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Thursday, February 16, 2012

February 16, 1912: Esther Pohl and Colleagues Refine New Style Campaigning in the "Yellowest of Yellow" Suffrage Color

Oregon suffragists, including Esther Pohl, helped to transform the early twentieth century woman suffrage movement around the nation by adopting techniques of mass campaigning and using popular culture to their advantage. Pohl had used leaflets, signs, and parades to spread the suffrage message in her work for the 1906 ballot measure.

Those new strategies had helped Washington (1910) and California (1911) to secure votes for women victories. Now, in February 1912, Oregon suffragists like Pohl, working with the Portland Woman's Club Campaign Committee and members of other newly-forming organizations like the Oregon chapter of the College Equal Suffrage League, would adapt materials from these successful campaigns.

"Suffragists to Copy Campaigns of Others," Portland Evening Telegram, February 16, 1912, 10.  

The Portland Evening Telegram reported on February 16, 1912 that the Portland Woman's Club Campaign Committee on which Pohl served had received pledges "which will care for an estimated expense of $300 a month done under club auspices." We know that $200 of that came from contributions funneled through Anna Howard Shaw, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

The club campaign committee was making arrangements for headquarters and then would be able to send out suffrage literature. "The Oregon literature will be modeled after that which brought success in Washington and California, copies of all their bulletins, leaflets and circulars having been secured," the Evening Telegram noted. "These will be remodeled and adapted to the needs of Oregon and issued on the yellowest of yellow stock," the primary suffrage color.

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