First Wave Feminism

 "The so-called 'woman question' is not, as was once popularly supposed, synonymous either with woman suffrage, or with the higher education of woman--it is as broad and deep as the thoughts and activities of woman."

-Lucy Maynard Salmon1

Lucy Maynard Salmon

Many of the first women who graduated from the University of Michigan devoted themselves to women's rights struggles that came in the first wave of feminism, as both academics and activists. 

Lucy Maynard Salmon, pictured here, was heavily involved in the National College Equal Suffrage League and the Executive Advisory Council of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage. When she was a professor at Vassar College, she wrote about suffrage and the education of women and encouraged her students to be politically active.2

An 1875 Michigan law gave tax-paying women and mothers with children the right to vote in local school elections, but the women of the Great Lakes state would not stop fighting until they were given the same rights as men. Lucia Voorhees Grimes was a a leader in several suffrage organizations in Southeast Michigan and rallied for women's rights all over the country with the National Women's Party.3

There were efforts on the University of Michigan campus as well. Mary Marston, who graduated in 1877, recorded some of the efforts of suffragists at the University in letters to her mother.4

Votes for Women

 

1. [Pamphlets and reprints], Lucy Maynard Salmon Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

2. "Lucy Maynard Salmon," Vassar Encyclopedia.

3. "History of the Suffrage Movement as Related to Michigan and Detroit," Lucia Isabelle Voorhees Grimes Papers, 1900-1977, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

4. Mary Marston Letters, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.