Remembering the Fight

A common mistake many make in talking about the American woman’s right to vote is confusing the term “given the right” to vote with “fought for and earned the right.” A new exhibition at the Orcas Island Library aims to put an end to that confusion.

“Votes for Women: A Story of Persistence,” is a traveling display of historical posters that chronicle the long slog that ensured women’s right to cast a ballot and how that right was inextricably linked to the fight for women’s equality. The display is one of several exhibitions the Smithsonian Institute makes available through the Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibitions program.

Thanks to a generous donation by a charter member of the SITES board and former Orcas Islander Valerie Anders, a pictorial history recounting the story of the American woman’s fight for the right to vote will be visible through the library’s south windows through the end of November.

Anders, who lived many years on Orcas, hopes many women will visit the exhibition to learn about the historical and often painful struggle to get the right to vote.

“Since 2020 is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage it’s more important than ever to understand and emphasize the power of our vote.

“I’m hopeful every person who sees the exhibit will come away with a deep appreciation for what women went through to claim a right that belongs to every American.”

For more information about the Smithsonian and its traveling exhibits, visit

Orcas Library remains closed to the public with online reservations and curbside pickup. Visit to stay up to date with the library’s offerings and hours of availability.