Full Caption: Philip Dawes. A Society of Patriotic Ladies, at Edenton in North Carolina. Mezzotint. London, March 25, 1775. British Cartoon Collection. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-4617. Full Caption: Philip Dawe. A Society of Patriotic Ladies, at Edenton in North Carolina. Mezzotint. London, March 25, 1775. British Cartoon Collection. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-4617.

Considering the important role that women played in supporting the boycott of English goods and in raising funds and providing supplies for the revolutionary army, the dearth of printed imagery of real white women contrasts strikingly with the serried ranks of allegorical women. An exception—in that it depicts individualized, if imagined and caricatured, women from varying social backgrounds, including a slave woman—is a rare British cartoon that satirizes the fifty-one ”patriotic ladies” of Edenton, North Carolina, in their attempt to endorse the nonimportation association resolves of 1774. Their depiction as ugly or foolish probably owes more to their allegiance to the colonial cause than it does to their gender. As Linda Kerber has remarked, for many American women, the signing of a petition—virtually unknown before the 1770s—was their first political act (Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America [1980], 41).

see caption below