Category Archives: 60-Second History Lesson

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

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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

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.

New York State suffrage leader Harriet May Mills was at 108 Madison Avenue in NYC on July 1, 1913 to see off the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon

HarrietMayMillsOne hundred years ago, the hardy band of suffrage activists were still busy traveling throughout Long Island. It’s difficult to know exactly how many people saw them off from the NYS Woman Suffrage Association at 108 Madison Avenue on July 1st, even though newspaper reports said the event stressed the capacity of the meeting room at the state headquarters while the horse and the “Spirit of 1776″ horse-drawn wagon waited outside to take Edna Kearns, Serena Kearns, and Irene Davison on a month-long campaign.

State suffrage association president Harriet May Mills orchestrated the presentation ceremony. She may not be the best-known suffrage leader in the state, but she was a hard worker and dedicated. Here’s a little that I’ve gathered to fill out Harriet’s life and career: Harriet May Mills House. LINK. Rivalry over state suffrage politics.  #1. #2. Harriet May Mills, editor of suffrage news. #1. #2. The Freethought Trail. #1. #2. Harriet May Mills biography. #1.  The parents of Harriet May Mills. #1. #2. Harriet May Mills grave.  #1. #2. 1913 Brooklyn suffrage parade. #1. #2. Letter to NY Times. #1. #2. Harriet May Mills news photo.  #1.  #2. 1910 lobbying in Albany for suffrage.  #1.  Suffrage debate.  #1. #2. 1911 lobby day at the state capitol. #1.  State suffrage association incorporation. #1.  A woman ahead of her time.  #1. #2.

Follow the suffrage wagon. News and views of the suffrage movement, suffrage centennials and this year, the suffrage centennial of the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon. Subscribe for videos, audio readings, and coming soon: The Suffrage Wagon Cooking School.

July 4th grill and a holiday story from 137 years ago: Suffrage Centennial Special

Image: Library of CongressIt’s a mulit-tasking feat to run from the computer to the back yard to greet friends and at the same time finish this Fourth of July posting. Tomorrow it’s old news that 137 years ago on July 4th, suffrage activists traveled to Philadelphia to be part of the nation’s celebration of the Declaration of Independence. It was too good of an opportunity to make the point that the American Revolution was far from finished as far as women were concerned. They asked permission to be part of the program and were refused. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote about the holiday in vivid detail in her memoir. This is Part I read by Suffrage Wagon’s own reader, Amelia Bowen, who says this is one of her favorite readings. I’m turning up the volume as I’m counting out paper plates, cups, tableware, and napkins on their way to the picnic table. Part II: coming soon! Happy 4th of July!

Here’s the link to the six-minute reading in Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s own words.

The summer issue of the Suffrage Wagon quarterly newsletter is out. If you haven’t read it, here’s your chance. This Suffrage Wagon blog has limited options. For full features, visit our Suffrage Wagon full platform and follow us from there. See link.

The “Spirit of 1776″ will be honored in Albany, New York this coming week

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This coming week both houses of the New York State Legislature are expected to pass a special resolution honoring Grandmother Edna Kearns’ wagon and its centennial and designating July 1, 2013 as the “Spirit of 1776” Wagon Day.

Members of the bipartisan New York State Legislative Women’s Caucus that sponsored the resolution about the wagon’s centennial will make a presentation at a press conference at the state Capitol legislative building at 10 a.m.

One hundred years ago on July 1, 1913, Votes for Women activists Edna Kearns, Irene Davison, and eight-year-old Serena Kearns left Manhattan and headed to Long Island in the horse-drawn wagon called the “Spirit of 1776.” They spent the next month organizing in many communities to gather support for women voting.

Three years later in 1917, New York’s women finally won the franchise. This was followed by the vote being extended to millions of American women nationwide in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution.

The Wednesday press conference this week is expected to highlight New York’s special designation as the cradle of the women’s rights movement in the United States. The US women’s rights movement was launched in July 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention. New York’s women blazed a trail from 1848 to 1920 because of the large numbers of suffrage leaders, strategists, and grassroots activists from the state.

“As New Yorkers we have a special place in history,” said Susan Zimet, town supervisor of New Paltz, NY and co-founder of Votes for Women 2020, the organization that’s in the forefront of advocating for the “Spirit of 1776″ Wagon Day, as well as other upcoming celebrations of New York State’s centennial of women voting in 2017, followed by the national suffrage centennial set for 2020.

“New York’s women led the way from Seneca Falls to the Supreme Court. The importance of the work of these brave warriors who paved the way for myself and my daughter are unsung heroes that deserve to have their proper place in history. The passage of this resolution by our NY State elected leaders is a critical step in the recognition of the work ahead of us.”

The ‘Spirit of 1776’ campaign wagon reinforced this theme when it left the headquarters of the NYS Woman Suffrage Association on July 1, 1913 in Manhattan to further the movement’s mission of freedom.

The “Spirit of 1776” wagon represents a key piece of the state’s history of social movements. Not only is the wagon an important part of New York State history, but it also represents the theme of the unfinished American Revolution that was advanced by the suffrage movement across the country.

Find out more about Votes for Women 2020.

News of suffragette sit-com and many updates

newsnotesmore copyI just signed a digital petition. Tara forwards them to me. Bless her! It’s another tool in my tool box –along with recycling. Any of these things alone won’t budge the inertia associated with humans taking necessary steps to build a safe and sustainable future. But it keeps the Big Picture in mind while taking the garbage outsider to the composter. Digital petitions work when they’re included in a movement’s toolbox. If digital petitions are an end in themselves, they’re unlikely to attract much attention. Here’s the link to the petition Tara sent me. It’s all in the spirit of Grandmother Edna who was a peace activist, which in her day represented a challenging cause.

And now… on to Suffrage News Notes: A YouTube trailer about “Up the Women,” a suffragette sit-com. “Up the Women,” the suffragette situation comedy on UK TV featured. #1.  Even more about UK suffrage sit-com. #1.

An appeal to women to lead the Third Women’s Revolution. #1. #2. Speculation about a woman presidential candidate in 2016. #1. #2. Upcoming state suffrage centennial celebration in Illinois. #1. Woman mayor in Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s hometown has stepped down. #1. #2. Congressional medal for Alice Paul bill filed. #1. #2. Appeal to protect voting rights. #1. #2. Sojourner Truth statue vandalized. #1. #2.   Free suffrage downloads. #1. #2.  The Atlantic’s suffrage coverage. #1. #2. The story behind the story of Votes for Women. #1. #2. 

The unfinished women’s rights statue at the nation’s capitol. #1. #2. Should we change the date for Election Day? #1. #2.  Student wins contest for suffrage project. #1. #2. Pro women voters and candidates. #1. #2. Efforts to expand voting. #1. #2. Funding the Susan B. Anthony House. #1. #2.  Class trip to the cradle of the movement. #1. #2.  Suffragists in Texas. #1. #2.  One hundred years ago for big NYC parade. #1. #2. Honoring suffrage history. #1. #2.

News from: Japan. #1. #2. Bahamas. #1. #2. Norway’s national suffrage  centennial. #1.  Article from England: Suffragettes on hunger strikes. #1. Report from Australia. #1. #2. International Women’s History Month. #1#2. Jewelry of the suffragettes. #1.  The theme of cats in the suffragette movement. #1. #2.  Suffrage badge hung up in customs. #1. #2. 

This video about horse-drawn wagons used in the suffrage movement goes with Ken Florey’s wagon article (the images are from his postcard collection). See two-part article about wagons used in Votes for Women movement by Ken Florey, whose new book on suffrage memorabilia is expected to be published in late June 2013. See his web site for more information.

If you like suffrage news notes and commentary, subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

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The suffrage shop for the WPU: Part II, by Kenneth Florey

In the spring of 1914, suffrage leader Harriot Stanton Blatch continued experimenting with various forms of publicizing suffrage and purchased a used, horse-drawn van, with the intention of converting it into a roving shop. The van was moved from place to place every few days, and sold a variety of suffrage literature and memorabilia such as colorful buttons, pencils, ribbons, and even suffrage cigarettes.

“Votes for Women” cigarettes caused considerable controversy within the movement when the WPU announced earlier that they would be selling them at the grand opening of their headquarters in December 1910.  Many suffragists were strongly opposed to the use of tobacco, and condemned its sale in any form. The WPU version, however, was made of chocolate, a fact that was kept secret until opening day in order to create publicity through controversy.  The cigarettes sold from the wagon were also probably made of chocolate.

The WPU wagon shop carried on the format of its stationary predecessor in that it served both as a retail establishment and as a platform for speakers.  A side of the van folded out to allow a small platform to be let down, much in the manner of a drawbridge. Speakers emerged from the van, bringing the message of suffrage to various parts of the city.

Blatch explained to the press, “Young people move; the shop will move; democracy moves . . . youth harnessed to democracy is certainly a winner.” The shop apparently attracted many working women and men, one of Blatch’s main goals when she had organized the Equality League in 1907. As the suffrage movement became more and more popular among society women in New York, Blatch did not want to forget about workers, and the van became a way of reaching them.

The roving shop had but a limited shelf life, however. In late 1914, it was abandoned for a more permanent site, a shop on New York City’s famous Fifth Avenue.  Management of the shop became one of the prized positions in the WPU, and was held by some of the wealthiest of New York socialites, including Vera Whitehouse, Louisine Havemeyer, and Helen Rogers Reid.  Still, the wagon had achieved various successes. Its value was a form of visual rhetoric was enormous.  Articles about it in such papers as The New York Times gave valuable publicity to suffrage, as many in the general public eagerly awaited its appearance in their neighborhoods.

Image: WPU suffrage wagon shop. From Library of Congress.

If you have an email subscription, chances are that you’re missing out on a lot of the colorful photos, graphics, and videos available on the suffragewagon.org site.  If so, play us a visit. Also, check out Kenneth Florey’s web site on suffrage memorabilia.

Suffragette Emily Davison still controversial after 100 years

Centennial of death of Emily DavisonOne hundred years ago English suffragette Emily Davison stepped in front of the king’s horse at the Derby to draw attention to the long and difficult campaign to win the vote. Emily Davison’s death remains newsworthy and controversial today. Because of the upcoming centennial of Davison’s death in June 2013, a great deal is appearing in the UK media about this topic and all of its variations. This film clip of the Derby race and Emily’s demonstration from the UK archives is easily accessible online.

Emily Davison’s great-great-great niece, Lauren Caisley, recently attended a ceremony to unveil a plaque at the racetrack where Emily stepped into the path of the king’s horse as a Votes for Women demonstration (PDF). Dr. Helen Pankhurst, the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, and her daughter also attended the ceremony. A descendant of the jockey who rode the King’s horse that killed Davison has even emerged to speak publicly about the suffragette; the family has been silent (with one exception) all these years.

Here’s a sampling of postings about Emily Davison and the centennial: Upcoming TV special. #1. #2. No moment of silence at the Derby in memory of Emily Davidson. #1. #2.  Special tea lunch in Emily’s honor scheduled. #1.  BBC coverage of Emily Davidson centennial. #1. #2.  Is there more to the story of Emily Davidson? #1. #2. An overview of the suffrage movement in England. #1. #2. Art work planned for Emily Davison. #1. #2.   Emily Davison play. #1. #2. Emily fund. #1. #2.  Emily Davison exhibit. #1. #2. 

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and views, videos, audio, and postings twice a week.

The WPU and its Suffrage Wagon Shop: Part I

by Kenneth Florey

The Women’s Political Union was organized in 1910 by Harriot Stanton Blatch, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It evolved out of her earlier Equality League of Self-Supporting Women, created in 1907 to provide working women with a voice in their own lives.  The Union eventually became incorporated within Alice Paul’s Congressional Union in 1915, later renamed the National Woman’s Party.

In creating the WPU, Blatch was strongly influenced by the organization’s English namesake, Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union. To a degree, she emulated Pankhurst’s more assertive tactics, relying on marches, demonstrations, colorful buttons and sashes, and other forms of visual rhetoric to achieve the aims of the movement.

Most other suffrage organizations in America at that time were more conservative in their methods, some leaders even fearing that it was out of place for women to engage in public demonstrations until Blatch and Paul began to achieve success. Blatch borrowed not only the name of her Union from Pankhurst’s, but also copied its official colors of purple green and white, which created far more visual impact than the subdued yellow of the National Woman Suffrage Association. One of her buttons records Pankhurst’s famous slogan, “Deeds Not Words.”

Blatch very early on saw, as did the leadership of the WSPU, that merchandising the movement could contribute significantly in advancing its aims, In July of 1910, the Equality League, prior to its transformation into the Union later that year, erected a suffrage newsstand in front of its headquarters at 43 East Twenty-Second Street in New York City, where members sold suffrage ribbons, buttons, and post cards, as well as suffrage tracts. In addition to serving as a source of income, the newsstand gave a strong visual presence of suffrage to passersby, serving as a clever form of advertising for both the Union and the movement, even for those who had no interest in purchasing anything.

Later in 1913, the WPU experimented with another form of suffrage shop located outside of its headquarters, and rented a downtown storefront in New York City, where a daily program of suffrage speeches and events took place. Most other suffrage organizations such as NAWSA either had or were eventually to establish their own suffrage shops, but these generally were maintained inside of headquarters; the WPU shop, on the other hand, was a separate entity, allowing for all sorts of display possibilities in its windows to attract the public. . .

COMING SOON: Part II of Ken’s article on suffrage wagons, plus new video from his postcard collection featuring horse-drawn suffrage wagons. Check out Ken’s web site. His book on suffrage memorabilia is due for publication in 2013. Image above: Library of Congress.

Motorcycle ride to Seneca Falls: May News Notes

MotorcycleYou’d think the article wasn’t important: the news that greenhouse gas has reached a high never before encountered by humans! It appeared yesterday on page 5 in my local paper. Two million years ago was the last time greenhouse gas levels were this high.

COMING SOON: Suffrage Wagon columnist Tara Bloyd launches a letter writing campaign about sustainability issues of concern to the entire planet. Let’s receive the torch from our suffrage ancestors and carry on their work.

Highlights of suffrage news: UN staff travels to Seneca Falls, NY on motorcycles to bring attention to this historic site in the “cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the US. #1. #2. The 24th annual Elizabeth Cady Stanton Conference on Youtube. Illinois has its suffrage centennial. #1. #2. Summer suffrage centennial celebration. #1. #2. New play: “The Shrieking Sisters” in Ireland. #1. #2. Highlighting an Australian suffragist. #1. #2.  Interviewing one’s grandmother. #1. #2. Helen Hunt and her suffragist great-great grandmother. #1. #2. The ongoing women’s rights and suffrage quilt project features Theodore Roosevelt. #1. #2. An overview of what happened with One Billion Rising. #1. #2.  New Zealand suffrage memorial stirring controversy. #1. #2.  Scotland honoring its women. #1. #2. Wikipedia coverage of women. #1. #2.  Pushback on Pakistani women voters. #1. #2.

SusanB_LargeWideDon’t you just love it when Susan B. Anthony believes in a new cause in 2013? This letter places Aunt Susan in history. #1. #2.  We need a few laughs. Here, Peter Feinman recommends that historic sites be abolished in blog article published in New York History. #1. #2. More news notes coming this month.

More News NotesSuffrage Wagon has an archive of news and features you may have missed. In one click, you can catch up. New videos on the way. Current videos highlight suffrage organizing on Long Island and NYC. Visit our Suffrage Wagon magazine platform.

Photo at top of column by Sporty Driver.

NEXT TIME: Horse-drawn wagons in the suffrage movement! (a continuing series)

Suffrage movement gets wheels: Part II

by Kenneth Florey

Suffragists in America also promoted automobile tours as a way of advertising “Votes for Women.” The most famous trip was that of Alice Snitzer Burke and Nell Richardson in 1916.  The pair left New York on April 6, accompanied by their new kitten called “Mascot,” to make a circuit of the United States on behalf of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

The Saxon Motor Company donated their car, and NAWSA arranged for their expenses and entertainment along the way. They reached San Francisco in June.  In reporting on their activities to the delegates at NAWSA’s annual convention in September in Atlantic City, Esther Ogden exuded delight in recounting the dangers and depredations the pair faced along the way.  They crossed a desert and traveled through the Bad Lands of the Northwest.  They were along the Mexican border during the raids, and their car had to be pulled out of the river during floods.  In all of this, they maintained their courage and were able to elicit nationwide newspaper coverage for the movement.

By the time Burke and Richardson had returned to New York later in the year, Mascot had grown from a kitten to a cat.  The Saxon Company picked up on their success and featured the two in a magazine advertisement headed “Two Noted Suffragists Travel 10,000 Miles in a Saxon Roadster.” While the ad did note that the journey proved the “ease” with which the car could be handled, it also demonstrated that the car, and, by implication, women, could surmount “every obstacle of road and weather.”

Suffrage auto trip across countryNAWSA issued a post card that pictured Burke and Richardson in their “Golden Flier” Saxon, with the names of some of the cities they had visited painted on the side of the car. Although some conservative suffragists maintained that they wanted the right to vote and nothing more, it is clear that the issue of the franchise was not an isolated one but part of a larger tapestry of social change and a re-clarification of the roles of men and women in our culture.

Part I of the suffrage auto story by Kenneth Florey that you may have missed!

NEW VIDEO: Automobiles used in the suffrage movement, with photos from the postcard collection of author Kenneth Florey, as well as the Library of Congress. Ken’s book on suffrage memorabilia is due for publication in 2013. Suffrage Wagon has a YouTube channel that specializes in short feature videos about the movement.

COMING SOON: The centennial of Emily Davison, English suffrage martyr. The case is still controversial after 100 years!

A new form of freedom for suffragists in automobiles, Part I by Kenneth Florey

PART I: Women, Cars, and the Suffrage Movement

Early on in the history of the modern suffrage movement, there was a strong connection between the development of the automobile and its adaptation by suffragist activists.  In part, cars were functional and could be used by various movement organizations to ferry workers from campaign office to campaign office and from rally to rally.

In 1911, for instance, the wealthy American socialite, Mary Dodge, gave Emmeline Pankhurst of the English Women’s Social and Political Union a new Wolseley that allowed her to travel to suffrage events with not only her luggage but also with WSPU literature and other materials that proved helpful when she delivered her speeches.Emmeline Pankhurst

This functional purpose was also a reflection of the emergence of women in public life, an emergence that was recognized not only by the suffragists themselves but also by manufacturers who saw the possibilities of a profitable new market.  The Peerless “38-Six” car was promoted in magazine advertisements as early as 1912 as “most satisfying for women to drive” because of its electric starting and easy steering. In 1915, American suffragists presented NAWSA’S President, Anna Howard Shaw, with a Saxon automobile, painted in the suffrage color of yellow. The company went on to maintain loose ties with the movement, directing some of its advertising not only to suffrage workers in particular but also to women in general.

Photo from the collection of Kenneth FloreySo closely was the Saxon to become identified with the movement that a song published in 1915 by Ella Lowe and Edward Johnson called “November” heralded the use of the car for suffrage activities: “In a Saxon built for two I will save a place for you in asking for the franchise next November.” Automobiles driven by women were to become a standard feature in suffrage parades, serving not only as floats but perhaps also as a not-so-subtle message pertaining to the liberation of womanhood.

After all, it was not that long ago that even women on bicycles were subject to intense derision and mockery. President Grover Cleveland forbade the wives of his cabinet members from riding bicycles, and Belva Lockwood, candidate for President in 1884 and 1888, was lampooned in the press for her use of a tricycle that she used to save time when she conducted her business rounds.  In England, Emmeline Pankhurst’s driver, Aileen Preston, was the first woman to qualify for the Automobile Association Certificate in Driving, so new even there was the concept of the freedom of women to command their own automobiles and thus their own movement.

COMING SOON: Part II about automobiles and the suffrage movement. ALSO, video about suffrage automobiles. Articles by author Kenneth Florey during May 2013 about automobiles and horse-drawn wagons used in the suffrage movement. Ken’s web page and order form for his book. Images from the suffrage memorabilia collection of Kenneth Florey.

Check out new features in Suffrage Wagon News Channel this month.

“Suffrage Books for Young Audiences” by Tara Bloyd

We The People: Great Women of the Suffrage Movement.4133IwK-JuL._  By Dana Meachen Rau, Compass Point Books,  2006.

This 48-page book includes biographies of several women involved in the fight for suffrage, each with a tagline.  (Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Mother of the Movement; Lucy Stone: Speaking State to State; Ida B. Wells-Barnett: Proud to March; etc)  Aimed at a fairly young audience (I’d guess 2nd-3rd grade), the book takes a somewhat simplistic view of the challenges these women faced.  That said, the women chosen to profile give a nice overview of the movement.

Great Women of the Suffrage Movement is part of the We The People series of books, which is designed to “explor[e] every era of U.S. history – from pre-colonial to modern times. This exciting series examines key events that have shaped the course of the nation, while clearly defining their place in history.”  Other books in the series discuss the Lowell Mill Girls, the Harlem Renaissance, the Haymarket Square Tragedy, etc. It looks like a useful series for learning a bit more about topics that are often glossed over otherwise.

This book is an option for children interested in the quest for suffrage who’ve moved beyond picture books but aren’t yet ready for more complex works. It could also be a quick reference for teachers who want to teach a basic unit to early-grade children, as it includes such useful bits as a map showing women in each state were granted at least basic suffrage, a timeline of the struggle, and suggestions for additional research. I enjoyed reading the book, and would recommend it to the right audience.

(As a side note, almost every book I’ve reviewed thus far is available at our local library; never overlook the power of the library!)

If you’re reading this posting with an email subscription, you’re missing the rich graphics and many videos that are available on Suffrage Wagon News Channel. We have a YouTube channel and videos are also available on Vimeo. A good place to begin is “Debby recommends these Suffrage Wagon videos” that gives an overview of recent short works (most one minute or less) that highlight the suffrage wagon’s centennial in 2013 and other relevant topics. Subscribe.

One hundred years ago on Long Island: Suffrage Stories

Suffrage Wagon Stories

Have a cup of tea with your suffrage stories and fortune cookies

by Marguerite Kearns

PART I:

The suffrage movement was big news in 1913, but Votes for Women activists had their eye on Long Island well before the turn of the 20th century. Women, in general, organized themselves into a complex web of local clubs and community groups throughout the island to promote everything from reading circles to the support of community institutions, the establishment of libraries, and a wide variety of social issues.

Newspaper accounts document that the state suffrage association sent representatives to Long Island women’s club meetings prior to 1900. On occasion, these women were keynote speakers at club luncheons and special events. Often it was enough for a newspaper article to document the presence of suffragists at club meetings which implied that Long Island represented fertile ground for the cause.

The first Long Island suffrage organizing meetings were held in private homes and informal settings. Organizing for the vote became more overt in 1912 with a “whirlwind campaign” of organizing that was covered in the state suffrage association’s newsletter and the local press.

Then on June 24, 1913, NYS Woman Suffrage Association president Harriet May Mills wrote to suffrage organizer Edna Kearns in a letter about her concern that the Women’s Political Union had been sending organizers to Long Island and  the state suffrage association better get busy making its mark. Mills wrote: “The W.P.U. has two workers on the Island and is trying to steal the whole of it.” She asked Kearns exactly when their volunteers would hit the ground running. Kearns replied that she was ready to take on the challenge, and she expected others to join her immediately. . .

Check out these videos of about one minute each that illustrate the Long Island movement organizing for Votes for Women.

WATCH FOR PART II OF THIS ARTICLE ABOUT THE EARLY DAYS OF SUFFRAGE ORGANIZING –LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK. COMING SOON. The main Suffrage Wagon platform changes often. Not familiar with us and want to know more? Check us out! And then subscribe.

Video: 2013 Suffrage centennial parade in Washington, DC

Check out Suffrage Wagon’s one-minute video of suffrage centennial parade in Washington, DC on March 3, 2013. Planning for the 2020 national suffrage centennial is already underway.

PBS video of the 2013 suffrage centennial parade in Washington, DC. LINK Great CNN coverage of the suffrage movement and the press. Link #1Link #2.

Subscribe to the Suffrage Wagon quarterly newsletter. COMING SOON: The Suffrage Wagon spring newsletter.

Curl up in a chair and listen to audio about our roots!

Happy Women’s History Month! This podcast from Indiana is worth listening to: “Helen Gougar: Foot Soldier for Suffrage.” Click here. Helen Gougar became a suffrage activist because of her determination to reduce the rate of domestic violence.

Martha Burk’s “Equal Time” radio broadcasts have guests you may never get an opportunity to listen to otherwise. Martha broadcasts from KSFR in Santa Fe, and her programming is available online.

Don’t forget that Suffrage Wagon’s archives have the audio version of “Jailed for Freedom” by Doris Stevens of the National Woman’s Party who reports on the tale of winning the 19th amendment. The book was published in 1920, and the story is still fresh in the words of those who lived it. For anyone who’s just been introduced to the suffrage movement by watching “Iron Jawed Angels,” read or listen to Doris Stevens.  Here it is:

Doris Stevens and “Jailed for Freedom.”  Section 1, Section 2, Section 3, Section 4. Sections 5 and 6 coming soon. Audio by Librivox.

Photo of radio: Massimianogalardi.


Suffrage parade centennial festivities starting in Washington, DC right now

Appeal letter from 1913 to organize marchers. From the archives of Edna Buckman Kearns. Edna Kearns and daughter Serena marched in the Quaker division. Wilmer Kearns marched in the men’s division. See Edna’s report after she returned to New York and wrote newspaper columns about the experience. LINK. For information about the centennial parade. LINK.
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New Video and a peek into suffragist Alice Paul’s tea room


“The Grated Door” was the tea room for the National Woman’s Party. The selection below is from The Story of The Woman’s Party by Inez Haynes Irwin. 1921. LINK.

“Alice Paul’s office, which is on the second floor, was done in purple and gold; the woodwork of gold, the furniture upholstered in purple velvet. Later, a large room, originally a stable at the rear of the first floor, was transformed into a tea room. Vivian Pierce had charge of the decorations here; and she made it very attractive. The brick walls were painted yellow, the tables and chairs black. The windows and doors were all enclosed in flat frames of brilliant chintz, of which the background was black, but the dominating note blue. The many hanging lights were swathed in yellow silk.

“The tea room rapidly became very popular in Washington; and, as rapidly, became one of the most interesting places in the city. Visitors of many distinguished kinds came there in preference to the larger restaurants or hotels. They knew the members of The Woman’s Party who lived in the house, and they gradually came to know the habitues of the tea room. At meals, separated parties were always coalescing into one big party. People wandered from table to table. There was an air of comradeship and sympathy. Afterwards, groups often went up the little flight of stairs which leads to the ballroom, and sitting before the fire in the huge fireplace, drank their after-dinner coffee together. These talks sometimes lasted until midnight.

“All about and from the offices that ran beside the ballroom sounded the click of typewriters — some one counted twenty-four typewriters in the house once. Everywhere, you ran into busy, business-like stenographers with papers in their hands, proceeding from one office to another. If it were lunch time, or dinner time, pairs of young girls, with their arms around each other’s waists, chattering busily, were making their way to the tea room. At night, the big ballroom was filled with groups reading magazines at the big (and priceless) tables; or talking over the events of the day

“Late at night, the discussions still went on. Upstairs, they followed each other from bedroom to bedroom, still arguing, still comparing notes, still making suggestions in regard to a hundred things : organizing, lobbying, personal appeal to political leaders, et caetera, ad infinitum. The huge, four-poster bed — big enough for royalty — in Mrs. Lawrence Lewis’s room was the scene — with ardent pickets sitting all over it — of many a discussion that threatened to prolong itself until dawn.”

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A hot cup of tea with your suffrage history lesson: Part I

TeaMemorabilia

by Kenneth Florey

That there was more than a casual connection between tea and suffrage activism is undeniable.  Suffragists organized tea parties to promote their cause and to raise money, as evidenced by many of the state reports that appear in Volume VI of The History of Woman Suffrage, a work that was originally conceived by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. 

Further references to suffrage tea parties are scattered throughout the pages of the Woman’s Journal, where they are sometimes held up as models to advance “votes for women.” The Woman’s Journal, the most popular and longest lasting of all suffrage publications in America, was for a time the official organ of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the main periodic source for all things suffrage related.

SPECIAL BRAND OF TEA FOR SUFFRAGE EVENTS AND FUNDRAISING

But there was also a manufacturing component involved, and “suffrage tea,” along with its ancillary products, was sold to the general public and proved to be a successful fundraiser.  During the California campaign of 1911, for example, the Oakland Amendment League had a suffrage booth at the Cherry Festival at San Leandro where they dispensed, among other items, “Equality Tea.”  This tea was a special brand for the campaign manufactured for the Woman Suffrage Party that was also sold by other organizations to raise money at their events.

The Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association advertised their own “Suffrage Tea in a Special Box” for fifty cents. In England, the Women’s Social and Political Union began selling in 1910 “Votes for Women Tea” in half pound and one pound packets.  When WWI began, the English movement, which produced a greater variety of suffrage memorabilia than did its counterpart in America, placed a semi-halt on the sale of artifacts, perhaps considering novelty items to be inappropriate during darker times.

Suffrage tea was an exception and continued to be offered through suffrage periodicals.  It is unfortunate that given its ephemeral nature, no tea, or even its attendant packaging, appears to have survived from the period, although one hopes that some examples may as yet emerge.

SUFFRAGE TEA CUPS AND TEA SETS, MOSTLY ENGLISH

There are a number of suffrage tea cups and tea sets known, but most of them are English.  The National American Woman Suffrage Association did offer for sale in its 1915 catalog a demitasse cup and saucer for fifty cents each that were embellished with the words “Votes for Women” on a small, elegant gold rim.  The setting was made for them by Hutschenreuther Selb Bavaria and imported by the Art China New York Import Company. Alva Belmont, Newport socialite and founder of the Political Equality Association, sold a small creamer for twenty-five cents that was inscribed “Votes for Women” in cobalt blue at the suffrage shop that was connected to both her headquarters and the Association’s lunchroom in New York City.

The Women’s Political and Social Union sold the most famous of the English sets at their huge bazaar at the Prince’s Skating Rink in Knightsbridge, London, held from May 13 to 26, 1909.  Manufactured by the firm of Williamsons of Longton, Staffordshire, various distinct pieces included teacups and saucers, small cake plates, a teapot with lid, a small milk jug, and a sugar basin or bowl.

In 1911, the WSPU remade the set in a slightly larger size, expanded the number of items in it from 13 to 22, and sold it for ten shillings, six pence to the general public.  All pieces featured an imprint with a design by Sylvia Pankhurst, daughter of WSPU founder Emmeline Pankhurst, of an angel facing left, blowing a curved horn.  In the background are prison bars and the initials of the WSPU.  Above the angel is a banner upon which the word “Freedom” is inscribed.

COMING SOON: The second part of the special feature by Ken Florey about suffrage movement tea memorabilia.” Ken’s new book on suffrage memorabilia will be published in the Spring/Summer of 2013. See article. The author’s web site. Photos above are from the author’s suffrage memorabilia collection.

Have a cup of tea with your suffrage scone!

800px-Tea_and_scones_2It’s National Hot Tea Month. SWNC special features help celebrate the ways in which tea played an important part in the suffrage movement. Today we only have a vague idea of the tea culture which played such an important part of the lives of our ancestors. If Downton Abbey is your passion, it’s difficult to get past an episode without afternoon tea playing a central role. The English suffrage movement is referred to only briefly in Downton Abbey. Considering that the series addresses shifting gender and class issues, I would have liked to have seen the suffrage movement have more of a place in the overall period drama of Downton Abbey.

Upcoming in January 2013: a two-part series about suffrage tea memorabilia by Ken Florey, author of Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia; a feature on Alice Paul’s tea house, a tea leaf reading by Marie Knight, and more.

Videos on tea can set the mood:

LINK to tea resources.

If you like these upcoming features, make sure you don’t miss them. Subscribe. Also, don’t forget the special tribute to Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Doris Stevens. LINK.

Photo by Jeremy Keith.

Alice Paul’s birthday on January 11th!

AlicePaul

Suffragist Alice Paul’s birthday is on January 11th, and it’s also Alice Paul Day.

We have a NEW special feature highlighting Lucy Burns, Doris Stevens, and Alice Paul.

LINK to Suffrage Wagon News Channel’s tribute to Alice, Lucy, and Doris.

Special links with more information: Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, DC (the home of the National Woman’s Party) LINK and the Alice Paul Institute in Mount Laurel, New Jersey LINK.

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It’s the birthday of Joan of Arc, icon of the suffrage movement!

Happy birthday, Joan! Joan of Arc was important to the suffrage movement, here and in England, and possibly other places in the world. Just type in “suffrage movement” and “Joan of Arc” and you’ll see what I mean. In England, Joan was openly acknowledged as the patron saint of the suffrage movement. In the HBO film, “Iron Jawed Angels,” the above clip features Inez Milholland on a horse evoking the commitment and leadership of Joan of Arc.

Inez Milholland on her horse leading U.S. suffrage parades evoked Joan of Arc more than any other single individual who took on the role. Inez was a familiar figure in suffrage parades (see image left, below) on her horse. The association was, in part drama and beauty, plus a heavy dose of symbolism to evoke strength and courage from the parade participants.

Check out the video trailer from “Iron Jawed Angels,” the HBO film about the suffrage movement.

“Iron Jawed Angels” is primarily about Alice Paul and only briefly highlights Inez Milholland. Nonetheless, the film grows in value with the passage of time.

If you’re planning afternoon tea and choosing an occasion worthy of friends and family arriving for the occasion, Joan of Arc’s birthday is perfect –especially if your activism project is in need of a resource of strength and resolve.

More information about Inez Milholland: Link

For curriculum materials relative to the use of “Iron Jawed Angels” in the classroom, check out “Teach with Movies.”

Suffrage Wagon News Channel has posting updates twice a week, as well as updates four times a year with the SWNC quarterly newsletter.

Women who didn’t want to vote: New video and upcoming book

MKmusings 

Ninety-nine years ago in the first week of January, a hardy band of marchers under the direction of suffragist Rosalie Jones started out from from New York City on a march headed to Albany, NY to ask NYS Governor Martin Glynn to appoint poll watchers in the 1915 suffrage referendum. My grandparents Edna and Wilmer Kearns, plus their young daughter Serena, were part of the first contingent.

I’ve written about this before, and this is the time of the year to bring it up again because marching anywhere the first week of January doesn’t get me excited. In fact, it only reinforces my determination to curl up under a down quilt and read next to a nice open fire, even if it’s gas fired. This is exactly what I did today when I decided to catch up on some of the background associated with the 1:12 minute feature video I made for the web site, “Women Who Didn’t Want to Vote.”

I was fascinated with the prospect of my grandparents being part of a group appealing to the governor where Governor Glynn himself supported women’s suffrage, but his wife didn’t. The governor met with Rosalie Jones and a delegation of the marchers who made it during the long freezing ordeal on foot, but he was non committal about responding to their request.

I wanted to find out the real story, so I tracked down the only source of background information I could find, Governor Martin H. Glynn: Forgotten Hero by Dominick C. Lizzi, a former Town of Valatie historian. I had ordered it from the author last September and today finally got around to reading it.

It’s an extraordinary story that involves NYS, national, and international politics. The book refers to Governor Glynn’s support of votes for women and his progressive policies. Plus, there’s considerable discussion of his wife Mary Glynn and her popularity in the Albany social scene.

I stumbled on Mrs. Glynn’s name in a Women’s Anti-Suffrage Association pamphlet printed and distributed by the Third Judicial District of NYS in Albany, NY. where Mrs. Glynn’s listed as a vice president. Dominick C. Lizzi confirmed that –yes, indeed– it was Martin Glynn’s wife Mary. This fascinated me, and that’s how I came to spend the the day reading Lizzi’s book.

The details of story of the governor and his wife are too much to address here, and I’ll be finding out and sharing more, especially as a major book on the NYS anti-suffrage movement, No Votes for Women: The New York State Anti-Suffrage Movement by Susan Goodier, becomes available in March 2013 from the University of Illinois Press.

Stay tuned! Watch the video and order the book. One has been reserved for me in March, Women’s History Month. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

 

“Christmas in 1823,” a story by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Hioliday

by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The winter gala days are associated in my memory with hanging up stockings, and with turkeys, mince pies, sweet cider, and sleigh rides by moonlight. My earliest recollections of those happy days, when schools were closed, books laid aside, and unusual liberties allowed, center in that large cellar kitchen to which I have already referred. There we spent many winter evenings in uninterrupted enjoyment. MORE STORY

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Images: Holiday cookies by Miyagawa; Christmas pudding by Musical Linguist; Holiday ornament by Hmbascom.

Amelia Bloomer: a book review, a song on video, and more by Tara Bloyd

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer, by Shana Corey; Chelsey McLaren ill.  Scholastic Press, 2000.

by Tara Bloyd

Aimed at young children, this short picture book presents the story of Amelia Bloomer and her eponymous outfit in a simple, direct fashion.  The illustrations are bright and compelling, and are set off by a generous amount of white space.  The book contrasts Amelia Bloomer with the “proper ladies” who surrounded her – women who were not supposed to work or vote, and who wore dresses that required 20-30 yards of fabric just for the skirt.  The fact that Amelia didn’t invent bloomers – something that many people do not know – is clearly stated and is important.  As editor of the woman’s newspaper The Lily, Amelia’s championing of the short skirt and baggy pantaloons to replace cumbersome, socially-approved dresses was crucial to their popularization, and the book shows how both men and women reacted to the new clothing option.

I found the Author’s Note at the end of the book the most compelling part; it provides additional information about Amelia Bloomer’s life and times that couldn’t really be discussed within the parameters of a book for young children.  As an introduction to the issues facing women in the 19th century, though, the book is a good addition to suffrage-related libraries.

SuffBookShelf

The life and writings of Amelia Bloomer are available as a free ebook. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

American apple pie wasn’t sacred to Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Photo by Sage Ross

Photo by Sage Ross

Suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton wasn’t afraid to tackle any subject and make a few enemies along the way. Her position on American apple pie is one example. The Brits had pie right, Stanton said. They didn’t use a bottom crust, for it would inevitably become soggy. Her views on the subject were laid out in a collection of her writings:

“Mr. Gurney’s dig at our pie referred to the soggy undercrust so many of our American cooks persist in making. The English never have an undercrust to their pies, one of the few respects, it seems to me, in which English cooking, which is generally atrocious, is superior to our own, which also belongs in many respects to the atrocious order. The English put the fruit in a deep dish and simply spread a nice light crust over it. If there be women, or men either for the matter of that, in the United States who know how to make a crisp undercrust and bake it to the well-done point, let them produce the perfect American pie. But if they cannot accomplish this difficult feat, let us have done with our national raw, soaked undercrust of dough, which is why du=yspepsia has attacked one-half of our men, who will eat pie whether it is good, bad or indifferent.

“Though these lines were written in 1840, they still hold good to-day. Pie is still with us, and so is the abominable undercrust. All travelers can testify to
seeing some son of Adam at every railway station in America running for the cars with a great piece of pie in his hand, which to withstand such wear and tear must have an undercrust as tough as sole leather. Yet the prospective presidents of this great republic all eat it, and will to the end of time.”

From Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s writings, a free ebook online.

Did you stop by for Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s virtual birthday party in November? It’s not too late. LINK. Stay in touch with suffrage news, views, and stories about the suffrage movement by reading Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Celebrate at Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s virtual birthday party with video, music, cake and gifts!

With the presidential election over, the interest in American history (especially the suffrage movement) is showing a spirt in growth. A celebration is called for, so the table has been set for a virtual birthday party for Elizabeth Cady Stanton whose birthday is November 12th. She was born in 1815. Let’s ride the spirit!

This video is just the introduction. Pull up a chair to the table right now!  Link  You’ll be able to bake a cake for Elizabeth, listen to a musical tribute, watch the introduction to Not for Ourselves Alone, the Ken Burns documentary about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. The virtual party is packaged onto one page for you to share with friends, family members, teachers and community members.

For a travel angle to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton virtual birthday party, visit Worldfootprints.

Audio message from Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Stop by Suffrage Wagon News Channel headquarters. By subscribing to the news channel, you won’t miss out on future virtual parties and celebrations. Subscribe.

California women have been voting for US president for 100 years!

“Why We Women Must Vote in November: An Inspirational Story from the California Suffragists” by filmmaker Martha Wheelock

When we women vote for U.S. President this November, we mark the 100th anniversary of California women’s first vote for president, an election when 90 per cent of the rest of American women could NOT vote. While I was researching the story of California suffragists’ victory for the documentary film, California Women Win the Vote, I learned how they won the vote, and why this early suffrage victory made a difference in women’s lives. So, women voters, take heed of the lessons they showed us for this election season.

As we learn some much-needed women’s history, we know that women were not given the right to vote by founding fathers or by beneficent statesmen. Women had to WIN their right to vote in hard-fought campaigns over a 72 year period, beginning in 1848 at Seneca Falls, NY, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton pronounced that women have the right to vote! And Iron-Jawed Angels (from HBO- a must see!) demonstrates what suffragist Alice Paul and the White House pickets underwent to attract support for our suffrage cause –through hunger strikes.

CALIFORNIA’S 1911 VICTORY WAS AN INSPIRATION FOR THE REST OF THE NATION

The story of California’s suffrage campaign is less known as an early victory and as the inspiration for the rest of the country. When California women lost their first suffrage referendum in 1896 by 20,000 votes, they were not defeated, but resolute and probably darn mad. They energized the California legislature to place a suffrage amendment on the 1911 ballot. This action meant that the male voters of California would determine whether their mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters should have the right to vote. Think of the challenge that the women faced: to persuade men, who wanted their women at home, caring for their needs and families that women were suitability and importance to the society as voting citizens. An added challenge was that most women did not even know themselves why they should have the right to vote. . .

MORE OF THE ARTICLE    More information about the film.

If you write Martha Wheelock directly, mwheelock@sbcglobal.net, she will take 25 percent off the DVD with free shipping. Total price is $19.95. Available on the website: http://www.wildwestwomen.org

For information about Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

NEW VIDEO: “This Wet and Wrinkled Paper”

“My voter’s card arrived today, and as I perused the tiny paper, wet and wrinkled from the rain, I felt the spirit of Grandma Edna watching over me,” Goldman-Petri wrote in a poem set to music and presented in this video.

“They stood on soapboxes, signed petitions, rang doorbells, smiled and dialed. They marched, paraded. They waited.  They waited, so I could have this paper.”

There’s more, and then the poem concludes: “My voter’s card arrived today, so thank you Grandma Edna. I’ll vote, I’ll lead, and I’ll succeed. I’ll remember how you fought for me. And it’s all because you believed, Women deserve liberty.”

As I post this video, I’m still reeling from last evening’s U.S. presidential debate where the two candidates, Romney and Obama, strutted on stage at Hofstra University, while outside police arrested the two Green Party presidential and vice presidential candidates –Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala. The two women political candidates were handcuffed to chairs for hours for attempting to be part of the public debate.

There was a time, once, when political parties other than Democrats and Republicans were part of a dialogue and a process known as democracy. Remember when the League of Women Voters organized the debates? The women organizers were inclusive, as if this were a radical idea. Then, the mainstream parties forced the League out of the job.

The so-called debate last night took place on Long Island –Grandmother Edna’s turf. My grandmother’s generation was familiar with women getting arrested for standing firm on the issue of participation and the democratic process. They believed in the Spirit of 1776.

For more information, visit womenssuffrage.org  

NEWS FLASH: The story behind Grandmother Edna Kearns’ Suffrage Wagon

The blog of the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum in Washington, DC features the story of Grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon, especially the family stories. Check it out.

I’ve written stories about Grandmother Edna’s campaign wagon in the past, but this time I’ve included more in the Sewall-Belmont post, especially the role Grandfather Wilmer Kearns played in suffrage campaign work and the many ways in which Suffrage Wagon News Channel celebrates women’s freedom to vote.

The Sewall-Belmont House & Museum‘s location in downtown Washington, DC makes it a frequent destination for tourists and visitors from all over the world. The National Woman’s Party headquarters at the Sewall-Belmont House highlights a vibrant part of our past for the increasing numbers of people interested in this part of American history, especially the dramatic and difficult campaign for passage and ratification of the 19th amendment.

Storytelling is when our fabulous Votes for Women history comes alive. Share our stories.  Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel. An overview of the news channel.

 

ACTION: Yes, Virginia. Teaching state and local history is important!

Grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon is in line to become a teachable moment every time a school group spends time with the exhibit, “From Seneca Falls to the Supreme Court” that’s on display at the state Capitol in Albany, NY. And right now through October 11th, the state education department is accepting public input on the proposed core curriculum for NYS.

Some commentators are concerned that state and local history is getting short shrift. And there are those who caution that New York State government has had similar plans in the past to what is proposed now, including funding and promises of economic development. If these efforts aren’t integrated and in alignment with the state school curriculum guides, then they question the process of littering highways with signs and calling this significant without a focus and long-term plan.

Important links with background: Link #1. Link #2. Link #3.

Send in your comment to the NYS education department before October 11th. Fill in the dots between state and local history, the suffrage movement, and economic development, now and in the future.

Yes. Virginia. New York should be teaching state and local history, as well as citizenship. Our Votes for Women commentators –Teri Gay, Louise Bernikow, and Antonia Petrash– aren’t shy when emphasizing the importance of the local angle on national news. Teri Gary’s book, “Strength without Compromise,” is precisely about this wrinkle. In a Votes for Women Salon interview, Teri speaks about growing up in the Glens Falls area and being fascinated with local women’s contributions to win the vote. Louise highlights New York City, and Long Island is the focus of Antonia Petrash.

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Viral suffrage email gets renewed life by women voters before 2012 election

THIS EMAIL, WRITTEN BY NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST CONNIE SCHULTZ, WENT VIRAL A FEW YEARS AGO. It surfaces every election season. I know. It has come into my email box at least a dozen times and continues to remind us of what’s important. Send it to your friends. Now is the time! Here it is:

This applies to everyone. become knowledgeable and vote! We owe it to our Mothers and Grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.
Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic.” They beat Lucy Burns (photo above), chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

They hurled Dora Lewis (photo above) into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed, and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the “Night of Terror” on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food –all of it colorless slop– was infested with worms.
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul (above), embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat, and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh MY memory. Some women won’t vote this year because – Why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining? Mrs Pauline Adams (above) in the prison garb she wore while serving a 60 day sentence.

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s movie “Iron Jawed Angels.” It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

Photo above of Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown ,  New York
All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.

Photo: Berthe Arnold, CSU graduate
My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women’s history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was –with herself. “One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,” she said. “What would those women think of the way I use, or don’t use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.” The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her “all over again.”

HBO has released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum. I want it shown on Bunco/Bingo night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

Photo: Conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at  National Woman’s Party headquarters, Jackson Place , Washington , D.C. Left to right: Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer,  Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel,  Mabel Vernon (standing, right)

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.”

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.  We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party — remember to vote.

Photo: Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk , Conn.   Serving 3-day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Make a quilt for the women’s suffrage movement

This online quilt project speaks to tradition and connecting with the grandmothers and great grandmothers. It’s digital and exciting, whether or not you’re actually working on a suffrage quilt. I’ve signed up, just to be a vicarious participant. The site is:

And the suffrage quilt block changes every week. The research about suffragists and the suffrage movement is splendid. The activity is delightful. Here’s the block of one week:

As I check in every week with the progress of the suffrage quilt, I am delighted and impressed following along with the research invested in the project. Even if you don’t make a quilt, you’ll enjoy being part of the quilting circle. Check out grandmotherschoice.blogspot.com

Suffrage Wagon News Channel is accepting press releases of suffrage programs and events. Find out how to submit your releases.

The suffragettes are alive and kicking in the UK . . .

Even The New York Times has picked up on the feisty British women who have a Suffragette Summer School scheduled for September 2012. A new generation of activists are looking to their suffrage tradition and history to propel themselves into motion. Is the suffrage movement a thing of the past? “No,” they respond in a loud voice.

This side of the Atlantic there’s not quite as much matching the enthusiasm and passion of linking the past with the present, although this is changing, especially during this election season. For too long the American suffrage movement has been put on the shelf as something old fashioned and stuffy. So let’s take a close look at the UK and check out the Suffragette Summer School.

There’s a series of links from the UK  and US media that puts the Suffragette Summer School into perspective. Link #1   Link #2   Link #3  Link #4

This video link gives an overview:

Photo: 1908. A suffragette meeting in Caxton Hall, Manchester, England. Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and Emmeline Pankhurst stand in the center of the platform. New York Times photo album. Image is in the public domain.

Find out more about Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

So, tell us about your suffragist grandmother, Edna Kearns . . .

There’s nothing like a newspaper article of the period that reveals character. I found this article in the Nassau Post published on July 16, 1915 describing a Long Island suffrage parade. Edna Kearns is identified as the campaign press chair (second campaign district) and the way in which she addressed the crowd is noted. The reporter stated that she expressed herself in “her usual quiet yet forceful manner.” It’s brief and to the point. And the point goes a long way. Here’s suffragist Edna Kearns at her home office in Rockville Centre, NY, the headquarters from where she organized Long Island and the NYC area for Votes for Women. More about suffragist Edna Kearns.

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New York State to cash in on tourism related to history

The conference held this week in Albany, New York attracted about 200 people from around the state to discuss the potential of natural, cultural, and heritage tourism in New York and to announce new signs erected on the state thruway and elsewhere directing travelers to various sites. This is excellent for artifacts such as the suffrage campaign wagon now on exhibit at the state capitol through the end of summer. A state policy supporting historical resources and funding programs makes it more likely that the suffrage wagon won’t gather dust in the state museum warehouse. This is good news for Grandmother Edna and a lot of other people.

For more information about this week’s meeting in Albany, NY: Link #1   Link #2

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Suffragette descendants hit the streets in the UK & at the Olympics

Who would have thought that a suffrage parade would attract mass attention in 2012? This happened in the UK recently when descendants of suffragettes and others marched at the Olympic opening ceremonies. It’s not the best video (see link below) possible, but it gives a feel for how it must have been for the suffrage marchers. It’s not surprising that the event was a life-changing experience for most, propelling them to future involvement in the political process, just as their grandmothers and great grandmothers were involved.

Take a look at some of these articles from the UK. English women are also planning to continue with the suffrage theme and march on Parliament in October 2012 to draw attention to the backsliding relative to women’s rights!

Here are several links to brighten your day: Link #1  Link #2   Link #3

This isn’t the first time when protestors have showed up dressed as suffragettes. Check out this example in the UK in 2010.

Photo: 1913, arrest of suffragette. London. Library of Congress. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and stories of the Votes for Women movement. Visit SWNC central.

Happy August 26th and celebrate with a new video!

Women have been voting in the United States for 92 years. To celebrate, here’s a new video to help us make the most of the day! It’s from the National Women’s History Museum.

The National Women’s History Project has wonderful resources for the celebration of August 26. Highlights include a downloadable brochure, August dates for women’s history observances, a first-person story by Maud Wood Park about the suffrage movement, and much more! When planning any sort of event or community program, you can count on the NWHP to have lots of links and resources on its web site.

Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and stories of the Votes for Women movement that interests, delights and builds leadership for these times. SWNC posts twice a week. And we have an issue of our quarterly newsletter in the works for the fall. The SWNC 2012 summer issue is still available.

Celebrating the stuff of our suffragist grandmothers and others!

  

August 26th isn’t Women’s Equality Day in the UK because they didn’t have to amend the constitution like we did with the 19th amendment. But there’s an upcoming grandmother celebration in the UK that’s worth featuring for several reasons: 1) the family’s pride in sharing the archive of Grandmother Alice Hawkins’ suffrage memorabilia 2) public interest in the subject matter. Alice’s great grandson Peter Barratt has a variety of digital resources on the web site devoted to Alice Hawkins, family member, working woman, and suffrage activist. Peter speaks at community events about his great grandmother. In the U.S., events like this are increasing, but they’re by no means as developed as in the U.K. as with this news item from Edinburgh.

There’s a lot to celebrate on this side of the Atlantic. Special events for Women’s Equality Day (August 26th) are scheduled throughout the U.S., and in New Mexico, in  particular with “Mujeres Presente: New Mexico Women Who Rocked the Vote.” And if you’re wondering about a special gift for someone for an upcoming birthday or holiday, check out the Alice Paul suffragist gold coin.

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Cake and lemonade, buttons and propaganda . . .

Article about suffragists in 1912 fills in some of the details of the Long Island campaign. This is where you find out about cake and lemonade, buttons and propaganda.

Suffragists at Long Beach, Long Island, 1912

Antonia Petrash’s upcoming 2013 book about Long Island suffrage movement (45 seconds) will add more to what’s known about the movement in the metropolitan NYC area. Here are some examples. . . Antonia gives highlights of her upcoming book about Long Island suffragists (32 seconds of audio). 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 ). More stories by Antonia Petrash are featured on Votes for Women Salon on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

IN OTHER NEWS: The New York State Museum is now open on Sundays, but is closed on Mondays. It has been closed on Sundays since 2011. With the experience of the NYS capitol attracting thousands of visitors to its exhibits, the state museum is cashing in on this increased tourism. Good work!

New life for an old logo: Women’s Equality Day!

Every week the planning moves forward for the August 26th celebration. Events can be large or small. Private or public. With big budgets or a process of assembling what’s around the house. There’s an updated logo for Women’s Equality Day from WomenArts in San Francisco from that’s based on the  bugler used by the suffs on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. See above. It’s available on buttons, stickers, t-shirts from Cafe Press. Even if you only wear one button to set the mood, it’s worth it. Get busy!

The history? Well, here it is, plus some background. August 26th celebrations are fun, informative and necessary!

Susan B. Anthony would be proud of heritage tourism moving forward

OUR MAGAZINE PLATFORM. About Suffrage Wagon.

I  need a long-term perspective when it comes to the day-to-day plugging ahead on an issue that few people know about (the suffrage movement), but I’m certain it’s only just a matter of time before everything about it breaks loose.

I sense that Susan B. Anthony is impatient with news of ongoing attempts to make voting more difficult in many states. But she’s definitely pleased that the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, NY will hold a public meeting to seek public comments on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 regarding the  Votes for Women History Trail Route project.

This proposed plan moves ahead an effort to bring more attention to New York State’s rich cultural and heritage resources (especially Votes for Women), hopefully in time for the state’s centennial in 2017. This increased awareness is happening all over the U.S., so I must keep the larger picture in mind when I’m focusing on the daily baby steps forward. All this effort and interest will amount to something spectacular, one of these days.

The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 authorized the Women’s Rights National Historical Park (NHP) to administer a Votes for Women History Trail Route. Among the properties that could be linked in such a trail:

Susan B. Anthony Memorial, Rochester; Antoinette Brown Blackwell Childhood Home, Henrietta; Ontario County Courthouse, Canandaigua; M’Clintock House, Waterloo; Jane Hunt House, Waterloo; Jacob P. Chamberlain House, Seneca Falls; Lorina Latham House, Seneca Falls; Wesleyan Chapel, Seneca Falls; Elizabeth Cady Stanton House, Seneca Falls; First Presbyterian Church, Seneca Falls; Race House, Seneca Falls, Seneca Falls; Hoskins House, Seneca Falls; Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, Auburn; Harriet May Mills House, Syracuse; and Matilda Joslyn Gage House, Fayetteville.

So send the players in this scenario good thoughts. Keep your eye on a celebration on August 26th. Encouragement for a Susan B. Anthony party can be found right here on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

For updates and other suffrage news from Suffrage Wagon News Channel, subscribe. More about Suffrage Wagon.

Suffragette Slasher Story from film artist!

The suffrage movement is inspiring storytellers. The tale of the English  suffragette slasher is one example from Julie Perini.

Other suffrage stories and news from around the U.S. include: Suffrage storyteller Judy Baker. Oregon’s black suffragist story. Kansas women’s stories on film.

Out for the holiday!!!!

The office is closed. Am out enjoying the 164th anniversary of Seneca Falls. The following blog posting comes to you by way of the National Women’s History Project:

On July 19-20, 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott spearheaded the first women’s rights convention in American History. Over 300 women and men came to Seneca Falls, New York to protest the mistreatment of women in social, economic, political, and religious life. This marked the first public call for women’s right to vote.

At the end of the conference 68 women and 32 men of the 300 attendees signed the Declaration of Sentiments. This document was drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who used the Declaration Independence as her guide and listed eighteen “injuries and usurpations… on the part of man toward woman” (same number of charges the colonists leveled against the King of England).
Those who attended the conference were vilified and mocked by the press who described the conference as “the most shocking and unnatural event ever recorded in the history of womanity.”

Yet, thanks to the countless numbers who have worked to preserve the history of the women’s rights movement, Seneca Falls, NY is now the site of the Womens Rights National Historical Park.

To honor democracy and the amazing legacy of the women’s rights movement, be sure to register and vote!
Happy Anniversary!

Link to activities this weekend at Seneca Falls, NY highlighting dramatic presentations of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage.

Photo: Library of Congress.Grundy County, Iowa, 1939.

Suffrage hikers to Washington DC are captured on film

Suffragist Elisabeth Freeman on her soapbox. From the web site elisabethfreeman.org published by her great niece, Peg Johnston.

There’s very little film footage from the suffrage movement, so this 80-second clip from the National Film Preservation Foundation is a treasure. It’s entitled “On to Washington.” The occasion is the suffrage hiking march with Rosalie Jones and Elisabeth Freeman and others who headed south to Washington, DC to join the suffrage parade scheduled to coincide with the inauguration of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. My grandparents Edna and Wilmer Kearns marched in that parade, along with Serena Kearns, my mother’s older sister who was born in 1905.

Grandmother Edna Kearns worked on Long Island suffrage organizing with both Rosalie Jones and Elisabeth Freeman. Jones was born and raised on Long Island where she carried out a significant amount of grassroots suffrage work. Elisabeth Freeman was born in England and became a paid organizer for the  movement. Rosalie, Elisabeth, Edna Kearns (along with Wilmer and Serena Kearns) and others started out on the march to Albany from NYC to see the governor about Votes for Women the first week in January of 1914.

Elisabeth Freeman’s web site is published by Elisabeth Freeman’s great niece, Peg Johnston of Binghamton, NY. Visit the Suffrage Wagon News Channel’s new platform.

Writer Antonia Petrash has lots of suffrage stories to tell

Suffrage pageant on Long Island. Photo: Library of Congress

There’s a new audio feature on Votes for Women Salon, a special feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel: an interview with Antonia Petrash who speaks about her upcoming book about the Long Island suffrage movement. The book is expected to be published in 2013 by  The History Press.

Grandmother Edna Kearns will be featured in Antonia’s work as someone significantly contributing to the suffrage movement because of her focus on the news media. Antonia has other stories to share with listeners in this Votes for Women Salon podcast special. Many of the interview selections are one minute or less. Listen when you have a break in your busy schedule.

Find out the story of the day when Susan B. Anthony met Elisabeth Cady Stanton. What the suffrage movement was like on Long Island. Remarkable New York women, and more. Click on the link above for Votes for Women Salon, a special feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

News from other places: In the Bahamas, there’s a suffrage celebration. A suff mural in Canada. The Canadians are strong in the promotion of history, and the U.S. could gather a few tips from their example. Especially this Canadian model of Strong Girls/Strong Canada!

What did Edna Kearns do on the 4th of July, 1913?

Grandmother Edna Kearns hitched a horse to her “Spirit of 1776″ wagon and headed to the shore at Long Beach on Long Island. She took two outfits with her: a bathing suit and a white dress with a “Votes for Women” sash. What a crowd on the beach that day, and the group of women made a splash. Edna even got out in the surf to make a “voiceless speech,” a tactic of the suffrage movement which fell under the category of the visual rhetoric associated with sophisticated public relations. Take a look at this link. The suffrage campaign wagon again made the NY Times.

“Appeal to Liberty” on behalf of the foremothers. . .

Read at the feet of the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 1915

To the Men of New York,

We therefore appeal to you, in the name of justice and fair play, for relief from the intolerable position in which we have been placed.

We protest that no Government is just which taxes and governs half its people without their consent.

We protest that no Government is efficient which is guilty of so absurd a discrimination as that of putting a vote in the hand of male paupers and denying that privilege to at least a third of its taxpayers; of counting the opinion of illiterate males, and denying that count to the 41,000 women teachers of the State.

We protest that no Government is sound which pretends to secure the highest welfare to its people, yet pays no heed to what half its people want.

We protest that no Government is logical which elevates half its people regardless of qualifications to sovereignty and condemns the other half to political subjection.

Justice gave you the vote, in the name of that same great virtue, we ask you to give it to us!

For news clips about the entire story about the “Appeal to Liberty” and Edna Kearns carrying on the work on Long Island, follow this link.

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.