ON THIS DATE in 1848, eighteen-year-old Charlotte Woodward signed the Declaration of Sentiments at the historic women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Of the 68 women who signed the declaration, she was the only one who lived to see women granted the vote in 1920.
In 1848, Woodward worked in her Waterloo, New York, home, sewing gloves “for a miserable pittance which, after it was earned, could never be mine. I wanted to work, but I wanted to choose my task and I wanted to collect my wages.” At the time, U.S. women had no legal rights to their paychecks, which could be confiscated by husbands or fathers.
A Declaration of Sentiments and 11 resolutions proposed at the Seneca Falls convention made the radical (for the time) assertion that women had a natural right to equality in all spheres. One third of the 300 or so who attended the conference signed the sentiments and resolutions, including 32 men.
Woodward later married and was residing in Philadelphia when the 19th amendment passed in 1920. Illness and failing eyesight prevented the ninety-year-old (she may have been ninety-one) from ever voting.