Recently I was fortunate to be able to purchase an issue of The Suffragist, dated August 29, 1914. The Suffragist was the “Weekly organ of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage,” published in Washington DC, and sold then for the princely sum of five cents a copy.
Leafing through the eight pages of this treasure brings one back in time exactly one hundred years, and yet some things remain unchanged. An article on page two tells us that the Progressive Party in NY has decided not to endorse Mr. Harvey D. Hinman for Governor of New York State because he “did not represent Progressive principles.” Mr. Hinman, an ardent anti-suffragist, had originally received the endorsement of the Progressive Party by Theodore Roosevelt, but when the former President learned of Hinman’s feelings regarding suffrage he joined his colleagues in retracting the endorsement. Hinman subsequently withdrew from the governor’s race.
Page six gives us the Treasurer’s report, with such expenses listed as “Sale and rental of costumes, $70.27,” and lists in detail the expenses incurred for travel for demonstrations and training organizers. Balance on hand was $62.89. The last page lists the names of sixteen new subscribers, recruitment of whom the editor feels is crucial to the cause.
The front cover of each issue is graced by a cartoon by artist Nina Allender, who sketched political cartoons for the National Woman’s Party (NWP) from 1914 to 1927. According to the Sewall-Belmont House web page, Allender “created a suffragist image labeled the Allender Girl, who was young, slender, and energetic—a capable woman with an intense commitment to the cause. Allender used her illustrations to present a spectrum of women: feminist, wife, mother, student, and activist.” More about Allender can be found at: www.sewallbelmont.org.
The Sewall-Belmont House in Washington DC also has a rich collection of Allender’s art, as well as copies of The Suffragist. Browsing such primary sources brings us close to the movement and to the men and women who worked so hard for its success.