Although Belva Lockwood was not the first woman to run for president, Victoria Woodhull was, her campaigns in both 1884 and 1888 were far more organized and structured than those of her predecessor. Still, her candidacies were not without controversy, and many in the movement such as Henry Blackwell and Matilda Gage feared that the idea of a woman running for president would subject the issue of voting rights for women to ridicule.
And Lockwood’s campaigns were ridiculed. Mock demonstrations of support were held for her around the country with men dressed as women wearing the ribbons shown here marching about town in torchlight parades. She was linked with the controversial Union General and Massachusetts governor, Benjamin Butler, who is shown in a metamorphic piece as hiding under her skirt. Cartoons lampooning her candidacy appeared in such popular humor magazines as Puck and Judge. Lockwood produced several pieces of campaign memorabilia herself, but obviously positive in tone, including several campaign cards and possibly a cabinet photo or two.