Jailed for Freedom

"To the girls of Rice past and present"

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In 1920, after being arrested for acts of civil disobedience in support of female suffrage, Elizabeth Kalb donated her copy of the book Jailed for Freedom to Rice University, dedicating it to "the girls of Rice past and present." The book, by fellow activist Doris Stevens, chronicled the suffrage campaign of the National Woman’s Party.

Elizabeth Kalb of Houston graduated from Rice Institute in 1916. A talented debater, she put her persuasive skills to good use working for the National Woman’s Party in their literature and library department. She was arrested at a demonstration in January 1919 and sentenced to five days in jail.

Members of the National Woman’s Party (NWP), led by Alice Paul, took a more militant approach to the suffrage campaign than women associated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). NWP suffragists were the first group to picket the White House in 1917. They frequently led marches and conducted acts of civil disobedience that got them arrested. Imprisoned and tortured, the sacrifices of these women were critical in bringing widespread attention to the suffrage cause.

Jailed for Freedom was written by Doris Stevens, an active member of the NWP. Jailed multiple times for her protests, her book not only documented the work of the NWP as a whole, it also detailed the suffragists time in prison and their mistreatment. The book was published in 1920, after ratification of the 19th Amendment granting full voting rights to (most) women nationwide.

Elizabeth Kalb was not the only Texas woman arrested on behalf of the suffrage cause. Lucille Shields of Amarillo was also jailed multiple times in 1917 and 1919 for her participation in various demonstrations. The contributions of both women are recorded in Jailed for Freedom.

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Jailed for Freedom Artifact from Houston
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