Oregon Woman Suffrage History Month to Month

March, 1912

imageThe Oregon woman suffrage campaign of 1912 exemplifies the “new” movement for woman suffrage in many ways, including the strategic use of mass advertising for the cause. The Woman Suffrage Campaign Committee of the Portland Woman’s Club, led by Sara Evans, Grace Watt Ross and Esther Pohl Lovejoy, secured the talents of journalist Nan Strandborg to assist with publicity.
This article from the Portland Evening Telegram indicates that by March 1912 the campaign committee was contacting publishers of newspapers across the state for their stance on suffrage. Strandborg created “leaflets and ‘boiled-down’ arguments of readable character” for editors to publish - press releases for the mass media.
Oregon suffragists utilized campaign literature from the National American Woman Suffrage Association and “all of the successful literature used in the campaigns in Washington and California.” Adapting materials that had helped Washington suffragists gain victory in 1910 and those California in 1911 to local needs around Oregon, Strandborg and the committee used “the yellowest of suffrage yellow paper” to draw the attention of readers.
Suffrage campaign literature was not only eye-catching; it offered specific suggestions for action for both male and female supporters. “‘Organize, advertise, give something - time, service, money, yourself. Everything counts.’”

Additional reading

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

Gayle Gullett, Becoming Citizens: The Emergence and Development of the California Women’s Movement, 1880-1911 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000)

Kimberly Jensen, “‘Neither Head nor Tail to the Campaign’: Esther Pohl Lovejoy and the Oregon Woman Suffrage Victory of 1912,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 108:3 (Fall 2007): 350-383.

Rebecca Mead, How the Vote Was Won: Woman Suffrage in the Western United States, 1868-1914 (New York: New York University Press, 2004)

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

Posted by admin on 03/20 at 05:05 PM

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