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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Free From All Cliques and Class Distinctions and Open to All": Esther Lovejoy and Everybody's Equal Suffrage League, October 23, 1912

Esther Lovejoy's Everybody's Equal Suffrage League was gaining ground by the time the Oregonian  reported on the organization on October 23, 1912. Esther Lovejoy noted that the League was formed to be an inclusive, grassroots organization whose members "scorn any rules and regulations" so that the group would be "free from all cliques and class distinctions and open to all."

"Novel League Forms," Oregonian, October 23, 1912, 20.

 One reason she formed the league, Lovejoy said, was because subscription fees for suffrage organizations were out of the reach of wage-earning women. "There are working women to whom a dime is as much as they can afford." The lifetime dues of 25 cents were within reach, and everyone automatically became a vice president.

This article also lets us know that Lovejoy and Everybody's League members were a part of the mass campaigning tactics that brought the suffrage movement into popular culture. "The idea of sending slides on suffrage to theaters and picture shows originated with this league," the Oregonian noted, whose members got the slides and alrea[d]y have made arrangements whereby some theaters will show their films."

The Oregonian published one of these theater advertisements on October 21, 1912, 10, showing a lone Oregon man surrounded by suffrage states, symbolized by happy couples.

The article on Everybody's League also emphasized that the group was thinking of the future. If the equal suffrage ballot measure passed that November 5, "the league would change to an Everybody's Civic League with the object of studying politics and civil government, so as to make its members efficient and able to vote intelligently." If suffrage did not pass "the league will be organized permanently and will continue until the fight is won, after which it will then be formed into the civic league."