Many suffragists were adamantly opposed to the use of tobacco in any form, including that of cigarettes, which were introduced to the American public for the first time in the 1890’s. When the Women’s Political Union advertised that they would be selling “Votes For Women” cigarettes at the opening of their new store in New York City in December of 1910, suffrage activist and friend of the WPU, Lucy Gaston Page, head of the Anti-Cigarette League, travelled all the way from Chicago to protest. The cigarettes turned out to be made of chocolate, but two years later, the WPU was again the subject of controversy when they attempted to sell real suffrage brand cigarettes in the lobby of the Victoria Theater in New York.
The first two pieces represented here, the cardboard demo tobacco pack and the wooden cigar box, are products of the 19th century with their focus on Women’s Rights in general rather than on suffrage in particular. Neither was authorized by any suffrage group, the first item obviously mocking the idea, the second, despite its portrayal of a romantic figure, probably also intending ridicule. The third piece, a pipe with a figure of undetermined gender with a hat embellished with “Votes for Women,” is, obviously, also an anti-suffrage piece.