Mansfield Library Exhibit Documents History of Women in Montana

By the staff of the Flathead Beacon


Jeanette Rankin. Photo Courtesy of the Mansfield Library.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of woman suffrage in Montana, and the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library at the University of Montana is showcasing exhibits documenting the history of women in Montana.

An online exhibit is available. A physical exhibit has been installed on the fourth floor of the Mansfield Library. The exhibits feature a timeline highlighting the role of women in Montana and UM politics and political activities from 1882 to the present. The online exhibit also includes a guide to collections held in Archives and Special Collections at the Mansfield Library by and about women.

On Nov. 3, 1914, women won the right to vote in Montana. During the past 100 years, women in Montana have continued to fight for reform and equality.

The exhibits feature photographs and documents from well-known early 20th-century suffragists Jeannette Rankin and Ella J. Knowles Haskell, along with information on contemporary activists and politicians such as Juliet Gregory, Missoula’s only female mayor, and Lorena Burgess, a Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal council member. There is also a special section devoted to history of women at UM.

To complement the exhibit, Montana Rep. Diane Sands will present a lecture at the Mansfield Library titled “Taking Action: A Political History of Women in Montana” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, on the library’s fourth floor.