• This poster was designed by screenwriter, designer, and artist Tony Puryear and based on a photograph by singer Bryan Adams. It was created for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Courtesy of National Portrait Gallery via Smithsonian Institution.

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    Hillary Clinton
    • Date
    • 2008
    • Creator
    • Tony Puryear, born 5 Aug 1957.
    • Rights
    • National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Chisholm Larsson Gallery, New York City.
    • Partner
    • Smithsonian Institution
    • Contributing Institution
    • National Portrait Gallery

  • This print depicts Victoria Woodhull asserting her right to vote and it appeared in Harper’s Weekly in November 1871, several months before Woodhull was nominated for president by the Equal Rights Party. Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

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    Mrs. Woodhull asserting her right to vote
    • Date
    • 1870 - 1875
    • Standardized Rights Statement
    • http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/
    • Partner
    • The New York Public Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection. The New York Public Library

  • Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was the first woman to run for a major party’s presidential nomination when she ran as a Republican in the 1964 primary race. Courtesy of University of Utah - J. Willard Marriott Library via Mountain West Digital Library.

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    Margaret Chase Smith
    • Description
    • Photograph of Margaret Chase Smith
    • Rights
    • This material may be protected by copyright. Permission required for use in any form. For further information please contact the Multimedia Archivist, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.
    • Partner
    • Mountain West Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Utah - J. Willard Marriott Library

  • Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's 1972 candidacy for the Democratic Party's nomination galvanized communities of color, young people, and urban voters who felt marginalized by politics as usual. This photograph captures several enthusiastic Shirley Chisholm supporters holding signs and Chisholm’s trademark poster in the audience at the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Courtesy of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill via North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.

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    1972 Democratic National Convention
    • Date
    • 1972-07
    • Creator
    • Morton, Hugh M.
    • Description
    • Supporters of Shirley Chisholm in the audience at the 1972 Democratic National Convention, held at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida.
    • Rights
    • Copyright North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library. The images in this collection are made available for use in research, private study, and teaching. Prior permission from the North Carolina Collection is requir... more
      Copyright North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library. The images in this collection are made available for use in research, private study, and teaching. Prior permission from the North Carolina Collection is required for any commercial use. less
    • Partner
    • North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In July of 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first woman to be nominated by a major party for president of the United States. Also a candidate in the 2008 primary race for the Democratic nomination, Clinton’s career in presidential politics builds on an over 140-year legacy of women who have run for the nation’s highest office in a system that, until now, has by law and custom kept women outside the oval office.

Victoria Woodhull and Belva Ann Lockwood each ran for president at the helm of the Equal Rights Party in the 1870s and 1880s, decades before the ratification of the Constitution’s nineteenth amendment granted women the right to vote. Concurrent with the work of women’s rights activists and suffragists, each of their candidacies represented a radical forward-thinking interpretation of women’s rights to citizenship and political participation that would take a generation for the American government to recognize.

By the mid-twentieth century, with women’s rights to vote and hold office secured, Senator Margaret Chase Smith and Representative Shirley Chisholm broke new ground by running for presidential nominations by major parties. Though unsuccessful in seeking the nomination, each showed that a woman can and should be taken seriously as a legitimate contender for the US presidency, paving the way for Hillary Clinton’s historic 2008 primary campaign and 2016 nomination.