"TOOT! TOOT! TOOT!": COMPLETE EARLY 20TH-CENTURY SET OF PANKO, THE WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE CARD GAME
(REED, Edward Tennyson, illustrator). Panko or Votes for Women. The Great Card Game Suffragists v. Anti-Suffragists. London: Peter Gurney, circa 1909. Forty-eight cards, measuring 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches, printed in color, versos with blue geometric block design and rectos with cartoons bordered with captions, unnumbered, together with original printed instruction sheet; housed in original card box.
A complete set of the most popular suffragette card game, Panko, charmingly illustrated by Punch cartoonist Edward Tennyson Reed.
The pack is split into two halves, with the illustrations for the four Suffragist suits heightened with purple and green coloring, depicting iconic suffragettes bearing the Votes for Women scroll and sash, and challenging a line of policemen, armed with umbrellas. Reed's illustrations for the four Anti-Suffragist suits are heightened with red and black coloring, and portray a series of stern-looking men standing in opposition to the women's cause; one particularly pointed sketch depicts a prison warden offering a meal to a hunger striker, the placard above reading "Holloway Restaurant" (for Holloway Prison, where Suffragists such as Emmeline Pankhurst and Emily Davison were imprisoned), with the caption "Faim de siècle"— a play on the phrase "Fin de siècle."
The game, which was distributed by the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) and a number of individual merchants across the country, was first advertised in Votes for Women in December 1909, and suffragette Mary Blathwayt is known to have given a set of Panko to her mother for Christmas that year. As Elizabeth Crawford writes, "the translation of the mechanics of the women's suffrage campaign into board and card games was a masterstroke that originated from within the Women's Social and Political Union. Not only were funds raised, but the message of the cause was brought into domestic circles where more rabid propaganda might not have been welcomed" (235).
Two variants of Panko have been identified. The first features a purple curlicue block design to the card versos and the rectos numbered at opposite corners with a 10, 20, 30, and 40 points system. The instructions sheet that typically accompanies these is headed "PANKO. Suffragists v. Anti-Suffragists," with ten rules total, the third of which provides an extended breakdown of the points system for each suite. The present set is an example of the second variant, the card versos decorated with a blue geometric block design and the cartoon rectos without the 10, 20, 30, 40 numbering. The instructions most often seen with these is in a different layout, headed "PANKO or 'Votes for Women,'" with twelve rules total, and no extended breakdown of the points system. It is possible that this variant is an earlier iteration of the game, circulated before the points system was clarified on the cards and instructions for subsequent packs, but no priority has been established. In all other aspects the sets are identical. Numbered sets in institutions and private collections include those at the Museum of London, Glasgow Women's Library, Ann Lewis Women's Suffrage Collection, and the Boston Athenaeum Library (the cataloguing of which describes the purple block design but makes no specific mention of the numbering). Examples of the unnumbered state are held at the LSE Women's Library, Ken Florey Suffrage Collection, and the Dana Porter Library at the University of Waterloo (but with the "Suffragists v. Anti-Suffragists" instructions sheet). See Elizabeth Crawford, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928. Marks of female ownership ("Lilian-Ruth Bright" faintly hand written in pencil to side of box, "L. R. Bright" hand written on instructions sheet verso, with note "Suffragist. - Toot-toot-toot" in the same hand).
Instructions sheet creased from folding as usual, the box sturdy with some light wear and soiling, two of the joints a little split at foot, the top and bottom panels of the box missing, as sometimes seen. Overall excellent condition, cards sturdy and bright.