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:

GIANTS AND CUBS TO PLAY FOR VOTES

“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 ChroniclingAmerica.org:

 

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The Suffragents won the Gold Medal in US History in the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards and was a finalist for the 2018 Sally and Morris Lasky Prize, presented by the Center for Political History.  See Summer Camp Newsletters” and Facebook posts from book-related appearances. Reviews, notices, and articles about my books are under their titles here. My articles are here.

2019 Calendar:
January 29:
Exhibition Opening Remarks: “Women Get the Vote: A Historic Look at the Nineteenth Amendment,“New York Society Library. February 23: Public Values in Conflict with Animal Agribusiness Practices,” UCLA Law School, Los Angeles.  March 13: The Suffragents,” Scarsdale Woman’s Club, Scarsdale NY. March 24: League of Women Voters, Albany County at the Bethlehem (NY) Public LibraryMarch 25:Judges, Lawyers, and Women’s Suffrage: Recognizing the Men Who Stood with Women on the Front Lines,” Gender Fairness Committee of the Third Judicial District, CLE, NY State Courts at SUNY Albany Law School, Albany NY. May 15: “The Republican Suffragents,” National Women’s Republican Club, New York City. August 7: “From Emma Goldman to the Marketplace of Ideas: Marking the 100th Anniversary of Free Speech at the Supreme Court,.” AEJMC, Toronto.