Celebrating the original Trailblazers on the 10th anniversary of The National Votes for Women Trail

In February of 2013, Past NCWHS President and original NVWT Chair, Marsha Weinstein, wrote about the NCWHS plans for a Woman Suffrage Trail in an article for The Louisville Courier Journal:
“In honor of the 2020 centennial celebration of woman’s suffrage, the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites (NCWHS) with the original leadership of Board Members Pam Elam and Mary Melcher has been developing a nationwide Woman Suffrage Trail to commemorate this significant centennial event. The mission of the NCWHS is to ensure the preservation of women’s history sites and the inclusion of women’s experiences at all historic sites. The goal of the Woman Suffrage Trail is to highlight the role of each state in the 72-year national battle to achieve “Votes for Women.” This will culminate in an online resource linking all of these sites on a national map that will help teach the public about historic sites where women lived, worked, and advocated for suffrage to improve their communities, states, and the nation. Through the digital map, the complete story of the enfranchisement of over half of the nation’s population can finally be told. Information will also include sites related to those who opposed suffrage for twelve states, ten of which were south of the Mason-Dixon line, which did not ratify the suffrage amendment until after August 1920.”
To commemorate this achievement, we are honoring Pam Elam and Mary Melcher with the first annual NCWHS Trailblazer awards. Pam and Mary, please accept our congratulations and heartfelt gratitude!

Pam Elam: “My heartfelt thanks to the National Collaborative for Women’s History Sites for the beautiful Trailblazer Award. When, as NCWHS Board Members, Mary Melcher and I started the effort to create National Women’s Heritage/History Trails in April 2009 and in the years of Committee meetings that followed focusing on the development of a National Woman Suffrage Trail before the 2020 “Votes for Women” Centennial Celebration, who could know that the grand outcome would be the wonderful roadmap to history existing today due to the dedicated work of Marsha [Weinstein, former committee chair], Nancy [Brown, former committee chair], and many other NCWHS supporters? Congratulations to all of you for that great accomplishment.

“As President of the all-volunteer, not-for-profit group Monumental Women, I’m pleased to say that I continue to work on projects like our virtual New York City Women’s Rights History Trail and our Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument in Central Park. http://www.monumentalwomen.org

“The work goes on and so does the inspiration from the extraordinary women who came before us.” 

Mary Melcher: “Thank you for this beautiful “Trailblazer” award and for recognizing the work Pam Elam and I did on the NCWHS Trails Committee. We started the Trails Committee in 2009 after we noticed all of the women’s history trails being developed around the U.S. Pam and I were separated geographically, with Pam in NYC and me in southern Arizona, but we were united by a love of women’s history and the desire to share the story of woman suffrage with the general public. Although we failed to get national funding to develop the projects we envisioned, the NCWHS Votes for Women Trail Committee carried on and has done fantastic work. Through the dedication of Marsha Weinstein, Nancy Brown, Judith Wellman and many others, the National Votes for Women Trail is now a reality. I’ve also continued working, as the board secretary of the Arizona Women’s History Alliance (https://azwomenshistoryalliance.org/) to install a statue of Frances Munds, president of the Arizona Equal Suffrage Association, in the State Capitol Mall. The Munds Statue will be dedicated in March 2024.”