The Ohio Statehouse Museum

Representatives from county suffrage organizations gather on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus during the summer of 1914.

Ladies Gallery

The Ladies' Gallery is a place of honor and learning in the Ohio Statehouse. The room pays homage to the first female Ohio legislators who paved the way for women in government and honors all women who have served in the Ohio General Assembly. Its enduring function informs and inspires all who visit – especially young women and girls – to take an active role in democracy.

The room contains an interactive kiosk, historic items, clothing, photos, banners and artifacts pertaining to the first women legislators and the history of the Suffrage movement in Ohio.

To visit the Ladies' Gallery Web site, CLICK HERE.

Women's Suffrage

Anti-slavery, abolitionism, temperance. After many decades of working for freedom and righteousness for others, women began to use their collective voice to fight for their own voting rights to influence and achieve social justice.

Ohio was a pivotal and active state in the movement with the second National Women's Rights Convention held in Salem in 1850. And in 1912, more than 5,000 Ohio women marched for suffrage at the Ohio Statehouse. On June 16, 1919 – only 12 days after the proposed Constitutional amendment was sent to the states by Congress for ratification – the Ohio General Assembly voted to ratify the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with a vote of 74 to 5 in the House and a vote of 27 to 3 in the Senate. The 19th Amendment became law on August 18, 1920.

Ohio's First Female Legislators

Taking their historic seats for the 1923-24 session were six courageous, capable and determined women elected by their home districts to the Ohio Legislature.

Nettie McKenzie Clapp

From Cuyahoga County who served in the Ohio House. Representative Clapp was the first woman legislator to sponsor a bill that was enacted into law.

Lulu Thomas Gleason

From Lucas County who served in the Ohio House. Representative Gleason was most noted for her campaign being managed entirely by women and being backed by the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

Adelaide Sterling Ott

From Mahoning County who served three terms in the Ohio House. Representative Ott was the first woman member of the House to temporarily preside over that body when she was asked by the Speaker of the House to occupy the chair during a session.

May Martin Van Wye

From Hamilton County who served in the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate. Representative Van Wye was in the House for three terms before serving as an Ohio Senator for one term.

Nettie Bromley Loughead

From Hamilton County who served in the Ohio Senate. Senator Loughead was the first woman to receive a nomination to run for the Ohio Senate and the first to introduce a bill.

Maude Comstock Waitt

From Cuyahoga County who served in the Ohio Senate. Senator Waitt served four terms in the Ohio Senate. She was among the first women to serve in the House before being elected to the Senate.