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A sign of the times in two centuries

A women's suffrage poster is making a come back thanks to the Luzerne County Historical Society.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — The Luzerne County Historical Society's Museum in Wilkes-Barre has been open for only the past couple weeks since the pandemic hit.

Inside there's an exhibit to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote.

"It's on the centennial of the 19th amendment," explained the society's Director of Operations and Programs, Mark Riccetti Jr. "It's on women's suffrage, it's on the anti-suffrage movement, it's on some of the earlier attempts the 1915 referendum in Pennsylvania that failed. Women in World War One, which was really the first case of women in many cases on the front lines doing nursing duty, telegraph duty, things like that."

Interim Executive Director Mary Walsh says this poster that reads, 'A Woman Living Here Has Registered to Vote Thereby Assuming Responsibility of Citizenship,' caught her eye when she and others were looking at items to show in the exhibit.

"It just caught my attention," added Walsh. "I guess first I saw the colors and then when I saw what it said I thought oh this means so much to so many women that it'll just be a knockout when people see it."

The historical society made replicas to sell and printed enough posters for what leaders thought would last a week, but they sold out in 15 minutes online.

"So we're making more, we're gonna continue to make more, but we were getting phone calls from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, from Indiana, outside of Indianapolis, from Michigan on the Upper Peninsula, New York City, Florida," said Riccetti.

In most cases, orders have been 5, or even a dozen posters at a time with the intent to give them away. 

"Which is really really very cool because the idea behind the original signs in 1920, was to inspire groups to vote, in the case of 1920, it was women specifically. Hopefully the sign will have the same effect today," added Riccetti.

The posters are $5 and are printed by the historical society if you would like to purchase one or learn more about the exhibit, you can visit the Luzerne County Historical Society's website here.

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