Archival Collection

Cambridge’s Collection of Suffragist Posters

University of Cambridge. February 2018.

Era: Suffrage Era | Media: Posters

In February 2018, the University of Cambridge’s library launched an exhibit dedicated to showing off posters used in the British campaign for suffrage in the early 20th century. These posters aimed to mobilize public opinion in Britain towards securing the vote for women.

Cambridge put the posters up for display in 2018 to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which granted women over 30-years-old who had property the right to vote. Full suffrage for all women over the age of 21 was passed in 1928.

The New York Times reports on how the posters got to Cambridge:

They were wrapped in plain brown paper and addressed to “the librarian” at the University of Cambridge.

The delivery took place circa 1910. Sent by a major figure of the suffragist movement in Britain, Marion Phillips, the parcel contained posters illustrating the struggles of women in the country to get the right to vote.

It took decades for the 100-year-old posters on fading paper to be rediscovered and dusted off. But on Saturday [February 3, 2018], the images illustrating women’s fight for voting rights went on display for the first time at the university to commemorate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act of 1918, which gave women over the age of 30 the right to vote.

The institution bills the posters as “one of the largest surviving collections of suffrage posters from the early 20th century.”

The Cambridge University website includes images of some of the posters, as well as audio interviews with Dr. Lucy Delap on the publicity campaigns British suffragists waged.


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