Monthly Archives: June 2012

Artist from Seneca Falls, NY passionate about the suffrage Big Three

Katherine Pfeffer Pross is an artist and painter from Seneca Falls, New York who considers herself “intensely concerned about equal rights and peace in the world.” She says: “I create works that are thought provoking with messages of inspiration and enlightenment.” One of her favorite movies is “Iron Jawed Angels.”

In this painting Pross features Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, who are considered The Big Three movers and shakers of the American suffrage movement. You may have heard about Anthony and Stanton. Matilda Joslyn Gage is less well known, although her participation and commitment to the cause is increasingly coming to the forefront. This is due, in great part, to the work of scholar Sally Roesche Wagner, director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation in Fayetteville, New York.

Oregon suffrage centennial sash, plus news from Arizona and Kansas

  • Oregon’s suffrage centennial has some novel programs, such as the traveling sash that’s photographed as it moves around the state (called “Follow the Sash”). A sash is available for $15 from the Oregon Women’s History Consortium. The centennial web site, “Century of Action,” has historical documents, essays, news, events, and suffrage history.
  • Glencoe Elementary Suffrage Singers are shown above with Oregon’s first female governor, Barbara Roberts. The choir performed an original suffrage song called “Hey Mister” for audiences. Photo by Andie Petkus, courtesy of Oregon Women’s History Consortium, Century of Action project.
  • For some of the Arizona suffrage centennial highlights, follow this link. New play part of Arizona celebration.
  • Novel published in time for Kansas suffrage centennial celebration.
  • You can subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel on several platforms.

Video about women voting in our back yard to the north

Nine minute video about the history of women voting in Canada. Plans for a suffragette statue in Australia. Click here. New Zealand women plan their 120th anniversary of Votes for Women. Online book about woman suffrage in Mexico. Canada’s extraordinary suffragists.

Oregon suffrage centennial has plenty of photo opps and dressups!

Former Oregon governor Barbara Roberts, center, with LuAnn Trotebas, left, and Alyce Cornyn-Selby, right, from the National Hat Museum, wearing vintage 1912 hats at a Oregon 2012 suffrage centennial event. Photos courtesy of Oregon Women’s History Consortium, Century of Action project. Photos by Andie Petkus.

The story of suffrage is inching across the nation. The states of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Washington have observed their centennials. Oregon, Kansas and Arizona are in the midst of it now, and with this –the awareness of a remarkable time in history grows stronger.

Former Oregon governor Barbara Roberts has been playing an important role by emphasizing the importance of this observance as she travels on the speakers’ circuit. See article.  Roberts gave a speech before the City Club of Portland in the past year where she told the audience:

“History is meant, not to sit on a shelf, but to devour and think about and talk about and share.” She called the suffrage movement something “. . . that’s little told and is highly under appreciated” and how this “is about to change.” Roberts’ perspective is shared by many: “We’re bringing our place in history out of the shadows” and she’s reminded of Susan B. Anthony’s charge: “Never another season of silence.”

But what has happened in the past 100 years? This article from the Portland Tribune raises the question of how much footing women have gained in Oregon’s political arena.

More to come about the Oregon suffrage centennial. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and updates.

Susan B. Anthony is a corker! Find out for yourself!

Cartoon of Susan B. Anthony

They called her Aunt Susan and she had so many adopted nieces, people couldn’t keep count. That’s why this post features a ten-minute audio clip from “Jailed for Freedom” by Doris Stevens, published back in Grandmother Edna’s day, that gives you a feeling of almost being there.

Susan B. Anthony died before the ratification of the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote in 1920. So when August 26th comes around this year, at a time when people aren’t usually thinking about Aunt Susan, consider the possibility of having a party. There are lessons to be learned by putting on a skit about Susan. How about courage? Vision. Inner strength. She had her eye on the prize of women voting and wouldn’t give up. These themes are eternal.

I didn’t even have a script when I directed and produced my own Susan skit back in 2010. I went to the primary sources, lifted lines straight from the record, recruited the cast, and everyone had a blast with dress ups. The audience got the point.

So if you’ve been toying with the idea of putting on a program for August 26th (Women’s Equality Day) or a special fundraiser or other event for your friends, organization, or club, try Susan B. Anthony’s arrest in 1872 and her trial for voting. The trial was a hit at the Susan B. Anthony birthday party I organized in February of 2010, and it’s especially relevant for other special events because it’s an example of nonviolent civil disobedience. Susan was arrested for voting, and everyone knew back then that women couldn’t vote.

The audio clip on this post is a wonderful resource, plus the internet is a great resource for finding quotes from Susan, as well as her speeches, for reading out loud.  Here’s Susan B.’s petition to Congress in January of 1874. And resources from Susan’s trial record. Think about it! It’s a great way to introduce young people to Aunt Susan and there are great parts: Susan, the officer who arrests her, the district attorney, and the judge. Drama, conflict, plenty of action. Great lines.

Now –see how you do on a quiz about Susan B. Anthony.

Six-part interview series on the overview of suffrage history

Among serious suffrage buffs, you either like Carrie Chapman Catt or you don’t. Some believe she got too much credit for the suffrage win, and others would say not enough. Chances are, most people today haven’t heard of her. So the six-part interview series featuring Nate Levin might be filed away in the deep archives of human memory, except for the fact that Levin lays out a simple story line explaining the suffrage movement which is worth spending some time with.

Nate Levin wraps himself in the term “suffrage buff,” so much so that he created a Facebook page called Suffrage Buffs of America. His mother was a loyal member of the League of Women Voters (Grandmother Edna was a member) which has turned into a lifelong interest for Nate. He’s written  a book about Carrie Chapman Catt that’s free on Google Books. (It’s also available in hard copy). You can get to know more about Nate by way of YouTube in this five-part suffrage interview series: Program #1, Program #2, Program #3. Program #4. Program #5. Program #6.  And there’s more about Nate Levin on Suffrage Wagon News Channel where we feature his Facebook page that’s geared to other suffs like Nate…and me. There’s a great deal of information out there about the suffs, and it’s comforting to find a corner where people talk about these subjects.

Grandmother Edna Kearns presented an “Appeal to Liberty” to thousands

The Votes for Women activists took their appeal to the Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July in 1915. It’s an example of the bold tactics of the suffragists in 1915 which didn’t win them the vote during that campaign, but it certainly sent a message that the issue wouldn’t go away.

One version of the story is told about New York City where huge suffrage parades and demonstrations put an “Appeal to Liberty” (read by suffragists) into the mainstream awareness as it became an essential element of the Fourth of July observance. See the Fourth of July 1915 coverage in the Times.

Grandmother Edna Kearns carried the “Appeal to Liberty” theme to Long Island where this report noted that local firefighters gave Edna the platform to speak about Votes for Women and thousands listened. News about Edna is in the second column.

Photo: Associated Press.

Some activists threw themselves into the suffrage cause at their own peril

From a 1914 newspaper, the “Daily Herald,” depicting “Miss Davison.” By Will Dyson.

. . .such as the UK’s Emily Davidson who threw herself in front of the King’s horse. More is coming out about Davison and the details of her life, inlcuding the tale of how Davison hid herself in a crypt so she could use Parliament as her home address as a way to lobby for the vote. The posting comments are as interesting as the researcher’s report.

The film clip of Emily Davison’s dramatic protest is well known, and the clip of her funeral procession in London impacts us as only film can do.

What did Grandmother Edna Kearns say when standing on her campaign wagon?

Grandmother Edna kicked up a fuss on Long Island in 1912 as she kept the newspapers filled with suffrage news. She connected the dots between current events and the need for the vote, whether in the newspaper columns she wrote or when campaigning after 1913 in her horse-drawn suffrage wagon now on exhibit at the state capitol in Albany, NY through the summer of 2012.

You can’t have a baby without engaging in politics, Edna argued. And she raised eyebrows among other suffragists who believed they shouldn’t venture outside their limited sphere of lobbying for the vote. Edna raised her voice about the scandal at the Mineola jail and ventured forth to say that women would take care of community business better then men. Just give women a chance, she said.

When the newspapers carried the controversy, Edna defended herself from those who claimed her Better Babies campaign on Long Island was merely a “fad,” a ploy for “sensationalism.” Edna’s motivation? She insisted she was concerned that mothers didn’t have all the skills they needed for mothering and vowed to establish parenting classes. Underlying her argument, of course, was how much women needed the vote! This speaks to us today by remembering the interconnectedness of issues and reaching out to others to bring us together in linking our past with taking leadership in these times.