Political advertisement paid for by the Political Equality League of Eau Claire for the 1912 referendum. Eau Claire Leader. November 3, 1912.

"Don't make the mistake of thinking that a 'no' on Nov. 5th will forever kill woman suffrage in Wisconsin. It will simply prolong the agitation and increase the expense. Injustic always spurs one on the added effort." -Eau Claire Leader, October 27, 1912

Wisconsin suffragists pressured the legislature for a statewide referendum on women's voting rights in 1912.  The referendum was defeated, with nearly two-thirds of male voters in the state voting against women's suffrage.  Still, in the Chippewa Valley, the relatively close results from the 1912 referendum showed that women organizing for suffrage were winning over suporters. 

Eau Claire       Voted For:  2,074  (46%)      Against: 2,445 (54%)

Chippewa       Voted For:  1,939 (42%)    Against: 2,725 (58%)

From the first meeting of the Eau Claire Women's Club in 1895 to the 1912 referendum and beyond, the women of the Chippewa Valley were active in organizing for suffrage.  Women of the Chippewa Valley campaigned with vigor despite harsh opposition, as seen in the news from various publications, but perhaps most importantly viewed in the letters between Eau Claire suffragettes around 1912...

1912 in Their Words  

A sample ballot printed in the Dunn County News to familiarize voters with what to expect when election day came in November. Dunn County News. October 29, 1912. 

At the time of the 1912 Referendum, the City of Eau Claire boasted a population of about 18,000. Image courtesy L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library.

1912 Eau Claire Leader article showing how each ward in Eau Claire and the surrounding areas voted in the referendum.

In only a few WI counties did the "yes" vote for women's suffrage outnumber the opposition. 

A pro-suffrage advertisement in the 1912 Madison Wisconsin State Journal.