Suffragette autograph album illuminates movement’s struggles
Personal collection with messages from leading figures of the Women’s Social and Political Union comes to auction next week
“Bravely and willingly we bear our share of the world’s burdens. Why then deny us the right to vote which would dignify our labour and increase our power of service?” writes suffragette and feminist icon Sylvia Pankhurst in a rare autograph album collecting the thoughts of dozens of her fellow suffragettes, which is set to go up for auction next week.
Pankhurst’s writing in the album is accompanied by a line from playwright and Pankhurst family friend George Bernard Shaw, who has signed the book and replied, “Ungrateful Sylvia! Did I ever deny it?” The album, which dates back to 1909, includes 50 autographs from suffragettes and sympathisers, many written from prison following Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union‘s second window-breaking campaign in 1912. Pankhurst had said that “the broken pane of glass is the most valuable argument in modern politics”.