Category Archives: 60-Second History Lesson

Hitch up your horse and head for Seneca Falls, New York!

Edna on a horsePack your bags and hitch up your horseless carriage! Plan a fall trip to see the colorful fall leaves and put Seneca Falls, NY on your radar as the place to go this year. Sign up now for Seneca Falls Dialogues in October, find out about special programs at the Women’s Rights National Historic Park (see below). Find out about exhibits at the National Womens Hall of Fame. And NOW for the first time: the opening of the Richard P. Hunt papers to the public. 

To celebrate Richard Hunt’s 217th birthday, the Women’s Rights National Historical Park has opened, for research, a set of personal and business papers held by the family and private owners for more than 140 years. It’s a special event to celebrate Richard Hunt’s 217th birthday. Remember that the Hunt House in Waterloo is around the corner from Seneca Falls. That’s where the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments was conceived of…over cups of hot tea with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others, including Jane C. Hunt.

The Hunt papers include a thousand separate pieces dating from 1828 to 1856.  Some examples include plans and contracts for workers’ housing, Waterloo Woolen and Cotton Mill records, letters of condolence, Richard P. Hunt, Jr.’s school essays, farm and store records. “Richard Hunt is an example of ’do everything and do it right,’” notes Ami Ghazala, park superintendent.  “Though the women’s movement was not built with bricks and mortar like his buildings in Waterloo, Richard P. Hunt, his family, and his business associates created a foundation of support that made the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848  a success.  I invite everyone to take a look at his papers to find the man who boosted women.”

Use the Hunt Family Papers weekdays by appointment from 9 to 4 at the park visitor center, 136 Fall Street, Seneca Falls.  A finding aid/guide is available on the park website at http://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/upload/HFP-Finding-Aid.pdf.  Contact Vivien Rose, Chief of Cultural Resources, at 568-2991 ext. 5000 or vivien_rose@nps.gov to make arrangements to see the papers. All sites within Women’s Rights National Historical Park are free and open to the public. Follow the park’s social media sites for Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/womensrightsnps) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/WomensRightsNPS) to learn more about our upcoming programs.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

 

Podcast #3: “Playing Politics with the President”

Doris Stevens, author of "Jailed for Freedom"Podcast #3. This audio series places the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon smack in the middle of the Big Picture nationally.

As the wagon headed out from Manhattan to Long Island in July of 1913 over one hundred years ago, women across the nation mobilized for the vote in Washington, DC. Awareness of such a historic occasion is at an all-time low. But it doesn’t diminish the significance American women’s organization on the grassroots.That’s why we’re running this series. Take a few minutes to listen and catch up with the previous audio podcasts.

“Playing Politics with the President”: Podcast #1. Podcast #2. Podcast #3 of the nine- audio podcast series.

The “Playing Politics with the President” audio podcast series has been produced by Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Audio by Librivox. Reading by J.M. Smallheer. From Doris Stevens’ book, Jailed for Freedom. Image: Doris Stevens.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon with posts twice a week and special newsletters published in the summer, fall, winter and spring. News, views, videos, audio podcasts. New music video, the “Spirit of 1776,” highlights the patriotic protest representative of the suffrage movement on the national, state and local levels.

Kearns archive at New York Botantical Garden for Echo Dale Gardens

Echo Dale GardensWhat happened to Wilmer and Edna Kearns and the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon after the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920? They moved from Rockville Centre, NY with daughter Serena Kearns back to Pennsylvania where their second child, Wilma, was born in November 1920.

The New York Botanical Garden  (the LuEsther T. Mertz Library) has archival materials in its collection from the business Edna and Wilmer founded, Echo Dale Gardens, located in the Philadelphia area. More items have been added recently. The Mertz Library maintains a wide scope of materials related to the nursery industry in the United States, including correspondence between nursery owners and their customers, invoices, plant inventories, sales brochures, catalogs, newspaper and magazine articles.

Edna B. Kearns and Wilmer R. Kearns’  love of plants and nature led to the establishment of Echo Dale Gardens, the nursery they owned and operated together after 1920. Wilmer and Edna were active in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and their prize-winning flowers and plants were displayed each year at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Local newspapers document Edna’s public speaking about gardening in the Philadelphia area. The “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon was on display at the nursery for many years for the purpose of educating the public about how American women won the vote.

Their second child Wilma dressed as the little Dutch girl, the trademark for Echo Dale Gardens for special events and at the Philadelphia Flower Show. After Edna’s death in 1934, Wilmer continued operating the nursery at Echo Dale until World War II. In retirement he reopened the nursery in Ambler, PA. The overall collections at the New York Botanical Garden library also include plant information guides, nursery catalogs, exhibition guides, and other materials.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the movement, as well as the life and times of Edna Kearns, Wilmer Kearns, and the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon.

Podcast #2: “Playing Politics with the President”

Woodrow WilsonThis second audio podcast of “Playing Politics with the President” is a provocative look at the determination of women to press the issue of their rights in 1913. I love the description of the first deputation to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson –and then the second and the third. We’re not hearing this account from people a hundred years after the fact. We’re fortunate to be able to  hear Doris Steven’s own words published in 1920 in “Jailed for Freedom.”

Podcast #2. “Playing Politics with the President”

I loved the description of the womens’ reaction to being led into President Wilson’s office and being asked to sit in rows of chairs, like a school room, with the Woodrow Wilson’s chair in front. Everyone in the women’s delegation admitted to being frightened by the formality. And Alice Paul’s questioning of the President is classic. No one would accept Wilson’s excuses. The women’s reactions are enough to bring a smile of support to our faces today. Essentially he told the women of the delegation that he had more important things to do besides caring about their rights. After suffragists gathered petitions from around the nation, they presented them to Congress and the Susan B. Anthony amendment was introduced, but the battle wasn’t over yet.

This audio podcast series is great if you have two minutes to get a sense of what it took for American women to win the vote. Last week we featured Podcast #1. Take some time each weekend to relax to listen and add to your awareness of the continuing drama of “Playing Politics with the President.” We’ll be sharing a new audio podcast in the series every weekend. Production by Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Audio by Librivix.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement.

Find out about the Seneca Falls Dialogues in Seneca Falls, NY in October at LetsRockTheCradle.com Registrations are possible now. Fall is a great time to travel. Imagine the colorful landscape and all that you can see in the vicinity of Seneca Falls, New York. Also, check with LetsRockTheCradle.com for other travel ideas when you’re in the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States.

 

“Sister in Struggle”: Get to know suffragist Elizabeth Freeman

Elizabeth FreemanA great article about suffragist Elizabeth Freeman is the cover story in a recent issue of Pasadena Weekly. Their angle: Elisabeth died there, and the editorial staff was particularly interested in Elisabeth’s contribution to the anti-lynching campaign of 1916. They made a link between Elisabeth’s work and the Michael Brown case in Missouri today, welcome coverage because it illustrates the extent to which many Votes for Women activists had more than one concern, reminiscent of the early women’s rights activists involved in abolition and temperance. Elisabeth receives more attention these days for her activism in the suffrage movement, so this is a welcome addition to what’s available about her life and work. PDF of the Pasadena Weekly article.

See the great web site on Elisabeth Freeman produced by Elisabeth’s great niece Margaret Johnston of Binghamton, NY. Also. “Long Island’s Three Wagon Women” in the New York History blog.

Marguerite's MusingsI’ve been aware of Elizabeth Freeman going back years when I first heard stories about “Great Aunt Elisabeth” from my friend Jane Van De Bogart, a member of the Woodstock town board back when I lived in Woodstock, NY and prowled around local issues with my pen, pad and camera for Woodstock Times. I don’t remember if Jane mentioned her great aunt first or if I trotted out my grandmother Edna Kearns. In any event, one thing led to another.

Two people with family members who’d been suffragists in NYS would sooner or later insist on details and that’s how I found out that not only did Edna and Elizabeth know each other, but they worked together with Rosalie Jones on Long Island on women’s suffrage organizing. As Grandmother Edna Kearns was a Long Island wagon woman, so was Elisabeth Freeman who organized women from diverse backgrounds. Elisabeth also marched with Rosalie Jones to the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC –hardy souls who hiked through bad weather to prove their point.

In 1986 the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon became part of an exhibit about Elisabeth and Edna in Kingston, NY with a seed grant from the NYS Council on the Arts. Jone Miller and the Floating Foundation of Photography in High Falls, NY organized the exhibit which got me started on the long road to bring this part of American history to the attention of a broader audience. Several programs at SUNY New Paltz for Women’s History Month even involved our mothers.

Pick up a rock these days and you’ll find a descendant of a suffrage activist. That’s why I love Elisabeth Freeman. Peg Johnston has picked up the torch from her great aunt and is carrying it high these days. The general public may know about the suffrage movement nationally, but we find out much more by touching into the lives of individuals like Elisabeth, as well as the records and news coverage of clubs and associations on the local level that kept the suffrage issue alive for years. The existence of these organizations, and their ongoing events and activities, gave backbone to the national movement. Leaders at the top can’t do anything without support on the grassroots.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement.

We have an ongoing podcast series: “Playing Politics with the President” that features the work of the National Woman’s Party right at the time of Elisabeth Freeman’s work. Podcast #1. You can listen to the next podcast in the series, #2, this coming weekend.

Audio podcast #1: “Playing Politics with the President”

Doris StevensWe’re jumping forward to 1913 and following along with Doris Stevens in the audio podcast series, “Playing Politics with the President.” Stevens was an eyewitness to the suffrage movement and we’re fortunate to have the Librivox recording of “Jailed for Freedom” to slice into digestible audio bits of two minutes or less.

Podcast #1 starts with the story about U.S. President Woodrow Wilson arriving at the train station in Washington, DC in March of 1913 and asking “Where are the people?” after noticing that the station is virtually empty. The answer: ” On the avenue watching the suffragists parade” came the answer from an aide. Did it really happen this way? Suffrage activist Doris Stevens certainly wasn’t in the train station in the loop with Woodrow Wilson, but she was around long enough to fill an entire book about the suffrage movement and her perspective on it. “Jailed for Freedom” is a terrific basic text when discovering the suffrage movement. It’s also a quick and easy homework assignment for students.

So test the first podcast of the series. Just two minutes as you settle down with the audio and mark on your calendar that “Playing Politics with the President” is a nine-part series. It features access to the series of events that led up to the eventual decision by the National Woman’s Party to picket the White House to make the point of American women were determined to vote. YouTube has video selections from “Iron Jawed Angels” that features this same time period leading up to an increasing confrontation with President Woodrow Wilson. The YouTube selections will also be featured on Suffrage Wagon in the future. You’ll find these small audio chunks enjoyable and very informative. Photo of suffragist Doris Stevens, above.

New Podcast: “Playing Politics with the President.”

IN OTHER NEWS: There’s a tea house in Castle Rock, Colorado –the Regency Tea Room– that has a great article worth taking a look.  This posting makes the connection between the suffrage movement and tea houses, a subject we’ve given plenty of attention to over the past few years. Castle Rock is 28 miles from downtown Denver and 37 miles north of Colorado Springs.  It’s by reservation only. I haven’t been there, but it’s on my list.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement.

 

Bernice Ende rides into Rochester, NY to celebrate Montana’s suffrage centennial!

BERNICE_ENDE_postcard-4inx6in-h-back-e1396255951920-688x1024Bernice Ende rode into Rochester, NY yesterday and stopped at the Susan B. Anthony House. She’s off on a two-year plus journey from the east to the west coast. Along the way she’s presenting a slide show that’s inspired, in part, by Montana’s suffrage centennial in 2014.

Escorted into the city by mounted police, Bernice visited the Mt. Hope Cemetery to see the graves of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, and her next stop: the Susan B. Anthony House. She’s getting a great deal of attention, and this is good news for those of us working to bring the past into the present day. Check out her web site. “Let us never forget the women who gave their lives to bring us liberty,” is the message Bernice is carrying. Safe journeys!

IN OTHER NEWS: Being born a girl means you are more likely to be subjected to violence, disease, poverty and disadvantage than any other group on Earth. In the documentary film, ” I am a girl,” we meet 14-year-old Kimsey from Cambodia who’s forced to sell her virginity at 12; Aziza from Afghanistan, who will be shot if she goes to school; Breani, a teen living in a ghetto of NYC and dreaming of stardom; Katie from Australia who’s recovering from a suicide attempt; Habiba from Cameroon, betrothed to a man 20 years her senior; and Manu from Papua New Guinea, about to become a mother at 14 following her first sexual encounter. As they come of age in the way their culture dictates, we see remarkable heart-warming stories of resilience, bravery and humor. Nominated for four Australian Academy Awards including Best Documentary and Best Director, this inspirational feature-length documentary paints a clear picture of the reality of what it means to be a girl in the 21st century.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement and how this informs and inspires us today.