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Exploring Primary Sources: Kentucky Women's Suffrage Exercise

This guide contains the materials and activities for a class exercise on women’s suffrage in Kentucky.

Information for Students

This module explores the political and societal context surrounding the women’s suffrage movement within Kentucky around the turn of the 20th century.

While women officially gained the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, the road to enfranchisement was long and littered with obstacles and opposing views. The materials in this module highlight some important perspectives of both advocates and opponents of the movement, as well as controversial campaign strategies and unfortunate implications. This module is designed to provide you with the means to better understand this historical event and the many contextual layers surrounding it.

The main focus of this online exercise is for you to investigate and answer questions about primary source materials related to this moment in history. For this exercise, focus on bias and its implications. There is bias everywhere: some positive, some negative. As you read through your document and answer these questions, try to put yourself in the shoes of whoever was creating or consuming the primary source document that you see now. 

You may come across language in UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center collections and online resources that you find harmful or offensive. SCRC collects materials from different cultures and time periods to preserve and make available the historical record. These materials document the time period when they were created and the view of their creator. As a result, some may demonstrate racist and offensive views that do not reflect the values of UK Libraries.

If you find description with problematic language that you think SCRC should review, please contact us at