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Covers of 19th Century Suffrage Related Sheet Music

Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer.1853/1899

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia
United States

It was not long after the conclusion of the first Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 that the subject began appearing in period sheet music, although some of the earliest efforts such as “Woman’s Rights” (1853) and “Female Suffrage” (1867) were definitely negative in their lyrics. Several pro-suffrage songs were published in the 1860’s by John Hutchinson of the Hutchinson Family Singers, including “Clear the Way for Women Voting,” “The Kansas Suffrage Song,” and “The Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man.”

In the 1890’s songs began appearing that had some official connections with Woman’s Rights organizations such as Nettie Bacon Christian’s “American Citizens Who Cannot Vote” and Lilla Bliven’s “Give Us the Ballot.” Except for the satiric “We’ll Show You When We Come to Vote” (1869), most suffrage sheet music of the 19th century was printed without graphics. The concern was to provide music and lyrics rather than household adornment. The proportion of songs with a negative rather than positive tone suggests that while suffrage was certainly gaining inroads, the average American parlor was still hostile or at best bemused by the topic.

More information about suffrage sheet music and other suffrage artifacts may be found in Kenneth Florey's book "Women's Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated History, "McFarland Press, 2013

Details

  • Title: Covers of 19th Century Suffrage Related Sheet Music
  • Creator: Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer.
  • Date: 1853/1899

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