How Women Have Shaped the State

Women in Minnesota: Weaving the Web of Society in the North Star State

Expert Essay: Rhoda R. Gilman, a founding member of Women Historians of the Midwest and a former candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, considers the influence of women in Minnesota: the Willmar 8, the Schubert Club, the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association, and much more.

Textile Workers Union of the Congress of Industrial Organizations urging members to register to vote Photograph by Lee & Palmer, 1948.

Textile workers promoting voter registration

Textile Workers Union of the Congress of Industrial Organizations urging members to register to vote Photograph by Lee & Palmer, 1948.

Dorsey, Ida (1866–1918)

Employing the racial prejudices and fantasies of elite male clients once used against her, Ida Dorsey established herself as one of the Twin Cities’ most notorious madams, running multiple brothels between the 1880s and the 1910s. As a woman of color in an industry dominated by white women, she demonstrated herself an adept businesswoman and real estate owner when most women had neither income nor property.

A view of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden, looking northeast, 2019. Photo by Linda A. Cameron.

View of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden

A view of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden, looking northeast, 2019. Photo by Linda A. Cameron.

Detail of a steel tablet featuring an image of the memorial trellis and a poem from suffragist Clara Hampson Ueland’s scrapbook. Photo by Linda A. Cameron.

Component of the Woman Suffrage Memorial

Detail of a steel tablet featuring an image of the memorial trellis and a poem from suffragist Clara Hampson Ueland’s scrapbook. Photo by Linda A. Cameron.

Steel tablet showing the civil and social rights ladder women had to climb to achieve suffrage. Photo by Linda A. Cameron.

Component of the Woman Suffrage Memorial

Steel tablet showing the civil and social rights ladder women had to climb to achieve suffrage. Photo by Linda A. Cameron.

Steel tablet with the memorial dedication, 2019. Photo by Linda A. Cameron.

Dedication inside the Woman Suffrage Memorial

Steel tablet with the memorial dedication, 2019. Photo by Linda A. Cameron.

The memorial features a steel trellis inscribed with the names of twenty-five prominent Minnesota suffragists, including Alice Ames Winter, Marguerite Milton Wells, and Myrtle Cain. Photo by Linda A. Cameron.

Trellis in the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial

The memorial features a steel trellis inscribed with the names of twenty-five prominent Minnesota suffragists, including Alice Ames Winter, Marguerite Milton Wells, and Myrtle Cain. Photo by Linda A. Cameron.

Architect’s rendering of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden, from the memorial dedication booklet, 2000. LOOM Studio.

Drawing of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden

Architect’s rendering of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden, from the memorial dedication booklet, 2000. LOOM Studio.

Architect’s rendering of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden, from the memorial dedication booklet, 2000. LOOM Studio.

Drawing of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden

Architect’s rendering of the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Memorial Garden, from the memorial dedication booklet, 2000. LOOM Studio.

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