New Acquisition: Votes for Women Banner
An exciting new object has come into the Connecticut Museum’s collection – a rare, linen banner printed around 1915 demanding Votes for Women! The vibrant colors in the banner are symbolic of the suffrage movement – green for strength, purple for justice, and white for purity. It wasn’t until 1916 that more radical suffragists started including gold in their color palettes to symbolize courage.
Although we’re not 100% sure where this particular banner was used, we do know that it was made by the Calhoun Steam Printing Company in Hartford. They specialized in colorful, large format, advertising posters for circuses, carnivals, and Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West shows. (Cody’s brother-in-law William H. Higgs later ended up running the company, and he was reported in the Hartford Courant as a dashing figure who rode around Hartford on a white mustang given to him by Cody!)
We also know that a banner of the same design that was also printed by the Calhoun Steam Printing Company was affixed to a booth on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey by women campaigning for the right to vote in 1915. Click here to see a photograph of the booth. It’s possible it is the same banner, but without doing more research, we can’t know for sure.
The Connecticut Museum has pamphlets, letters, and other archival material about the suffrage movement (as well as the anti-suffrage movement) and the banner is a visually appealing complement to those items.
To learn more about the suffrage movement in Connecticut, visit the Women of Color Suffrage page on the Connecticut Museum’s website – Women of Color Suffrage – Connecticut Museum of Culture and History
Image: Banner printed by the Calhoun Steam Printing Company, 1915, Hartford. The Newman S. Hungerford Museum Fund, Connecticut Museum of Culture and History collection, 2023.31.0.
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