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HIST 379 NAWSA Suffragist Project

What are Primary Sources?

"A primary source provides direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, or work of art. Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, and art objects." From


NAWSA Archives

These Proceedings describe the events during the NAWSA annual conventions. You can browse the list of members, elected officers, members of committees, and read transcripts of the meetings. You can look for you suffragist's activities here.

Scrapbooks detailing NAWSA activities, compiled by Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter, Anne Fitzhugh Miller from Geneva, N. Y. Search or browse this collection online.


The New York and United States Censuses contain information such as a persons name, gender, race, occupation, and lists of names of other members in their household. You can try searching for your suffragist or their spouse's name here.


Newspapers from the early 20th century often contain social information, much like Facebook and Twitter do now. Try searching for your suffragist by name (try only last name, and variations of last and first name). Also try browsing the pages during and shortly after events that your suffragist took part in. If your suffragist was part of a church or other organization, try searching for that organization by name. also has an array of digitized newspapers, but it requires a paid subscription.


If you know when and where your suffragist died, you may be able to find her obituary. Obituaries often include a brief description of a person's life, that includes locations where they lived, their profession, organizations that they were active in, as well as names or surviving family members. If you're lucky, you might even find a picture of your suffragist!


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