Codifying the right to vote for women in all American states and territories, the Nineteenth Amendment was officially ratified on August 18, 1920, a century ago. The Pennsylvania Historical Association will mark the centennial anniversary at our Annual Meeting to be held virtually this year. Our annual meeting is open to all — scholars, students, teachers, archivists, and activists, among others — and is available free of charge this year. Please register online and retain a copy of your confirmation email. An additional email containing log-in credentials for Zoom will be sent a week prior to the conference.

Friday, Oct. 16

9:15-10:00 am Membership Meeting and Awards Ceremony


By invitation only to members.

10:00-11:00 am Keynote Address


Introduction:  Rachel Batch, PHA President        

Keynote Address: Marion Roydhouse, Emerita, Jefferson University 

“Doubling the Electorate: Women, Men, and Political Power”

11:00 am-11:45 pm PANEL A: Abolitionism, Temperance, and Woman’s Rights: Social Reform in Antebellum Pennsylvania


This panel concentrates on three major reform movements — abolition, temperance, and woman’s rights – that developed interdependently in Pennsylvania during the nineteenth century. Panelists will examine women’s roles in southeastern Pennsylvania boycotts against products resulting from enslaved laborers, in changing laws to gain legal guardianship over “habitual drunkards,” and in women’s rights conventions, with specific attention to the reform activities of Ann Preston, MD.


  • Bev Tomek, University of Houston at Victoria
  • Laurie Rofini, Chester County Archives/Chester County Historical Society
    Ann Preston, MD, and the 1852 Pennsylvania Woman's Rights Convention
  • David Korostyshevsky, University of Minnesota
    'Precautionary in its Design’: Habitual Drunkenness and Guardianship Law in 19th-Century Pennsylvania
  • Julie Holcomb, Baylor University
    Antislavery Networks: Abolition, Free Produce, and Women’s Activism in Pennsylvania

12:00-1:00 pm PHA Publications Hour


Pennsylvania History Special Issue Discussion


Conversation between Linda Ries, PH editor and Janet Moore Lindman, guest editor of PH Special Issue on Women and Gender in Pennsylvania (Summer and Fall 2020)

Pennsylvania History Series Book Launch


Conversation between Allen Dieterich-Ward, co-editor of Pennsylvania History Series and Jim Higgins, author of new Pennsylvania History Series book, The Health of the Commonwealth:  A Brief History of Medicine, Public Health and Disease in Pennsylvania

1:00-1:45 pm Panel B: Women in the Archives


Researchers in women’s history have long faced a difficult task. Women’s materials were – with few exceptions – rarely catalogued and archived with the same care as men’s papers. Women’s records were considered less important, less pertinent to civic culture. This panel explores why and how this has changed in the last fifty years. Panelists will discuss family history and the religious history of women available in church records; the pursuit of women’s history research and how gender bias entered the archive (and the extent to which it might remain); and how archival research in women’s history has changed with the expansion of online resources.


  • Janet Moore Lindman, Rowan University
  • Karen Guenther, Mansfield University
    Equal in the Eyes of God: Finding Women in Church Records
  • Linda Ries, Pennsylvania History Editor
    Ruminations by a Female Archivist
  • Marion Roydhouse, Jefferson University
    Once Upon A Time We Sat in the Archives: The Transformation of Archival Research and Writing Readable History

2:00-2:45 pm Panel C: Histories of Suffrage


This panel will address how the history of suffrage has been contested, perceived and perpetuated through contemporary debates, media coverage and student learning.  This includes exploration of how women fought over public commemorations of suffrage in the 1870s, how the history of suffrage and women’s activism has been covered in the media to become part of our collective memory, and how archivists and librarians can use primary source materials to teach students about US women’s history today.


  • Christine Larocco, Historical Society of Pennsylvania
  • Dana Dabek, Temple University
    "Women's Suffrage Revisited": Bi-coastal Newspaper Coverage of the 1970 Women's Strike for Equality
  • Harrison Wick, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    Teaching the Next Generation about Women’s Suffrage Using Primary Sources

3:00-3:45 pm PANEL D: Race, Gender & Partisan Politics in 20th Century Pennsylvania


This panel will examine discrete aspects of political experience in twentieth-century Pennsylvania with special attention to race and gender from the first cohort of women legislators in Harrisburg in wake of the 19th Amendment’s passage, to how race became a key factor in the 1963 mayoral race in Philadelphia, to Genevieve Blatt’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1964. Collectively, the papers advance conventional wisdom about gender and race as factors in the Commonwealth’s political history.


  • Jeanine Mazak-Kahne, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Michael Birkner, Gettysburg College
    Why She Lost: Genevieve Blatt and the Campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1964
  • Stephen Lilienthal, Independent Scholar
    1963 – The Year that Rocked Philadelphia's Democratic Party
  • Curt Miner, Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Commission
    A 'Keystone Eight?’: Reappraising Pennsylvania's Inaugural Class of Female Legislators

3:45-4:00 pm Concluding Remarks


Rachel Batch, PHA President