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Suffragist 2 sections


Mary McFerran

Mary McFerran

Mary McFerran

In_Question Artists

In_Question Artists

Carla Rae Johnson, Mary McFerran, and Marcy B. Freedman


In_Question Artist: Mary McFerran

Hays Gallery

June 5 - November, 2021

Curated by Bibiana Huang Matheis

The Suffragists


Mary McFerran commemorates the Suffragists of the early 20th century with a wall installation. Using thread and needle, tools familiar to women of that era, the artist hand stitches fashion silhouettes on cotton and linen fabrics. McFerran contrasts the sleek dresses and hats worn by women of the 1890’s with depictions of the abuse they suffered for fighting to be properly represented through voting rights. Women who participated in the Suffragist movement endured force-feeding, police abuse, prison sentences and divorce.


Suffragists fought for women's right to vote and questioned a patriarchal culture. In the 1890’s, women’s fashions reflected a new kind of woman. Some restrictive aspects of dress were softened as new health concepts encouraged women to be more physically active, and more women entered the workplace, went to college, and engaged in social issues. However, the hourglass silhouette still required an anatomically distorting corset.

Also included in the installation are reproductions of the Declaration of Sentiments, notes from Suffragist diaries and photographs of some of the leading pioneers of the movement, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Stanton fought for women’s rights through most of her adult life and is known for her founding role in the 1848 Seneca Falls convention. She passed away 18 years before the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote in 1920.

ARTISTS RECEPTION - June 5, 2021 - 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Exhibit is open during museum hours:

Wednesday - Saturday, 12 to 4pm

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