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Notes from the Archives: Winning the women's vote

As more and more women registered to vote, politicians began to campaign on issues that specifically interested and effected women.  Politicians also reached out to women’s organizations for both speaking opportunities and endorsements. In 1929, Boston’s Mayor Curley, running for re-election, won the endorsement of the Women’s Better Government League. The League circulated the below pamphlet in support of his mayoral candidacy.   

Women’s Better Government League Pamphlet, 1929

Curley’s opponent, Frederick W. Mansfield, also competed for women’s votes. Mansfield’s campaign published the below pamphlet, entitled “Hasn’t Curley had enough??”, featuring a letter written by Mansfield’s wife Helena, and addressed “To the Women of Boston.”

Frederick Mansfield campaign pamphlet, 1929

The pamphlet also included an endorsement by Jennie Louman Barron, the only woman serving on Boston’s School Committee in 1929. While Helena Mansfield’s letter focused on her personal experience with her candidate husband, Barron’s endorsement made a more direct appeal to politically active and civically engaged women. Barron was a lifelong activist who fought for women’s suffrage. While a student at Boston University, she organized the Women’s Equal Suffrage League.  During her career as a lawyer, she fought for equal pay for female teachers and for the right for women to be on juries. In her endorsement of Mansfield, Barron emphasized his political accomplishments, his progressive platform, and her opinion that he would be a mayor who served all Boston residents.  

Frederick Mansfield campaign pamphlet, 1929

As women became more active in party politicking and campaigning, diverse groups of women began to make political appeals to other women. Those appeals could be personal or political, and were often both.  Less than a decade after women obtained suffrage, politicians, elected officials, and party leaders recognized the necessity of winning the women’s vote. 

Want to learn more about researching Women’s History at the City Archives? Take a look at our documenting women’s lives at the City Archives post!

Contact Department: Archives and Records Management

Publish Date: Wed, 03/04/2020 – 12:05am

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