This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution stating the right of citizens to vote "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." But did you know an actress-singer and a psychic, both from Cincinnati, were two very important women in the Suffrage Movement?
Trixie Friganza, who inspired the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” donated money to the cause and repeatedly went on record as an advocate for women’s rights, equality and independence. And Laura Carter Pruden, mother of the Magic 8 Ball inventor, was a charter member of Harriet Taylor Upton Club, a suffrage organization formed in 1910 in Cincinnati.
It’s fun and informative facts such as these that are featured in the exhibit Genius of Liberty: The Long Struggle for Women’s Equality on display Jan. 31-April 26 in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room at the Downtown Main Library. The exhibit spans events from the first women’s rights Convention in 1848 at Seneca Falls, N.Y., to 72 years later with the adoption of the 19th Amendment in August of 1920 that guaranteed women their right to vote.
The exhibit casts light on the crucial yet forgotten role played by Ohio from abolition to ratification and is named for The Genius of Liberty, one of the first feminist publications in the United States, published by Cincinnati suffragist Elizabeth Aldrich. “Few copies of this publication have survived to the present day but you can see some issues in the exhibit.” said Katherine Durack, an independent scholar, former Miami University faculty member, and host of “Genius of Liberty” podcasts.
Genius of Liberty was curated by Reference Librarians Christopher Smith and Diane Mallstrom, along with Durack whose podcasts are available at MercantileLibrary.com/GeniusofLiberty/.