Dora Kelly Lewis correspondence (2137)

Date created 1850-1965 | approximately 1850-1965
Creator Lewis, Dora Kelly, 1862-
Abstract Dora Kelly Lewis served actively in the suffrage movement. She became an executive member of the National Woman's Party in 1913, served as the chairman of finance in 1918, and as the national treasurer in 1919. In 1920, she headed the ratification committee. The correspondence of Dora Kelly Lewis consists of encouraging and endearing letters from her husband, Lawrence Lewis, 1884-1903, reporting on his legal practice and commenting on Dora's suffragist activities. Letters from 1914-1921 are, for the most part, from Dora to her children and her mother. Several 1917 and 1919 letters detail picketing, watchfires, and other demonstrations, as well as the arrests and imprisonment that followed. Letters from 1919-20 discuss her travels as she worked to convince state legislatures to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment. There are a few typed diary pages. These letters document her efforts in gaining the franchise for women.
Research Interest A strong collection documenting the suffrage movement, especially for students who may not be aware of the sacrifices suffragists made and the poor treatment they received. Beyond the visible drama of arrests and imprisonment (including her correspondence from prison), Lewis's letters also document the long, slow work of organizing. Prolific in her communication with family members, Dora's letters trace her fundraising and lobbying efforts across the country, and offer a glimpse into the inner workings of NWP. The collection also contains correspondence between Dora and Lawrence preceding their marriage in 1883, which should be of interest to historians of social relationships, courtship, and nineteenth-century American society in general.
Size 0.75 linear feet
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Local identifier 2137
Contributing institution Historical Society of Pennsylvania
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