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Women voter registers

Identifier: 4700.002

Scope and Content

This collection contains registers documenting naturalized and native women registered to vote in school board elections from 1884-1920. Naturalized women immigrated to the United States and acquired citizenship. Native women were citizens by birth. Women who became citizens through their native husbands were registered as native voters (Chapter 223, Acts of 1879). Registers are labeled with a ward number, a volume number or both. Only the Naturalized Women Voter Registers have an index, all others must be searched by women’s last name and/or by date. Complete entries include a woman’s age, birthplace, citizenship status, and address, although some entries are incomplete. According to the inventory in the index to the Naturalized Women Voter Registers, no women registered to vote in 1896.


  • 1884-1920


Historical Note

In the United States women were given the right to vote after the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920. In Massachusetts, women were allowed to vote in school board elections in 1879. This law (Chapter 223, Acts of 1879) required that they follow the same provisions that were set for men; these included, paying a poll tax, the capabilities to read and write in the English language, and were at least 21 years of age. According to Section 3 of the 1854 City of Boston Charter, the commonwealth of Boston was divided into twenty five wards. In 1886 the wards were further divided into precincts, to ensure that each ward had an equal number of voters. A voter’s residency determined their ward and voting place. Women were supposed to have lived within the Commonwealth of Boston for at least one year and at least six months within the town or city that they were voting.


12.0 Cubic feet (123 volumes)

Language of Materials


Guide to the Women voter registers 4700.002
Finding aid prepared by Irina Tsiklik and Kristen Swett
2009 April 30
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the City of Boston Archives Repository

201 Rivermoor St.
West Roxbury MA 02132 United States
617-635-1194 (Fax)