Womans Suffrage Memorabilia


“Failure is Impossible” – Susan B. Anthony 1904

Because of countless millions of women who planned, organized, lectured, wrote, marched, petitioned, paraded, and broke new ground in every field imaginable, our world is irrevocably changed. Women and men in our generation, and the ones that will follow us, are living the legacy os-l300-4f women’s rights won against staggering odds in a revolution achieved without violence. Needless to say these pioneers -or suffragettes- have much to be proud of in the legacy of the Women’s Rights Movement, and a great deal to celebrate on the anniversary of the founding of the Women’s Rights Movement.

The official start of the suffrage movement can be traced back to the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848 but memorabilia from the movement didn’t really surface until the 1890’s, with the introduction of new manufacturing techniques. Votes for Women was just one of the many slogans And, although most peoplOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAe think of the sash when the image of memorabilia during that time, another popular form of suffrage artifacts were buttons and the lapel pins.

Most of the larger and many of the smaller organizations produced buttons of some sort, generally emblazoned with their official colors.  While some of these buttons were generic, they often were manufactured for a particular campaign. There are period references to the fact that many suffragists collected them and advertised for varieties that they did not have, so many suffrage buttons embody interesting stories about their creation, their slogans, and their general use. There are a few great examples of button memorabilia that showcased here that reflect the slogans of the time. Pennants with lapel pins to adorn them are a large collectors item and ‘Votes for Women’ and “Ballots for Both” were popular slogans. votes_for_women_lapel_pin_nancy-2

In 1920, due to the combined efforts of all the woman suffragettes, the 19th Amendment, enfranchising women, was finally ratified. This victory is considered the most significant achievement of women in the Progressive Era. It was the single largest extension of democratic voting rights in our nation’s history, and it was achieved peacefully, through democratic processes.