Women holding signs

Moving Forward, Looking Back: Washington’s First Women in Government

February 15, 2020 - May 10, 2020

Old City Hall

This traveling exhibit from Legacy Washington honors the centennial celebration of women’s suffrage and the passage of the 19th Amendment, giving women in the United States the right to vote. Moving Forward, Looking Back: Washington’s First Women in Government follows the lives of 14 women who soared to some of the most coveted offices in Washington politics never before held by women.

One of those women was Frances Axtell of Bellingham. Axtell served as a state representative from 1913-1915, where she was a fierce proponent of Washington’s minimum wage. She then went on to became the first woman appointed to a federal commission in 1917. Learn more about Frances Axtell here. Other remarkable women featured in the exhibit include Nena J Croake, Josephine Preston, Reba Hurn, Bertha Knight Landes, Belle Reeves, Catherine May, Dixy Lee Ray, Jeannette Hayner, Carolyn Dimmick, Jennifer Belcher, Deborah Senn, Christine Gregoire, and Patty Murray.

Join the League of Women Voters of Bellingham/Whatcom County for a variety of events and programs celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage, including a a series of educational and thought-provoking programs: Towards a More Perfect Democracy: History & Future of the Struggle for Voice. Learn more here.

Note: This exhibition was originally scheduled to close May 17th, but will now be closing May 10th.

Photo: Suffragettes in Seattle, 1909. Gift of Gloria Martin. Whatcom Museum 1993.66.1

Funding provided by the Washington State Women’s Commission and the Washington State Historical Society through the Votes for Women Centennial Grant Program.