Collecting Suffrage

                    The Women’s Suffrage and Political Issues Chapter of APIC

Anyone who is interested in collecting and preserving artifacts concerning Woman Suffrage and other related topics should consider joining the Women’s Suffrage and Political Issues Chapter of the American Political Items Collectors. WSPIC conducts chapter meetings in conjunction with the National Conventions of APIC.  In addition, it publishes a journal, The Clarion, now distributed electronically, which contains articles and illustrations about suffrage artifacts and ERA memorabilia, featuring information about their historical context.   Past issues have included essays on the following topics:

  • The Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association
  • The Men’s League for Woman Suffrage
  • The Campaign of 1915
  • The Actresses’ Franchise League
  • The Housewives’ League
  • The Irish Woman Suffrage Movement
  • The Stars and What They Mean
  • The Suffrage Colors
  • The Clarion Series
  • The “Suffrage First” Items
  • “Ballots for Both” Items
  • Opposition to Women’s Suffrage

Membership in the Chapter is free to anyone who is a member of APIC, its parent organization. Information about joining the APIC can be obtained from their link on the home page of this site.  If you are a dedicated scholar of the suffrage movement, it is possible to receive issues of The Clarion without being an APIC member, but you should first consult with the Chapter President, Ronnie Lapinsky Sax. Ronnie also serves as the editor of the journal and is pictured on the left of this screen. Back issues of The Clarion are available for $4.00 each.  If you wish further information about joining WSPIC or if you wish to purchase back issues of the journal, click on this email link WSPIC, or fill out the form at the bottom of this page, and we will get back to you shortly. Your email address will not be visible to anyone except us.

Above  Chapter President Ronnie Lapinsky Sax displaying part of her wonderful suffrage ribbon collection at a recent American Political Items Collectors National Convention.


There are no current auctions that deal exclusively with period suffrage memorabilia, but here are some auctions that can be of help:

  • The NWHP Auction  Periodically, the National Women’s History Project runs a fundraising auction. Items are both period and contemporary and deal with a variety of issues associated with Women’s History, including suffrage.  You can get be placed on their e-mail mailing list, which is fascinating in itself, through the following link: National Women’s History Project
  • Heritage Auctions   Heritage Auction Galleries form the largest Auction House in the world devoted to collectibles,  and they run a variety of topical, regularly scheduled events open for live, mail, and internet bidding.  The two auctions that are of interest to suffrage collectors are their Rare Books and Manuscripts and their Americana and Political Memorabilia sales.  Often their sales involve a large holding of suffrage related material, and it is certainly worthwhile to be on their mailing list. Anyone who signs up as a member has access to their extensive archives that contain a record of all of their prices realized. Their link:  Heritage Auctions
  • USAmericana  USAmericana is the venture of Tom French, a long time collector and dealer in political Americana.  The firm offers both a fixed price list that is updated weekly and a political auction that appears twice yearly.  While its focus is on presidential items, the firm does feature in its offerings suffrage memorabilia such as the Jean Thompson collection.  For information or to be placed on USAmericana’s mailing list, click on their link:  USAmericana
  • Al Anderson Auction   Anderson’s Auctions deals exclusively with Political American, primarily campaign buttons and ribbons.  Suffrage buttons are considered to be political, and often Al offers some rare and interesting suffrage pieces. Open for mail and internet bidding.  Go to: Anderson’s Auctions
  • Hake’s Americana & Collectibles Auctions   Hake’s Americana & Collectibles Auctions is a division of Geppi’s Entertainment Auctions.  Hake’s runs periodic mail and internet sales dealing with all sorts of collectibles from the world of popular culture. Their auction lists always have a large political section, which can include suffrage items.  If you are interested, please check their site at: Hake’s Americana and Collectibles Auctions
  • Jackson’s Auctions     Jackson’s conducts several varieties of fine arts and antiques auctions throughout the year, one of which is devoted to ephemera and post cards.  Suffrage cards sometimes appear, generally of higher quality. Their website can be found at: Jackson’s Auctions
Rare Book and Manuscript Dealers
Each of the rare book and manuscript dealers listed below carry a substantial selection of material related to the suffrage movement. Many send out catalogs.  Contact dealers for further details.
  • Elizabeth Crawford (English)       Elizabeth Crawford  sends out lists of books and ephemera, but she does not have an on-line catalog.  What she does have is a fascinating web site devoted to both historical aspects of the suffrage movement as well as to its ephemera. Her site also contains a link to her book offerings on Abebooks. Contact her at: Woman And Her Sphere
  • Naomi Symes Books  (English)       Established in 1994, Naomi Symes Books deals in out-of-print, antiquarian and in-print books in the field of women’s history and social history.  They also carry period and museum reproduction ephemera of the suffrage movement.  For further information, click: Naomi Symes Books 
  • Priscilla Juvelis Rare Books   Priscilla Juvelis Rare Books specializes in literary first editions, especially women authors, and 19th and 20th century reform movements, as well as contemporary book arts with feminist themes. Priscilla Juvelis carries some suffrage ephemera as well and issues both print and on-line catalogs.   The link to her site is: Priscilla Juvelis Rare Books
  • Second Life Books    Located in Lanesborough, Massachusetts in the Berkshire Hills, Second Life Books was founded in 1972 and specializes in, among other areas, antiquarian and out-of-print books by and about women. Second Life also carries some suffrage ephemera, and the shop maintains a web site with on-line listings. They also produce catalogs once or twice a year on women and woman suffrage that are free for the asking. Contact:  Second Life Books
  • Waiting for Godot Books   has been in business since 1979, specializing in 18th to 20th century literary first editions. They maintain a searchable, online inventory at and Their inventory includes holdings in the area of woman suffrage (including books and ephemera about women’s rights, and literature by and about women). Inquiries welcome at or contact at Waiting for Godot Books/ P.O. Box 331/ Hadley, MA 01035/ 413 585-5126.


17 thoughts on “Collecting Suffrage

  1. Hi,
    I’m researching suffragist imagery for a tattoo I’m hoping to get. I would like to use the artwork used in newspapers, postcards, pamphlets, brochures, etc. Artwork from 1900-1919 is preferred. I was wondering if there is an online database of scans or if it’s possible to get some artwork sent to me directly via email. Any help would be appreciated!

    • Believe it or not, you are not the first person that I have heard from asking about suffrage tatoos. The other individual decided to take a design from a suffrage button. As far as I know there are no web sites devoted to the type of designs that you are looking for. You might look through this site to see if you can find something that your local artist might be able to duplicate.

  2. I would like more information as to how I can join the Women’s Suffrage and Political Issues Chapter.
    Thank you for your time and I look forward to your reply.
    Kind Regards,.

    • Martha,
      There is a link to Ronnie Lapinsky, who runs the Women’s Suffrage Chapter on the “collecting suffrage” page of this website. Because I am reluctant to post open email addresses of anyone on the net (I don’t like to see them “harvested” for spam), I will be getting in touch with you outside the site with her address. Welcome in advance to the chapter!

  3. Dear Professor Florey,
    Peace and greetings.
    I teach US History and am looking for the lyrics to “Votes for Women” for a school project with my students. I believe the tune was used in the film “Iron Jawed Angels” but I haven’t been able to locate the words. Can you help me? Thank You.
    Todd Goodwin

    • There are several songs with “Votes for Women” in their titles. If the one that you are thinking of was a period song, in all likelihood you can find the lyrics in Danny Crew’s book “Suffragist Sheet Music,” which is a comprehensive guide to songs of the suffragists (titles, lyrics, composers, etc.). It was published by McFarland Press in 2002, and, if your local university library does not have a copy, I’m sure that you can obtain it through Library Loan.

  4. Hi,
    i’m an italian student of fashion design and i’m really interesting to this topic. I’m conducting a study for my graduation of woman suffrage jewellery in US.
    Can i ask you some file or book with this topic.
    thanks a lot

    • Claudia,

      About the only book available that has any discussion whatsoever about American Suffrage Jewelry is my book, “Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia,” that was published by McFarland Press in 2013. Unfortunately, I don’t think that you will find that there was much of any jewelry made for the suffrage movement here, despite claims from auctioneers and some dealers that they have pieces. To date, there hasn’t been a single piece of legitimate, identifiable suffrage costume jewelry found, only buttons and badges. There were some presentation items made for prominent suffrage leaders that weren’t distributed to the general public, and you can find reference to these in my book. The Butler company took an image of a crest or shield that had appeared on a series of postcards issued by the Cargill Company. They fashioned this shield into various items, including belt buckles, barrettes, scarf pins, hat pins, brooches, cuff links, etc., but only a few examples of any of these are known today–they were never common among the suffragists.

      Some unscrupulous dealers have been selling pins that suggest the colors of the WSPU in England–Green, White, and Purple, saying that the first letters of these colors were a secret code for “Give Women the Vote.” This is total nonsense. First of all, these colors pertain to the English movement more than the American, and secondly the last thing that suffragists wanted to do was to have women keep their support secret. In any event, there is no such reference in period suffrage literature to either jewelry made for the general public or for an alleged secret code, which exists only in the fantasy of greedy dealers who know nothing about the movement. The Butler pieces, an example of which appears on Page A6 in my book, is or is not jewelry, depending on your definition.

      I have discussed this topic with several suffrage scholars and we are all in agreement on this. If you are doing a study on jewelry, you might fare better if you changed your topic slightly to discuss buttons and badges. You will find an extensive discussion of these in my book along with numerous references to period publications.

      Best of Luck!


      • I have a hat pin I believe is a women’s suffrage pin. If I could send a picture to you would you be interested in purchasing or send me an email of a facility that would. Thank you. Jennifer Harper.

        • Jennifer,
          There were suffrage hat pins, but most hat pins that are advertised as suffrage are not. But if it is, I would be interested in purchasing it. I will get it touch with you via private email about this.

  5. I have a brass medallion with a woman’s head on it, her mouth is open. It has a date of 1848 to 1948. Initials w.h. a safety pin is attached to the back

    • I am not familiar with the piece you describe. The dates suggest, of course, that this is a commemorative piece of some sort for the original Seneca Falls Convention. Because it is not a period suffrage piece, its value is minimal, and if it has any sentimental value, I would suggest holding onto it rather than selling it.

  6. I appreciate your distinction between US and UK anti-suffrage postcards. I would like to cite this observation in my forthcoming publication. Do you make this observation in your most recent book on American suffrage postcards or should I cite your website? Could you email me directly about the proper citation?

  7. Hello, I have an old postcard showing a women’s walk /parade. They are wearing white dresses and some with black armbands. Could this photograph be connected to the women’s suffrage movement. Perhaps the black armbands are related to the death of Emily Davison in 1913. I would be so grateful if you could help identify the women or occasion. Could I send you the image, Thank-you Deni

    • If you will send an image of your post card to the email address that I will send you privately, I will take a look at it. The problem is that there were several women’s groups unrelated to suffrage who also marched for various causes. Unless there is something in the image that is specifically suffrage related, it is very difficult to give a positive (or negative) identification. If your card is American, it is unlikely that it is related to Emily Davison, who was English. It would be helpful also if you could send me an image of the reverse also.

  8. Hi. I was interested in purchasing an antique memorial ring, however, during my research , I happened upon sufferage jewelry.
    Could you recommend a site than sells this or (Civil war jewelry?)
    It’s hard to know who is dealing with authentic merchandise.
    Thank you
    Gail Migliazzo

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