restricted access 3. Reaching the Group through Words and Pictures
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3. Reaching the Group through Words and Pictures In 1913 the women’s suἀrage movement in the United States was dispersed over a large country, with countless groups functioning separately and with many of them discouraged by state defeats. In the spring of that year, as Alice Paul developed plans for her campaign, she sought a means of convincing these suἀragists of the primacy of a federal amendment, of involving them in the successes possible through nonviolent action, and of acquainting them with the particulars of each upcoming event, a forum where she could use written and visual arguments to define her goals while promulgating an affirmative vision of women’s abilities and their future. Starting a new publication would give her an opportunity to work through her own attitudes about suἀrage and to communicate them forcefully, thus encouraging immediate positive action toward a federal amendment. A Carefully Engineered Text As she made plans for a journal in the summer of 1913, Paul demonstrated what would be a frequent behavior: seeming accommodation. When Paul presented NAWSA board members with her plans for a new journal, one which they feared might compete with their own Woman’s Journal, they wanted to wait until the board meeting in September and the annual convention in December to consider her plans. Paul did not want to wait, and she certainly did not want to put her idea before a group that might turn it down as a damaging form of competition or duplication. That summer Alice Paul replied to NAWSA executives by claiming she would be publishing not a “journal” but a small “weekly bulletin” to replace the frequent circular letters that kept NAWSA members informed of the Congressional Committee’s work for a federal amendment. This defining of her proposed publication, she wrote on June 28 to Mary Beard, who had edited the journal Woman Voter in New York, “is the most politic thing to do, because it will secure us the cooperation of the National Board, and also obviate the hostility which would come to us from the followers of the Journal, if we started the paper on a large scale.” In response, NAWSA board member Mary Ware Dennett informed Paul that she would approve such a bulletin because it would not compete with the Woman’s Journal. Regardless of what Paul promised Dennett, she intended to publish a regular journal, not a newspaper or circular letter. She did carefully consider comparisons to the Woman’s Journal, but her true goal was to create a more substantial product. The Woman’s Journal, published from 1870 to 1917 and succeeded by the Woman Citizen from 1917to 1927, was the most widely distributed suἀrage journal in the United States. Begun as a more conservative counterpart to Susan B. Anthony’s Revolution, it boasted an impressive list of editors, including Lucy Stone, William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Blackwell, T. W. Higginson, and Julia Ward Howe, whose participation helped assure a wide readership. Circulation was two thousand in 1909, four thousand in 1910,fifteen thousand in 1911,and twenty thousand in 1913(Ryan 23).Beginning in 1900, it had been affiliated with NAWSA (Huxman 87–91).Its suffrage coverage generally involved short pieces: notes on state work, progress in other countries, the achievements of participants, and college activities. Though suἀrage was its mainstay, the journal also printed regular columns unrelated to suἀrage, with titles like “Gossips and Gleanings,” “Humorous,” “Children’s Column,” and “Concerning Women,” as well as poetry, short stories, and book reviews. The journal’s headnote described the general aims: it was “devoted to the interests of woman—to her educational, industrial, legal and political equality, and especially to her right of suἀrage.” Its tone and subject matter were middle-class (or higher) and educated; it did not concern the realities faced by working-class women. Paul envisioned her journal as separate not because it would be a smaller planning document, but because it would embrace a diἀerent purpose and content. Lucy Burns wrote to a friend in April of 1914 about what she and Paul viewed as a clear demarcation: “I do not see why sentiment for the Woman’s Journal should stand in our way at all, as the papers do not interfere with each other, and there is no reason why people should not take both, as they are very diἀerent, and both useful in their own sphere” (Letter to Emily Perry). To...


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Subject Headings

  • Paul, Alice, 1885-1977.
  • Suffragists -- United States -- Biography.
  • Women -- Suffrage -- United States -- History.
  • Women's rights -- United States -- History.
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