Political cartoons have been used since the 18th century to succinctly illustrate contentious issues, and their use is still common in publications today. The foundation of this multimedia program is based on suffrage and anti-suffrage cartoons drawn from a wide range of archives and published sources, shown to audiences in a Power Point slide show. Cartoons are an accessible and fun way to frame the story of women and voting to broad audiences, from school groups to libraries, bookstores, community and senior centers, and beyond.
Audiences analyze the cartoons, which are juxtaposed so that people can see anti-suffrage responses to suffrage contentions, and vice versa. People love to analyze cartoons, offering rather diverse and intriguing suggestions for their meanings. The coming two years are perfect for revisiting this once volatile issue, since we will celebrate the centennial of women voting in New York State in 2017. Most importantly, understanding the value of the vote to the suffragists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries should lead to more respect for the vote today.