Katherine Milhous, the artist who designed this postcard, is known for her work as an illustrator and author of children’s books. But before she began her career in children’s publishing, Katherine was an advocate for the Woman Suffrage Movement.

Produced and copyrighted in 1915, when Katherine was just 21 years old, this propaganda postcard highlights the hypocrisy of opposition to voting rights for women, and illustrates the struggle young women faced in a world that offered few professional opportunities.

Those opposed to women’s suffrage claimed that participating in politics would expose women to the sort of immorality and corruption from which they were usually shielded in their traditional role as housewives. This postcard, distributed by the Pennsylvania Limited Equal Suffrage League of Philadelphia, pointed out that earning a living as factory workers, nurses, or domestic servants did not “unsex” women, and neither would voting.

Katherine’s early struggles, and her later success as a graphic artist, were advanced by the many other women advocates for suffrage around the world.  In fact, a copy of this postcard was used by two members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in Pennsylvania — Katherine’s home state — to communicate their success in organizing the town of Yardley to the suffrage cause.

This image serves to remind us to embrace our power, and honor those women who came before us and fought for our right to vote. The best way we can think of to honor these women and Women’s Equality Day is to use this right and  remember to register to vote.

Source: Brown University at John Hay Library

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