Beyond Supply & Demand: Duke Economics Students Present 100 Years of American Women’s Suffrage

International Influences

Suffrage movements emerged across Europe, North America, and Asia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, informing and influencing each other. The items in this section illustrate the participation of American suffragists in international suffrage efforts, as well as the impact of international voting rights activities on the American suffrage movement. For example, tactics of the militant British suffrage organization Women's Social and Political Union were used by American suffragists interested in more direct action to achieve their goals. In addition, WWI served to raise global awareness of and solidarity around shared struggles for equal rights among women as well as workers, veterans, and other disaffected groups.

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Postcard of cartoon depicting three men - a worker, a soldier, a clergymen - and a woman suffragist, holding a banner that says "world court" and handwritten cursive underneath "courage for 1920"

Under the Same Banner Postcard

In this cartoon by three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Rollin Kirby, “World Court” may refer to the League of Nations, a post-WWI diplomatic organization endorsed by the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) and the League of Women Voters as well as the other organizations depicted. The League of Women Voters helped lead the effort to establish the United Nations and to ensure U.S. participation. This card was sent to Durham suffragist Mary Octavine Cowper by Ruth Morgan, Vice President of the National League of Women Voters.

Worn cover of a play with black inked bubble letters and a drawing of a woman in a long informal dress with a chain wrapping around her legs and connected to a barred window

Beware! A Warning to Suffragists

In 1908, actress and writer Cicely Hamilton founded the Women’s Writers’ Suffrage League in the United Kingdom with Bessie Haton, choosing to fight for suffrage with their pens rather than by direct action. Her suffrage plays were a great success, being performed across the UK and the United States to fundraise and raise awareness, including How the Vote was Won. A copy annotated by a Durham suffragist is also in this exhibit. In Beware!, printed by the Women’s Printing Society, her ironic poems are illustrated by many women of the Artists’ Suffrage League.

Map of the world showing the countries with women's suffrage and no women's suffrage in black ink

"Women-Suffrage Map of the World" from Harper's Weekly