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Friday, March 16, 2012

Portland Suffragists and St. Patrick's Day 1912: A Twelve Foot Green Sign at Portland Woman's Club Suffrage Campaign Committee Headquarters

As we've seen in recent posts, Esther Pohl and members of the Portland Woman's Club campaign committee were committed to using popular culture and mass advertising to campaign for votes for women in 1912. A report from the Portland Evening Telegram on March 16, 1912 demonstrates that they did not hesitate to use St. Patrick's Day as a vehicle for advocating votes for women.

"Green Paper Storm Work of Suffragists," Evening Telegram, March 16, 1912, 11.

In "Green Paper Storm Work of Suffragists," the Telegram reported: "A shower of green-hued paper mottoes bearing quotations from [Charles Stewart] Parnell and other Irish patriots attracted the eyes of hundreds of passers-by on Washington street this noon. Pedestrians reaching for the green slips raised their eyes to skyward to see if a miracle were being performed in honor of St. Patrick." They were greeted, the paper noted "by a 12-foot green sign fluttering from the campaign headquarters of the Portland Woman's Club in the Rothchild building." The sign had Votes for Women in "conspicious white lettering."

The green cards and banner "made a hit with the crowd" in the Telegram reporter's estimation. "One gallant . . . doffed his hat" and told them of his support, and another asked for a handful of the new buttons the women were distributing. The paper characterized statement in his Scots accent this way: "'I know mony a man as will be willin' to wear one.'"