The Women’s Suffrage Baseball “Fan” Offensive of May 18, 1915: Chicago Cubs vs. New York Giants

June 29, 2017

In the run-up to the November 1915 vote on the women’s suffrage referendum in New York State, the suffrage movement went after men of all classes, wherever they happened to congregate, and especially where support was likely to be weakest. The baseball game offensive of that spring is definitely one for the annals.

Here’s the report on plans in the New York Tribune of April 21, 1915. It’s indicative of the clever detail that went into so much of the suffragists’ promotional efforts:


“Be a Suffrage Fan” Is Motto Which Will Flood the Polo Grounds on May 18

New York Tribune, April 21, 1915, p. 14

Although a poll of the Giants showed that the baseball players were almost unanimous in their opposition to votes for women, the partisans of the movement will hold a suffrage day at the Polo Grounds on May 18, when the Cubs meet McGraw’s men.

Women “nines” from all the suffrage organizations are forming selling teams to dispose of 8,000 tickets and 125 boxes which the Empire State Campaign Committee has taken on commission.

The men’s league, through George Creel Has promised to be responsible for 1,000 seats. Suffrage literature will be given out, and among the souvenirs will be a fan inscribed “Be a Suffrage Fan.”

Mrs. Norman de R. Whitehouse, who heads the votes for women baseball committee, has presented the Giants with a mascot bat. It is made of yellow wood, and lettered in blue is the advice “Vote for Woman Suffrage November 2, 1915.” On its handle, it bears a huge yellow satin bow. Larry McLean has promised to use it the first time he goes in to pinch hit.

Here’s the page from the Trib, courtesy of the Library of Congress’s


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Upcoming events 2018: February 21: unCommon Salon@theResearch Commons of NYU Libraries. March 4: Westchester County League of Women Voters. March 6: Decision Women in Commerce & Professions Women’s History Month DinnerMarch 10: Keynote, Joint Journalism & Communications Historians Conference, New York City. April 15: Nassau County and Farmingdale-Bethpage historical societies at the Farmingdale Public LibraryApril 29: St. George’s School. May 20: Women’s Suffrage and NYC: A Centennial Celebration Symposium: Bronx Historical Society and Woodlawn Cemetery  June 14: Roosevelt Island Historical Society. August 4: Shelter Island Historical Society.

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