Votes for Women! 7 Vintage Suffrage Valentines

Reprinted with permission from the League of Women Voters

February 14th isn’t just Valentine’s Day—it’s also League of Women Voters’ Day! The League was founded by suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt on February 14, 1920. Catt was instrumental in helping pass the 19th Amendment, which secured women the right to vote. Ever since, the League has been at the forefront of efforts to strengthen our democracy, including registering and educating voters.

Prior to passage of the 19th Amendment, suffragists used holidays like Valentine’s Day to promote the cause of “Votes for Women.” The National Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), the League’s predecessor, even created its own suffrage postcards!

In honor of League of Women Voters’ Day on February 14—and that lesser known holiday, Valentine’s Day—here are seven vintage suffrage Valentines to remind us of the importance of the vote, both in 1920 and today.

suffrage valentine 1

Courtesy of the Catherine H. Postcard Archive.

suffrage valentine 2_0

This Valentine by American illustrator Ellen Clapsaddle was created in 1918, two years before passage of the 19th Amendment.

suffrage valentine 3This 1915 postcard, titled “Good Enough for Me,” was designed by the Campbell Art Company. It was circulated by the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Company on behalf of the National Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).

suffrage valentine 4

Courtesy of the Catherine H. Postcard Archive.

suffrage valentine 5

A valentine sent to Rep. Edward William Pou, a delegate to the 1916 Democratic National Convention, imploring him to support women’s suffrage. 

suffrage valentine 6

This 1916 Valentine attempted to court men by suggesting that women loved and respected men who supported suffrage.

suffrage valentine 7_0

Another postcard created by the National Woman Suffrage Publishing Co. and circulated on behalf of National Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA).

Rooted in the women’s suffrage movement, the League is proud to continue our voter education work today. Every year, Leagues across the country register tens of thousands of voters.  In 2014 alone, over 1.5 million people used VOTE411.org, the League’s one-stop-shop for election resources, to find the information they needed to vote.

Inspired by these suffrage Valentines? Celebrate Valentine’s Day by reminding your loved ones register to vote!

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Renee Davidson is a feminist writer and activist living in DC. Her work has been published by Salon, Bitch, PolicyMic, Fem2pt0 and more. Follow her at @reneetheorizes.

Comments

  1. Josephine Crawford says:

    BRAVO!

  2. Stephanie Rader says:

    Love this!

  3. I am delighted to see interest in suffrage postcards from the perspective of what they reveal about the suffragists of the time and the cultural and political battles they fought. If anyone is interested in further study, you can visit either my website at http://womansuffragememorabilia.com/ or the excellent site by Catherine Palczewski (http://www.uni.edu/palczews/postcard_archive.html) . My book on American Woman Suffrage postcards will be published this Fall by McFarland Press, It will picture approximately 700 different cards, providing both context and background, It is intended as a source for feminist scholars, giving relevant information about the history of postcards, suffrage artists, publishers, printing dates, and occasions. There is a section on suffrage Valentines. Further description of the study can be found at Amazon or on my website cited above.

  4. Björn Haglund says:

    Important stuff. Beautiful posters

  5. What great images and wonderful messages to remember! It really hasn’t been that long.

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