Suffrage Stories/Collecting Suffrage: Countdown To 12 October And Release Of The Film ‘Suffragette’: The ‘Woman’s Rights’ Kerchief

To celebrate the release on 12 October of the film ‘Suffragette’  (for which I was an historical consultant) I will post each day an image of a suffrage item that has passed through my hands.

For my current catalogue – No 189 – which contains a good deal of suffrage material – as well as general books and ephemera by and about women – see here.

Today’s image:


Woman's Rights Kerchief 1

‘Woman’s Rights 1861/1981 And What Came Of It’

This is a white cotton kerchief ,measuring 22.5″ x 24″. It dates – presumably – from 1861 (the Design Registration No is 364805) and the very stylish illustrations printed on it show what the world would be like 120 years into the future – ie in 1981 – when women had won their Rights.

Thus women appear as barristers and judges, as admirals, captains and sailors, as athletes, as telegraph girls, as astronomers, scientists and – and who can now restrain their laughter – as politicians. The men, meanwhile, mind the babies, do the tatting and are parlour maids and house maids.

The kerchief – designed four years before the presentation of the first suffrage petition – contains all the tropes – the embodiment of light-hearted, but deeply-rooted prejudice – that are now so familiar to us through the comic postcards that were produced in response to the suffragette campaign in the years before the First World War.

Suffragette Film Poster 2


All the articles on Woman and Her Sphere are my copyright. An article may not be reproduced in any medium without my permission and full acknowledgement. You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement

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