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Alice Paul

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Alice Paul, 1912 Graduation Portrait

Alice Paul (1885-1977), born to Quaker parents in Mount Laurel returned to New Jersey from London where she had been active in the radical English suffrage movement.

She later became the acknowledged leader of the radical wing of the national woman suffrage movement. Paul was the architect of some of the most outstanding political achievements on behalf of women in the 20th century. In fact, she dedicated her life to the single cause of securing equal rights for all women. Paul founded the National Woman’s Party in 1914 and led the first picketers to the White House gates in the name of women’s suffrage. When women won the right to vote in 1920, Paul turned her focus to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which she authored in 1923.

Additionally, Paul worked for international women’s rights. As a result, she founded the World Woman’s Party in 1938 with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Paul then succeeded in securing a sexual discrimination clause in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. She lobbied Representatives to pass the ERA in her Moorestown nursing home. To this day, Paul’s legacy lives on through the work of the Alice Paul Institute, located in her Mount Laurel childhood home, Paulsdale, which is now a National Historic Landmark.


Questions to Explore

How did Paul’s childhood with quaker parents impact her role as a radical woman’s advocate?

What was the Alice Paul Institute originally built for?

How did women win the right to vote in 1920?

Additional Resources

Bartoletti Susan Campbell and Ziyue Chen. 2020. How Women Won the Vote : Alice Paul Lucy Burns and Their Big Idea First ed. New York NY: Harper an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers. https://www.worldcat.org/title/1119749049

Kops Deborah. 2017. Alice Paul and the Fight for Women’s Rights : From the Vote to the Equal Rights Amendment First ed. Honesdale Pennsylvania: Calkins Creek an imprint of Highlights. https://www.worldcat.org/title/954670686 

Rosenstock Barb and Sarah Green. 2020. Fight of the Century : Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Vote First ed. New York: Calkins Creek an Imprint of Boyds Mills & Kane. https://www.worldcat.org/title/1139500681