Decades before the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution officially granted American women the right to vote in 1920, Susanna Madora Salter became the first woman in the United States to be elected mayor of a municipality. But she hadn't planned to run for office in 1887. Her name was secretly placed on the ballot in Argonia, Kansas, by a group of men hoping to put to rest the idea that women could hold elected office. When the 27-year-old mother found out that her name had been added to the Progressive Party's slate of candidates, she agreed to serve if elected. With support from the Women's Christian Temperance Union, Salter was elected mayor of Argonia -- with a two-thirds majority.
The long road to women's suffrage: