“A Woman Knows Real Live News When She Sees It” — 1915
by Paula Bosse
“Oh goody!” (click for larger image)
by Paula Bosse
This editorial cartoonist’s take on what was really important to Dallas women is one that probably caused some Dallasites to chuckle and some to fume. The date of this Dallas Morning News cartoon was July 8, 1915. In 1915 women had no constitutional right to vote in the United States and were barred from voting in local, state, and national elections. The Nineteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution (which gave women the right to vote) was ratified in Texas in June, 1919.
The woman’s suffrage movement in Dallas had been active since at least the 1890s, but it really began to catch fire in the early ‘teens when the Dallas Equal Suffrage Association (DESA) was formed in 1913. The second president of this organization (who was one of the state’s leading suffragists when this cartoon appeared) was Texas Erwin Armstrong (Mrs. Volney E. Armstrong). (Yes, her first name was “Texas” — her friends called her “Tex.”)
I have to admit, I was not aware of Mrs. Armstrong until today, but she was one of many laudable women who helped forge the way for those of us who followed. I like this quote of hers from 1918, commenting on the support (or lack thereof) of politicians during the slow but sure path to ratification:
“Any Democrat who failed to vote for this measure is a man without a party and soon will be a man without a country.” (DMN, Jan. 12, 1918)
Dallas Morning News, March 15, 1915 (photo and profile)
More suffrage news from Dallas (click articles to see larger images).
Sources & Notes
Dallas Morning News editorial cartoon “A Woman Knows Real Live News When She Sees It” (by staff cartoonist John Knott) appeared in the July 8, 1915 edition of the paper.
For more on the history of Dallas women and women’s causes, check out the book Women and the Creation of Urban Life: Dallas, Texas, 1843-1920 by Elizabeth York Enstam (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1998); a large portion of the chapter “Suffragists and the City” can be read here.
The history of the women’s suffrage movement in Texas can be found at the Handbook of Texas site, here.
The obituary of Mrs. Texas Erwin Armstrong (1878-1960) can be found in the archives of The Dallas Morning News: “Campaigner For Women’s Suffrage Dies” (DMN, March 7, 1960).
Click clippings and pictures to see larger images.
Copyright © 2017 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.
I’d love to see someone do a mockumentary (like Spike Lee’s “CSA: Confederate States of America”) about what life in the U.S. and the world would be like if the 19th amendment had never been passed. If the speculation were intelligent, it would be very illuminating.
Another good find, Paula!
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