Thursday, June 13, 2024
Dakota County Historical Society
To preserve, interpret and promote the history of Dakota County.

Minnesota and Dakota County played key roles in the history of suffrage.

In 1881, the Minnesota Woman Suffrage Association was founded in Hastings, Minn. to promote and obtain suffrage. Decades later, South St. Paul women became the first in the country to vote after passage of the 19th Amendment when they registered at the polls to vote on August 27, 1920. Newspaper articles covered this historic event, some even specifying Fox film corporation having crews on scene to get reel footage.

DCHS has spent many years trying to track down the footage of that day with no luck...until recently. Over the past five years, DCHS staff contacted 20-30 repositories attempting to locate the footage with no leads.  Suddenly, in March 2022, DCHS staff member Rebecca Snyder, and her husband David Schreier, were watching a PBS documentary on suffrage when they saw unidentified footage of Marguerite Newburgh.  Briefly, in a montage of various women voting, she was shown dropping her ballot into the ballot box.  Recognizing her dress and pose from the still photos of August 27th, this began another month-long task of trying to identify exactly who the footage came from.

With great excitement, we can share that the footage has been found and we have secured the rights to this footage.

In this snippet, Marguerite Newburgh is shown cutoff (left), followed by Kate Michelmore (center) and Erna Fearing (right).

In this scene, Marguerite Newburgh is seen posing with her ballot, before dropping it into the ballot box and walking to exit offscreen.

This footage has been hidden to the public, as those who held (and hold) it are unaware of its significance. We have secured rights to this footage for $1,500 and want to make it available to the public. You can find the very short clips below, as we continue to seek out the original footage that we hope, is much longer and shows more women!

If you would like to help offset the cost of obtaining this footage, you can make a contribution below. Any funds that exceed the $1,500 we paid to secure the footage will be used in future suffrage related events and in honoring women voters.



* Suffrage Donation:

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