1916 Election Day Music

Submitted 2 years ago

This is just so troubling, while supporting a cause that's so right. In the presidential election of a hundred years ago, women still did not have the vote in most states. With the election in the news, it was a good opportunity to push yet again for women's suffrage. Good idea--long overdue. But the message this 1916 popular song conveys is not exactly liberating.

The woman's role is clearly defined in the image: at home, raising the family, smiling to the world. The rhetoric of the chorus then places the woman as a man's helpmate and little more:

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She's good enough to love you and adore you,
She's good enough to bear your troubles for you;
And if your tears were falling today,Nobody else would kiss them away.She's good enough to warm your heart with kissesWhen you are lonesome and blue,She's good enough to be your baby's motherAnd she good enough to vote with you!

A hundred years later, Americans have their first opportunity to vote for a woman as a major party candidate. Progress for sure. But Lord knows what we will think a hundred years from now about the rhetoric of thiscampaign season.

To learn the tune and read the rest of the song, ask for Rauner Sheet Music SC 4077.


Rauner Special Collections Library houses rare books, manuscripts, and Dartmouth College Archives for the Dartmouth College Library. We think it is one of the coolest places on campus: besides a great exhibits program, the reading room is open to the public. Where else can you see a first edition of Pride and Prejudice or a copy of the James Audubon double elephant folio Birds of America in the Upper Valley? The Rauner blog is a great way to get acquainted with the collections, or go to Instagram if you have a shorter attention span.

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