Oregon Woman Suffrage History Month to Month

July 1912: Suffrage & Popular Culture in Philomath and Lakeview: Music and ... Lumber?

By July 1912 suffrage organizing was in full swing across the state; suffragists continued to travel, organize, and work in local communities at fairs, parades, and in other celebrations. Newspaper accounts from around the state provide evidence that the suffrage question was flowing through the popular culture of Oregon. Here are two examples—a suffrage song in Philomath and a lumber company advertisement from Lakeview.

The Oregon Journal reported, on July 7, 1912, that Philomath resident Winnie Hull Springer, “an ardent suffragist” had written a song titled “Ballots for Women.” Springer reported that she was glad that the pioneer women in her family were “brave” and not the “‘Fluffy Ruffles’ type that thinks it womanly to faint at the sight of a mouse and to disclaim the possession of a brain.” Her grandmother and mother both supported votes for women. The 1910 Census listed Springer as a thirty-year-old public school teacher.

Ballots for Women Song

“‘Ballots for Women Song’ is Produced,” Oregon Journal, July 7, 1912, 7.

Ballots for Women

Behind the plodding oxen
Years ago our mothers came
To found here a sovereign state,
And here our home remains.
Patriotism to our hearts is kindred,
To public spirit our hearts beat true,
Then why should not the ballot
Be for us as well as you?


Hurrah, Hurrah for Oregon;
Hurrah for its manhood true!
Hurrah, Hurrah for the ballot,
Hurrah, Hurrah for Oregon;
Make us its citizens true!
Hurrah, hurrah for the ballot,
For me as well as you.

We love our state of Oregon,
Best, our state, of all the west;
Love its mountains, groves and plains,
Our native state, so blest.
And our own dear native soil we tread
We are its daughters, loyal and true—
Then why should not the ballot
Be for us as well as you?

Business owners were also catching the suffrage trend with an eye on profitability. The delightfully named Fandango Lumber Company in Lakeview, Oregon ran the following advertisement in the Lakeview County Observer:
Fandango Lumber

Fandango Lumber Company Advertisement, Lakeview County Examiner, July 25, 1912, 2.

The ad copy reads:

We Welcome Woman and her Suffrage
If through it she can accomplish a greater interest in good homes and set higher ideals for the youth of our country. By instinct woman is a home builder because she realizes the good influence it has on the children, and you men will be terribly surprised if you knew as well as we do what good common sense ideas they have on arrangement and in the choice of lumber. They know that our smooth finished siding, caning, base and moulding is a labor and money saver because it requires no extra work from the carpenter or painter, and their taste in the selection of doors and windows invariably adds beauty and attractiveness at little extra expense. If you are thinking of building we want to talk to both you and your wife and help you select your lumber.

The votes for women message was moving across Oregon in July 1912 and was becoming part of the fabric of popular culture in the state. And some business owners were banking on its popularity with customers, suggesting another level of growth in the movement.

—Kimberly Jensen

Want to read more articles from Oregon suffrage campaigns? Click here

Posted by history class on 07/01 at 09:05 AM

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