Lange K. Allison, Picturing Political Power – Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. University of Chicago Press, May 18, 2020.

“Visual culture did not simply complement verbal and textual feminist analysis of society and women’s place within it, but fundamentally challenged prevalent stereotypes.” (Garrett, Miranda, and Zoë Thomas. Suffrage and the Arts: Visual Culture, Politics and Enterprise. Bloomsbury, 2018. p.4)


To celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, Allison K. Lange publishes a book on the visual culture of the woman’s rights and woman suffrage movement in the United-States untitled Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement (University of Chicago Press) that will be available in Spring 2020. 

Cover of the book Picturing Political Power: Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 2020. source : http://www.allisonklange.com/

Allison K. Lange is an assistant professor of history at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. She received her PhD in American history from Brandeis University in 2014. She is working on the long nineteenth century and she particularly focuses on the perspective of culture, politics and gender. 

Apart from the publication of her book, she is curating suffrage exhibitions at the Massachusetts Historical Society and Harvard’s Schlesinger Library. She works also as a public historian and guest curator with the National Women’s History Museum. She delivers talks across the United-States and abroad as she will be present at the conference giving a talk entitled “No Longer in the Margins : The Role of Suffrage in Reframing American History.”

Photograph of Allison K. Lange, available on https://www.womenshistory.org/allison-k-lange-phd

Picturing Political Power : Images in the Women’s Suffrage Movement shows how visuals were used by suffragists as well as anti-suffragists during the American women’s campaign for the voting right. Allison K. Lange shows the way illustrations, engravings, photographs, and chromolithograph posters gave another perspective of womanhood, an image that was defying the one usually associated to women. 

Illustration shows a torch-bearing female labeled “Votes for Women”, symbolizing the awakening of the nation’s women to the desire for suffrage, striding across the western states, where women already had the right to vote, toward the east where women are reaching out to her. Created by Henry Mayer in 1915. Source : https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/98502844/

The work of Allison K. Lange demonstrates how suffragists pioneered one of the first considerable visual campaign in modern American history. Notably through the examination of some tactics used by white suffragists that were different from others promoted by suffragists of color. For example, visuals used by white suffragists spotlighted the relation between the voting right and motherhood while suffragists of color emphasized on pictures promoting respect. 

Anti-suffrage postcard published by Dunston-Weiler Lithograph Company in New York in 1909 showing how the suffrage would feminize men by challenging the “natural” balance between men and women -men belonging to the political sphere and women to the domestic one. source : https://thesuffragepostcardproject.omeka.net/items/show/53

For the centennial of the 19th amendment several books were published. Among them, Suffrage and the Arts: Visual Culture, Politics and Enterprise published by Bloomsbury Visual Arts and written by Miranda Garrett and Zoe Thomas. It focuses on the central role of artists and visual culture in the British Isles during the campaign in favor of the women’s suffrage.  The same way, Allison K. Lange shows how visuals had an central role in American women’s campaign for the voting right and the power of images to change American history throughout the 19th and 20th century.


Bibliography :

“Allison K. Lange, PhD.” Allison K. Lange, PhD, www.allisonklange.com/.

Garrett, Miranda, and Zoë Thomas. Suffrage and the Arts: Visual Culture, Politics and Enterprise. Bloomsbury, 2018.

“Picturing Political Power.” University of Chicago Press, 1 May 2020, www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/P/bo50270913.html.


Merrine Vanhille