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  1. Selina Solomons, 1862-1942
    Selina Solomons, was born in San Francisco to an accomplished Sephardic Jewish family. In 1850, her father, a California pioneer, co-founded the city’s landmark temple, Congregation Emanu-El. In 1890, her mother became president of the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union that united women to fight for their rights through self-help rather than relying on the state’s clubwomen. Her sister was one of America’s first woman psychiatrists, and her brother a notable explorer of the Sierra Nevada. Selina’s calling was the fight for California suffrage, believing that the 1896 campaign had failed because the elite women leading it had been too disconnected from the working class. To bridge the gap and encouraging statewide collaboration, Solomons founded the Votes for Women Club in 1910, offering meals and suffrage lectures to both wage-earners and all social classes. In return, members helped canvass working class neighborhoods to promote enfranchisement. The cross-class coalition spearheaded by Solomons and others became known as the California Plan. It was key for winning enfranchisement for California women in 1911, and for revitalizing a languishing national suffrage movement. Her book, How We Won the Vote in California: A True Story of the Campaign of 1911, remains in print today.

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