Collection Highlights: A letter from the sidelines of the women’s suffrage movement

The 2019-2020 Georgia History Festival theme, “Women’s Suffrage at 100: The 19th Amendment and Georgia History,” focuses on exploring the legacy of women’s suffrage in Georgia and the United States in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the struggle to pass the 19th Amendment, in which women won the right to vote. Throughout the Festival, the Collection Highlights Blog will share materials from GHS collections that present varying perspectives, opinions, and efforts related to the women’s suffrage movement and its legacy in Georgia.

Dear Granny Letter from the Helen Dortch Longstreet Collection, MS 1341

This letter, written by Sue Alderman Dortch to her mother-in-law Mary M. Pulliam, showcases a neutral position on women’s suffrage. Sue does not appear to take a hard stance one way or the other. Instead, she casually asks “Granny” what she thinks of women being able to vote, just two days after the 19th amendment was passed.

At the beginning of the letter, Sue indicates that she has been very busy with work. Often, women who were involved in the suffrage movement were well-positioned socially and financially. Poor and working-class women did not always have the time or resources to devote to the movement. Ardent suffragists and their equally impassioned opposition dominated the national conversation about women getting the vote. It is possible that Sue, unlike her affluent sister-in-law Helen Dortch Longstreet, was too busy with work to get involved.

This letter allows readers to see the suffrage movement through the eyes of an uninvolved but interested party. Sue reflects the sense of curiosity about “what comes next” shared by many people throughout the nation.