Alva Belmont and the Political Equality Association

Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer1909/1913

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia
United States

The Political Equality Association was founded in 1909 by wealthy Newport socialite, Alva Belmont, who, around the same time, funded the move of NAWSA from its headquarters in Warren, Ohio to New York, home of her own organization. Mrs. Belmont’s imperious attitude turned off many in the movement, including Carrie Chapman Catt, but her money was usually welcomed by those suffrage groups in need of financial support. Her headquarters eventually featured a lunchroom downstairs from her offices, where working women could eat both cheaply and nutritionally, and a Department of Hygiene upstairs, which was actually a beauty parlor for these same women. Mrs. Belmont believed that good grooming was a prerequisite along with the franchise for gender empowerment.

The official color of her organization was blue, as is seen on the button, celluloid mirror, and pennant shown here. During various parades, however, Mrs. Belmont let it be known that while Association members should wear the official color of the group, she was not going to. The mirror, modeled after celluloid advertising pieces of the time, may have been created to bring about a marriage between two of her main concerns, Votes for Women and beauty.

The Association merged with the Congressional Union in 1913.


  • Title: Alva Belmont and the Political Equality Association
  • Creator: Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer
  • Date: 1909/1913

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