Do you think that today’s elections are the first time politicians kept data on people?
Not so. An organization called the National Women’s Party back in 1919 used precise data to get votes on congressmen.
I was startled to learn that over a hundred years ago, Maud Younger, suffragist and member of the Party, kept meticulous records on notecards of every congressman they needed to approve the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.
Members of the Party began collecting data on each congressman they wanted convince to change his vote. No detail was overlooked.
They kept records on each man’s education, religion, and who is family members were. And his family members’ education and religion.
They found out about his military service, his past and present occupations, the newspapers he read, his recreations and hobbies, his health and habits, the lodges and clubs of which he was a member.
They even kept details on the congressmen’s golf partners.
Rumors swirled through Washington D.C. that the National Women’s Party had a secret system. Younger told the New York Times that they didn’t accept improperly offered information. They just collected what was known.
But they did it in a systematic way. The hard way.
Data pays off. And it paid off over a 100 years ago.
Politicians got an important lesson from smart, determined women.
Thanks to the March 2, 1919 issue of the New York Times.