Suffragist Newspapers

Date(s): 1913 - 1920
Material: Paper

Referred to as “the only women’s political newspaper in the United States,” the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (later the National Woman’s Party) created the newspaper in 1913 to generate financial and public support for the amendment.  The Suffragist, with its detailed articles, powerful and graphic images, and use of visual propaganda, was a primary tool in the National Woman’s Party’s strategy to win the right to vote.  The Suffragist’s editors made sure that the NWP’s colorful publicity stunts, among the earliest “media events” of the twentieth century, did not go unnoticed. 

During its publication, The Suffragist reported on the status of the suffrage amendment, with updates on current legislative actions related to its progress through Congress.  The newspaper also informed its readers of important national and international advances in the struggle to win women’s enfranchisement.  Regular features in the paper included:  Notes of the Week, Comments of the Press, a listing of new subscribers and contributions, and a report on the current status of the suffrage amendment.  Feature articles highlighted suffrage activities and events and profiled leaders in the movement.  Cover art for the weekly consisted primarily of political cartoons by Nina Allender, the NWP’s official cartoonist, or photographs of major events such as parades, automobile tours, and the picketing and arrests at the White House.

The advertisements in The Suffragist sometimes offer glimpses into local businesses that were supportive of women’s enfranchisement.  The NWP also occasionally inserted ads for its own supplemental sources of revenue:  a public tea room and boarding house, along with room rentals for special functions or events.

After the passage of the 19th amendment, the NWP discontinued the publication.  In 1923, Equal Rights became the successor to The Suffragist. Today The Suffragist provides a documented history of the movement and a thorough record of the efforts required in the final years to pass the 19th amendment.

The Suffragist newspapers are not indexed, but the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum provides access to microfilm copies for researchers interested in uncovering the details of the National Woman’s Party’s tactics and strategies during the final push for the right to vote.

Quotes:
 “The woman who reads our paper will be informed as to happenings in Congress, not only suffrage happenings, although they come first, but all proceedings of special interest to women.  Men do not realize how serious are the changes that are taking place in the conduct of Congress.  Women will have to inform them.  Only in the pages of The Suffragist will you find the information you need.”  The Suffragist, 1914