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New Acquisition: Panko Playing Cards

When you hear the word “Panko,” do you think of Japanese bread crumbs?

Box cover for Panko, or, Votes for Women: The Great Card Game
Box cover for Panko, or, Votes for Women: The Great Card Game

I did, until the Sallie Bingham Center acquired this deck of Panko playing cards. It’s named for the leader of the British suffrage movement, Emmeline Pankhurst  (1858-1928), and pits opponents and supporters of suffrage against each other in a game similar to rummy. The advertisement for the game claimed, “Not only is each picture in itself an interesting memento, but the game produces intense excitement without the slightest taint of bitterness.”

Pank! Pank! Pank! for Emmeline Pankhurst
Pank! Pank! Pank! for Emmeline Pankhurst

This translation of the women’s suffrage movement into card games, and also board games, helped bring the message of the cause into domestic circles where more overt forms of propaganda might not have been welcomed. These cards were designed by the well-known Punch cartoonist E. T. Reed, and published by Peter Gurney in 1909.

Votes for Women.
Votes for Women, say the suffragettes.

These particular playing cards are owned by only three other libraries and are an important, rare piece of suffragette memorabilia that joins a number of other decks of cards held by the Bingham Center that explore issues related to women and gender. Check out the Panko catalog record here!

Post contributed by Megan Lewis, Technical Services Archivist for the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture.

One thought on “New Acquisition: Panko Playing Cards”

  1. Do you believe in women‘s suffrage?

    A favorite vintage party game of my teenage daughter and her friends is a game called “funny conversations” (or Krazy Konversations). I have a version of this game from the late 19th Century and the idea of the game is simple in that random questions are matched to random answers, for example:-

    Do you believe all men tell you?
    Do you believe in kissing on ice?
    Have you cut your wisdom teeth yet?

    The random answer may be something like:-

    I frankly answer “yes”
    I cannot tell although it is hard to feel one’s self a fool

    One question I have always pondered over, as to why it is included, is the question:

    Do you believe in women‘s suffrage?

    The type of questions (and the game) seem to be targeted at young ladies so I think the inclusion of this question is more to do with stimulating real conversion rather than amusement. This popular game was played 20 or so years before women could vote (in either the UK or USA).



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