A crushing defeat of a state suffrage referendum in California in 1896 set suffragists back. Yet they persisted, forging strong connections between women’s clubs and progressive organizations. Even before Alice Paul implemented her compelling tactics in 1913, many women’s organizations turned toward publicity and art to galvanize support. For example, in 1911, the San Francisco College Equal Suffrage League held a poster contest for the best illustration supporting women’s voting rights. The winning design by Bertha Margaret Boyé depicts a female figure holding a “Votes for Women” banner at her waistline while the sun forms a halo around her head. Two rising mountains, reminiscent of the Golden Gate Strait, frame her shoulders. Boyé’s lithograph, which was reproduced through 1913, creates a symbolic parallel between California’s famous seaside hills and women’s rights. The image also reflects the era’s burgeoning California Arts and Crafts style, which often featured the Golden State’s lush landscapes.


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