Thursday, August 18, 2011

Paul* + Pual* (for Paul*)

Today marks the 91st anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women in the United States the right to vote. There are probably very few women alive anymore who remember the days when women were denied that right. The shocking abuse suffered by suffragists who chained themselves in protest to the White House gates during the Wilson administration, and were subsquently arrested for their efforts, ensured that they barely made it out alive as well. One strung up by the wrists all night, another beaten unconscious, they were given only dirty water and worm-infested "slop" to subsist on while in jail. When Alice Paul initiated a hunger strike, she was violently force-fed until she vomited; this "torture" continued for weeks until word was leaked out to the press. Such treatment was even worse in England, where the battle for women's suffrage was valiantly led by Sylvia and Emmeline Pankhurst. However, not all men back then were such brutes and bigots. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis was the author of the opinion upholding ratification of the 19th Amendment in Leser v. Garnett, which concerned an attempt to prevent two women from voting in Maryland. As Mrs. Banks and her friends pointedly, if rather understatedly, put it in the song "Sister Suffragette" from the movie Mary Poppins: "Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they're rather stupid..." Today's grouped typo turns up 31 times in OhioLINK and 422 times in WorldCat. Let's all pull together today and lift the pall over these misspelled records.

(Studio portrait of Alice Paul printed in The Suffragist, 1915, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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