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Missed No Opportunity!

Suffragists missed no opportunity, including Christmas, to promote their cause—VOTES

FOR WOMEN! First image: This popular Christmas card was published in time for the 1911 Christmas season by the suffrage organization, the Just Government League of Maryland, an affiliate of Alice Paul's National Woman's Party. The second image is a later version.

I am intrigued by Santa's body language and expression. In the first image with his eyes closed and his body bent he appears burdened and weary. But with his front foot firmly planted forward, he signals resoluteness. Second image: A later version with a more erect Santa carrying a smaller bag may reflect progress, although Santa with his head turned toward is depicted looking quite worried.


The third image was produced by a commercial publisher. What to make of this card—a bug-eyed Santa and a sleeping girl's "Dear Santa" gift list that includes "a flag with VOTES FOR WIMEN on it"(lines 9-10)? The text reads: "A Merry Christmas to you and I hope you are happy and fit—but Great Scott! can you beat this list!. But women want what they want, when they want it—and will never forgive you if there's anything missed!"

What to make of this card? I think, it is a "You Better Watch Out" message to Santa, who is perhaps a stand-in for the patriarchy. Dear Blog Readers: What do you think?


The last image is an article from The New York Times published on Christmas day 1916. As I read the article, I imagined myself joining the suffragists on that long-ago Christmas day. How about you?


Note: I once had a memorable visit with Kenneth Florey, a woman suffrage memorabilia specialist, who showed me some of his extensive collection. The three images are from his book American Woman Suffrage Postcards: A Study and Catalog (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2015). His website is: http://womansuffragememorabilia.com/

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