Club’s focus moves from suffrage to citizenship

by | Jan 2021

Historical suffragette photo

Photo: Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society

After women won the right to vote in 1920, the Woman’s Club of Lake Minnetonka (WCLM) made sure its members and other women in the community were educated about politics, so they could make wise decisions at the polls.

The WCLM president’s notes from the 1920-21 club year read, “The club is now looking forward, with a broad vision to making good citizens of the members, to make sane and safe voters, as in August 36 states acted in favor of the Susan B. Anthony suffrage Amendment and it became the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

That year, the club re-focused its attention from the “suffrage” department to the “citizenship” department, which was led by Rovina Dillman. Dillman and her husband, Willard, owned the Excelsior-based newspaper, The Minnetonka Record. They made sure that opportunities for voter education were posted regularly in the newspaper.

Dillman also acted as a judge for a mock election held at a town hall meeting, sponsored by the WCLM in October 1920. At the event, women were educated on the entire voting process, including how to properly fold a ballot. The details of the meeting note that the room was crowded with women eager to learn.

Rachel Houck is the executive director of the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society.


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