The exhibit tells the story of the long campaign for women’s suffrage – considered the largest reform movement in American history – which lasted more than seven decades. The struggle was not for the fainthearted. For years, determined women organized, lobbied, paraded, petitioned, lectured, picketed and faced imprisonment.

Online Resources

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” - 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

This great resource serves as a central organizing and information-sharing entity for programs, projects, and activities that commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, educate the public on the legal and social advances resulting from the amendment, and stimulate dialogue to address the ongoing fight for women’s rights.
Access to digital collections of primary sources documenting women’s history, including the suffrage movement in the United States. For example, a subject search on “suffrage” will retrieve 100’s of hits on related images from “sheet music” to “clothing buttons” to “political cartoons.” It also allows refining filters on geographic and ethnic results.
Currently on view, Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote, is your best one-stop shop! By far the best place to visit for access to extensive collections of images, video and audio recordings, links to relevant websites and documents tracing the movement from the Seneca Falls Convention to the ratification and passage of the 19th Amendment. Plus, much more!
With its mission to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations, one might be surprised by this comprehensive educational tribute to the suffrage movement. Both resources offer in-depth yet user-friendly access to the movement:
  • Resources for Teaching Women's Suffrage include primary sources and lesson plans making it another useful tool for teachers and educators.
  • Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York, now known as the Seneca Falls Convention is the location of the first women's rights convention to be organized by women. Utmost important, in 1848, with Frederick Douglas in attendance, principle author Elizabeth Cady Stanton along with 98 more women and men signed the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments. Based on the United States Declaration of Independence, this document included the word “women” ensuring equal protection t be guaranteed for all, regardless of gender.
The Smithsonian Institution is home to the Catalog of American Portraits, a survey of American portraits in public and private collections. Among the 200,000 plus portraits and biographical information on many of the major female players in the march for suffrage, e.g., Ida. B. Wells-Barnett, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
located in San Diego and currently focusing on the Centennial of suffrage, its mission is to preserve women’s history by educating people about women’s experiences and contributions through originally curated exhibits, educational programs, and community events.
Featuring the Bold Accomplishments of Women of Color Need to Be a Bigger Part of Suffrage History. As part of the digitalized Smithsonian magazine, American Women’s History Initiative, aka Because of Her Story has been launched. The online journal offers a comprehensive undertaking to document, research, collect, display, and share the rich and compelling story of women in the United States. Through this initiative, the Smithsonian seeks to amplify women’s voices, reach diverse and international audiences, and empower generations. In celebration of the AWHI, has collected representative examples of its coverage of diverse women throughout American history.