Nineteenth Amendment Signed Without Fanfare
Although signing ceremonies were held in the House and Senate when the suffrage measure passed Congress in 1919, no similar ceremony, to the disappointment of suffragists, occurred on the morning of August 26, 1920, when Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby quietly signed, at his home, the proclamation certifying the Nineteenth Amendment. No photographs captured the moment. The Washington Post cited Colby’s desire to “avoid friction” between the NAWSA and the NWP. The New York Times reported that he found undignified suffragists’ request to reenact the event publicly, saying that “effectuating suffrage . . . was more important than feeding the movie cameras.” That night he read a congratulatory message from President Wilson at a NAWSA mass meeting.