Portraits of the Leaders of the English Movement on Post Cards

Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer1908/1914

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia

English suffrage organizations such as the Women’s Political and Social Union, the Women’s Freedom League, and, to an extent, the National Union of Women Suffrage Societies were far more likely to honor their leaders on post cards than their American counterparts, who, for the most part, distributed pictures only of Susan B. Anthony, with an occasional representation of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

The WSPU advertised these “leader” cards almost every week in their journal Votes for Women and sold them in their various shops throughout London for the equivalent of a penny or two each along with specially designed albums by Sylvia Pankhurst to place them in. Not only were such prominent WSPU leaders such as Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst and Emmeline Pethick Lawrence honored on numerous cards, but such lesser activists as Gladice Keevil, S. Ada Flatman, Mabel Tuke, and Isabel Seymour as well.

The WFL issued cards pictured their own leaders, including Charlotte Despard, Lilian Hicks, Countess Russell, Dorothy Molony, and Muriel Matters. They also tried to humanize these women by, on occasion, portraying them in domestic situations such as preparing jam and taking care of the baby, making them less threatening to a public that often thought of them as radical militants that were out to destroy all that was sacred and good.

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  • Title: Portraits of the Leaders of the English Movement on Post Cards
  • Creator: Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer
  • Date: 1908/1914