Women’s History Month

Votes for Women

Katherine Milhous, the artist who designed this postcard image, is remembered today as an illustrator and author of children’s books.  Her most notable book remains The Egg Tree, which won the Caldecott Award in 1951.  But before she began her long career in children’s publishing, young Katherine was an advocate for Woman Suffrage, as demonstrated by her cartoon design on this postcard.  Produced and copyrighted in 1915, when she was just 21 years old, this card testifies to a young woman’s struggle to make her own way in a world that offered few options for women in the professions.

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, the copy of this postcard found at the John Hay Library 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.

The entire postcard, and its message, form part of the John Hay Library’s extensive holdings on the temperance movement, which document the long struggle of women to achieve the political capacity to address the ruinous effects of addiction on the lives of women and children.  The postcard is available online as part of the Library’s Alcohol, Temperance and Prohibition digital collection.