The National Woman’s Party had its inception as the Congressional Union, formed in 1913 by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns as a branch of NAWSA. In 1914, however,the pair’s militant tactics resulted in a parting of the ways with the parent organization, and in 1916 the Union morphed into the National Woman’s Party. Their official colors of gold or yellow and purple and white, used on many of their buttons and ribbons, were a combination of NAWSA’s yellow with the purple, green, and white of the English WSPU.
Despite Paul’s penchant for the theatrical, a pattern of aggressive demonstrations and street performance that some modern critics term “visual rhetoric,” the NWP produced little in the way of buttons or badges other than what is seen here. The silver banner badge illustrated here depicts what were purportedly Inez Milhollend’s final words, taken from Walt Whitman, that “Without Extinction is Liberty.” It was given to those “silent sentinels” or pickets outside the White House. The model of the jailhouse door on what is termed the “Jailed for Freedom” pin was borrowed from the English Holloway brooch, designed by the English activist Sylvia Pankhurst.