League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara

Cover Image:
League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara
Early suffragists march with signs to promote the vote for women - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:
1912-13;1915; 1924-2012; 2014; 2018

Historical Context

The League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara (LWVBN) occupies a distinguished position within the rich cultural heritage of Buffalo, the Western New York region, and nationally as well. Although the national League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 soon after women won the right to vote with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, the local Buffalo League was formed in 1917 because New York State had given women the vote three years earlier than nationally. The purpose of both organizations was to educate women for citizenship and to study the public issues of the day. Since their origin they have widened their reach to welcome all citizens--both men and women--to their membership. Their mission is to ensure that all citizens are informed and prepared to answer questions of local, regional and national concern through candidate debates, issue forums, community dialogues, voter guides, on-line discussions and other educational opportunities. It is most particularly dedicated to ensuring that all eligible voters – particularly those from traditionally underrepresented or underserved communities, including first-time voters, non-college youth, new citizens, minorities, the elderly and low-income Americans – have the opportunity and the information necessary to exercise their right to vote. The League of Women Voters is nonpartisan and does not support or oppose candidates or political parties. Through their hands-on work they advocate for an informed electorate and civic improvement.
Over the years, the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara (LWVBN) has merged with other local Leagues, changed its name and absorbed not just the Leagues of Erie and Niagara Counties but also local chapters in Amherst and East Aurora as well. Today the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara (LWVBN) encompasses all League activities in the Western New York region and is a local branch of: The League of Women Voters of New York State and The League of Women Voters of the United States.

Scope of Collection

This collection holds 200 photographs archival documents, and ephemeral items documenting the important people and events associated with the League of Women Voters of Buffalo Niagara and its distinguished history of service and advocacy as one of the earliest organizations for the empowerment of women via the political process.