Joan S. Carver


The Florida League of Women Voters cites 1939 as the year of its establishment. In fact, this date marks the founding of the second league of women voters in the state. An earlier organization, the Florida State League of Women Voters (FSLWV) which receives no mention in current league publications, was organized in 1921 and was disaffiliated by the national organization in 1937. The stormy history of the first league illustrates the difficulties women’s organizations in the South experienced in carving out an appropriate role in the political arena in the years following the adoption of the suffrage amendment. It also reveals a side of the league seldom discussed— the tensions between the national organization and the weaker of the state affiliates in the 1930s. The history of the first league of women voters in Florida is one of struggle and of unfulfilled expectations. Financial, organizational, and political difficulties plagued the leadership of the league throughout its brief life.