Oregon Woman Suffrage History Month to Month

Rogue Valley Suffragists in the “Made in Medford” parade September 19, 1912.

Supporters of votes for women in the Rogue River Valley decorated cars and rode horses in the “Made in Medford” parade September 19, 1912.

“100 Suffragists in Line,” Oregonian, September 20, 1912, 16.

September 19, 1912 Jackson County Suffragists Campaign in the “Made in Medford” Parade

In the final Oregon woman suffrage campaign in 1912 activists in communities across the state used county fairs as a way to publicize their views and reach male voters. At the Jackson County Fair one hundred women decorated cars and rode horses as a “special attraction” in the “Made in Medford” parade. Gladys Heard, secretary of the Medford Equal Suffrage Association, rode in the lead car festooned with sunflowers and filled with children. Other cars sported “Votes for Women” flags and streamers. Across this 1912 campaign suffragists took their cause to the people and used popular culture and mass media to make their argument.

Opponents of woman suffrage asserted that the vote would take women away from traditional home duties. Medford suffragists created a float to make fun of this argument. “Prominent Medford men” E.E. Kelly, C. L. Schlefflin and Holbrook Withington dressed as women and as the float passed through the streets they washed clothes and nursed a “huge rag doll” with a whiskey bottle. Suffragists may also have included the children of supporters in the lead car to emphasize that the vote would enhance women’s roles as mothers, not detract from them.

—Kimberly Jensen

100 Suffragists in Line

Further reading:

Margaret Finnegan, Selling Suffrage: Consumer Culture and Votes for Women (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999)

Susan E. Marshall, Splintered Sisterhood: Gender and Class in the Campaign against Woman Suffrage (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997)

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

Posted by history class on 09/06 at 07:08 PM

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