Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine's Day, 1916

It's Sufferback Saturday again, and Valentine's Eve; so for kicks, here's a Valentine's Day card from 100 years ago:
Okay, this particular card is not so much an expression of love as it is a plea for women's suffrage. That's right: 100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote. Men thought that womenfolk might base their decisions on frivolous considerations, such as whether a candidate had a popular TV show and kept saying whatever was on his mind. Or perhaps they didn't want to risk their wives and daughters being condemned to a special place in hell for not supporting female candidates.

Mr. Pou here is Congressman William Edward Pou, a delegate from North Carolina to the 1916 Democratic Convention. Mr. Pou was an "arch enemy" of the suffragettes, according to a contemporary article in the Worcester Post.

The article goes on to describe some of the suffragettes' other cards, such as one to Wisconsin Republican Congressman William Joseph Cary with a picture of a woman watering a flower:
"Cary, Cary, quite contrary,
And your suffrage vote so slow."
Senator James W. Wadsworth Jr. (R-NY) received a valentine reading:
"'Conservative' Senator, greatly you vex us.
If we were a man, on your cold solar plexus
We'd land such hard punches you could not resist 'em,
And your 'deep-seated prejudice' jolt from your system."
The article credits the campaign to one Mrs. Jesse D. Hampton, who explained, "We have tried reasoning, eloquence of the soap box, cart tail and the back of an automobile variety; and we hope that rhymes may influence the politicians where the other forces did not."

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