2100 Ridge Avenue, Room 1030 • Evanston, IL 60201 • 847-859-7883 • email the League
Copyright © League of Women Voters of Evanston
Serving the people of Evanston & Skokie, Illinois, since 1922.
The First 100 Years
The League of Women Voters of the United States was founded in 1920, the year the 19th amendment was ratified and women won the right to vote. Local leagues then formed across the country; the League of Women Voters of Evanston first met in 1922. Early emphasis was placed on women's informed participation in government, including get-out-the-vote campaigns and support for state legislation allowing women to serve on juries. LWVE forums featuring candidates for office date from the 1920s.
Programs in the 1930s provided insights on country-wide and local economic challenges. During and following World War II, the LWVE worked for passage of Aid to Dependent Children legislation, sponsored meetings on post-war planning, and held programs on day nurseries. Other areas of focus included local housing and efficient functioning of city government.
In the early 1950s the LWVE played a key role in the adoption of Evanston’s council-manager form of government. In the late 1950s a committee studied whether Evanston should establish a human relations commission. The creation of the Human Relations Commission by the city council in 1969 and passage of the Fair Housing Ordinance are attributed to this work.
The LWVE actively denounced school segregation in the 1960s and 1970s and worked for an integrated school system. In the 1980s it supported an expanded, publicly funded main library, in or adjacent to downtown Evanston, and projects in the 1990s and early 2000s included a detailed study of town-gown relations.
More recently, the LWVE supported the adoption of rank choice voting in local elections, investigated health equity issues, and continued its long-standing efforts to register new voters and to monitor Evanston city council meetings.
This is just a sample of activities across the decades. Studying issues, educating voters, and advocating for changes have always been the focus, but the LWVE has also provided opportunities to come together and form bonds. An early illustration of this combination comes from a postcard dated 1925 inviting women to teas in their wards: “Come and bring your sewing, meet your neighbors, and hear the problems of your ward discussed.” Nearly 100 years later we still come together to learn and to work—and because we value each other’s company.
This message from our League archives rings as clear today as it did in 1925... and today we also encourage the strong participation of men and women.
Lorraine Morton Civic Center • 2100 Ridge Avenue.