Category Archives: suffragist

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

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

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

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

Watch a suffrage story on video and share your suffrage story

Did you know about the picketing of the White House by suffragists? This is a story we can’t tell often enough. The headquarters of the National Woman’s Party in Washington, DC (aka the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum) has prepared this video using some archival images many people have not seen.

These wonderful and energetic folks at the Sewall-Bemont House & Museum have launched a virtual campaign called “Share Your Story. Save HerStory.” It’s precisely the kind of campaign that builds leadership through stories of the suffrage movement, which is the mission of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Contact Elisabeth Crum at 202-546-1210 ext, 17, or send her an email with your answers to the following questions: “Why is woman suffrage important to you? Why will you vote this year? Who are the women (past and present) who inspire you to vote? What do you think women should know about the WNP and how will that move them to vote in 2012?” Stories will be collected as blog posts, video, Facebook, and Twitterview. For more information.

I’ll be participating in the story campaign. What about you? Stay up to date with news and stories of the suffrage movement: suffragewagon.org

Bad girls and troublemakers!

“History Detectives” was a great way to begin the week, along with Louise Bernikow’s article for the Women’s Media Center about this deep dark hole of our history.  You can watch the “History Detectives” show online after the fact.

Part of the thrill of doing this work is when my grandmother Edna Kearns speaks to me, when I can hear her voice above the noise and chatter of present day. Above all, she’s saying, “Don’t give up. Lucretia Mott took a lot of flack in her day from people who said she wanted too much too soon. And take Susan B. Anthony as an example. Ridiculed often, she never wavered from her goal.” Hefty advice for the days when we feel overwhelmed, isolated, discouraged. Hang in there, says Grandmother.

Notes pioneer women’s historian Anne Firor Scott: “It is worth trying to understand the past because in the process of doing so one learns so much about the possibilities and mysteries of human existence at the same time one is learning how partial and incomplete is even the most careful reconstruction of lives, events, and social movements. Sometimes I am willing to say, with Leonard Woolf, The Journey Not the Arrival Matters.” (From Making the Invisible Woman Visible.)

Anne Firor Scott’s interview with North Carolina Public Radio commentator Frank Stasio is worth a listen. Scott speaks about her life, women’s history, teaching and her perspective on the current state of affairs in the world. She reminds us that scholars and history buffs aren’t escapists in the sense that we prefer to live in the past instead of the present. Rather, we reach out to bridge the past with the present and extract the lessons meant for us today.

Intense suffrage debates on Long Island street corners

The location of one such fiery debate was identified as the corner of North Ocean Avenue and Main Street in Patchogue, NY as part of the campaigning to open up Long Island to more suffrage organizing. The Votes for Women activists held parades, spoke on street corners and from the back seats of automobiles, as well as horse-drawn wagons. At times their presence in town was heightened with a live band.   See entire article from the archives of Edna Buckman Kearns that includes the details of a shouting match between the women and a man on the street. Edna witnessed the event, and it was her job at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle to write about it.

Point of view from a Canadian lover of suffrage history

Barbara Allisen

I don’t remember when I first learned about the Canadian suffrage movement at school, but I do remember that politics were often discussed in our home. We lived in a very small farming community and the community hall, where elections were held, was across the street. Not all members of the family had the same voting preferences and should one of the females express a different opinion, teasing would follow about how terrible things were since women had been given the right to vote. But voting was taken seriously, and it was fully expected that each person who could vote would do so. I remember some farmers whose X signatures had to be witnessed because they could not write their names. At school, we had Civil Studies and held class elections. Much of the information I know comes from stories about the lives of these and other pioneer women I read after graduating from college.

On January 27, 1914, Nellie McClung and several hundred supporters filled the Legislative Building in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Nellie delivered the message: “We are not here to ask for a reform or a gift or a favor, but for a right–not for mercy but for justice.”

FOR MORE FROM BARBARA ALLISEN

Is this story true? A two-minute suffrage podcast.

It’s all in the telling, and the suffragists are believed to have written their own version of the tale. In March of 1913. U.S. President-elect Woodrow Wilson arrived at the train station in Washington, DC all geared up for his inauguration ceremony. He expected  to be the center of attention, but he wasn’t. “Where are the people?” he is alleged to have asked. The response: “On the Avenue watching the suffragists parade.”

Doris Stevens in her book, “Jailed for Freedom,” tells the story as fact. Here’s her story about the parade in a two-minute clip. The reading is brought to us by Librivox.

Photo of my grandmother Edna in 1912

Barnstorming for Votes for Women on Long Island, my grandmother Edna Buckman Kearns didn’t leave a stone unturned in her campaigning for Votes for Women. This photo is from a New York State suffrage publication, showing her to the right holding an umbrella.

Two minutes of “Jailed for Freedom”

Doris Stevens, who wrote "Jailed for Freedom"

Listen! This podcast of just over two minutes is the introduction to Jailed for Freedom by Doris Stevens who documented the last phase of the struggle for Votes for Women. It explains why a bolder approach was necessary and how this became a state of mind as well as a record of actions. The work is dedicated to Alice Paul. This short clip is from a recording of the entire work, now in the public domain, brought to you by LibriVox. This book can be ordered through Amazon.

One day to go on Kickstarter campaign for suffrage documentary!

This is a reminder about the Kickstarter campaign for the suffrage documentary ends Friday afternoon, June 3rd. And this posting has some interesting web pages to look at after you’ve visited the Kickstarter site.

The suffrage movement was coming into its own at the time of film and moving pictures. Here’s a link to a suffrage video gallery. Enjoy!

If you aren’t aware of the Susan B. Anthony handbag, this article from the New  York Times will bring you up to date. And if you’ve ever wondered about suffrage collectables, Legacy America lays out what’s available and what it costs.

Help Me Realize My Dream!

Grandmother Edna's suffrage campaign wagon

My dream is that my grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon will be put on permanent exhibit at the New York State Museum in Albany, NY. And that the edited documentary I’m in the process of producing will be played on a monitor next to the wagon. An unrealistic vision? I don’t think so. It’s my dream and I stand determined to reach the goal of raising $5,000 to professionally edit the work in progress. Which is why I’m cranking up the Kickstarter campaign. There are 31 days to go before the end of the campaign. Honor the hard work that went into the state and national Votes for Women campaigns.

“It is doubtful if any man, even among suffrage men, ever realized what the suffrage struggle came to mean to women before the end was allowed in America. How much of time, patience, how much work, energy and aspiration, how much faith, hope, how much despair went into it. It leaves its mark on one, such a struggle. It fills the days and it rides the nights. Working, eating, drinking, sleeping, it is there. . .”

Carrie Chapman Catt and Nettie Rogers Shuler (suffrage leaders)

Sun and Heat Couldn’t Keep Them from Their Task

I’m continuing to spread the word about the Kickstarter campaign. While I’m at it, I deliver 60-second history lessons wherever I can. One such tale is about how spreading the word about Votes for Women on Long Island in 1912 was no small accomplishment. This account from my grandmother’s files shows the details and about how the weather didn’t deter the women from the task at hand.

The Whirlwind Campaign of Long Island: 1912

The women hit the streets, literally, when barnstorming Long island for Votes for Women in 1912. They also kept excellent records, took charge of their own publicity, and understood the importance of being visible.Long Island's 1912 campaign

Grandmother in her Quaker bonnet!

Edna Buckman Kearns in her Quaker bonnetMy grandmother’s family history is important in the moral support it gave her to engage in Votes for Women. May Begley Buckman, her mother, was a temperance activist who was very much in support of woman’s suffrage. Edna Buckman Kearns was a ninth generation American on the Buckman side of her family. The Buckman family was the largest family group on the ship Welcome that came to the New World with William Penn, the first governor of Pennsylvania. I’m adding the first few generations to the “About Edna” page of this blog, with more to come. Here’s the information about Edna’s parents and grandparents. And the background about her Quaker great-grandparents and great-great grandparents.

Louisiana Women Celebrated With a Flair

The National Women’s History Project reported that their phone rang off the hook prior to and during March. Folks from around the nation called with reports of events and many questions. Louisiana women celebrated Votes for Women with a parade where they dressed in period costume.


During March a suffrage manuscript was uncovered in Connecticut that revealed the extent of organization it took to win the vote.

Put on a Pair of Kickstarting Boots and Pledge!

I need you to pledge to fund the completion of the film project I started last year. There’s a goal of $5,000 for polishing the editing, adding some more material, and getting the news out into the world. No money changes hands until we’ve reached the goal in early June. A lot of work has gone into this so far. And BTW, the Kickstarter boots are in your size!