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Your Girl and Mine (suffrage film)

Your Girl and Mine

by Alice W. Campbell, VCU Libraries

The author is grateful to Ray Bonis, Special Collections and Archives,
for bringing the ESL photograph and coverage of the event to my attention.
and to John McClure of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture
for help identifying several members of the Equal Suffrage League.

 

 

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Your Girl and Mine was the first large-scale suffrage film. Also referred to as a “photo-play,” the film was a collaboration between the National American Woman Suffrage Association and Selig Studio of Chicago.  Mrs. Medill McCormick (Ruth Hanna McCormick), an American politician, activist, and publisher, produced the melodrama with William N. Selig. Distribution was handled by World Film Corporation. The film had its premiere in Chicago on October 14, 1914 (Brownlow, 233-235).

This article in The Times-Dispatch includes a lengthy synopsis of the film’s plot, which revolves around the trials of women and children who have few legal rights. Poverty, child labor, tenement housing, alcohol abuse, and child custody battles all play out in the course of the melodrama.

The scene of “Your Girl and Mine” is laid in one of the non-woman suffrage States and its plot is based on conditions actually existing in many of the States where women have not yet the right to vote.

When the play opens Rosalind Fairlie Is living in the mansion which she has inherited from her wealthy father. Her Aunt Jane, an ardent equal suffragist, tries to interest Rosalind in working to secure women their rights, but without success.

Rosalind becomes the wife of Ben Austin–prodigal, spendthrift and libertine, but with the veneer of a well-bred gentleman. He Is heavily In debt. On the eve of his wedding day his father disowns him, saying: “I refuse to give you any more money. You are marrying a rich- girl, Under the law in this State her property can be seized for your debts. Make use of the law.”

 

 

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Equal Suffrage League of Richmond, Va. February,1915. (Image enhanced.) Published in The Times-Dispatch: Richmond, Va., February 28, 1915, p. 10.

 

Your Girl and Mine was shown show at the Colonial Theater in Richmond, Va. on Wednesday and Thursday, March 3 – 4, 1915. In the days before this showing, the Equal Suffrage League formed a committee, headed by Mrs. C. V. Meredith, to sell tickets and promote the movie. The Times-Dispatch reported:

When suffrage was taken from the funny papers and given place in the news columns of the dailies, the women who are working for the ballot felt that much had been accomplished.

Now the “movies” have taken it up so women know they are in sight of their goal and have stopped asking “Will you let us vote,” and are saying “How are you going to let us vote.”

When it was announced that the suffrage play, “Your Girl and Mine” would be seen in Richmond at the Colonial Theater this week, members of the Equal Suffrage League of Richmond were delighted and Mrs. B. B. Valentine, president of the League, said, “There is no better way for the public to have a concrete illustration of woman’s need for the ballot than for it to see this play.”

With regards to the photograph, the article stated, “The camera man got a very successful shot of the committee on one excursion as it rounded in a big motor car in front of the Washington Monument in Capitol Square with banners flying and the yellow streamers proclaiming “Votes for Women” in no uncertain tone.”

The members of the Equal Suffrage League photographed that day were:

(left to right in car) Mrs. G. Harvey Clarke (Mary Ellen Pollard Clarke), Mrs. Roy Knight Flannagan (Lucy Catesby Jones Flannagan), Nora Houston, Mrs. John Grant Armistead (Rosalie Fontaine Jones Armistead), Mrs. Alice Overbey Taylor, Mrs. Della E. Hooker (widow of J. W. Hooker), Mrs. Charles Vivian Meredith (Sophie Meredith), Mrs. Georgia May Johnson (identified on photo as Mrs. Frank L. Johnson; perhaps Mrs. Francis L. Johnson)

(left to right outside car) Adèle Clark, Mrs. Archer Gracchus Jones (Annie Boyd Jones), Mrs. John Garland Pollard (Grace Phillips Pollard), Mrs. Carter Wormeley (Sarah Harvie Wormeley), Mrs. Earnest Meade (Aline Jennings Mead(e), Mrs. Earnest C. B. Meade), Lynda McClanahan Koiner, Mrs. James Stuart Reynolds (Virginia “Boogie” Dickinson Reynolds), Mrs. W. Hill Urquhart (Dorothy Gordon Tait Urquhart), Mrs. W. W. Foster (Carrie Palmore Hughes Foster)

 

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An advertisement for the photo-play from The Daily Ardmoreite, April 18, 1915 (Ardmore, Oklahoma)

 

For further reading: 

Brownlow, K. (1990). Behind the mask of innocence. (pp. 233-235). New York: Knopf.

Mary Mallory / Hollywood Heights: ‘Your Girl and Mine’ Promotes Women’s Suffrage (October 19, 2015). The Daily Mirror. 

Has initial showing. Selig’s suffrage film (1914 October). Motography: The Motion Picture Trade Journal 12(18), 589-590.

Sloan, K. (1981). Sexual Warfare in the Silent Cinema: Comedies and Melodramas of Woman Suffragism. American Quarterly, 33(4), 412-436. doi:10.2307/2712526

Your Girl and Mine: A Woman Suffrage Play. Source Citations. American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films. The First 100 Years.

References: 

Brownlow, K. (1990). Behind the mask of innocence. (pp. 233-235). New York: Knopf.

Colonial Theater advertisement. (1915).  The Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.), February 28, 1915. p.7. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045389/1915-02-28/ed-1/seq-23/

McCormick, R. H. (1914). To win woman suffrage through motion pictures. The Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.), October 25, 2914. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85038615/1914-10-25/ed-1/seq-49/

Suffrage committee working for moving picture play. (1915). The Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Va.), February 28, 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045389/1915-02-28/ed-1/seq-42/

 

How to Cite this Article (APA Format): Campbell, A. W. (2019). Your Girl and Mine. Social Welfare History Project.alt [View Image]
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Resources related to this topic may be found in the Social Welfare History Image Portal.

2 Replies to “Your Girl and Mine (suffrage film)”

  1. Jeffrey Ruggles says:

    Great example of a simple inquiry leading to a rich result. The one piece of information missing is the photographer, noted in the article as “the camera man.” An educated guess might be Walter W. Foster, whose studio on 9th Street facing Capitol Square would have been familiar to this group of elite women. His wife stands at the far right of the group and one imagines she recruited him.

    1. awcampbell says:

      Yes, we’re pretty sure this is a Foster photo, but we haven’t found the proof yet.

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