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Idaho Women in White

Idaho Day will be a special day in the state, this year there will be a second celebration, it will be the 100th anniversary for the 19th Amendment to The Constitution of The United States of America, giving women the right to vote.  

To make this day a unique celebration in Idaho Falls, the Bonneville County Heritage Association created a short film titled “Idaho Women in White,” which shows pictures of women wearing white clothing. Women would wear white in special occasions because it was an elegant color that would represent purity, virtue and femininity.  

Linden Bateman, who is known for his position as an Idaho state lawmaker and educator, wrote this 11-minute film.  

“It was high fashion for women to wear white apparel, it was just fashionable,” he said “…women would wear white on special occasions, formal events like graduation ceremonies, social events, garden parties. Sometimes you would see 30 to 40 women all together in white dresses.” 

Making the film took some time since the creators had to go through vintage photographs in the archives of The Idaho Falls Historical Society, and the Museum of Idaho. There they went through a lot of old photographs to find Idaho women in white to make the film.  

“It was just such a marvelous experience to me,” Bateman said. “They seemed, looking at those photographs, they seemed to descend upon us as from a dream…it was just overwhelming the beauty.” 

Bateman explained that the women in the suffrage movement wore white to their parades, and in their meetings, which was a symbol for their purity of their cause. The also wanted to show their femininity through their white clothing instead of coming across masculine or intimidating.  

In the film there are many prominent women who contributed to the suffrage movement. One of those is Emma Edwards Green, who was the first woman in American history to design a state seal and she designed the Idaho State Seal in 1819.  

The film is narrated by Rebecca Long Pyper, who is a former English professor at BYU-Idaho.  

“It’s just a great film all the way around,” Bateman said.  

The film will be shown in the Colonial Theatre, on Wednesday March 4 at 7:00 p.m. and will be free to the public. There will also be concerts from different groups of fourth graders. Before the event, students have the chance to enter contests, essay contests, art contests, etc., and they will receive their awards on Idaho Day. There will also be a silent auction, which will help the Bonneville County Heritage Associations raise some funds.