English Post Cards With Negative Portrayals of Suffragists

Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer1908/1914

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia
United States

There are several reasons offered as to why anti-suffrage post cards in England were so much more hostile and violent in their portrayal of the movement than they were in America. One plausible explanation, although not the only one, is that this is a reaction on the part of the public that was not predisposed to react to suffrage favorably anyway to the violence and destruction of some in the militant wing of the movement.

Whatever the case, English post cards are characterized by scenes of suffragists cavorting with devils, of harridans trampling upon sympathetic policemen, of men hammering nails into the tongues of suffragists to keep them from wagging, and from people taking delight in the force-feeding of militants in prison. Not all negative portrayals of suffragists on English post cards are quite so hostile, but enough are to reflect poorly, not on the suffragists themselves, but on those who imaged them so harshly.

English cartoon cards also mocked the leaders Emmeline Pankhurst (“Mrs. Ottobee Spankfurst”) and Christabel Pankhurst, depicted as a teddy bear. Sometimes period events were alluded to such as suffragists pouring acid on golf greens, Muriel Matters hiring an airship to drop leaflets over Parliament, and Theresa Billington-Grieg defending herself at trial in 1906.


  • Title: English Post Cards With Negative Portrayals of Suffragists
  • Creator: Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer
  • Date: 1908/1914

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