History of the Belmont League

History of the Belmont League

Carrie Chapman Catt

The National League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 as an outcome of the women's suffrage movement. In her address to the National American Woman Suffrage Association's (NAWSA) 50th convention in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1919, President Carrie Chapman Catt proposed the creation of a league of women voters to "finish the fight" and aid in the reconstruction of the nation. And so a League of Women Voters was formed within NAWSA, composed of the organizations in the states where woman suffrage had already been attained. The next year, on February 14, 1920, six months before the 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified, the League was formally organized in Chicago as the National League of Women Voters.

On April 29, 1936, one hundred Belmont women left an established Cambridge League to found the local Belmont League. Their purpose was to increase the participation of Belmont women in local issues and to be a stronger lobbying force for change. The League first met in the police station. Members held weekly study groups. Their first studies were on education and town government.

By the 1960s, the League was working to open town committee meetings to the public, lobbying for a Capital Budget Committee and eventually for a roll call vote in Town Meeting. It was also sponsoring a lecture series and publishing regular editions of 'Know Your Town'. The League's activities led to great increased numbers of women serving as Town Meeting members and on town boards and committees.

In 1986 the League started publishing the 'Voter Guide' and formed the Belmont Voter Education Fund to support its voter education activities.

Past Presidents of the Belmont League of Women Voters

1936-1938 Dorothy Morris

1938-1940 Ruth M. Lurie

1940-1942 Ruth Smith

1942-1944 Martha Burbank

1944-1946 Christina R. Fraser

1946-1948 Josephine R. Baty

1948-1950 Helene D. Stoneman

1950-1952 Laura Pollock

1952-1954 Ursula Foster

1954-1956 Nina Buckingham

1956-1958 Ruth Alexander

1958-1959 Alice S. Amdur

1959-1960 Elizabeth B. Roitman

1960-1962 Elizabeth McKinstry

1962-1964 Ruth Kaplan

1964-1966 Mary R. Covert

1966-1968 Joan Campbell

1968-1969 Mary Fan Kain

1969 Denise McFarlan Huffman

1969-1970 Bea DeMuinck Keizer

1970-1973 Julie R. Perkins

1973-1975 Mary M. Tinkham

1975-1977 Erin VanSpeybroeck

1977-1979 Patricia W. Hawkins

1979-1981 Harriet T. Mill

1981-1983 Julie Goetze

1983-1985 Cathy Bennigson

1985-1987 Maryann Leach

1987-1988 Vicki Bond

1988-1989 Vicki Bond & Merry Ray

1989-1991 Penny Schafer

1991-1993 Mary Dominguez

1993-1994 Cheryl Avery

1994-1996 Karen Dorfman

1996 Harriet T. Mill

1996-1998 Kathy Allen

1998-2001 Vilma diBiase

2001-2003 Patricia Dinneen

2003-2005 Elizabeth Atkins

2005-2007 Maryann Scali

2007-2009 Rosemary Burke

2009-2011 Anna Whitcomb Knight

2011-2020 Maryann Scali