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“Fine Dignity, Picturesque Beauty, and Serious Purpose”:

The Reorientation of Suffrage Media in the Twentieth Century

Emily Scarbrough, Author

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Nina Allender

Nina Allender was born in 1872 in Kansas. A gifted artist and passionate suffragist, Allender became involved in the movement in 1912. She was president of the Stanton Suffrage Club -- with a membership of around 400, the club was the largest in the District of Columbia. She was a proponent of actively advertising suffrage through parades, lectures, and literature. Allender became involved in the National American Woman's Suffrage Association (NAWSA) and followed Paul and Burns when they broke from the group to form the National Women's Party (NWP). She was instrumental in reshaping the image of suffragists in print media. The "Allender Girl" slowly replaced the mannish caricatures of older suffrage media. Allender portrayed suffragists as light, bright, young, and feminine. Her cartoons graced the covers and pages of The Suffragist -- the official organ of the NWP. Perhaps more than any other artist, Allender sought to re-brand American suffragist women. She worked against the long-standing stereotypes that began with the movement's inception. Instead of suggesting that politics would corrupt women, turning them into man hating, child abandoning, cruel spinsters, women could elevate politics. They would use the vote as a tool to extend their natural qualities -- motherhood and beauty -- to help purify politics, attack graft, and reform society.
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