RVA50 Object 35 “Suffrage Bandolier, 1913”

Suffrage Bandolier, 1913

Worn by Lila Meade Valentine
Woven cotton

Lila Meade was born in Richmond on February 4, 1865, the daughter of Richard Hardaway Meade and Kate Fontaine Meade. At the age of twenty-one, she married Benjamin Batchelder Valentine, a prosperous businessman who supported his wife’s reform efforts in the areas of healthcare, education, race relations and women’s rights.  Mrs. Valentine lived to see women’s suffrage amended to the United States Constitution in 1920.

A bandolier is a pocketed belt issued to soldiers for holding ammunition and is worn slung across the chest. Mrs. Valentine wore this bandolier in support of women’s suffrage. No doubt it was meant to invoke a militant stance on the eve of the First World War.  White, gray and purple were the suffrage movement’s colors.

Gift of Elizabeth Cocke, 1975