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Picturing a World

Women ride astride

Inez Mulholland's spectacular appearance at the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, D.C., might seem merely a brilliant stroke of theatricality, but there really was a connection between saddles and suffragism. In 1910–1911, Nan Aspinwall rode coast to coast astride to show that women could (as they should: side saddles are more dangerous). Alberta Clare also rode coast to coast and made the connection to voting rights explicit. You can read more about them in an article, Sidesaddles and Suffragettes. And for a delicious vintage linen riding habit from the period when clothes were adapting to the new style of riding, click here.

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Bertha Newcombe’s model

I'm always on the lookout for images that reveal something about the life of Parisian artists' models. Bertha Newcombe was an English suffragist, who studied at the Académie Colarrossi in Paris. Here, her woman's-eye sketch of the end of a day captures how tired the hardworking her fellow art students were and how matter-of-fact the model was in putting her clothes back on. More of Newcombe's work can be found at Wikipedia Commons, including a nifty women's suffrage poster.

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Norah Smyth, photographer

Blog tip: Votes for women on both sides of the pond! A post on the English photographer, Norah Smyth, fits well on an American election day when women need to get out and exercise the right our foremothers won for us. And Smyth’s pictures of East Enders instead of the rich and famous should inspire us all to remember that ordinary people matter and can change the world for the better. Read More 

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