There were countless women who achieved prominence in history. During the 1920’s, a few women contributed to events such as the Suffrage Movement greatly and achieved significant influences.



  • Abigail Adams- among the earliest American feminists
  • 1848- Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the Seneca Falls Covention
  • The National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) formed after the international conference of 1888 in Washington DC
  • Famous abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Henry Blackwell were among the men who supported women’s rights
  • Lucy Stone and husband created the Woman’s Journal, a publication that influenced thousands of Americans
  • Carrie Chapman Catt and Nettie Rogers Shuler

  • “Hundreds of women gave the accumulated possibilities of an entire lifetime, thousands gave years of their lives, hundreds of thousands gave constant interest and such aid as they could. It was a continuous, seemingly endless, chain of activity.”

Important 1920's Suffragists

Alice Paul
  • Born in Moorestown, New Jersey, on Jan. 11, 1885 AlicePaul.jpg
  • Came from a Quaker family
  • On the eve of President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration, Paul led a group of suffragists (almost 80,000!) in a parade
  • 1916-> founded the National Woman’s Party
  • Christmas Day 1918-> First of many “Watchfires of Freedom” organized by Paul and other women
  • Kept fire going in front of the White House or burned speeches to protest
  • Paul, along with others, were taken to jail
  • 1923-> Proposed the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which said that “no right shall be denied or abridged by either the federal or local government on account of sex.”
  • Failed to be ratified, even though passed in Congress in 1972

Carrie Chapman Catt
  • Born on Feb. 9, 1859 in Ripon, Wisconsin
  • Taught and served as principal
  • Married and became coeditor of the Republican with her husband
  • Eventually elected as the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association NAWSA
  • Organized the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA)
  • Famous for her “Winning Plan” ->resolutions from each state legislature to Congress; push for referendum or a popular vote in states where there was a chance of getting a constitutional amendment; ask each state to give women whatever suffrage they could; in the South, push for rights to vote in the primary elections
  • Also formed the League of Women Voters to educate women in governmental practices that is still influential today


Many women also achieved fame in other fields that affected society greatly, such as entertainment and sports. Some of them represented the "Ideal Women" of the age who defied tradition and became more free, especially compared to the Victorian era.

Louise Brooks
§ Actress, dancer, model
§ Pandora's Box (1929), Diary of a Lost Girl (1929), and Prix de Beauté (Miss Europe) (1930)

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald
§ Famous flapper
§ Wife of writer F. Scott Fitzgerald
§ Represented an image of strong, independent woman

Bessie Smith
§ one of the nation’s great blues singers.
§ Songs-> joy and suffering of African Americans
§ Her first record in 1923, “Down-Hearted Blues” sold two million records --This “Empress of the Blues” worked with several musical legends, including Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman


Gertude Ederle
§ 1926: age of 19
§ became the first woman to swim the English Channel

Helen Wills
§ Women’s tennis
§ winning the singles title at the US Open 7 times and the Wimbledon title 8 times
§ “Little Miss Poker Face”


The arts flourished during the 1920's. Men and women contributed to the progress and developed many influential ideas that last to modern day.

Dorothy Parker with the other members of the Algonquin Round Table

Dorothy Parker
§ Poet and witty screen writer
§ The New Yorker and as a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table
§ In the Hollywood blacklist for her left-wing views

Zora Neale Hurston
§ Famous Harlem Renaissance writer
§ Four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays
§ Their Eyes Were Watching God
§ Worked with some of the240px-Hurston-Zora-Neale-LOC.jpg most famous African American writers such as Langston Hughs

Edna St. Vincent Millay
§ Feminist and poet
§ Third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for poetry
§ Fake name: Nancy Boyd

Georgia O’Keeffe
§ Artist
§ Challenged modern art styles
§ Known for her flower and landscape paintings