Category Archives: Kearns Suffrage Campaign Wagon

Suffragists Rosalie Jones and Edna Kearns toured in their Votes for Women wagons

Suffragist Rosalie Jones of Long Island used a yellow horse-drawn wagon. Edna Kearns traveled in another suffrage wagon, the “Spirit of 1776.” They toured, gave speeches, recruited supporters. At the end of the day, they were special guests of honor at dinner. See article below in The Long Islander. Note, however, that Edna’s daughter is recorded as Irene. Actually, it was Serena. And little Serena was a suffrage poster child. Her onstage appearance in a suffrage pageant at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City is noted in this article., as well as the effort put into organizing on Long Island for Votes for Women.

Torchlight meetings, auto parades = wagons got out the word!

Picture a torchlight meeting, an automobile parade, and open-air meeting. Huntington, New York piled on the welcome when my grandmother Edna Kearns and the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon hit town. Long Island activist Rosalie Jones drove her yellow suffrage campaign wagon in the parade as well.

Horse-drawn wagons may seem quaint to us today, but at the time it was quite a stunt for women to be out in the streets. They took advantage of the novelty by decorating their campaign wagons with Votes for Women banners. Come to think of it, a horse-drawn wagon put in the service of any cause today will attract some attention. Marketing plans were relatively new back then, and the suffrage movement activists took advantage of every opportunity to spread the word.

An¬†article of July 27, 1913 notes that Edna Kearns’ suffrage wagon was also known as a “one hoss shay.” Geoffrey Stein, who’s now retired from the New York State Museum as its transportation curator, told me in the past that Edna’s horse-drawn campaign wagon (used on Long Island and in New York City) is representative of other such wagons used by the suffrage movement for parades, as speaking platforms, and more. Most of these wood vehicles, like the yellow wagon used by Rosalie Jones, weren’t preserved and they were put to other uses after 1920.

I’m curious. Google may be great about some things, but my search came up short when I typed in the word “votersvilles” which is mentioned in the last line of the linked article. Anyone know what this means?

“Let them wimmin get the vote and stop making so much fuss!”

This story is from a New York Tribune article from Grandmother Edna Kearns’ archive documenting her woman’s suffrage activism on Long Island and New York City.

When Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon was presented to the state suffrage organization in 1913, a big crowd was in attendance, and the event received considerable media attention.¬†