South Williamstown Community Association

P.O. Box 432, Williamstown, MA 01267


Historic Preservation+Community+Neighborhood Voice


For Immediate Release:                                                          October 30, 2020

Contact:  Bette Craig (413) 652-9098


The Women are Coming to Vote


The hundredth anniversary of the first vote cast by a woman in a presidential election after the 19th Amendment was passed is being celebrated locally by the Northern Berkshire Suffrage Centennial Coalition. 


That voter was Phoebe Jordan, a farmer who lived in New Ashford, Massachusetts.  On November 2, 1920, there were 28 registered voters in New Ashford, and Phoebe Jordan was first in line.  New Ashford, for four presidential election cycles – from 1916 to 1932 – was the first town in the country to report its election results.


The Women Are Coming to Vote, a special program coming to you by video produced by Willinet, will be broadcast on Willinet during election week on Channel 1303

            October 30      8pm

            October 31      4pm

            November 1    7pm

            November 2    8pm

 and will be available any time on this link  Shot on location at the restored New Ashford school house where Phoebe voted, starring the actual ballot box she used, it features historian Dr. Barbara Winslow, founder/director emerita of the Shirley Chisholm Project at Brooklyn College, and Cindy Grosso of the New Ashford Historical Commission giving a brief historical introduction. 


 This is followed by a reading of a satiric suffrage play published by actress/suffragist Mary Shaw in 1914.  Mary Shaw became involved in the suffrage movement in the early 1890s and was best known for her portrayal of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler.  Originally titled The Woman in It or Our Friends the Anti-Suffragists, the play was adapted and directed by Ruth Giordano and re-named Utterly Womanly.  The readers are Penny Bucky, Deb Burns, Bette Craig, Nina Keneally and Dawn Rodrigues.


This project is part of a year-long celebration of women gaining the right to vote and is supported by a grant from the Fund for Williamstown of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.  Its constituents and planners have included the South Williamstown Community Foundation, the Williamstown League of Women Voters, the Williamstown Historical Museum, the New Ashford Historical Commission, Williams College and Images Cinema as well as many interested individuals.  Coming next, a video tour of local suffrage sites.


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