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Calvin Coolidge White House Letter Mentions Women's Suffrage and First Inclusion of Women on Republican National Committee!

"its membership now comprises both men and women, serving on a basis of complete equality, precisely as the full duties of citizenship have been conferred upon them. This marks a long advance, and is as I wanted it.

Uncharacteristically Lengthy and Enthusiastic Coolidge Letter

"The members of the Committee are volunteer patriots, serving from no other motive than devotion to the cause...Upon your energy, wisdom, and patriotic efforts, will largely depend the effectiveness of our appeal to the nation. I want that appeal based upon the highest considerations of public interest and welfare."

 


Coolidge's signature on letter with portion of Presidential Seal watermark visible

This is a wonderful content Presidential letter on White House stationary in an election year to a member of the Republican National Committee. It is the only letter I am aware of that specifically mentions the rule change of the RNC that year that admitted women to equal membership on the Committee (see web page mentioning this milestone here) and President Coolidge endorses both women's suffrage and the RNC rule change in this letter!

Just as with the abolition of slavery and suffrage for blacks, the Republican Party was more helpful than their major party counterpart in extending the franchise. See for instance what the RNC has to say about the constitutional amendment granting suffrage passed in 1919 and the party composition of the states that passed the amendment:

"Starting in 1896, the Republican Party became the first major party to officially favor women's suffrage. That year, Republican Sen. A. A. Sargent of California introduced a proposal in the Senate to give women the right to vote. The proposal was defeated four times in the Democratic-controlled Senate. When the Republican Party regained control of Congress, the Equal Suffrage Amendment finally passed (304-88). Only 16 Republicans opposed the amendment.

When the amendment was submitted to the states, 26 of the 36 states that ratified it had Republican-controlled legislatures. Of the nine states that voted against ratification, eight were controlled by Democrats. Twelve states, all Republican, had given women full suffrage before the federal amendment was finally ratified."
 

This great letter once had the top portion glued to a backing and was matted. As a result the glue damaged that portion of the letterhead, but not the text of the letter, and the borders were lighter because not exposed to light. The full text portion is shown below.

Shown below is the damaged top portion on the letter which can be matted out when it is framed.

The full text of the June 18, 1924 Coolidge White House letter is below:

"At this earliest opportunity, I want to express my gratification that you are to serve from your state as a member of the Republican National Committee. While membership in this important body is a very real distinction, I have always felt that it brings all too little appreciation. The National Committee is necessarily one of the most important instruments that have been devised under our form of Government, through parties. In it is centered the business conduct of the Party, involving a great responsibility. The members of the Committee are volunteer patriots, serving from no other motive than devotion to the cause. To them fall the tasks of organization and management, with little of tangible recognition or official reward. It is therefore fitting that acknowledgment be made of the obligation due to them from both the Party nominees and the great rank and file of the organization. I cannot express this often, but I want you to know I always feel it.

The National Committee becomes this year a far more representative body than ever before, for its membership now comprises both men and women, serving on a basis of complete equality, precisely as the full duties of citizenship have been conferred upon them. This marks a long advance, and is as I wanted it.

Many responsibilities have come to me, but you will share them. Upon your energy, wisdom, and patriotic efforts, will largely depend the effectiveness of our appeal to the nation. I want that appeal based upon the highest considerations of public interest and welfare. The long history of national reliance in the Republican Party justifies us in all confidence that if our claims are sincerely and candidly presented, we shall be rewarded with a satisfactory response from the nation.

I want you to feel how much I appreciate the service which you are so generously giving.

Below is the full letter with the damage to the top portion.

This is a unique Presidential letter mentioning women's suffrage soon after it was enacted nationwide and probably the only letter mentioning the Republican National Committee rule change admitting women to full and equal membership the year of the letter and supported by the President signing the letter.

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