Print Friendly and PDF With Strings Attached: Ballots, Babes, and Beer

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ballots, Babes, and Beer

 This evening the Lake County Women's Coalition  commemorated Women's Equality Day which is the anniversary of 19th Amendment, passed on August 18, 1920. 
(AAUW-Waukegan Branch is a LCWC member.)

The program was "Ballots, Babes, and Beer," about the suffrage movement in Illinois.  The presenters were Deborah Fandrei, curator of the Raupp Museum  Raupp Museum in Buffalo Grove,  and Katherine Hamilton-Smith, executive director of the Lake County Discovery Museum . 

Deborah explained the routes to suffrage -- the Seneca Falls event in 1848 is well-known, but it took 70 years after that to get enough states to pass suffrage laws and approve the 19th amendment for it to become part of the constitution.  Suffragettes were organized and networked.  The suffrage movement and the temperance movement were side by side, which didn't always please proponents of the one or the other.  Frances Willard was a suffragist and a temperance advocate who threw all her energy to temperance. 

Deborah cited one University of Chicago study that showed that saloons had one clientele (men) but beer gardens had another (families).  (My grandfather played the violin in a beer garden in Milwaukee when he was in medical school.)  Big business had a say, especially in an era of unregulated influence peddling by special interest groups. (Tammany Hall, etc.)

Pro-suffrage poster
The Lake County Discovery Museum houses an extensive postcard collection (actually, the largest such collection anywhere).  Katherine selected suffrage-related postcards to show us.

This poster shows states that had passed suffrage acts -- Illinois, 1913, is the most recent (right column).   Women could vote in the Illinois elections in 1914 -- and 250,000 of them did!

It turned out that the washtub scene was a setup. The reporter wanted a clever angle, and Clara Colby and her husband came up with his standing at the washtub.

This is a real-photo postcard. Rosalie wrote, "Very excited toward the end. Hope you all are well."  Written on the wagon are the names of the states that have passed the amendment.

 These Illinois women went on a five-county barnstorming campaign. They arranged to have welcoming committees in each town with like-minded women and supportive town leaders. They got great publicity because one of the women was married to a newspaperman.

A century later, each time we vote we are honoring the women (and men) whose dedication and sacrifice made the privilege possible.

1 comment:

  1. Next time you're in Washington DC, visit the Sewall-Belmont house which was the center of the national suffrage movement. A small gem of a museum.


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