Unseen Influence: Lucretia Blankenburg and the Rise of Philadelphia Reform Politics in 1911
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Lucretia Blankenburg successfully made women a crucial element of her husband Rudolph's successful campaign to become Mayor of Philadelphia in 1911. Although the reform candidate did not enjoy the use of the type of political organization provided to major-party candidates, he benefited from the efforts of many of the city's club women. Many lobbied their husbands and other male relatives on behalf of Blankenburg's candidacy. The candidate also employed maternalist themes of good city management and civic purity in his campaign. Most significantly, women's clubs provided Rudolph Blankenburg with a large number of volunteers who made house-to-house canvasses, raised funds, and organized motor pools to bring voters to the polls. Although Lucretia Blankenburg played a large role in organizing these activities, she downplayed her influence so as to insulate her husband from potential charges of unmasculine ineffectuality. Machine Republicans and male municipal reformers in Philadelphia largely failed to notice the contributions of Lucretia Blankenburg and the city's club women, even after the election of 1911.