The Woman's Hour

 The Great Fight to Win the Vote

— News —

Home studio of Elaine Weiss during COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.

Elaine’s home studio during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020–2021.

A Note…

A century ago, the suffragists were forced to carry on their work during a worldwide influenza pandemic – and during the 19th Amendment centennial year of 2020, we were faced with a similar situation. Commemorative events were canceled, dedications delayed, and my travel and speaking schedule came to a screeching halt. But thanks to the creativity and flexibility of so many organizers, many of those events were transported into the virtual space, and I kept up a busy schedule of talks, media interviews, panel discussions, book club visits, and even virtual toasts. My “studio” was a corner of my living room, with a storage bin atop a table (see photo) to hold my laptop; and while on (socially distanced) vacation, I found the required Internet signal to participate in interviews from the basement of a New England town hall and an Adirondack mountains storeroom attic. Thanks to my hosts and sponsors, viewers and listeners, and most of all to my readers, for accompanying me on the strange but satisfying Centennial year.

Now, as the world opens up, I’ll be breaking beyond the screen and hitting the road again to bring the story of this fight for voting rights and democracy – so important today – to new audiences.


The Woman's Hour, Adapted for Young Readers Edition by Elaine Weiss cover.

THE WOMAN’S HOUR – Adapted for Young Readers Edition

This adaptation of the book Hillary Clinton calls “a page-turning drama and an inspiration” will spark the attention of young readers and teach them about activism, civil rights, and the fight for women’s suffrage.

Elaine Weiss virtual book launch for The Woman's Hour, Young Reader's edition via Zoom.

Book Launch: The Woman’s Hour, Young Readers Edition. (In Conversation with Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden)

CBS News – Votes for Women: How the Suffragists Won hero image.

CBS Sunday Morning – Votes for Women: How the Suffragists Won

AIRED August 23, 2020 – One hundred years ago the 19th Amendment, which would protect women’s right to vote, was just one vote short of ratification. “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan reports on how the landmark legislation finally earned passage, and talks with historians Elaine Weiss, Susan Ware and Martha S. Jones about how suffragists such as Carrie Chapman Catt won the long-pitched battle which, for black women, continued long after the amendment became embedded in our Constitution. Brennan also talks with singer Rosanne Cash who celebrated the suffragists’ legacy.

New York Times Op-Ed hero.

Harris & Ewing, via Universal Images Group/Getty Images

NYT – Women Would Abolish Child Labor (and Other Anti-Suffrage Excuses)

Elaine’s op-ed in NYTimes Sunday Review on resistance to the 19th Amendment:

The Women's Hour.

Alice Paul, a leader of the National Woman’s Party, unfurls the ratification banner with its new 36th star after Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment on Aug. 18, 1920. The amendment prohibits denying the right to vote based on sex. Photo credit: Library of Congress

NPR: Elaine interviewed by NPR reporter Melissa Block

August 17, 2020

On Morning Edition: 

PBS American Experience: The Vote.

PBS/American Experience: THE VOTE

AIRED July 7, 2020 – Elaine provided historical commentary for the excellent PBS/American Experience documentary The VOTE.

“THE VOTE: A Conversation on Women’s Suffrage” with Special Guest Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“THE VOTE: A Conversation on Women’s Suffrage” with Special Guest Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton

American Experience | PBS
Streamed live on July 7, 2020

What insights can the women’s suffrage movement offer on challenges facing women and the nation today?

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, filmmaker Michelle Ferrari, historians Martha Jones and Elaine Weiss discuss the women’s suffrage movement and what it can reveal about democracy today.


C-SPAN Centennial Suffrage Commemoration hero image.

C-SPAN: Centennial Suffrage Commemoration with Elaine Weiss and Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton

AIRED August 17, 2020 – The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission hosted a conversation on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, author Elaine Weiss, and Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.


Nashville Public Library Votes for Women room.

Nashville Public Library “Votes for Women” Room Opens. Inspired by The Woman’s Hour.

Votes for Women
Resolved: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex – The 19th Amendment

About the Votes for Women Room
The Votes for Women Room was created to mark the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the constitution. This permanent exhibit explores a range of topics surrounding democracy, political movements, and women’s role in society through videos, interactive exhibits, a timeline, and interpretative panels.

Trace historic moments in American women’s history, as well as national and international events related to voting and human rights, along the Centerpiece Timeline. Learn more about Tennessee’s pivotal role in the ratification and important themes on race and culture wars through videos featuring writer Elaine Weiss. Discover the tactics and strategies people used in the “Anatomy of a Movement” interactive exhibit – and see how those strategies are used by today’s activists.


Other News…

The Young Readers edition, The Woman’s Hour: Our Fight for the Right to Vote, was chosen by the American Library Association and national Women’s Suffrage Centennial Committee for distribution to six thousand underserved libraries around the country.

Elaine was the convocation speaker at Case Western University, and The Woman’s Hour was chosen as the First Year Read for incoming students.

Elaine delivered the Mary Elizabeth Garrett lecture at the Johns Hopkins Medical Insitututions

Girl Scouts 19th Amendment patch: every scout earning the patch receives a copy of TWH

Elaine (virtually) participated in several book festivals, including the Tucson Book Festival, Kentucky Book Festival, and the Nantucket Authors festival at home.


In the The New Yorker magazine, praise for The Woman’s Hour:

The Imperfect, Unfinished Work of Women’s Suffrage by Casey Cep

A century after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, it’s worth remembering why suffragists had to fight so hard, and who was fighting against them.

ABA 2019 Silver Gavel Award badge.


The Woman’s Hour has won the American Bar Association’s highest honor, The Silver Gavel Award for a book furthering the American public’s understanding of law. The award ceremony will be held this summer at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Elaine was invited by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to speak at the press preview of the Library’s new suffrage exhibit, Shall Not Be Denied, and to participate in the opening ceremonies.



Cover image of The Woman's Hour by Elaine F. Weiss.

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“Both a page-turning drama and an inspiration for every reader”

– Hillary Rodham Clinton

Soon to be a major television event, the nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political battles in American history: the ratification of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote.


Nashville, August 1920: Thirty-five states have ratified the Nineteenth Amendment, twelve have rejected or refused to vote, and one last state is needed. It all comes down to Tennessee, the moment of truth for the suffragists, after a seven-decade crusade. The opposing forces include politicians with careers at stake, liquor companies, railroad magnates, and a lot of racists who don’t want black women voting. And then there are the “Antis”–women who oppose their own enfranchisement, fearing suffrage will bring about the moral collapse of the nation. They all converge in a boiling hot summer for a vicious face-off replete with dirty tricks, betrayals and bribes, bigotry, Jack Daniel’s, and the Bible.

Following a handful of remarkable women who led their respective forces into battle, along with appearances by Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Frederick Douglass, and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Woman’s Hour is an inspiring story of activists winning their own freedom in one of the last campaigns forged in the shadow of the Civil War, and the beginning of the great twentieth-century battles for civil rights.



The New York Times logo.
Curtis Sittenfeld’s Rave Review in NYT Book Review: “In The Woman’s Hour, the Battle Over the 19th Amendment Comes Alive”
“The deliciousness of the details in Elaine Weiss’ new book suggests that certain historical figures warrant entire novels of their own.”

Both a page-turning drama and an inspiration for every reader

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Anyone interested in the history of our country’s ongoing fight to put its founding values into practice—as well as those seeking the roots of current political fault lines—would be well-served by picking up Elaine Weiss’s The Woman’s Hour. By focusing in on the final battle in the war to win women the right to vote, told from the point of view of its foot soldiers, Weiss humanizes both the women working in favor of the amendment and those working against it, exposing all their convictions, tactics, and flaws. She never shies away from the complicating issue of race; the frequent conflict and occasional sabotage that occurred between women’s suffrage activists and the leaders of the nascent civil rights movement make for some of the most fascinating material in the book.

Margot Lee Shetterly

author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Hidden Figures

Weiss’s remarkably entertaining work of scholarship provides a thorough and timely examination of a shining moment in the ongoing fight to achieve a more perfect union.

Read the full review

Publishers Weekly, Starred and Boxed Review

In “The Woman’s Hour,” a gripping account of those fraught and steamy days in Nashville, Elaine Weiss delivers political history at its best. With a skill reminiscent of Robert Caro, she turns the potentially dry stuff of legislative give-and-take into a drama of courage and cowardice…

Fergus M. Bordewich

The Wall Street Journal Review

Imaginatively conceived and vividly written, The Woman’s Hour gives  us a stirring history of women’s long journey to suffrage and to political influence. Making bold connection with race and class, Weiss’s splendid book is as much needed today as it was in 1940 when Eleanor Roosevelt noted that men hate women with power. As every victory since the Civil War and Reconstruction faces the wrecker,  The Woman’s Hour is an inspiration in the continuing struggles for suffrage, and for race and gender justice, and for democracy.

Blanche Wiesen Cook

author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor Roosevelt

Writing with the verve this story deserves, Elaine Weiss brings to life the women who rallied in Nashville to get the nineteenth amendment ratified. From the gracious Carrie Chapman Catt to the radical Sue White, they were fearless in battle and elated in a victory that changed history. Three cheers for Weiss for this spirited and inspiring account.

Lynne Cheney

author of the New York Times bestseller James Madison

Elaine Weiss in the News

A collection of essays, interviews, reviews and speaking engagements.

The Final Desperate Battle for Suffrage in Tennessee

The Final Desperate Battle for Suffrage in Tennessee

Photo of Carrie Chapman Catt speaking on an old fashioned candlestick phone. LOC Carrie Chapman Catt. Collections of the Library of Congress (   NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ARTICLE The Final Desperate Battle for Suffrage in Tennessee...

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She Votes! Podcast Elaine Weiss Interview

She Votes! Podcast Elaine Weiss Interview

She Votes! Podcast: Mother Knows Best August 26th, 2020 | 36:52 | S1:E7 EPISODE SUMMARY August 18, 1920. Nashville, Tennessee. Men and women on both sides of the suffrage fight have been battling for weeks over the final state needed to ratify the 19th amendment,...

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