The New Book, Vintage Tweets: 100-Year-Old Postcards

Illustrate the Struggle for Women’s Suffrage in Words and Pictures

Postcards, both personal and political, carry sentiments for and in opposition to woman suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Using an assortment of over 400 vintage postcards, a collector of women’s ephemera, Carol Crossed, tells the story of 19th and early 20th-century women’s fight for the right to vote in a new book, Vintage Tweets: Suffrage Era Postcards. A talk and book signing will be held on the opening day of the Suffrage Centennial, August 26, 2019, at the Seneca Falls Historical Society, 55 Cayuga Street in Seneca Falls, New York, 6 to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The women’s rights movement began in the U.S. with a meeting of reformers in Seneca Falls in 1848.

The book is being released in time for the opening of the National Women’s Suffrage Centennial August 26, 2019, which runs through 2020. The year celebrates the passage of the 19th Amendment (also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment) to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. 2020 is also the 200th birthday of Susan B. Anthony, born February 15, 1820. Crossed, the book’s author is president of the Susan B Anthony Birthplace in Adams MA. (www.susanbanthonybirthplacemuseum.org)

Crossed weaves a narrative with text and images that are over 100 years old. The 218-page hardcover book contains color photos of suffrage postcards from Crossed’s private collection of 650. The book chronicles the fight for the vote through thought-provoking, often amusing, and sometimes shocking illustrations and photos and short, pithy messages on complex domestic issues—marriage, childbirth, violence—and public and political topics: abolition, temperance, and dress reform. Between 1880 and 1920, the Transcontinental Railroad made it possible to send these missives from the Deep South to the far northwest with the speed that was unseen before the Civil War.

Some examples of postcards in the book:

  • “My old Woman wants to wear the spurs!” pictures a rooster
  • “I’d rather kiss her than hear her talk!” shows two young women, one on a soapbox and one holding a sign that says “Votes for Wimmen”[sic]
  • “Peace at last” shows a woman whose tongue is nailed to a post.

The book will appeal to both history and art buffs. Dr. Alisia Grace Chase, an art historian at SUNY Brockport, said, “Crossed’s belief that art is a persuasive form of education is evident throughout. The book is one to pore over, just as suitable for the classroom as it is for one’s coffee table, with glossy reproductions and accessible language capable of reaching and teaching a wide readership. Thanks to Crossed’s scholarship, these ‘vintage tweets’ can reach a whole new audience in our era.”

“Thought-provoking explanations of each category cleverly serve as an additional layer of historical interest. Vintage Tweets serves to enlighten and refresh our memory on this most significant milestone in democracy, the decades-long campaign to extend the right to vote to women,” said Mary Ann Sachse Brown, Leavenworth County Historical Society, Kansas, and author of Celebrating Women of Leavenworth County, Kansas.

A human rights and peace activist, Crossed began collecting vintage postcards of historic scenes in the 1980s. Years later, in the early 2000s, Crossed purchased and restored the birthplace of Susan B. Anthony in Adams, Mass., as a house museum. It was at this time that she began her collection of vintage suffrage postcards. All proceeds from book sales will support birthplace museum programs. For more information and to order the book, visit www.vintagetweetsbook.com, call 413-743-7121, or email info@susanbanthonybirthplace.org.

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