The Deserter and Other Suffragists

Image from the Brooklyn Museum


The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an up-state village passed
A girl who bore ‘mid snow and ice
A banner with the weird device:
Votes for Women.

“Oh stay!” the rich landowner said,
As swiftly past the maiden fled,
“Take pity on a lonely wight!”
But yellow dodgers marked her flight:
Votes for Women.

The village constable ran out
To block her way with threat and shout.
Eluding him, along she strode,
And flyers scattered in the road:
Votes for Women.

The doctor in his gig rode by,
And sought to catch her flashing eye,
“Beware,” he warned, “such nervous strain!”
She threw back bills with might and main:
Votes for Women.

At handsome villa on the crest,
“Oh, pause,” young Perry begged, “and rest!
Those yellow slips your beauty mar!
Pale rose would suit you better far!”
Votes for Women.

“How sweet of you!” and by the gate
She lingered, sure she’d met her fate,
Right speedily the two were wed;
And now another in her stead
Strews Votes for Women.

— Toledo Blade.

Daily Northwester (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Mar 4, 1911


Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont to Open “Farmerette” School


No Maude-Muller-raking-hay Idea, But a Practical Plow and Pig Pen Plant With Woman’s Suffrage on the Side.

New York, Feb. 25. — Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont announced to-day that she would open within a short time a school for teaching girls to farm. A class of twenty factory girls — all suffragists — will be instructed in the art of agriculture upon Mrs. Belmont’s 300 acres at Hempstead, L.I. Truck farming will be the specialty and when the young women have gathered their crops they will put on their sunbonnets, drive over to the city and learn how to sell them.

All this and more is in Mrs. Belmont’s plan, which she declares is the beginning of a social revolution which will make woman man’s peer in all lines of  endeavor. According to present plans the young women will be taught how to plow, sew, bed down horses, feed pigs, milk cows, make butter, rake hay and raise chickens as well. Not a man will be on the premises, even to chop wood or build chicken houses.

The girls will receive wages while learning. It is intended to make the place self-supporting and ultimately to enlarge the club. Mrs. Belmont also announced that she was working out the details of a plan in connection with the suffrage farm to enable her “farmerettes” to become owners of tiny farms from a half acre up. Such ownership, she says, would give them an incentive to work.

Back of the whole scheme, Mrs. Belmont declares, is the movement to win converts to her “votes for women” creed.

“To be a good farmer is only another way of working out the votes-for-women problem,” she said. “The more that women come to be owners of land, the makers of homes that are real homes, the more they will insist on the need of having the ballot to protect what is theirs.”

Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Feb 26, 1911

Image from Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Jun 16, 1911

Psalm of the Suffraget.

Show me not with scornful numbers
You’ve too many voters now,
Woman, wakened from her slumbers,
Wants to ballot anyhow.

Life with Bill or life with Ernest
Is no more our destined goal.
Man thou art, to man thou turnest,
But we, too, demand the poll.

Not enjoyment, naught but sorrow,
Is the legislator’s way,
For we’ll get to him tomorrow
If he should escape today.

Art’s expensive; styles are fleeting,
Let our lace edged banners wave,
Thus inscribed o’er every meeting,
“Give us suffrage or the grave.”

Heroines, prepare for battle!
Lend your efforts to the strife!
Drive all husbands forth like cattle!
Be a woman, not a wife!

Trust no man, however pleasant,
He’ll agree to all you say,
Send you candy as a present —
Go and vote the other way.

Wives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime
And preceding, leave behind us
All the rest at dinner time.

Let us then be up and doing,
Don the trousers and the coat,
For our candidate pursuing
The elusive, nimble vote.

— Smart Set.

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) Feb 17, 1911

*The next two poems aren’t about “votes for women” or “suffrage,” but mention one or the other, so I am including them.

Of all the folk you meet around,
Or pass most every day,
Doesn’t the man who always argues
Make you want to swear — or pray?
He argues if you say it’s clear,
He argues if it rains;
He argues in a trolley car,
And argues on the trains.

He’s always an authority On politics and graft.
He quotes you things of Roosevelt,
And what he said to Taft.
If you should say that eggs are high,
He tells you they are low;
No matter what the plays you’ve seen,
He knows a better show.

He argues on the price of meat,
And votes for women, too.
He thinks you don’t know anything —
And hands it our to you!
There ought to be a muzzle law
For all that kind of men,
So they could never argue
Or even talk, again.

— Philadelphia Times.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Mar 7, 1911

Image from Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, New York) Jun 25, 1911

The Scrappy Earth.

Bedlam down in Mexico,
Country in a stew;
In Brazil,
Matters ill,
Nicaragua, too.
Portugal still in a mess,
Spain dead scared of riot;
But around these of U.S.
Things are pretty quiet!

Suffragists in London town
Smashing statesmen’s maps.
In the air
Sounds of fervid scraps.
Things are getting hot, oh, yes;
Useless to deny it —
All except these old U.S. —
Here we’re pretty quiet!

True, ’twas not so long ago
We’d our little row —
Decent fuss,
Peaceful muss,
And it’s over now.
So we can scan the storm and stress
(Though, we scarce decry it)
And give thanks these old U.S.
Are so calm and quiet!

What’s the matter with the earth?
Why’s the whole world itching?
Making kinds
Take to wings,
All the bosses ditching?
When is peace once more to bless
All these scenes of riot?
Anyhow, these old U.S.
Still are calm and quiet!

— Paul West, in New York World.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Jan 15, 1911

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