In 1911 women voted in some states--but not in Illinois. On this date 101 years ago, a group of female activists from Chicago chartered a train and traveled to Springfield to lobby for voting rights.
At 9 a.m. the special "Suffrage Train" pulled out of the Illinois Central 12th Street Station. On board were over 300 women. The main group was from the Chicago Political Equality League, headed by Grace Wilbur Trout.
Women had lobbyed the legislature before. This time the contingent included female students from the University of Chicago. "We're going to smile and look pleasant at them, and tell them how young they look," one 20-year-old said. "That's the only way to make a man do what you want him to, anyway."
The Suffrage Train chugged south, stopping at dozens of stations along the way. People had gathered at each stop. Trout spoke to them from the train's rear platform, while her associates moved through the crowd, passing out literature.
They reached Springfield at 5 p.m. Two hours later, the women made a grand entrance at the Capitol.