All Opposed - Bryn Mawr Antis
Because Bryn Mawr was known nationally for its pro-suffrage stance, the College was a target of the Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women.
[The] MAOFESW considered it worthwhile . . . to try penetrating Miss Thomas' domain 'because so many Massachusetts girls' were enrolled at Bryn Mawr. 1911 came and went and the "antis" had not yet succeeded in reaching their compatriots. Exasperated by the knowledge that the prize of so many potential anti-suffragists resided at one inaccessible address, the education and organization meeting resorted to intrigue. Thus, at a regular meeting of this committee on January 3, 1912, 'Miss Putnam was asked to write to Mrs. Samuels of the Pennsylvania Association and suggest to her the possibility of working through the President of the Senior Class of Bryn Mawr who is strongly 'anti-suffragist.'
Anne M. Benjamin, A History of the Anti-Suffrage Movement in the United States from 1895 to 1920: Women Against Equality. Lewiston, New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1991, p. 124.
One of the "Massachusetts girls" at Bryn Mawr who may have been influenced by the MAOFEWS was Dorothy Godfrey Wayman '14. She and Ruth Whitney Lyman '03 were contributors to a compilation of anti-suffrage essays, published in 1915 by the MAOFEWS, Anti-Suffrage Essays by Massachusetts Women. Wayman studied for only one year at Bryn Mawr, then at her father's request returned to Boston to attend the School for Social Workers in Boston. Her essay, "Suffrage and the Social Worker," discussed how women's votes were not necessary to further the cause of social welfare, an idea frequently cited by the "antis."
It is a striking fact that the very women whom suffragists use as personal exhibits [such as Jane Addams] accomplished the social work that won them fame, under male suffrage. Conversely, in the long list of women's names honored for their social service, not one of national reputation earned that reputation in a woman suffrage state.
In the same publication, Carey Thomas was criticized for her support of the suffrage cause. Alice Ranney Allen wrote in her essay, "Woman Suffrage vs. Womanliness,"
As important a person as Dean [recte President] Thomas, of Bryn Mawr College, in an appeal for funds for the National American Woman Suffrage Association in February, 1913, said: 'The ballot for women is the greatest of all the modern reforms. We urge those who are today contributing to other causes to withdraw or curtail their contributions until the ballot for woman is secured.' This seems to us anti-suffragists extremely narrow, as we know that woman suffrage is not a reform, but an experiment in legislation only.
There were a few other Bryn Mawr students and alumnae who considered themselves anti-suffragists, although their participation in the movement while on campus cannot be determined. Alumnae histories and surveys published in the Alumnae Quarterly appear to be the only records documenting their position after graduation. Other than Eleanor Wood '02, no alumna in this self-identified group lists her membership in any particular anti-suffrage group, although two comment on attending an anti-suffrage event.
Ten Little Suffergets.
Anti-suffrage book c. 1910.
Women's Suffrage Ephemera Collection, Bryn Mawr College Library.
Read the whole book.
Suffrage and WWI