History of the League

History of the League

The Volusia County League Timeline

In 1921, the League of Women Voters of Florida was established and, locally, the Citizenship Department (of the Palmetto Club) was organized for the study of municipal government and to ... 

... prepare the women of Daytona Beach for the coming city elections, by getting the poll tax applications filled out, with the $1.00 attached, ready to be taken to the County Seat, thus assuring that all women voters in Daytona Beach paid their poll tax and were registered.

It was this same Palmetto Club department that was later absorbed into the LWV in the spring of 1922. The depression put great stress on many Leagues around the country and the relationship between the Florida League and national League was stormy. Ultimately, this tense relationship led to the state's disbarment in 1937.

The state league reformed in 1939 thanks to women from Winter Haven, Winter Park and St. Petersburg. Daytona Beach moved forward on its own to become a recognized chapter in 1949, as the League of Women Voters of Daytona Beach. In 1950 the United States LWV addressed the first directors meeting of the Daytona Beach Provisional League.

In 1964, the League adopted the County’s name in its title, but it was uncovered that ... back in 1926 ... the organization had received a gavel at the State Convention recognizing the LWVVC. On September 18, 2019, LWVVC celebrated its 70th anniversary with a gala luncheon and celebration that included recognition of past presidents and a short presentation of the League’s history.   

Read an excerpted history of the LWVVC, updated by President Nicki Junkins in 2020. 
See also the history of the League of Women Voters of the US.

The National League of Women Voters

Cattie CattIn her address to the National American Woman Suffrage Association's (NAWSA) 50th convention in St. Louis, President Carrie Chapman Catt proposed the creation of a "league of women voters to finish the fight and aid in the reconstruction of the nation."  Women Voters was formed within the NAWSA, composed of the organizations in the states where suffrage had already been attained. The next year, on February 14, 1920 - six months before the 19th amendment to the Constitution was ratified - the League was formally organized in Chicago as the national League of Women Voters. Catt described the organization's purpose:

The League of Women Voters is not to dissolve any present organization but to unite all existing organizations of women who believe in its principles. It is not to lure women from partisanship but to combine them in an effort for legislation which will protect coming movements, which we cannot even foretell, from suffering the untoward conditions which have hindered for so long the coming of equal suffrage. Are the women of the United States big enough to see their opportunity?

Maud Wood Park became the first national president of the League and thus the first League leader to rise to the challenge. She had steered the women's suffrage amendment through Congress in the last two years before ratification and liked nothing better than legislative work. From the very beginning, however, it was apparent that the legislative goals of the League were not exclusively focused on women's issues and that citizen education aimed at all of the electorate was in order.

Since its inception, the League has helped millions of women and men become informed participants in government. During the postwar period, the League helped lead the effort to establish the United Nations and to ensure U.S. Participation. The League was one of the first organizations in the country officially recognized by the United Nations as a non-governmental organization; it still maintains official observer status today.

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