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Anthony, Susan B.

LETTER: ERA Broadside with ALS on it.


Anthony Lobbies for South Dakota
Anthony, Susan B. ERA broadside from the Headquarters of the Equal Suffrage Association of South Dakota, Huron, South Dakota, July 16, 1890; with Autograph letter signed, "Susan B. Anthony," on verso, to an unknown recipient, July 21, 1890.
Printed broadside measuring 8.5 x 11", issued by the Headquarters of the Equal Suffrage Association of South Dakota, with a single horizontal crease from folding; broadside text printed on the recto, with ALS addressed "Dear sir" on the verso. In a specially made cloth slipcase.
The broadside, signed in type by Will F. Bailey and Philena Everett Johnson (who served as Secretary and President of the Equal Suffrage Association of South Dakota, respectively), is a call-to-arms which begins:
 Friends of Equal Suffrage:
Less than four months will elapse until the question of the enfranchisement of the women of South Dakota will be settled at the ballot box. We can settle the question rightly if we do our duty. The National workers headed by our Deborah, Susan B. Anthony, are with us, generously giving both time and money to our cause; but the burden of our work must be done by home talent. We wish to send our best speakers to every county and township in the state and put suffrage literature, weekly, into the hands of every voter, both native and foreign.
We wish to send German and Scandinavian speakers and literature where needed. We desire later in the campaign to hold tent meetings all over the state.
The broadside recommends a number of activities and initiatives designed to generate enthusiasm for the proposed 1890 voting amendment, such as oratorical suffrage contests, "yellow tea parties" (yellow was chosen as the official suffrage color to acknowledge Kansas, whose state flower is the sunflower, for being the first state to pass an amendment allowing women to vote), and organizing singing quartets in every township to learn suffrage songs and help in the effort to "SING suffrage to the people." Each township is also requested to contribute $5.00 to the cause and to keep diligent records of all meetings held that relate to the suffrage amendment. The rhetoric of the broadside is grandiose, but still quite moving: it implores all supporters of the amendment to "help carry forward the grandest reform of our age" so that "God will crown our labors with victory."
Anthony's letter, apparently written in response to an appeal, reads in full:
 Dear Sir
It is impossible for me to comply with your request-I am here in the midst of the  campaign-trying to educate the rank and file of the men to vote for the Woman Suffrage Amendment on the 24th of November next.
 Can you not-will you not help on this work for justice to the women of South Dakota.
 Respectfully yours
 Susan B. Anthony
Despite Anthony's efforts, the amendment failed to pass in 1890; the women of South Dakota were not granted suffrage until 1918, after a total of six unsuccessful campaigns. Defeat after such a rigorous struggle took its toll on Anthony: upon her return home to Rochester, her sister Mary commented "that for the first time she realized that Susan was growing old" (Century of Struggle, by Eleanor Flexman, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996, p. 223).

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