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Sunday, September 30, 2012

October 1912: Esther Lovejoy and Everybody's Equal Suffrage League

National American Woman Suffrage president Anna Howard Shaw's visit to Portland as part of an Oregon and Western U.S. tour was a vital part of the fall 1912 campaign. And Esther Pohl Lovejoy used the event to launch a new suffrage organization, Everybody's Equal Suffrage League. Press coverage in October 1912 lets us know how and why the new organization had such appeal.

Here's one early example. On October 11, 1912, the Oregonian, in a long article chronicling the various suffrage activities around the state, posted this about the group:

Section of "Suffrage Rally Dates are Fixed," Oregonian, October 11, 1912, 3.

The paper used a familiar negative stereotype about the difficulty women had in keeping a secret, but revealed that Lovejoy kept the new group under wraps until she could announce it, with maximum publicity power, during Anna Shaw's visit.

There were many suffrage organizations with many officers and hierarchies, and Lovejoy hoped that Everybody's would emphasize the grass-roots nature and non-hierarchical characteristics of the work for suffrage in which she believed. One "subscriber" noted that "for the expenditure of 25 cents you have the inestimable advantage of knowing that you are vice-president of at least one organization. You can forget that everybody else is also a vice-president who has put up a modest two bits. Dr. Pohl Lovejoy is the only president, for the idea began with her."

It appears that in some suffrage groups it was difficult to have one's voice and opinions heard. Everybody's members were opposed to that. "The members do not stand on ceremony nor do they believe in parliamentary law or etiquette. A meeting is held whenever two or more meet, and any one may talk or all may talk, provided they want to."

Saturday, September 22, 2012

September 30, 1912: Esther Pohl Lovejoy Forms Everybody's Equal Suffrage League

A paragraph in a larger story about NAWSA president Anna Howard Shaw's visit to Portland at the end of September 1912 contains the first news of an important new suffrage organization in the city, Everybody's Equal Suffrage League. 

"Another Fine Tribute Paid Suffragist: Hundreds Hear Woman Leader's Address," Oregon Journal, September 30, 1912, 5.

Lovejoy used the publicity-generating visit of Shaw to launch the new suffrage organization and Everybody's really took off in the weeks before the November 5 election. I'll be blogging with more posts about the grassroots goals and publicity about the group in October. This first newspaper account gives an important clue -- subscriptions were only 25 cents. More in the weeks to come about why Everybody's Equal Suffrage League became so successful.

Friday, September 14, 2012

September 27 - 30 1912: NAWSA President Anna Howard Shaw Visits Portland and Suffrage Colleague Esther Pohl Lovejoy

One of the major events in Esther Pohl Lovejoy's 1912 suffrage year was her successful facilitation of the Oregon tour of National American Woman Suffrage Association president Anna Howard Shaw. Shaw and Pohl had become suffrage colleagues in Oregon's 1906 votes for women campaign and Shaw was supporting Pohl Lovejoy, Sarah Evans and others in the Portland Woman's Club Suffrage Campaign Committee with a $200 a month donation to the Oregon cause. Shaw was also battling the negative views of Abigail Scott Duniway.

Shaw arrived in Pendleton in time for the Round-up and then came to Portland for a series of speaking engagments, luncheons, and strategy meetings through September 30, when she toured the Willamette Valley and Southern Oregon.

The Oregonian published this photo of suffragists greeting Shaw at the Union Depot in Portland on September 28, 2012. Esther Pohl Lovejoy is front and center. The caption gives some of the names of the women with her. We'll live with this grainy photo from the paper, but if you know of a copy of this image in better condition please let me know!

"Snapshot of Suffragists Greeting Dr. Anna Shaw on Arrival at Union Depot," Oregonian, September 29, 1912, 16.
Caption: "Starting with Third From the Left the Names of the Committee and Visitors Are: [Elizabeth] Mrs. F. Eggert, Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, Mrs. Sarah A. Evans, Dr. Esther C. Pohl Lovejoy, Mrs. [sic] Lucy Anthony, Niece of the Late Susan B. Anthony, Who Accompanies Miss Shaw; La Reine Helen Baker. On the Extreme Right of the Picture is Dr. Mary Thompson, 87 Years "Young," as She Says, Who Waited for Two Hours for the Arrival of the Distinguished Visitor."