Today we think of postcards as flimsy bits of paper sent primarily from vacation destinations, and even that usage has changed recently in favor of texting, or sending home digital emails and photographs. But during the woman suffrage movement era the postcard was a popular device that was widely used to document political movements, while attempting to influence political values and tastes, including advocating both for and against suffrage.
There weren’t many suffrage postcards sent as Christmas greetings, but one of the most popular was issued in 1911 by the Just Government League of Maryland, showing Santa delivering “Votes for Women” in his sack. Since suffragists were often accused of “ripping apart traditional customs and values,” the image of a supportive Santa was a positive one for the often embattled suffragists.**
A year earlier in 1910 a postcard was issued showing a suffragist as the little drummer girl, with the missive “Merry Christmas and Votes for Women.” The image suggests that girls could fill any role that boys could.*
Not to be outdone, the Long Island Woman Suffrage Association’s own resident artist created a Christmas card in 2015 (right) of a suffragist with the inside message reading, “All I want for Christmas is the Vote.” ***
Whether you send postcards, greeting cards or emails, we wish all our subscribers a wonderful Holiday/Christmas season, and we look forward to a healthy and active New Year as we all plan for our national suffrage centennial celebration in 2020.
*From the Palczewski, Catherine H. Postcard Archive. University of Northern Iowa. Cedar Falls, IA.
**For the complete suffrage postcard story check out Kenneth Florey’s wonderful book “American Woman Suffrage Postcards, A Study and Catalog.”
***Credit: Jack Petrash, artist.