“Tell Every Man You Know You Want to Vote”

Suffrage leaders encouraged their cohorts to find every way to disseminate the suffrage message as broadly as possible. They made stationery and envelopes, often in the favored yellow of the suffrage movement, available to members so that every letter they wrote and every bill they paid had the potential of swaying a male voter. Members told as many men as they could that they wanted the right to vote, because only men could cast ballots. They had to tell their automobile driver, their butcher, their grocer, their repairman, and any man they did business with to support woman suffrage. They mailed suffrage-themed postcards to their friends and acquaintances. Every holiday and special occasion warranted a plug for suffrage. Valentine’s Day was one of the most common holidays for greeting card messages. Anti-suffragists, who often appropriated suffrage ideas for their own campaign, eventually caught on to the power of the U.S. postal service to distribute their “no votes for women” message, commissioning their own anti-suffrage greeting cards and postcards, and distributing pink stationery and envelopes to their members for their use.

Votes for women. 1915. This suffrage postcard reads, "Ain't man generous? Everything but that vote!" Courtesy of The Dovie Horvitz Collection, part of The Gender and Women's Studies Collection in the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.

Votes for women, 1916. Postcard reads, "For the work of a day, for the taxes we pay, for the laws we obey, we want something to say." Courtesy of The Dovie Horvitz Collection, part of The Gender and Women's Studies Collection in the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.

My valentine, suffrage postcard. Card reads, "My valentine. If I can vote, why not propose? If I am bold you must excuse me. I've loved you ages, goodness knows! And don't you dare, sir, to refuse me.” Courtesy of The Dovie Horvitz Collection, part of The Gender and Women's Studies Collection in the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.

Suffrage pop-up card, "Old fashioned though my gown may be..." A young woman is sitting across from a rabbit in a box holding a banner saying Votes for Women. The lid to the box is hinged, so the rabbit can pop up or down. Courtesy of Clinton Historical Society.

Votes for women. This card reads, "Votes for women. To tell you that I wish you a Happy Easter.” Courtesy of Loyola Marymount University, Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library.