Could members of the Chatham community have been opposed to women's suffrage?
An article published on the front page of the April 1895 student newspaper, Sorosis, raises the likelihood that an anti-suffrage sentiment existed on campus.
The article begins with the statement that "Women in our times are becoming more mannish year by year. They do not content themselves with wearing coats, shirts, and other articles of men's apparel, but are now actually voting in some states."
The article asserts that women should not "thrust ourselves forward before men" and should focus, rather, on their duties in the home.
Seems fairly anti-suffrage, right? Well, maybe.
When looking at the entire newspaper issue, one finds that the anti-suffrage article appears immediately before an article decrying the use of puns as "the lowest level to which conversation can descend."
Are the anti-suffrage article and the anti-pun article part of an April Fools' issue?
Looking at the issue as a whole (click here to see the whole April 1895 issue), nothing else seems to indicate that the entire issue was a spoof, as were the April Fools' issues published by Chatham students in the 1980s and 1990s (click here for these issues). Could the students of 1895 have been so vehemently opposed to both suffrage and puns? Or are we, serious readers of the 21st century, being had?
The local anti-suffrage movement was vocal in the lead-up to the 1915 Pennsylvania referendum on voting rights. Its success is seen through the results of the ballot, which gave the anti-suffragists a landslide victory. Anti-suffragists of the era contended, as did the author of the above referenced article in the Sorosis, that voting rights would threaten the ability to be a "true woman" and to provide care for the family and home.
The topic of anti-suffrage sentiment on Chatham campus and in the local area is certainly one that warrants additional research. Contact the Chatham Archivist for assistance with this research topic.