Press Release

History Colorado Launches the Colorado Women’s Vote Centennial Commission with Inaugural Meeting and Plans for Community Engagement

Announces “Collaborative” to enlist statewide partners and reach Coloradans across the state

DENVER (June 5, 2019) — Today, the newly-formed Colorado Women’s Vote Centennial Commission (WVCC) made history, when 25 of Colorado’s most accomplished and service-minded women“Commissioners” met to launch an 18-month, centennial commemoration of the passage of the 19th Amendment, the right for women to vote. The Commission discussed plans for community engagement, dialogue and collaboration around this anniversary.

In his final executive order, former Governor John Hickenlooper established the WVCC and named History Colorado to lead the initiative. Chaired by History Colorado Chairperson Cathey M. Finlon, the WVCC’s has the following goals:

  • To educate multi-generational audiences through special events and outreach in all 64 Colorado counties
  • To illuminate the contributions of women in Colorado’s history
  • To call attention to Colorado’s important role in the national movement for the women’s vote
  • To build new knowledge around this topic and inspire new research   

Women’s fight for their right to vote changed the course of history — and continues to inspire social, economic, political and cultural advancements today. In fact, in 1893, Colorado was the first state to extend women the right to vote by popular referendum.  This took place more than a quarter century before the national women’s suffrage act in 1920.

"Through the work with the Colorado Women’s Centennial Vote Commission, History Colorado’s statewide resources will be put into action to uncover the narrative of the suffrage movement,” said Finlon. “History Colorado will use every connection we have — citizen historians, state historians, distinguished lecturers, teachers, artists, musicians, storytellers and history lovers across our state to bring life to this story. It is a story of success and failure. We will show both.”

Statewide events and initiatives will officially commence around Women’s Equality Day on August 26, 2019, culminating in 2020, with the commemoration of the 19th Amendment’s ratification. Several organizations have already agreed to participate in the grass-roots movement, including the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, Colorado Encyclopedia, Molly Brown House, League of Women Voters and Territorial Daughters of Colorado. 

“As the first state to give women the right to vote by popular referendum, Colorado has a lot to be proud of – and a lot to lead. It is only through partnerships and collaboration that we can reach women statewide with messages and experiences about empowerment and equality,” said Dawn DiPrince, chief operating officer of History Colorado. “This is a historical opportunity to join grass-roots efforts and outreach that will commemorate women’s right to vote, provide educational touchpoints and help tell the untold stories.” 

Call to Action – Colorado Women’s Vote Centennial Collaborative

History Colorado is inviting interested organizations and individuals in all 64 state counties, to join the Colorado Women’s Vote Centennial Collaborative – creating space and events for civic engagement, commemoration, impact and support. The Collaborative is building partnerships with local museums, libraries, clubs, schools, and arts organizations in communities throughout the state as they plan suffrage-related events.

History Colorado will connect people throughout Colorado with programming and initiatives related to the history of the women’s vote. For a calendar with upcoming Collaborative meetings, please click here and scroll down. For more information about getting involved, contact The Center for Colorado Women’s History at 303-620-4933, or

Historical Timeline

Colorado was the first state in the nation to enable women the right to vote by popular referendum; and, Colorado continues to chart new records in our current day with the largest percentage of female state legislators in the nation. For a historical timeline, please click here.


For visuals that illustrate key milestones, please click here; and then click on the individual image for the corresponding caption and photo credit (located on the right side). 

About History Colorado

History Colorado is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and an agency of the State of Colorado, with a mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. The historical agency serves as the state’s memory, preserving the places, stories and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, research library, collections and outreach to Colorado communities. With 10 museums and historic properties around the state, History Colorado shares the cultures and stories that define Colorado’s past and present, including History Colorado Center (Denver); Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House (Denver); Grant-Humphreys Mansion (Denver); El Pueblo History Museum (Pueblo); Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center (Fort Garland); Fort Vasquez (Platteville); Georgetown Loop Historic Mining & Railroad Park (Georgetown); Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin (Leadville); Trinidad History Museum (Trinidad); and Ute Indian Museum (Montrose). Visit or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.

Media Contact

Tera Haselden Keatts, Philosophy Communication