Skip to main content
Evanston and the Fight for the Vote

Impact on Women's Suffrage

Catharine Waugh McCulloch

McCulloch held many positions within women’s suffrage organizations over the course of her time in Evanston. She served as secretary of the Evanston Political Equality League (the local branch of the IESA), as president of the Suffrage Amendment Alliance, and as legal counsel for the National Women’s Suffrage Association. McCulloch was also active in the Woman’s Club of Evanston, the WCTU, the Noyes Street Mothers’ Club, and the League of Women Voters. McCulloch was the first woman in Illinois to serve as Justice of the Peace, from 1907-1913.McCulloch conducted the work of this position out of her own home in Evanston because she still had children to tend to. She also became the first female Master in Chancery in the Cook County Supreme Court. Lastly, McCulloch served as a Democratic Presidential Elector for the State of Illinois in 1916, 4 years before the 19th Amendment was passed to allow women’s suffrage nationwide.

Throughout her life, McCulloch wrote and lectured extensively on women’s issues. Through her arguments on the printed page and in the courtroom, McCulloch significantly contributed to the women's suffrage movement both in Illinois and nationally. McCulloch drafted the legislation for Illinois women to get the vote in 1893 and carried it every year to the legislature for 20 years. 

Most significantly, McCulloch created the strategy of working for partial suffrage in Illinois - seeking access to those elections not constitutionally limited to men – which included some municipal and township offices, and presidential electors.

 

Click on the items below to look at them more closely!