Edinburg League of Women Voters Scrapbook

By Kelly Francis-Love, the museum archivist

 

The past century has held many changes for women and their role in politics.  Women have held voting rights in the United States for less than a century. The 19th amendment was ratified in 1920, granting women the right to vote. The National League of Women Voters was founded that same year. The League was designed to help women carry out their new responsibilities as voters.  The League is nonpartisan, neither supporting nor opposing candidates or political parties at any level of government, but always working on vital issues of concern to members and the public.

The Edinburg League of Women Voters, which later merged with the McAllen League, was active in the Rio Grande Valley. They interviewed political candidates, published voters’ guides, and aided in voter registration.  The League members also kept scrapbooks as a record of their activities.  The Museum of South Texas History holds a few of these scrapbooks in the collection at the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives.

The most recent scrapbook was donated by Dr. Marian Monta in 2015.  Dr. Monta joined the League in 1971.  She had recently moved to the Rio Grande Valley from the east coast and was surprised by some of the differences in social climate.  She was one of the few members at the time that had a full time job.  Many women reported they would have to ask their husbands’ permission before they could register to vote.  There were no local female judges, and the general attitude was that women could not be judges.  However, during her time with the League Dr. Monta would see significant change.  The local branch of the League eventually disbanded—members became too busy with their jobs and became active in politics themselves.

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