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Exhibition Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote

“Women Will Present Memorial to President,” Washington Herald, January 9, 1917; “Freezing Suffrage Sentinels Ignore Invitation by Wilson,” Washington Post, January 12, 1917; and “‘Suff’ Pickets Shiver but Stick to Posts,” Washington Herald, January 12, 1917. News clippings. NAWSA Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (091.00.00)
Harris & Ewing. Florence Brewer Boeckel and Betty Mackaye bring hot drinks to the picket line in front of the White House, 1917. Reproduction from glass plate negative. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (321.00.00)

Suffragists are First to Picket White House

After years of lobbying, petitioning, and parading, suffragists felt that their tactics were growing stale and ineffective. On January 10, 1917, frustrated at President Woodrow Wilson’s flagrant dismissal of their demands, the Congressional Union instituted the practice of picketing the White House, the first political activists to do so. News articles reported that “wintry blasts turned their lips blue,” but they remained at their posts, keeping warm with hot chocolate and fur coats while standing on wooden boards and hot bricks.