The reference library of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) was donated to the Library in 1938 by the
organization's last president, Carrie Chapman Catt. (The association's records and Catt's personal papers are in the Manuscript Division.) The nearly one thousand titles in the NAWSA library include books, pamphlets, serials, convention
proceedings, and scrapbooks, some formerly owned by Susan B. Anthony, Alice Stone Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe, Mary A. Livermore,
Elizabeth Smith Miller, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, and other suffrage leaders.
The original arrangement of the NAWSA Collection has been retained, divided into sixteen sections under one classification number: JK1881.N357. Although primarily documenting
the suffrage movement from the point of view of the white middle-and upper-class leadership, it has sections on working women
and on prostitution. Biographies of women of various nationalities and time periods and literary works by and about women
are also well represented. The suffrage movement in England, particularly the work of the Women's Social and Political Union,
is also covered.
Many of the individual books in this collection are not unique to the Library of Congress or other libraries that collect
in the field of women's history. As with the Anthony Collection, the NAWSA collection is of particular interest when studied as a whole, as the reference library of one of the leading suffrage
organizations in the country. Provenance is an important aspect of its value to scholars. There are many editions and copies
of Stanton's Woman's Bible in the Library, but this collection holds Catt's personal copy, inscribed by Stanton, which has bound with it a rare Stanton
pamphlet, Bible and Church Degrade Woman (Chicago: H. L. Green, ; JK1881.N357 sec.5, no. 25 NAWSA) [full item].6 (See also Stanton's handwritten draft of the Woman's Bible in the Manuscript Division.)
The NAWSA library also includes Lucy Stone's personal copy of Margaret Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century (Boston: Jewett & Co., 1855; JK1881.N357 sec. 1, no. 162 NAWSA)
, some very rare early suffrage pamphlets, and a typescript of Maud Wood Park's (1871-1955) “Front Door Lobby,” which describes
the NAWSA Congressional Committee's efforts during the last push to get the federal suffrage amendment adopted [full item].
Catalog records for items in the NAWSA collection are accessible online. Beyond the author, title, and subject headings, each
bibliographical record contains the name of the collection. This allows the reader to browse the collection as a whole, using
a “name” search with “National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection.” A selection of 167 items from this collection
is also available over the Internet through the National Digital Library (NDL) American Memory Program, entitled “Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921”.