Monday, August 26, 2013
Poster from the Alice Park Poster collection. A woman in armor on a horse carrying a flag in support of the Stanford Chapter of the Collegiate Woman Equal Suffrage League.Poster from the Alice Park Poster collection. A woman in armor on a horse carrying a flag in support of the Stanford Chapter of the Collegiate Woman Equal Suffrage League.

The Schlesinger Library has recently digitized hundreds of posters from its collections, including dozens of suffrage posters representing the efforts of both the American and British suffrage campaigns. To celebrate the certification of the 19th Amendment, which occurred on August 26, 1920, we’ve put together a few highlights below.

The majority of the suffrage posters are from the Alice Park Poster collection. These posters, many of which were actively used in campaigns, allowed the suffrage movement to enlist support and create appealing imagery for their cause in order to counteract the often negative depictions and caricatures appearing daily in newspapers by the anti-suffrage movement. While many of the images make use of symbolic colors and classical imagery—such as the iconic and evocative Bertha M. Boye poster produced in 1911 (see Votes for Women poster in the gallery below)—others, such as the maps, are simply black and white text. 

Alice Park—author of the California law that passed in 1913 to grant women equal rights of guardianship over their children—assembled this poster collection in the midst of the campaign for suffrage in California and Britain. The collection was later purchased by Mary Winsor, a Philadelphia suffragist, who donated the collection to the Schlesinger Library in 1950.

All of the digitized posters are available for viewing and research through Harvard’s Visual Information Access database (VIA).