"Women in the Country" Flyer from Women's Rights Advocate

Flyer soliciting the support of rural women

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This flyer was among the personal papers of Estelle Boughton Sharp, the wife of prominent oilman and inventor Walter Benona Sharp. Originally from Michigan, Mrs. Sharp was an activist in the women's club movement, part of a national trend in the 1890s in which educated women gathered to share knowledge, culture, and comradeship. These women soon became voices for women's suffrage and campaigned to influence local issues in an era when women could not yet vote.

The flyer was published by the National American Woman Suffrage Association and was written to appeal directly to rural women. It argued that widows of farmers are “considered a citizen when the taxes fall due—and her taxes are more likely to be raised than reduced, but on election day she may not say how these taxes shall be spent." The phrase, “TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION IS TYRANNY,” sums up their beliefs.

Texas women achieved the right to vote in 1919. Like many suffrage activists, Sharp joined the League of Women Voters, which still publishes non-partisan advice for voters. Sharp's husband died in 1912. She sold her shares of his business to his partner, Howard Hughes, Sr.  

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"Women in the Country" Flyer from Women's Rights Advocate Artifact from Houston, Harris County
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