“Women Formally Take Their Place in the New Order”: Suffrage Victory Banquet November 18, 1912
Suffragists around the state took their final action, then watched and waited as male voters cast their ballots on November 5, 1912. When the votes were counted, Oregon male voters had supported equal suffrage by 52 percent.
Portland suffragists planned for a victory banquet at the Multnomah Hotel on the evening of November 18 for some 300 people. They prepared with suffrage colors and “by special request of the women who are staunch advocates of ‘home products,’ the good things served will just as far as possible be ‘made in Oregon’ products.” Suffrage colors and a full program would round out the evening.
“Victory Banquet to be Celebrated by Suffragists,” Oregon Journal, November 17, 1912, 16.
The Oregon Journal named it a “jollification feast” in its announcement of the event on November 17. Governor Oswald West would be toastmaster. Abigail Scott Duniway had the seat of honor at the main table. Many toasts, evidence of strong preparation and the wish to honor those members across many coalitions who had supported the cause, were scheduled. They included “Our Appreciation” by Viola (Mrs. Heny Waldo) Coe; “The Press and the Industries,” E. Hofer; “Women’s Place in Politics,” Senator Harry Lane, MD; “The Work of Our Club,” Sarah A. Evans; “The Highways to the Home,” Samuel J. Hill; “Political Equality for the Nation,” John F. Logan; “College Work for Suffrage,” Emma Wold; “The Wars of the Ages,” Judge P.H. D’Arcy; “Greetings from the State of Washington,” George U. Piper; “The Roll of Honor,” Mrs. L. M. Hidden; “The New Era,” Eugene Brookings; “Our Victory,” W.M. Davis; “Political Equality,” Rabbi Jonah Wise; “Laws for Women—Its Progress,” W.H. Peterson; “The Coterie of States,” Robert Miller; “The Evolution of the Hour,” C.E.S. Wood; “The Social Status of Voting Women,” Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy; “Women’s Influence With the Ballot,” Lee Paget.
Two days later the Oregon Journal reported on the event with the declaration, “Women Formally Take Their Place in the New Order.”
“Women Formally Take Their Place in the New Order,” Oregon Journal, November 19, 1912, 21.
“It was a political banquet at which women were present,” the Journal noted, “yet there was no strained or unnatural note. Through it seemed to run a rare new feeling of comradeship between the sexes, finding expression in speech after speech and deeply prophetic of ever closer partnership in the mutual solution of political and social questions to come.”
Those present paid tribute to Abigail Scott Duniway, whose 42 year struggle saw its resolution that night. It was, the Journal noted, “the moment of realization of Mrs. Duniway’s life.” Governor West noted: “I am pleased to have had an opportunity to repay, to make a small repayment to the woman who gave me birth and to my wife, who has fought with me side by side in my battle in the world. And above all I am pleased because victory has come to the woman who begged, who argued, who pleaded and who fought. I am pleased that it has come while she is still alive and amongst us.”
Among others making toasts was Harry Lane, the newly elected Senator. “I extend to you my sisters congratulations. I have been with you at heart through all the struggle. I have the faith that you come among us as betterments to our government.”
The Journal concluded, “The banquet ended when a line of pretty girls, carrying flags representing the suffrage states, filed around to Mrs. Duniway’s place and circled about her, waving the banners gently above her.”
So ended a hard-fought struggle, and so continued Oregon women’s fight for complete female citizenship.
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