John Sloan, Socialist Party Suffrage for Women Campaign Fund
Socialist Party Suffrage for Women Campaign Fund, c. 1913 John Sloan (1871–1951) Ink on paper 7 7/16 × 4 5/8 in. (18.9 × 11.7 cm) Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Helen Farr Sloan, 2000
In his diary entry for September 7, 1910, Sloan recounted that he was asked "to make a banner for the Women’s suffrage parade" the following month. His reputation as a "pro-suffragist," as he put it, preceded him. "I replied yes, if the W. S. P. [Women's Suffrage Party] showed no antagonism to real Social Democracy."
The drawing shown above is not the one discussed in his diary, but it demonstrates that Sloan was a supporter of suffrage. It also gives an example of the visual vocabulary Sloan used in making his arguments in favor of men's and women's political equality. The female figure on the emblem is as resolute, vital, and powerfully built as the male figure across from her; both are united in their cause.
You can click on Sloan's diary pages to read his words.
In his diary entry for March 26, 1912, Sloan wrote that Dolly had attented the Women's Committee of their Socialist Party chapter, grousing, "a vote of 3 to 2 decided that they would not accept the invitation of the Women’s suffrage party to parade with them. Idiots!"
Active in both socialist and suffrage-related circles, John and Dolly Sloan found themselves frustrated with divides between the two progressive movements. While Dolly participated in the Women's Suffrage committee in their New York Socialist organization, many socialists believed that women's place was in the home rather than in the public sphere.
Alternately, many women active in leftist politics, like the radical Emma Goldman, were against women's suffrage because they advocated a total revolution of the political systems of the United States. Sloan and Dolly, however, were ardent supporters of both causes. They went to hear Emma Goldman speak multiple times in the 1910s, and Sloan created sketches of the scene of Goldman's deportation to the Soviet Union in 1919.
Emma Goldman's Deportation, 1919 John Sloan (1871–1951) Graphite on paper 2 3/8 × 3 1/2 in. (6 × 8.9 cm) Delaware Art Museum, Gift of Helen Farr Sloan, 2000