Tuesday, 26 April 2016

V is for vivacious Vida on the vamp

Vida Goldstein (1869 - 1949) was my first cousin three times removed. In 1903, 113 years ago, she stood for the Senate. Vida was a feminist and suffragist and one of the first four women in the British Empire in the British Empire to be nominated and to stand for election to a national parliament. In 1902 she travelled to the United States of America to speak at the International Woman Suffrage Conference, was elected secretary, gave evidence in favour of woman suffrage to a committee of the United States Congress and attended the International Council of Women Conference.

The Brisbane Truth noted Miss Goldstein's candidature.

The Truth's use of the word "vamp", or rather the phrase "on the vamp", does not correspond to our usage of the word today, as a femme fatale or the dictionary definition of part of a shoe-upper or boot-upper. A 1901 news article in the Sydney Truth obviously is using another meaning again when it refers to the "official vamp given in the daily press". I do not quite understand the meaning of "on the vamp"  in the caption to the cartoon "Vivacious Vida Goldstein on the Vamp". Is it some reference to the Anti-Sweating League?

A Female Franchiser. (1903, August 23). Truth (Brisbane, Qld. : 1900 - 1954), , p. 5 (CITY EDITION). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199294063
Although Vida gathered more than 50,000 votes, her 1903 attempt to gain a seat in the Senate was unsuccessful.

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