Digital History, Digital Sources, Digital Display: The Her Hat Was In The Ring Project On U.S. Women Who Ran For Political Office Before 1920

Document Type


Publication Date


Published In

Women's History In The Digital World 2013


In the second half of the nineteenth century and through the first two decades of the twentieth century thousands of women ran for political office on local, state, and national levels throughout the U.S. Due to the principle of federalism, each state decided on voting and electoral rights in their jurisdiction. Thus, prior to 1920 voting rights for women were unevenly applied from state to state. In most women could vote at all. In some states and localities they could vote only for a few offices, such as school board representatives, county officers, and state office holders. In a very few states and territories, where they had been given complete suffrage rights, women could cast ballots for candidates on all levels. Women took up the challenge to run for public office both when they could not vote (relying solely on male voters), and when they finally gained partial or complete suffrage. We estimate that approximately 4,000 women ran in almost 6,000 campaigns by 1920. Currently, our database contains information for 2,300 women, who ran in over 3,000 campaigns. Using traditional and digital resources the "Her Hat Was in the Ring" project identifies these women candidates providing biographical information for each woman, information about her campaign(s), party affiliation, photographs when available, lists of selected resources, and other aggregate data, via a freely-available, web-based content management system.


Women's History In The Digital World 2013

Conference Dates

March 22-23, 2013

Conference Location

Bryn Mawr, PA