Monthly Archives: September 2013

Young people get an education about slavery: DAY #1 of “Cradle” Blogging Tour

HandonStatue5

Young people touch the welts on the back of the bronze statue of Sojourner Truth, the abolitionist and suffrage activist, whose statue as a slave child was unveiled in Ulster County in the Hudson Valley on the first day of the blogging tour of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement of the United States.  Read article by Olivia Twine. Article by Marguerite Kearns. Photo: Olivia Twine. For more information: http://letsrockthecradle.com

12 Reasons Why the “Spirit of 1776″ Wagon is a Treasure!

The "Spirit of 1776" suffrage wagonAnd you thought the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon was safely tucked away in a warehouse of the New York State Museum near Albany, NY. Wrong! The security team at the museum warehouse will note the wagon is in its usual place. However, the wagon’s 1776 spirit is heading out in late September for a blogging tour of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the US .

Your spirit can join in with the fun. Follow the Suffrage Wagon by signing up for a seat on the blogging bus. It’s free. You don’t have to leave home. And if for some reason, you can’t join us live, stop by when it’s convenient. Join us at LetsRockTheCradle.com

The suffrage wagon called the “Spirit of 1776″ is considered an important part of American history. Here are 12 reasons why:

1. The suffrage wagon a prime artifact of the suffrage movement in NYS and the nation;

2. The suffrage wagon can be exhibited in a stationary place or taken on the road to travel;

3. The wagon symbolizes the national suffrage theme of the unfinished American Revolution and the “Spirit of 1776” theme of the Declaration of Sentiments going back to Seneca Falls in 1848;

4. The suffrage campaign wagon is in the collection of the NYS Museum and already has been seen by thousands of people in an exhibit at the state museum in 2010 and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Capitol exhibit in 2012;

5. The wagon has a constituency of people who follow its stories from history through an online multimedia news and story platform called Suffrage Wagon News Channel (http://suffragewagon.org);

6. The wagon has been well documented in its history, including coverage of the “Spirit of 1776” wagon’s travels by the New York Times, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the New York Tribune, and many other papers in 1913;

7. The New York Archives magazine in Albany, NY is preparing an article on the “Spirit of 1776” wagon that is scheduled to appear in October 2013;

8. The wagon is representative of the extensive grassroots organizing that was necessary for NYS suffrage movement leaders to campaign in 1915 and ultimately win the franchise for New York’s women in 2017;

9. The “Spirit of 1776” has come to represent the decade-long activism of the Kearns family (Edna, Wilmer, and their daughter Serena and descendants) for whom the NYS woman suffrage movement has been a family affair;

10. The “Spirit of 1776” wagon symbolizes the tens of thousands of activists that it took to win the vote for women nationally and how the movement also involved communities large and small across the nation;

11. The “Spirit of 1776” wagon continues to develop the theme of the 2012 Governor’s Capitol exhibit, “From Seneca Falls to the Supreme Court: New York’s Women Leading the Way”;

12. The suffrage campaign’s centennial of its first journey in July 1913 will be celebrated throughout 2013, and the wagon has a long shelf life in terms of public interest and the development of cultural tourism from now through 2017 and 2020, the NYS and national centennial of women voting in the United States.

The “Spirit of 1776″ is another way to rock the cradle of the women’s rights movement in the US. Sing along.

Subscribe to the Suffrage Wagon main platform for videos you can easily access. Follow the wagon!

The women of Long Island’s past revealed in book by Natalie Naylor: Marguerite’s Musings

Marguerite's MusingsIt is more than appropriate to set aside some time to reflect on an important book by Natalie Naylor, Women in Long Island’s Past: A History of Eminent Ladies and Everyday Lives (The History Press, 2012). This book has been winking at me every time I dust near the stack of books that I consider a “must read.” Natalie’s “eminent ladies” is no best seller, but I’ve grown to accept this when it comes to women’s history. This is an arena where those of us who love history must stick together. And Natalie has gone beyond the call of duty in terms of following this subject for years and then leaving something behind of substance for people like us to reflect on.

I remember getting to know Natalie years ago at a Long Island library where she met with me during the very early stages of researching my grandmother Edna Kearns’ suffrage activism on Long Island. She was generous with her own research, which isn’t always the case with scholars. Natalie’s support and encouragement has been extremely important for me, and I’ve grown to respect the time and commitment she has put into documenting the long and what she calls the “invisible” history of Long Island women.

Long Island women book by Natalie NaylorThe first chapter on native women is a no-nonsense account of a culture where women were respected and honored. Their contact with the so-called civilized world of colonial settlers must have been an eye opener to these women, and Natalie’s painstaking work to present this sorry history is a major contribution to those of us who like to know the real story. Some of these images of native women are profound.

“Colonial records usually include only names of men among the original settlers, but Long Island towns were settled by families,” notes Natalie as we descend into the past with her as a guide. We follow along with details about Quaker settlements on Long Island that preceded William Penn’s settlement in Philadelphia, slavery, women’s journals, witchcraft, the British occupation of Long Island, the agricultural economy, artists, historians, civic and political activists, plus the movers and shakers of a wide range of Long Island women over the years.

There are the usual big names, like Jackie Kennedy Onasis and Eleanor Roosevelt, plus numerous examples of ordinary people who made significant contributions. Natalie states upfront that space limitations prevented her from making the book more of a representational document of women who made a difference. That Grandmother Edna Kearns made it into the collection is, of course, a source of delight to me. And it suggests that those writers and historians looking for documentary projects have Natalie’s book to launch their efforts.

There’s so much great material in this 192-page work. In one interview that Natalie gave about her book, she mentioned that suffragist Rosalie Jones has been a source of considerable fascination for her over the years. Thank you, Natalie, for your persistence in bringing all these women to light. It’s an accomplishment much needed and appreciated.

Don’t forget the Cradle Blogging Tour that’s soon to begin. Follow the Suffrage Wagon on the “Let’s Rock the Cradle” road trip in late September 2013. “Marguerite’s Musings” is a regular feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Rosalie Gardiner Jones: The Story and the Video

Rosalie Gardiner Jones

Rosalie Gardiner Jones of Long Island drove a yellow horse-drawn wagon that on occasion campaigned with Edna Kearns and the “Spirit of 1776” campaign wagon. Among Long Island’s suffragists, Rosalie knew how to reach out to the movers and shakers. She also networked with other grassroots activists ands reached out to the public by standing on street corners, gathering petitions, and taking bold moves such as “hiking” or marching to the state capitol in Albany. Rosalie worked closely with any and all who put themselves on the line for Votes for Women.

Less known was the way in which Rosalie Jones was a maverick in her own family. Her mother, Mary or Mrs. Oliver Livingston Jones, was opposed to women voting, as well as Rosalie’s sister. Rosalie was the kind of rebel who didn’t hesitate to use her family’s social standing and the resources that came with it to leverage the cause of women’s rights. This was always a danger when parents sent their daughter to college, as they had with Rosalie, but relatively few took advantage of the associated opportunities as Rosalie Gardiner Jones did.

Rosalie Jones convinced photographers to document suffrage marchers if she couldn’t get the Bain News Service to show up at a particular event. She knocked down doors to get access to newspaper editors and reporters. Few questioned her bold moves because Rosalie Jones always had a good lead or unique angle. She wasn’t shy and retiring.

When Rosalie organized small bands to march from New York City to the state capitol at Albany, NY, for example, she marched in front with a megaphone and called herself the General. Rosalie Jones posed for photos as if she were on stage at the Metropolitcan Opera. When Edna Kearns rode her “Spirit of 1776” wagon around Long Island, Rosalie occasionally joined in with what she called her little yellow wagon that saw service in upstate New York as well as all the way to Ohio with activist Elisabeth Freeman to benefit the suffrage movement there.

Rosalie had reporters write about the time she went up in an airplane to distribute suffrage literature from the air. These writers covered every step of the way during the 1912 suffrage hike to Washington, as well as a hike to join the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC in 1913, plus another march to Albany in 1914 to meet with the governor. Rosalie Jones was good news copy. Any New York Times reporter could attest to that. Check out the Rosalie Jones video that’s a special feature!

For more information about Rosalie Jones, see “Women in Long Island’s Past” by Natalie Naylor and “Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Campaign” by Antonia Petrash. Follow the suffrage wagon with twice weekly postings and a quarterly newsletter. News and views of the suffrage movement, events and centennials. And don’t forget to get a seat in the front of the blogging bus that’s leaving soon for a tour of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the US.

Marguerite’s Musings: “Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement”

Marguerite's MusingsIf there’s a book that’s rocking the cradle of the women’s rights movement in NYS, it’s Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement by Antonia Petrash. The work was recently published by The History Press, and it adds volumes to what has been revealed in the past about what has happened out on the island.

Long Island historian Natalie Naylor has also covered a lot of ground going back to the earliest accounts of Long Island women; she touches on the suffrage movement, especially with her excellent research of suffrage activist Rosalie Jones. Antonia Petrash picks up on this and takes off with subject matter she clearly loves. An entire book featuring individual suffragists is an important contribution to what is known. Antonia approaches the subject as a journalist and storyteller, and she’s really good at what she does.

Long Island suffrage movementOf the 12 chapters featuring individual women in Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement, human interest abounds. The author hooks the reader on the individual activist and a particular tale –usually something with conflict and drama– before backtracking to telling about her birth and early years leading to contributions to the Votes for Women movement. Long Island claims some feisty and notable suffrage activists, including Alma Vanderbilt Belmont, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Lucy Burns, Elisabeth Freeman, Louisine Havemeyer, Rosalie Gardner Jones, Edna Buckman Kearns, Harriet Burton Laidlaw, Katherine Duer Mackay, Theodore Roosevelt, Ida Bunce Sammis, Elizabeth Oakes Smith, and others.

There’s a range of individuals from working women and grassroots activists, to wealthy women and high government officials who put themselves on the line. Antonia doesn’t claim that she has delivered a definitive survey of the Long Island suffrage movement. There’s a great deal more to say, Antonia points out, and this book is a welcome contribution, as well a delight and something worth adding to everyone’s Votes for Women library.

Antonia has her own blog about the Long Island movement. Check it out. She’s passionate about the Long Island suffrage activists. I captured some of her enthusiasm last year when I visited Antonia in Glen Cove, NY and documented some of her thoughts and comments about her work. Listen to her remarks from last year before the book’s publication. You’ll see what I mean.

Antonia’s book about Long Island suffrage movement (45 seconds). Highlights of work about Long Island suffragists (32 seconds). Edna Kearns’ contribution to suffrage movement on Long Island ( 44 seconds). The importance of New York’s suffrage movement (35 seconds). Why the suffrage movement story has been buried (39 seconds). The influential role of Long Island (NY) women (40 seconds). Celebrating the New York State suffrage centennial (42 seconds).  How Antonia became interested in the subjects of equal rights and suffrage (59 seconds). Two books Antonia wrote previously about extraordinary women in New York and Connecticut (56 seconds). Why the suffrage movement is inspiring. (60 seconds).

“Marguerite’s Musings” are a regular feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

September 2013 Suffrage Wagon News Notes from Edna Kearns

Suffrage Wagon News Notes, September 2013The fall is a terrific time for travel, and the blogging bus headed to the Cradle of the women’s rights movement in the US is about ready to hit the road. Join us! Sign up for the free tour. Enjoy a road trip through upstate New York, the “Cradle.”

While it’s still warm outside, squeeze in a cookout with roast corn on the cob. Chef Cutting shares his secrets for a mouth-watering way to roast corn, either outside on a grill or in your oven, at the first lesson from the Suffrage Wagon Cooking School.

News Notes for September 2013: What Obama did in Seneca Falls, NY. #1. #2. August 26th or Women’s Equality Day is like July 4th. #1. #2. Women voters in US are going to the polls in high numbers. #1. #2. The importance of Susan B. Anthony’s scrapbooks. #1. How department stores changed the dynamics for early 20th century women and their families. #1. #2.  One hundred years for women voting in Illinois. #1. Award for film about suffrage movement in the Bahamas. #1. #2.

A second season for UK suffrage sitcom, “Up the Women.”  Study notes for the Declaration of Sentiments from the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. #1. Pathways for highway travel have important implications for attracting visitors to the “Cradle” of the US women’s suffrage movement. #1. #2.  The implications of a New York State Free thought Trail. #1. #2.  News from around the world: Women voters in India. #1.

Visit the Suffrage Wagon magazine feature platform. Follow the Suffrage Wagon as it’s headed to the cradle of the women’s rights movement in the US. It’s the wagon’s suffrage centennial and we want to make the most of it.