When the state of Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment to grant suffrage to women, suffrage groups throughout the nation celebrated the victory with jubilees. Philadelphia, New York City, Tacoma in Washington, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Chattanooga were among the locations to hold the jubilees. On Aquidneck Island, the suffragists gathered back where it all began – at Sarah Eddy’s Social Studio in the Bristol Ferry neighborhood.

The Jubilee was planned even before Tennessee cast its vote on August 18th. An article in the Newport Mercury on August 14th announced the coming celebration. The gathering was set for August 17th. “It is expected that by that time the necessary number of State legislatures will have ratified the Constitutional amendment to make it effective.”

The article ends by saying “A large number of invitations have been issued.” Among those attending were two Catholic suffragists from the Philadelphia area – Jane and Marianne Campbell. In a letter from Jane to her nephew, she writes: “We are staying over a day here to attend a Jubilee Suffrage Meeting, the practical dissolution of the Newport and Bristol Ferry Suffrage Society. The women in Rhode Island had Presidential Suffrage and the gentle Misses Chace have registered so they can cast a ballot in the Presidential Elections. The Rhode Island Constitution gives the legislature the power of conferring Presidential Suffrage on the women and that legislature has done that” (August 13. 1920) letter of Jane Campbell to John J. Campbell.) The envelope to the letter had a return address of “Willowbrook” in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. This was a guest house owned by Sarah Eddy.

The program of the Jubilee included speeches by Rhode Island Governor, R. Livingstone Beeckman. The clergy were represented by the former pastor of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Reverend Charles Jarvis Harriman and the pastor of Channing Memorial Church in Newport, Reverend William Safford Jones. Miss Sarah Louise Arnold, the Dean of Simmons College in Boston, also spoke. Other speakers were George Moriarty, a Newport Genealogist and Dr. Alfred Johnson.

Music was part of the program as well. Kate Durfee (Mrs. Charles H. Durfee) of Fall River and Mr. Augustus Hazard Swan of Newport performed solos. Kate performed the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” That would be a fitting note in a celebration to end a Portsmouth suffrage group that included Julia Ward Howe as one of the founding members. Julia’s daughter Maud Howe Elliott presided over the celebration. The Social Studio, the home of many of the first meetings was an appropriate place to celebrate a victory in securing the vote for women.