Memorabilia Home Page

About This Site

The primary purpose of this site is to provide a repository for information about memorabilia connected to the woman suffrage movement in both England and America.  Subjects discussed here will include woman suffrage buttons, suffrage ribbons, suffrage sashes, suffrage advertising cards, suffrage jewelry, suffrage sheet music, suffrage postcards, Cinderella stamps and other aspects of suffrage ephemera.  The focus is not  on pamphlets and autograph material, although articles about these types of items do appear on occasion.  I will also be using this site to promote my book Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study that was published on June 5, 2013 and is available through Amazon.com and through the publisher, McFarland Books.

This site will include short articles about various items of suffrage memorabilia, generally with images.

While suffrage scholars have long recognized the importance of memorabilia to the movement, it is a subject that has not been explored extensively apart from a few restricted, albeit excellent, studies.  Part of the problem is that such objects are often scattered about; therefore, any comprehensive collection is difficult to both find and access, although museums both in America and England do have impressive holdings in some areas. Another problem is that most scholars do not have ready knowledge of the general nature and history of the type of objects (post cards, badges, sheet music, etc.) that suffragists produced. There is a direct correlation between the growth and development of many of these various types and their exploitation by the movement.  This site and my book are both designed to respond to these problems.

Please feel free to comment on this site and to ask questions and submit articles or notes on suffrage artifacts.  I would like to make this page as interactive as possible. As this site develops, I may include a page whereby readers can offer period suffrage artifacts for sale.

Book

The title of my book that has received mention from the New York Times (click link to see article) is Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study.  It is currently available from Amazon and through my publisher, McFarland Books.   This work, while it is aimed for the general audience, particularly those who are interested in Women’s History, also addresses the needs of interested historians and collectors by discussing approximately seventy different categories of suffrage memorabilia, providing numerous images of relevant objects along the way. It also deals with innovative production methods involved in the creation of those artifacts, and how they dovetailed with the needs of suffragists.   More importantly, in an effort to develop a broader understanding of the suffrage movement, this study analyzes period accounts, often quite fascinating, of how, why, when, and where that memorabilia was used in both America and England. These accounts at times, are simply amusing, but at others involve beatings, hunger strikes, and imprisonment.  Index and bibliography. The book contains over 215 images, including 16 pages in full color, of such artifacts as suffrage buttons, suffrage ribbons, sashes, sheet music, suffrage post cards, jewelry, Valentines, advertising cards, and Cinderella stamps.  It also discusses official suffrage colors, suffrage shops where memorabilia was sold, and the presidential candidacies of both Belva Lockwood, who was the first woman to argue before the Supreme Court, and Victoria Woodhull, who was for a time a notorious advocate for free love. If you are interested in purchasing this book, click on this link to the publisher, McFarland Books, or to Amazon.com.  

Library Journal: “An Impressive scholarly synthesis for women’s history and collectibles collections.” October 15, 2013

Political Collector: “Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia is a well-written historical narration that compelled my attention, held my interest and for me it is a work to be read and reread. It fills a significant gap in my library.” August 2013

 

 

 

31 thoughts on “Memorabilia Home Page

  1. Enjoyed looking at your site and am looking forward to the book. Just wanted to let you know: I have a lesson on the 19th amendment that uses the LOC materials for my social studies methods students . WHen I learned of your website through the NWH organization, I made a part 2 to use next week with something from them and am having my students visit your site and answer questions about how it can help them to teach elementary and middle school students. You have included many artifacts that I am unfamiliar with and I appreciated viewing these. Thank you for sharing your collection on the Internet.

    • Mary,
      What a nice comment! Thank you for taking the time to write. I would love to hear from you how the lesson went. If there is anything I can do to provide more in the way of background information, please let me know. One of my peeves is that too little attention is paid to the suffrage movement at both the secondary and the college levels. Kudus to you for bringing this part of our American heritage to the attention of students.

  2. Ken,
    Enjoyed your site very much. Terrific photographs. Looking forward to your book that I am sure will be an important scholarly contribution. See you at the next Papermania.
    Best wishes,
    Bob Bradbury

  3. I have just started collecting suffrage memorabilia, I recently
    purchased at auction a 4″ high cat with Votes For Women along
    the bottom, would you be able to tell me if they where purchased by the suffragetts to raise funds.
    Thank you
    chris Mckellar

    • Chris–This was one of the many commercial ceramic products that was issued during the period. It was not an official piece, although it was probably quite a popular one among suffragists. It comes in three colors (blue, white, and brown) and several slogans. There is a companion dog piece. The cat appears to have been sold in both England and America. Even though not an official piece, it had a number of sales as evidenced by the number of surviving examples, and is a nice centerpiece for any collection of suffrage memorabilia. Congratulations on picking up a nice item!

  4. Ken, Hopefully our future F/F/F website will work as well as this one of yours does. Thinking of Suffragette Memorabilia … I would surmise that here in Australia there wouldn’t be much of a likelihood of such an area of collecting existing. Since, with Federation of the colonies which became Australia in 1901, also came the right (in fact the obligation) of all white males and females to vote. (Later political advances brought the vote to the Aboriginals (of both sexes)).

    Perhaps there would be some such related material in the 19th century leading up to 1901? Have you heard of anything like that?

    Regards, Steve.

    • Steve, One of these days I will have to pick your brain about suffrage in Australia. It is my understanding that the situation there was somewhat analogous to that in Canada, that women could vote in Federal Elections before they necessarily had the vote in all local elections. Wasn’t 1911 the date for the latter? There was a famous suffrage leader born in Bowden, South Australia who grew up in and around Adelaide named Muriel Matters. She went to England, joined the Women’s Freedom League, and made quite a name for herself. There is a Muriel Matters Society in your country that has about 300 members. I received a nice letter from the Society’s general secretary, Frances Bedford, who, coincidentally, is an MP representing the district called Florey! You never told me about this!

  5. Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful. I’ve sent all afternoon looking through these pages. So many never before seen (to me) items and all the detailed text. It is hard to comprehend on first passing. Wonderful effort! Thanks for giving me the link! Great job!

    • Jack, Thank you for your very kind comments. They are especially welcome coming from someone with such a sophisticated knowledge of political memorabilia that you have.

  6. I am handling the liquidation of a substantial estate in Manhattan, which includes an impressive collection of suffrage memorabilia. We have been instructed to identify items of uniqueness or rarity, no matter the value, and donate the items to appropriate organizations or educational institutions. One item that we are having a difficult time finding current information on is a 1912 National Women’s Suffrage Convention Sterling Silver Spoon with Philadelphia themed engravings. The only information my research assistant has found is a webpage from 2004 from a Heritage Auctioneer’s auction, in which they have placed a value on the spoon in the $500-$850 range at that time. We are trying to determine the rarity and current insurable value of this item, and would it be something that would be of use and benefit to a charitable organization or university? Thank you.

    • Although there are about 10 or so souvenir spoons that were made for the suffrage market, the piece that you have is the only one known produced for a NAWSA convention, The $500-800 value that Heritage placed on this was appropriate for the time, but since then silver suffrage spoons have gone down in value. A fair estimate for insurance would be about $250-350. This would be a wonderful donation piece to any library. The one with the largest suffrage collection that I know of is the Huntington Library in California.

  7. I am a former archivist to The Press Club in London and have extensive collections of early English, Scottish, Irish, European and American newspapers and their antecedents the newsbooks and news-sheets of the 17th and early 18th centuries.

    Amongst these is the Friday, June 1913 issue of The Suffragette, commemorating the untimely death of Emily Wilding Davison at the Epsom Derby on June 4, 1913. I am looking for a buyer for this item and can be contacted at robert@arqive.com

    • Is there anyone out there who might be interested? While I am sure that this particular copy is an original, please be aware that reproductions of this issue have been made and often show up on eBay. The Suffragette was printed on very cheap, highly acidic paper (as was the WSPU’s “Votes for Women.” Originals should reflect age toning and be somewhat brittle, perhaps with corners chipped off. Anyway, if you are interested in this piece, contact Mr. Heron directly.

  8. I live in the US and I am desperate to get a copy of the show, Shoulder to Shoulder. I have the book. Can you tell me where I can buy the DVD with Sian Phillips as Mrs. Pankhurst?
    BTW – I have your book on pre-order on Amazon US.
    thank you,
    Zoe

    • Zoe,

      I don’t know where you can find a copy of this DVD, which apparently several others are looking for. Have you tried a university library? They might allow you to duplicate their copy, depending on copyright restrictions. Is there anyone viewing this site who can help?
      Thanks for the book purchase!

  9. In the British Museum there is a defaced suffragette penny. An image of the piece can be found here, http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/cm/p/suffragette-defaced_penny.aspx
    I wonder if you have seen examples similar to this before or indeed know of any contemporary references to the defacing of money during the suffragette movement? Is it something which also occured in the Amercian suffrage momevement? Any infromation would be very helpful indeed.

    Thanks.

    • One of the problem with defaced pennies, which I take up in my book, is that the defacing can take place at any time, including today. When defaced pennies first came up on eBay, they brought a decent sum. Now, however, the site is flooded with them, and I trust the authenticity of defaced pennies about the same as I do the genuineness of sports’ autographs. I have never come across reference in suffrage papers to the practice, but I suspect that the practice did exist and that there are real examples out there. The problem is telling the real from the fake. Defaced pennies have a long history in this country. There are advertising pieces and there are political pieces dating back to around the mid-19th century. I have not seen or heard of a defaced suffrage coin, real or not surfacing in this country. At the time of the suffrage movement, pennies were small, so that may have been a deterrent.

  10. Ken ~ all emails I have sent you recently have been returned and I never received the sales list that you put out recently. What have I missed?? What can we do to sort the email problem? Can you check that my email address hasn’t been inadvertently blocked – or something? Thanks, Elizabeth

    • Elizabeth,
      I am sorry that the old problem with email has returned, and I suspect that it is the fault of my browser. I recently added a gmail account and I just sent you off a message. By now you should have received it. If not, get back to me here and I’ll see what else i can do. My wife has a similar problem corresponding with one of her brothers in the Netherlands, but not, interestingly enough, with the other two.
      Ken

  11. I have two small scrub brushes marked vote for womens suffrage, Bradley and Smith New York 1910. Any info you can provide I would appreciate.
    Thank You,
    vince

    • In response to your question, look at the date once again. Are you certain that the date indicated is 1910 and not 1915? Bradley and Smith did make a Brush that year (1915) for a referendum that took place in October in New Jersey (even though the brush indicates New York, which I suspect is where the firm was located). New York also had a referendum that year, but that took place in November, not October. Whatever the case, your piece is rare, and I only know of a few examples.

  12. I own an Edwardian lemonade set which is decorated with a ballon with Purple Heather with green foliage and White Forget-me-nots with gold balloon. I was wondering if it had anything to do with the Murial Matters London baloon incident were she dropped leaflets over London?

    • You make an intriguing association. My guess, though, is that the balloon and the flowers are decorative and have nothing to do with either Muriel Matters or with suffrage. To the best of my knowledge, the Women’s Social and Political Union, whose official colors these are (purple, green, and white), did not make such a piece. If they did, it would have been advertised in their weekly newspaper or at least written about. Moreover, when they did employ the use of their colors on an object that they produced, they generally used a bar motif, not flowers. You might be interested to know that there is a very active Muriel Matters Society in Australia.

  13. I direct an historic site once owned by suffragist and social activist Martha Gruening. We are in the process of updating our interpretive exhibits and website on her and are looking for items ideally donated but possibly purchased by us if we can find funding of:

    1. anything related to her and her work
    2. anything on her family (sisters Rose and Clara, brother Ernest)
    3. a suffragist sash, leaflettes or other items

    • Does anyone have anything that might be of help? I do not have anything personally in my collection that is related to Martha Gruening.

  14. Hey, I just stumbled on your page while doing research for my American Woman course as an open elective for my business degree. I am interested in your publication, where can I get it? Is it on the Amazon Kindle because I prefer to buy books, so I can take them with me everywhere, so if I have to debate with someone I choose to use the facts, so I’m a walking encyclopedia thanks to my Kindle. People tend to be more open when you have done your homework and have the facts to present in black and white. I love when they do that! I look forward to reading more about my sisters who fought for my rights, so maybe we can learn from them, so that we can be as successful as they were because our fight is not over and there is more that still needs to be done.

    Thanks in advance,
    Kristy

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