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February 5, 2012

Candid Photographs Capture a Group of GOP Women Got Together for an Old-Fashioned “Smoker” in Connecticut, 1941

The Good Old Party in earlier times elicits images of a boys’ club, with men in suits spending their time shuffling cards and swapping the latest political stories in rooms engulfed in smoke and tobacco. But one young group of Republican women in Milford, Connecticut asked why the casual get-together – called a smoker – was exclusively for menfolk.

And so, on the evening of May 20, members of the Young Women’s Republican Club of Milford explored the pleasures of tobacco, poker, the strip tease and such other masculine enjoyments as had frequently cost them the evening companionship of husbands, sons and brothers.

LIFE photographer Nina Leen chronicled the shenanigans that erupted when a group of GOP women got together for an old-fashioned “smoker” on one long, memorable night in southern New England.

(Photos: Nina Leen—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)

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