Pinning their hopes of suffrage

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This tin blue bird, distributed on July 19, 1915, represented lobbying efforts by Massachusetts women to obtain the vote. This bird belongs to Jackie Baer of Vineyard Haven. — Chris Baer

On July 19, 1915, Suffrage Blue Bird Day, approximately 100,000 colorful, tin 12- by 4-inch blue birds were pinned up on display around the state by the Women’s Suffrage Association, in an effort to promote the passage of an upcoming November referendum. This proposed referendum would have expanded the right to vote in federal, state, and local elections to women.

Unfortunately, the Massachusetts referendum failed, and Massachusetts women did not gain the vote until the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1920.
The pin highlights the suffrage movement here in Massachusetts, and the particular effort to expand the vote to women statewide in 1915. Though the effort failed, this pin demonstrates the lobbying efforts of Massachusetts women to expand their franchisement and rights within the state and nationally.

The pin photographed belongs to Jacqueline (“Jackie”) Baer, 87, a resident of Vineyard Haven. Her son Chris, director of the art department at MVRHS, submitted the photo on her behalf.

“It’s been hanging in my mother’s kitchen for years,” said Chris.

As the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment approaches, the League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard will continue to recognize particular efforts within the greater context of the women’s suffrage movement. To learn more about the Vineyard chapter or the organization at the national level, you can visit leagueofwomenvotersmv.org.