Lectures, Music, & More!

People still talk about the stunning series of programs over a four year period that coincided with the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Many of these events featured skilled re-enactors in period dress and filled the community room at the Avon Public Library to standing room only.

The Society continues to offer remarkable presentations on a wide range of topics, providing an informal forum for professors and researchers, home-grown experts, published authors, and local history enthusiasts to share their fascination with the history of our region. These enthusiastic speakers are all knowledgeable in their area of expertise and we truly appreciate their willingness to engage our audiences.

We offer these programs at different times of the day and on different days of the week to provide the community with a variety of access options. These events are usually held at the Avon Free Public Library or at the Senior and Community Center at little or no cost to the public. However, if you enjoyed our program, please consider making a donation to allow us to continue our Mission.

Please contact us if you wish to be considered as a speaker for future programs. If you would like to make a donation to support the programs offered by the Avon Historical Society, you can do so by visiting our Donations Page.


DEEDS NOT WORDS: 100 Years of the Vote for Women

Sponsored by: Connecticut Humanities
Presented by: Avon Historical Society, Avon Free Public Library and Avon Senior Center
November 2019 - November 2020

The trio of Avon’s Historical Society, Library and Senior Center has received a $4,030.00 grant from CT Humanities to help fund the first half of a year-long series entitled DEEDS NOT WORDS: 100 Years of the Vote for Women. This series will focus on events that contributed to the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It will run from November 2019 to November 2020 with events at the Library and Senior Center; this grant funds the first six months of events.

The goal of this DEEDS series is to have the audience think widely about what Connecticut was doing in the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries and how those moving forces shaped the dialogue leading up to the passage in 1919 and ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920. The notion of voting equality started in 1848, but was quickly dismissed. It took the organizing of several national Progressive Suffrage groups, with state chapters, to move the needle in every corner of the country. By 1869 Connecticut had a very active state chapter in favor of suffrage; while in 1910 another chapter formed to oppose it. But what was the suffrage movement and who were these women who took charge to change their world?

In our research we found quite a detailed story of how the suffrage movement in Connecticut took shape and the women who were both for and against it! Our DEEDS series will examine this and how it impacted the national movement. As well, we will uncovered the many Farmington Valley women, and men, who played national roles on both sides of the cause! We will have speakers, book talks, movies, exhibits and a debate. We invite the public to join us for the 12-month series to learn about the complicated and deep story of the cause of women’s suffrage in America,” explained Terri Wilson, president of the Avon Historical Society.

The first two “official” events in the DEEDS series will be held at the Avon Free Public Library:


Saturday, November 16, 2019, 3:00 PM

A distinguished lecture presentation by Susan Ware, author of, Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote (May 2019). A pioneer in the field of women’s history and a leading feminist biographer, Susan Ware, an Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer, is the author and editor of numerous books on twentieth-century U.S. history. Her newest book, Why They Marched, uncovers a broader and more diverse story of suffrage, providing a fresh account of one of the most significant moments of political mobilization in American History. Feminism and women's rights are an ongoing struggle with no clear endpoint in sight and the women's suffrage movement is a vital part of that story. Books will be available at this event.

Monday, December 9, 2019, 6:30 PM

A lecture entitled Fashioning Women’s Suffrage, a discussion on how suffragists used dress and other outward symbols to promote their cause, by Professor Heather Prescott, History Department, Central Connecticut State University and member of the Connecticut Commission on Women’s Suffrage. Snow date for this event is Tuesday, December 10, 2019.

In addition, the art gallery of the Avon Library will offer an exhibit from November through December 2019 showcasing highlights of the suffrage movement.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Tour and lunch at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk, CT. Trip via motorcoach to visit their From Corsets to Suffrage: Victorian Women Trailblazers. The lunch will be at the Post Road Diner. Cost is $55.00 per person with lunch paid on your own. RSVP as soon as possible to Any questions, please call: 860-675-4355.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 6:30 PM

A presentation entitled Taverns, Temperance, Teetotalers, and Tommy Guns: The Long History of Prohibition by Dr. Francis Coan of Tunxis Community College and Stephen McGrath, adjunct history professor at Central Connecticut State University. This event is designed to give background and context as to what was happening nationally that gave rise to women’s concerns about society. Learn about the ubiquity of alcohol consumption in early America, the rise and influence of the temperance movement during the nineteenth century, and the progressive roots of Prohibition.

Prohibition was one facet of old-stock American, rural, Protestant rule in the 1920's that brought about severe restrictions on immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, and the rise of organized crime. By the election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, the nation acknowledged prohibition to have been a colossal failure; against this backdrop rose the suffrage movement.


All events in the DEEDS series are free and open to the public. A full listing will be posted on the Library’s website, and throughout social media of all three organizations. In addition, all Avon events will be posted on the Connecticut Commission on Women’s Suffrage ( & CT Humanities ( websites.

Call for original suffrage items! If anyone has any original suffrage items they are willing to share for our exhibits, please let us know. We are looking for personal items such as sashes, signs, letters, photos, etc. In 2020 there will be space available in locked exhibit cases in the Library for two suffrage exhibits. Please let the Avon Free Public Library (860-673-9712) or Avon Historical Society (860-678-7621) know if you are willing to loan items for display.