Date with history: Suffragists demand a voice

February 10, 1919: Mona Siegel on the Inter-Allied Women’s Conference’s pioneering work

The World Today Published 4 February 2022 2 minute READ

Mona Siegel

Professor of History, California State University, Sacramento

Paris did not put on its most welcoming face in the winter of 1919. Streets were icy, coal was expensive and hotel rooms scarce. Such matters were of little consequence to the dozen or so women who gathered at the French Lyceum Club on February 10. All had lived through the darkest days of the Great War. 

Marguerite de Witt Schlumberger, the 66-year-old French suffragist who presided over the meeting, had sent all five of her sons to the front. Britain’s Millicent Garrett Fawcett had watched her nation’s suffrage movement splinter over the war question. Florence Jaffray Harriman, who directed the Women’s Motor Corps for the American Red Cross, arrived in uniform. 

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