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
the RNC has to say about the constitutional amendment granting suffrage
passed in 1919 and the party composition of the states that passed the
"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
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
"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.
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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