Carrie Chapman Catt

Since Dr. Shaw Non - 1920

Carrie Chapman Catt
January 01, 1920— Bryn Mawr College
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Since Dr. Shaw Non

“What better memorial to a great suffragist could there be than a university chair?” said Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and of the International League of Women Voters, upon her return from the national suffrage convention in Chicago, where the memorial to Dr. Shaw as defined in the Bryn Mawr Shaw Chair of Political Science and the Barnard Chair of Citizenship found so much favor.

“Without Dr. Shaw – and in this case, Dr. Shaw means a whole host of other women for whom she was spokesman – there might yet have been no universities for women. Women of 1920 in every land owe their educational advantages at the present moment to the woman’s rights movement of the nineteenth century. It is a pleasant and gracious thing that this debt to a valiant fighter for women’s educational progress should be acknowledged and its obligations handed on to other generations.

“The names and services of women like Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone ought to be carried on as a stimulus and a benediction from generation to generation so that ever new groups of young women shall be fired to go out and do for their day what women did for them.

“That the memorial should shape towards the study of political science, is a part of the inevitable logic of events. A mass of women trained by their long struggle for the ballot, have come to see political science not as a cast-iron set of rules for an established game, but as a great laboratory experiment in which their own experiences have fitted them to take part. These women are not at all convinced that everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. They humbly believe that there are ways in which the political world, as well as the social world, can be made better. Their first move, after the vote was secured, even before it was an actuality, was to group themselves into a League of Voters for the express purpose of making themselves an asset to politics, and demanding from politics that it become an asset to the world and not a liability.

“Because of this, the study of political science, of all forms of government, of civics, has greatly increased in interest all over the United States. No woman’s college can afford any longer not to expand its curriculum so as to meet this fine seal of young women in fitting them for future citizenship. There is something sacred in thus turning the bitter struggle of the past into a new privilege for the future. The cause for which women patiently endure vilification for so many years was in reality a part of political science. Naming the study of it in their honor is one of those historical vindications which is supremely fitting.”

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