A visual record of the American and British woman’s suffrage movements can be seen in the postcards of the time. The woman’s suffrage movements coincided with the growing popularity of postcard collecting, roughly between 1902 to 1915. In the US the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, and in the UK women’s suffrage was passed in 1918 with an expansion in 1928. Our suffrage postcard collection was amassed by purchasing small groups of cards showing both pro- and anti- suffrage viewpoints on both sides of the Atlantic. The photographic cards captured images of the suffragette marches as well as movement leaders and were generally pro-suffrage. The cartoon cards generally made fun of or insulted women. The National American Woman Suffrage Association began a postcard campaign to raise awareness of the cause and to raise funds as did its British counterpart, the British National Women’s Social & Political Union (WSPU). Photographic cards became available after the Kodak company created the pocket camera (No. 3A Folding Pocket Kodak) produced between 1903 to 1915. The camera was able to use film that could be made into a card. Four years after the camera’s appearance, in 1907, Kodak offered a service to print cards from an image sent to the company. These postcards are known as the “Real Photo Card.” Similar postcards made in England are somewhat more difficult to distinguish from the commercially printed cards. Among the best known commercial studios for producing the British suffrage postcards were F. Kehrhahn, commissioned by the British Suffrage Women’s Social and Political Union and H. Searjeant,
Highlights from the collection of 46 postcards: I. 9 American Real Photo Cards of March 3, 1913 Women’s Suffrage March on Washington, DC, the day before President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration, about 5000 women marched in the American capitol, led by Alice Paul. 8 published by I & M Ottenheimer, Baltimore, MD. 1 published by Leet Bros., Washington. 1 unidentified publisher, sepia toned. (postcard writer says she’s in law school and trying to hold a government job at the same time) 1 “Votes for Women Pilgrimage” photo card dated by writer March 9, 1913, on her way to Washington, no publisher.2. British Photo Cards: British “no,101 Photo half tones” card by Sandle Brothers of a Hyde Park demonstration, June 21, 1908. A ”Real Photo” card of Emmeline Pankhurst printed in France. From the “Woman Suffrage Series“ by Dainty , a card showing a little girl near a newspaper captioned, “Fellow Women, Our Day Dawns At Last.”3. 15 bright, colorful British comic anti-suffrage postcards oppose women voting Compared to the American anti-suffrage postcards, some of the British cards show violence toward exceptionally unattractive women. Both American and British postcards illustrate men made miserable by doing stereotypically female household chores or taking care of screaming babies. 4. 13 American comic anti-suffrage postcards follow British themes but tend to be less brightly colored and less violent.