May 23, 2019

Liette Gidlow selected as 2019-20 Radcliffe Institute fellow

Among just 3.7 percent of applicants accepted to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

Liette Gidlow, associate professor of history in Wayne State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has been named a 2019–2020 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She joins more than 50 others as part of the prestigious global fellowship class selected to pursue work across the sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts.

As the Mellon-Schlesinger fellow, Gidlow will research the consequences of the women’s suffrage movement for the American political process with a special focus on issues of race. Her work is part of the Long 19th Amendment Project, which recognizes the 100th anniversary of the 1920 ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. A specialist in 20th century politics and women’s and gender history, Gidlow has published two books: The Big Vote, which analyzes how voter turnout campaigns in the 1920s helped to contain the radical potential of women’s suffrage, and Obama, Clinton, Palin, a collection of essays on the historic 2008 presidential election.

While in residence, fellows at the Radcliffe Institute present lectures and exhibitions to the public, participate in cross-disciplinary study groups, and work closely with undergraduate Harvard students who serve as research partners.

“The Long 19th Amendment project will be the premier center for suffrage research in the centennial year,” said Gidlow. “In this era of #MeToo and female presidential candidates, it’s a fantastic opportunity to join other scholars as we rethink what women’s enfranchisement meant for the United States.”

The Radcliffe Institute has awarded more than 900 fellowships since its founding in 1999. Gidlow is the first from Wayne State University.  

The full list of fellows is online here.

“This is a remarkable class of fellows,” said Radcliffe Institute Dean Tomiko Brown-Nagin RI ’17, the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. “Radcliffe’s Fellowship Program — a microcosm of the institute — is a laboratory of ideas where scholars, artists, scientists and practitioners draw insights from one another and generate new knowledge that spans disciplinary boundaries. I am extraordinarily excited to see what emerges from this incredible group of individuals in the year ahead.”

Below are two examples of the kind of sources Gidlow has discovered documenting some women's continued disfranchisement. The first is a 1932 letter threatening a woman seeking to exercise her right to vote, after the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. The second is a the seal for the Ex-Soldiers' Co-Operative Association, a group of World War One veterans and their families from Birmingham, Alabama, who organized to press for voting rights.

Source:  Anonymous, c. October 1932. U.S. Department of Justice Central Files,
RG 60, National Archives II, College Park, MD.
Source:  Lula B. Murry to Department of Justice, January 2, 1926.
U.S. Department of Justice Central Files, RG 60,
National Archives II, College Park, MD.




About the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study is a unique space within Harvard: a school dedicated to creating and sharing transformative ideas across all disciplines. Each year, the institute hosts about 50 leading scholars, scientists and artists from around the world in its renowned residential fellowship program. Radcliffe fosters innovative research collaborations and offers hundreds of public lectures, exhibitions, performances, conferences and other events annually. The institute is home to the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library, the nation’s premier archive on the history of women, gender and sexuality. For more information about the people and programs of the Radcliffe Institute, visit

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