Digital Exhibit: Arkansas Women’s Suffrage Centennial

This virtual exhibit is part of the Arkansas Women’s Suffrage Centennial, a project that “commemorates the 100th anniversary of the right to vote for women in Arkansas by promoting events, encouraging research and education programs related to women’s suffrage, and helping to preserve the history of women’s suffrage within the state.”

The exhibit features a number of galleries, which include information as well as photographs and original documents from the suffrage era and focus on topics ranging from African-American suffragists to suffrage fashion.

Of particular interest is the exhibit’s media gallery, which features documents, cartoons, drawings, and photographs and includes this delightful suffrage fashion gallery.

George Creel, “Chivalry Versus Justice”

Until April of 1917, when George Creel became the head of the Committee on Public Information as the United States entered World War I, he was an active member of the Men’s League for Woman Suffrage, serving as its publicity chairman. The willingness of well-known male journalists like Creel to take their support for suffrage public through the press and the magazines—he did both—was key to the movement’s growing support in the final decade of the campaign. In this piece, Creel counters a prevailing conception women’s position in society. “There is the bland theory of vine clad cottages and dense walls of fragrant honeysuckle, behind which every right thinking woman sits in security surrounded by her babes,” he wrote. “What of the squalid holes in 13,000 licensed tenements in New York alone?”

Creel had advanced a similar argument in a letter to the editor of the New York Times a year earlier, in response to a statement he heard at an anti-suffrage meeting, a contention that winning the ballot would mean the disintegration of the home. “Home? What home?” Creel asked rhetorically in his letter of response. “Surely they cannot mean the dark, squalid holes in the 13,000 licensed tenements in New York City alone, where whole families and adult boarders sleep, eat, and work in a single room, toiling incredible hours for incredible pittances.”

“Chivalry Versus Justice” was also printed in the magazine Pictorial Review. To find a nearby library where you can access the Pictorial Review issue it appeared in, click here. Downloads of the pamphlet and Creel’s letter can be found below, along with the link to the letter to the editor in the New York Times archive.

“‘Homes,’ Mr. Creel Wants to Know Which Ones Suffragism Threatens.” New York Times, April 18, 1914, p. 10.

The Catherine H. Palczewski Suffrage Postcard Archive

This website provides a virtual tour of my archive of suffrage postcards. It is meant to provide a resource for scholars researching the visual images associated with the struggle for women’s suffrage in both the United States and Great Britain. These images have been collected by me and my partner, Arnie Madsen, PhD, over the last 15 years.

Feel free to use these images for non-commercial purposes, but please remember to provide attribution by indicating where you found them.

See also “War on women: Propaganda postcards from suffragette era show fierce battle fought by American women to get the vote… and Obama can thank them for his job,” an article about the collection by Helen Pow in the London Daily Mail of November 21, 2012 with a display of choice selections this “sobering collection of anti-feminist propaganda.” Postcard images from the Daily Mail article are below, along with more from a post on, published December 11, 2014.

Cartoon Against Women’s Suffrage

This cartoon from the New Zealand History government website contains typical anti-suffrage imagery, warning how changing gender roles could harm society. In it, a harrassed and brow-beaten husband wears women’s clothing while making a mess of domestic chores. Meanwhile, his domineering wife—just returned from somewhere outside the domestic realm—criticizes his housekeeping. Though the scene is humorous, it argued that giving women the vote could upset traditional gender roles—to the detriment of men.

Archive: Suffrage Resources of the National Woman’s Party

The National Woman’s Party collection at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Washington, DC has a vast collection of books, periodicals, cartoons, scrapbooks, artifacts, and ephemera from the NWP’s history.  As the site describes its collection on its homepage:

The National Woman’s Party (NWP) collection housed at the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument is an important resource for the study of the suffrage movement and the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). This unique collection, including the nation’s first feminist library, documents the mass political movement for women’s full citizenship in the 20th century, both in the United States and throughout the world. The collection contains books, scrapbooks, political cartoons, textiles, photographs, organizational records, fine arts, decorative arts, and artifacts produced primarily by women, about women.

The extensive holdings outline the history of the militant wing of the women’s movement in the United States, documenting the strategies and tactics of the movement, demonstrating the use of visual images as effective publicity tactics in a pre-electronic age, and revealing the international work of the National Woman’s Party in its historic quest for complete equality for American women.

You can read more about the tactics and techniques of the NWP here.

The Women Who Drew for Suffrage

In the popular imagination of those who lived in the twentieth century, political cartoons were drawn by men. But in Alice Sheppard’s “Cartooning For Suffrage,” readers see how dozens of women artists drew political cartoons extolling the suffrage movement. Sheppard contextualizes these artists by explaining the history of political cartoons and the suffrage movement. She also delves into the individual lives of female cartoonists.

Sheppard’s work details this forgotten history, challenging stereotypes in the process and exploring artistic gems like the work of Lou Rogers, whose work was featured in prominent magazines of the era like the satirical publication Judge. The political cartoons Sheppard discusses–she includes 200 of them in her book–were drawn to subvert stereotypes of suffrage activists as seductresses or shrews.  As this informative Chicago Tribune book review notes, the author details the two strategies female cartoonists used to buck those stereotypes: Depicting “voting rights as a tool to end female oppression” and presenting “the idea that society as a whole lost out when women were excluded from the political process.”

In 1995, the Washington, DC-based National Museum of Women in Arts featured some of the cartoons Sheppard wrote about in an exhibit marking the 75th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Political cartoonists for suffrage “knew that you can’t argue against a picture,” Sheppard told the Associated Press in an article previewing that exhibit.

For more on Sheppard’s book, see Google Books for some snippets. A 1997 issue of the academic periodical Woman’s Art Journal features a review of the book You can sign up for a JStor account and read the review for free. For more suffrage-themed cartoons, see the scholar Jaqueline McLeod Rogers’ article on the anti-suffrage cartoons of John Tinney McCutcheon and Newton McConnell.

Nellie Bly with the Female Suffragists – Washington DC Convention of 1896

Bly covered the 1896 suffrage convention in Washington, D.C., and in typical fashion, had her own take on the proceedings, including enough “Fashion Don’t” critique for its to be highlighted in the subhead. Bly was a feminist and supportive of suffrage but never directly identified with the movement. She was honored, however, by being made a sentry in the 1913 Washington DC suffrage parade. Brooke Kroeger’s Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter Feminist, has numerous references to Bly, the state of the suffrage movement and her relationship to it during her active years as a newspaper writer. Bly also interviewed Susan B. Anthony at the convention and wrote about Suffrage and the Pulpit . Here, from the 1896 Washington convention, is Bly’s overall coverage:

From Kroeger, Nellie Bly Daredevil-Reporter-Feminist, pp. .281-186

And below are PDFs of all three articles in full, as archived at
and from microfilm.