Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Suffragettes were VERY Imagine Conscious...

A cartoon from the Montreal Standard, August 1912, mocking the fact that the Canadian Government had banned suffragettes from entering Canada. Apparently, the Powers were afraid for Winston Churchill or Prime Minister Asquith, who had been invited to Canada.

The two didn't make it, though.

An accompanying article asks "How can you keep all the suffragettes out. How many are known to us. Maybe 100."

I am just getting down to writing my play about the Montreal Suffragettes/Suffragists of the 1910-1919 era, because I feel I've done enough research.. but then as I set down to write, before two sentences are typed, more questions pop up in my mind. Now I must deal with the nuances.

That's how it goes I guess.

Lucky for me, because yesterday googling for some info I stumbled upon a Montreal newspaper lost on the News Archives, the Standard.  It's buried under the wrong name: Harbour Something Standard.

But it's the Montreal Standard - and now I can see that newspaper paper had lots of pictures and cartoons.  That means, I guess, that it was aimed at a lower brow readership.

The Montreal Gazette had no pictures, well, except for the ads.

The Montreal Witness, some pictures and cartoons.

Some French Tabloids were mostly pictures.

This is interesting with respect to the coverage of the Suffrage Movement, because the Suffragists, and especially the militant suffragettes were very image-conscious... and theatrical.  Their cause was greatly served by good photography. (And many of the suffragists were beautiful women.)

In the New York Times' coverage of the May 3, 1913 suffrage parade in New York the editors posted 3 large pictures, one of Inez Milholland leading the parade on a chestnut horse. She had led another Suffrage Parade in Washington in March 1913 wearing a white robe, her hair down around her shoulders, astride a magnificent white horse.

That picture is the one used today on Wikipedia.

Inez in the 1913 parade in New York. "The most beautiful American suffragette" It was recommended at a board meeting of the Montreal Suffrage Association June 1913 that Miss Milholland come to speak in Montreal, but that never happened.

Not one image of Montreal Suffragettes remains today, unless you count that one of the Canadian Council Ladies standing in front of Macdonald College on the same day as the New York Parade.

It's from the Witness and it is blurry. Carrie Derick is somewhere in this picture. Originally, I had thought Derick was attending the parade - as she missed the opening ceremonies of the AGM of the National Council of Women on May 1 at the Royal Victoria College at McGill.

A blurry picture of the National Council Ladies in Front of Macdonald College on May 3, 1913.

But no, the report of the 1913 Annual General Meeting says she was at Macdonald College.  In my play, I will have Derick visit New York before the parade to talk to suffragists from around the world, but hurry back on the 2nd to perform her duties with the National Council Meeting.

She introduced Mrs. Ethel Snowden. a moderate suffragist from England, on May 5, 1913, who spoke on a special suffrage night at St. James Methodist.
A sketch from the Witness showing a woman reading Votes for Women. Votes for Women itself had a lot of cartoons and some pictures and lots of adverts for pretty dresses.

This pictures is captures a truth of the time, after all, this woman hardly looks radical...