CONTACT: Roosevelt House Digital Media and Programs, 212-396-7947 /                      

Roosevelt House Announces Online, Digital Exhibit of Women Take the Lead: From Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Eleanor Roosevelt, Suffrage to Human Rights. Selections from Dobkin Family Collection of Feminist History.


New York, NY (August 1, 2016) –– Following on the popular and critical success of its first special exhibit, Women Take the Lead: From Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Eleanor Roosevelt, Suffrage to Human Rights, the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College has launched an online, interactive website presenting and preserving highlights from the exhibition.  Like the original show, the online exhibit draws on the holdings of the Dobkin Family Collection of Feminist History.  Its online launch is timed to coincide with Women’s Equality Month in August.

Commented Hunter College President Jennifer J, Raab: “We are proud and delighted to preserve Women Take the Lead online—for the permanent benefit of both students and scholars.  Many of the materials that the Dobkin family lent to Roosevelt House for exhibit here had not been seen publicly for a century.  Now, even as these fragile materials return to their archive for necessary preservation, our online display will continue to make them available into the future.  We are grateful to the Dobkin Collection for allowing us to host this online exhibit.  And we remain most appreciative of our Hunter College Foundation board member Elbrun Kimmelman, who first brought the collection to our attention and generously made possible its spring 2016 showing at Roosevelt House.”

Stated Harold Holzer, the Jonathan Fanton Director of Roosevelt House and a widely published historian: “More than ever, scholars and researchers depend on online resources to guide them to understanding and interpreting our past.  With much original material, this invaluable resource tells the unique story of New York’s—and the nation’s—march toward voting rights for women.  As we approach the centennial of women’s suffrage in the Empire State, Roosevelt House is honored to house an online version of a new and priceless resource without which the history of this struggle cannot possibly be written.”

The new digital exhibit presents documents and images from the show that attracted nearly 6,000 visitors during its run at Roosevelt House from January 14-May 27, 2016.  Women Take the Lead united original and important treasures from the Women’s Suffrage Movement with material illuminating Eleanor Roosevelt’s activities and writings on the subject of women’s rights.  Featuring some 75 rare posters, broadsides, pamphlets, books, and manuscripts—many of them more than 100 years old—the show was highlighted by 22 rare suffragette posters, dating from the 1912 presidential year, that were actually used in the early 20th Century to promote voting rights for women.

The Dobkin Family Collection of Feminist History was built over 25 years by New York philanthropist Barbara Dobkin to chronicle women’s experiences and achievements in both political and domestic realms.  Commented Barbara Dobkin on its new appearance online: “When Hillary Clinton declared in 1995 that ‘women’s rights are human rights,” she summed up a century-and-a-half of progress toward a universal vision.  The materials you see here—correspondence and manuscripts by women of all stripes and stations, ‘Silent Speech’ posters, Pankhurst’s rap sheets—all celebrate the tireless sacrifice it has taken, and is still taking today, to fully realize that vision.  They remind us: nothing changes without breaking the silence.  We owe it to them to keep speaking up.  It’s so exciting to join voices with Roosevelt House to keep pushing the discussion forward.”

Online Highlights

Among the highlights of the online exhibition are: a searchable text version of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s “Declaration of Sentiments” at the 1848 Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention; a letter written by New York State-born Belva Lockwood, one of the first women to practice law in this country and a candidate for President of the United States on the National Equal Rights Party ticket in 1884 and 1888; the prison records of Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Sylvia, the leaders of the British suffrage movement; an original manuscript on family planning by Margaret Sanger; the hand-edited typescript of novelist Pearl S. Buck’s 1938 Nobel Prize acceptance speech (she was the first American woman to win the honor); material related to women’s rights pioneers Susan B. Anthony, and Amelia Earhart; and letters written by Mrs. Roosevelt to her family and notable figures of her time which trace her evolution as a leader in the struggle for human rights while First Lady of New York, the United States, and the World.  Additional video and audio material has been added to the online version of the exhibition to bring the era of the suffragettes to life.  Visitors to the online exhibit can zoom into images from the Dobkin Collection on the site for a closer read on the words and sentiments of the time.

Women Take the Lead at Roosevelt House was made possible by a grant from Elbrun and Peter Kimmelman.  Mrs. Kimmelman is a Hunter College Foundation Trustee and a member of the Roosevelt House Board of Advisors.  The exhibition was curated by staff historian Deborah Gardner, and was designed by Dylan Gauthier, a recent graduate of Hunter College’s Integrated Media Arts MFA Program.  The online exhibit is designed by Dylan Gauthier, with text by Deborah Gardner. Special thanks to Gregory Nolan and the staff of Roosevelt House and the Hunter College Library Special Collections and Archives for installation assistance.  Many of the items in the exhibition were originally on view in fall 2015 under the title No Gate, No Lock, No Bolt, shown at the Glenn Horowitz Gallery, where it was curated by Sarah Funke Butler.  Roosevelt House is grateful to Ms. Butler for her advice and help, and for locating additional items for display.

Eleanor and her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, occupied Roosevelt House—a gift from FDR’s mother Sara Delano Roosevelt that became their New York City family home—from 1905 through 1941. The building became a part of Hunter College in 1942, originally serving as a headquarters for cultural and social clubs, events, speeches, and faculty conferences.  After a major renovation, it re-opened in 2010 the college’s public policy institute. Free guided tours of Roosevelt House are made available to visitors on Saturdays by reservation: