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  • Home / News / Former U.S. Rep. Mary Rose Oakar to open Ursuline exhibit on women’s suffrage centennial | Ursuline College - Liberal Arts Education in Ohio

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    Former U.S. Rep. Mary Rose Oakar to open Ursuline exhibit on women’s suffrage centennial

    October 24, 2019

    A century after the Ohio General Assembly voted to ratify the Constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote, Ursuline College hosts a traveling exhibition celebrating that centennial.

    Ohio Women Vote: 100 Years of Change opens with a public reception on Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the College’s Bishop Anthony M. Pilla Student Learning Center. Ursuline graduate and former U.S. Rep. Mary Rose Oakar will welcome guests and introduce the exhibition, speaking at 6:30 p.m.

    Oakar, one of Ursuline’s best known graduates, represented Ohio’s 20th District for eight terms, from 1976 until 1993. In the spirit of the exhibition, she will discuss her own career trajectory, the challenges she faced as a woman in Congress, and the opportunities now open to women in public service.

    Ohio Women Vote will be on view in two different Ursuline College buildings from Nov. 6 through Nov. 30, 2019. The exhibition comprises 12 banners of text and images that examine and celebrate the path taken by Ohio women to achieve the right to vote 100 years ago. The collection also explores the history of civic action led by a diverse spectrum of Ohio women throughout American history. Garments from the College’s Historic Costume Study Collection – dating from the Civil War era to the 1980s – will accompany the panels.

    The panels will be installed in Ursuline’s Pilla Center and its Ralph M. Besse Library. Visitors should expect to spend at least 30 minutes walking across campus and taking in all of the panels. The panels are viewable from 8:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    The banners were developed by the Ohio History Connection and were made possible with generous support by Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    Ursuline’s Historic Preservation program Director Bari Oyler Stith, PhD, wrote a successful application to bring the panels to the College. She then worked with students in Historic Preservation and Material Culture classes to curate the exhibition.

    Ursuline College’s presentation of Ohio Women Vote was made possible in part by a grant from the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland.

    On June 4, 1919, the U.S. Senate passed the Nineteenth Amendment, originally drafted by Susan B. Anthony and first introduced in 1878. It was sent to the states for ratification. Ohio was the sixth state to ratify, doing so on June 16, 1919. On August 26, 1920, U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed the Nineteenth Amendment into law, granting women the right to vote.

    Above: Ursuline College students in the 1920s. Courtesy Ursuline's Ralph M. Besse Library Archives.