Her Hat Was in the Ring!

U.S.Women Who Ran for Political Office Before 1920

Cartoons and images of Sorosis
Image from Harper's Weekly magazine, May 15, 1869

Sorosis was one of the first women's political and professional clubs in the United States. It was founded by author, journalist, and editor Jane Cunningham Croly in 1868, after women writers were denied access to male-dominated press clubs in New York City. Sorosis was a place for professional women to meet and forge bonds. While it was not primarily a political organization, in the sense of nominating women for political office, Sorosis members did engage in the politics of the growing woman's movement. Sorosis went on to directly inspire the women's club movement through which many women in the last quarter of the nineteenth century entered into civic engagement and professional life.

In this cartoon by Charles G. Bush, published one year after the founding of the organization, the women members appear to be "just like men" engaged in politics and political clubs. Some of the women are shouting to and from the stage, while others are negotiating, or writing speeches. The women are sharp-faced and strident. Many of the women, especially the ones on the stage, or near it, are posed in "masculine" positions, with arms raised or hands on hips. Two women lean on the stage in physically "free" positions-one woman leans back with her elbow on the stage,and another stands with one knee on the platform. On the right side of the cartoon three women are considering who Sorosis should nominate for "Governess", rather than Governor. This feminized version of the office title, recalls the nursery and women's connection with the home and child-care.

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