Suffragists’ Night of Terror at the Occoquan Workhouse


Lucy Burns in front of a prison cell, likely at Occoquan Workhouse. Burns served more time incarcerated than any other member of the suffrage movement in the U.S.  Harris & Ewing, Washington, D.C. Public domain.
Lucy Burns in front of a prison cell, likely at Occoquan Workhouse. Burns served more time incarcerated than any other member of the suffrage movement in the U.S. Harris & Ewing, Washington, D.C. Public domain.

In November 1917, guards at the Occoquan Workhouse assaulted and terrorized 33 women from the National Woman’s Party. They were serving sentences for charges like “obstructing sidewalk traffic” after peacefully protesting in front of the White House.

Tracy's Research:

  • Library of Congress. “Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party.” https://www.loc.gov/collections/women-of-protest/about-this-collection/
  • The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).” Encyclopedia Britannica. 7/14/2016. https://www.britannica.com/topic/National-American-Woman-Suffrage-Association
  • Library of Congress. “Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party.” https://www.loc.gov/collections/women-of-protest/about-this-collection/
  • Taylor, Alan. “The 1913 Women's Suffrage Parade.” The Atlantic. 3/1/2013. https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2013/03/100-years-ago-the-1913-womens-suffrage-parade/100465/
  • Boissoneault, Lorraine. “The Original Women’s March on Washington and the Suffragists Who Paved the Way.” Smithsonian Magazine. 1/21/2017. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/original-womens-march-washington-and-suffragists-who-paved-way-180961869/
  • Library of Congress. “Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party.” From Library of Congress Teacher Resources. https://www.loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/connections/women-protest/index.html
  • “Today in History – August 28.” Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/august-28/
  • Costello, Matthew. “Picketing the White House: The Suffragist Movement During the Great War.” The White House Historical Association. https://www.whitehousehistory.org/picketing-the-white-house
  • American Memory. “Historical Overview of the National Woman’s Party.” Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/collections/static/women-of-protest/images/history.pdf
  • Harvey, Sheridan. “Marching for the Vote: Remembering the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913.” Library of Congress: American Women. https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml/aw01e/aw01e.html
  • Bland, Sydney R. “New Life in an Old Movement: Alice Paul and the Great Suffrage Parade of 1913 inWashington, D. C..” Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C., Vol. 71/72, The 48thseparately bound book (1971/1972), pp. 657-678 Published by: Historical Society of Washington, D. Via JSTOR. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40067792
  • Trecker, Janice Law. “The Suffrage Prisoners.” The American Scholar. Vol. 41, No. 3 (Summer, 1972). Phi Beta Kappa Society. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41208790
  • Southard, Belinda A. Stillion. “Militancy, Power, and Identity: The Silent Sentinels as Women Fighting for Political Voice.” Rhetoric and Public Affairs, Vol. 10, No. 3 (Fall 2007). Via JSTOR. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41940153
  • Lavender, William, and Mary Lavender. "Suffragists' storm over Washington: wartime Washington dealt brutally with imprisoned suffragists who dared picket the White House for the right to vote in 1917." American History, vol. 38, no. 4, 2003, p. 30+. General OneFile, libraries.state.ma.us/login?gwurl=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GPS&sw=w&u=som&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA106861200&it=r&asid=1c9286b0157247acf626cbcfdc3fec7c. Accessed 27 Oct. 2017.
  • Zahniser, J.D. "'How long must we wait?' Alice Paul wanted action on votes for women, so she took her demands straight to the top." American History, vol. 50, no. 5, 2015, p. 52+. General OneFile, libraries.state.ma.us/login?gwurl=http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=GPS&sw=w&u=som&v=2.1&id=GALE%7CA429409171&it=r&asid=06b70bcccbd0abb36b5e80008294c08d. Accessed 27 Oct. 2017.
  • Special to The New,York Times. "WILSON, SHOCKED AT JAILING MILITANTS, MAY ADVOCATE 'VOTES FOR WOMEN' AS PART OF WAR EMERGENCY PROGRAM." New York Times (1857-1922): 1. Jul 19 1917. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2017
  • Special to The New York Times. "MILITANTS FREED AT WILSON'S WORD." New York Times (1857-1922): 1. Jul 20 1917. ProQuest. Web. 27 Oct. 2017.
  • Stevens, Doris. “Jailed for Freedom.” Boni and LIveright. 1920. Via archive.org. https://ia802706.us.archive.org/6/items/jailedforfreedo00stevgoog/jailedforfreedo00stevgoog.pdf

Topics in this Podcast: women, 20th century, women's rights, women's suffrage