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Sarah Bell, Speaker

Doctoral Candidate in History at the University of Kansas

A Congress for Women: Women's Clubs and the Chautauqua Movement

Chautauqua was a rural movement focused on moral education and self-improvement through programs on reform, religion, and culture. The movement was useful for advancing the cause of "womanhood," through the creation of organizations like the Woman's Council in Ottawa, Kansas, in 1892. This Council, defined as a "congress" for the growing women's club movement, provided a space for women to discuss important issues of the day. This presentation will examine how these clubs engaged women in political activism, particularly suffrage and temperance, and how this early movement laid the groundwork for contemporary issues of feminism and gender equality. 

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