100-year history of women's voting rights put on display in Winnipeg

Newspaper clippings, books, petitions to government and other archival materials documenting Manitoba’s suffragist movement were on display at the Manitoba Archives Building Saturday.

Winnipeggers get to peruse suffrage documents ahead of centenary celebrations

A series of historical documents, including old newspapers, were on display at the Manitoba Legislative Library Saturday. (CBC)

The province is celebrating an important milestone this month, 100 years since the first women's vote. 

Newspaper clippings, books, petitions to government and other century old archival materials documenting Manitoba's suffragist movement were on display at the Manitoba Archives Building Saturday.

The event, jointly hosted by Manitoba Archives and the Manitoba Legislative Library, was held as part of centenary celebrations marking when Manitoba became the first province to allow some women to vote.

"It's a great achievement that we wanted to celebrate," Meghan Hansen, the collection development and reference librarian at the Manitoba Legislative Library, told CBC News Saturday.

"A lot of the documents are very fragile and very rare — they're not something you can just walk in and see," she added, noting requests to view certain documents are sometimes granted to members of the public.

The open house took place Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. in the Archives Research Room at 200 Vaughan St.

While it was the only such event being put on by the archives and the library, other government departments are also planning events closer to the anniversary later in January.

Hansen encouraged Winnipeggers to take advantage of all of the events, as they provide an interesting and unique look back at a very important time in Manitoba's history.

"As a history buff myself, I really appreciate the stories that come out of this that are perhaps things that we don't think about — they're not in the collective consciousness," Hansen said.

"We all have heard about Nellie McClung, and her story is amazing and incredible. But there are so many other women that were part of this event that we don't actually think about."

"It's really impressive to think about and to find out about their stories…. It brings history to life in a way we don't think about."

More artifacts from the suffrage campaign can be found at the Manitoba Museum, which is hosting an exhibit called Nice Women Don't Want the Vote until April 10.


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