Women’s suffrage handbill: Votes for Women a Success

VOTES FOR WOMEN A SUCCESS[:] NORTH AMERICA PROVES IT. New York: National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company, June, 1917.
Small broadside, 10”h x 7”w at sheet edge.

A clever handbill with an iconic persuasive map arguing for the expansion of women’s suffrage in the United States.

The handbill features a small map of North America, with the American states and Canadian provinces shown in simple outline, each shaded according to the political status granted to its women. The general pattern is of full women’s suffrage in the western states and the southern tier of Canadian provinces, with little or none elsewhere. A note at the bottom points out that in 1916-17 five Canadian provinces granted women full suffrage and ends with the exhortation “How long will the Republic of the United States lag behind the Monarchy of Canada?” On this copy someone has written “Full Suffrage” next to Texas, which enacted women’s suffrage in June 1918.

By 1900 only four states (beginning with Wyoming in 1869) had granted women the vote, and the effort was flagging. But a new generation of leaders revivified the movement, introducing new tactics such as this handbill.

“A prototypical promotional map of the woman’s suffrage movement in the U.S., using the spread of suffrage across the country (or in this case, North America) to “prove” the “success” of votes for women. The use of maps like this to “brand” the suffrage movement effectively has been called “the most extensive use of a single iconic map image for persuasive purposes in the United States.” (Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection)

Incidentally, the movement incurred serious financial problems from the cost of having to revise and reprint its handbills, which according to PJ Mode were “used in billboards, posters, parade floats, pageants, silent films, window cards, newspaper ads and articles.” It persevered however, and in 1920 achieved victory with the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Map Collection, #1193.


Gently toned, with a 1/4" edge tear at center right. Very good.