Category Archives: women suffrage

It’s All About Spirit and Spunk

Votes for Women Tea Set is a great gift idea representing spirit and working together!

A modern-day version of spirit is gaining ground in a movement called the Chica Peeps. It celebrates the close bonds women have in supporting each other which is defined as: Chica Peeps[chee - ka peeps], noun; a sisterhood of strength and support; a group of three or more women who anchor, guide and nurture each other, often through humor.

Although my grandmother never heard the term Chica Peeps, it’s definitely something she experienced as women rallied to win the vote. Velya Jancz-Urban, a Chica Peep organizer, sees the connection between suffrage, Chica Peeps and a suffrage tea set.  The replica tea set is packed away beyond her reach (for now anyway), but it’s one of those possessions with both personal and historical meaning, according to Velya.

Velya faced a serious personal challenge two years ago which she survived, in large part, due to the support of her Chica Peeps. She explains: “MChica Peeps helped make me whole again. I got to thinking that if I have Chica Peeps, than other women must also have them. Chica Peeps has now taken on a life of its own and seems to be what many women are looking for.

“As far as the Suffrage Movement goes, I guess my interest in women’s issues began when I was quite little after my first trip to Newport, Rhode Island. While I loved the mansions, it was Alva Vanderbilt Belmont who really fascinated me and I have read just about everything that exists on her. To think that American women were granted the right to vote only six years before my own mother was born astounded me! Of course I know about Alice Paul, Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, but Alva really appeals to me because of her legendary intrusive and aristocratic manner which antagonized some of the women’s rights leaders of the time, yet she was sincere about gaining equality for women. The best gift I’ve ever received was the complete set of reproduction ‘Votes for Women’ dinnerware my husband purchased for me on our 20th wedding anniversary (it will be our 28th anniversary on 11/28!) when we were in Newport. . . Last week I told my family that unpacking the box that contains the ‘Vote for Women’ plates will be a happy moment for me! So, from Alva Vanderbilt Belmont’s Marble House and Chinese Tea House where she held her suffrage rallies, to Brazil, and now to Chica Peeps I guess women have always fascinated me – I’ve come full circle (but I wish I had my plates!).”

Help with National Holiday for Alice Paul

If a national holiday is designated for suffragist Alice Paul, she will be the first woman honored by a national holiday. Help get the movement going with an online petition. Many people across the nation are remembering the Night of Terror. Sign the petition and spread the word.

We owe much to suffragist Alice Paul!

Talk of the Town!

There’s a buzz about women’s suffrage. Amazement about Alice Paul. A huge celebration in Washington State. Reviews, commentary. Check it out and appeciate all the time it took to do this wrap up of the Iron Jawed Angels spirit that’s out there. It takes time to link up with what’s being said and this is about the last time I’ll do it…if only to make the point that appreciation and recognition of the suffrage movement is the Talk of the Town.

Contemporary ecofashion inspired by suffrage movement. Commentary about League of Women VotersReflections on Alice Paul and associates. Blog entry by Utah woman. Commentary from England. Elizabeth Cady Stanton not a happy camper on her birthday. Remembering Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Washington State celebrates 100 years of women voting. Touring theatrical company performs play about suffrage movement in Washington State. Suffrage movement source of pride in Washington State. People agreed to share power in Washington State.  “Oh, the women are coming to Seattle.” Long overdue recognition of Anna Ella Carroll. British suffrage movement referred to in article about digital activism. Remembering Jeanette RankinAbigail Smith Adams bio, plus suffrage photos and books. Women in the U.S. Senate. Suffrage movement cited by John McCain’s daughter. Internet radio interview about the suffrage movement and Alice Paul. Listen online. The ups and downs of the American suffrage movement. Low moments during the 2010 elections. More about the celebration in Washington State. Votes for Women Tea Towel. Appreciation expressed to suffragists and their sacrifices. Anthony arrested for voting. Reflections on election day. Inspired by “Iron Jawed Angels.”

Paste This on the Fridge!

Suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt:

“Women have suffered an agony of soul that you and your daughters might inherit political freedom. The vote has been costly, prize it!”

Suffrage Wagon? You Gotta Be Kidding Me!

So what’s the big deal with a suffrage wagon? And what is it anyway? Something kids drag along the sidewalk for play? You’d be surprised how often the question is asked, and you’d think I might have called the blog something else. But a suffrage campaign wagon is what it is. Horse-drawn wagons were used by the women in the US suffrage movement in parades, in community tours, as a speakers’ platform and as a symbol of their work. Photos of suffrage campaign wagons show up in the collections of the Library of Congress, Bryn Mawr College, among other places. They were used to draw attention to the issues. And it was big news when women driving wagons such as these with signs traveled from place to place to drum up action.

The suffrage campaign wagons were generally pressed into service for the cause, and then they returned to being bread or milk wagons or whatever function they might have served previously. Few, if any, suffrage wagons survived. And if nothing else, they remain as a symbol of the extensive grassroots organizing of the turn of the century. Why should anyone care? That’s a good question. Because today we stand on the shoulders of strong people who worked their fingers to the bone to bring us the vote. Social movements are documented through photos, letters, organizational records and so on. But it’s difficult to produce an experience of having touched the movement and a period of time of our history. When we have an example of a suffrage wagon to touch and feel, it’s a treasure.

Women Political Candidates Feel the Sting

The Associated Press published an article, “Sexism Still a Problem for Women Seeking office” that highlights the attacks on women running for political office that the writer, David Crary, pointed out went beyond the boundaries of ordinary political attacks and what he described were gender specific. It’s worth checking out.

Beyond that, these attacks are reminiscent of the woman’s suffrage movement when suffragists were called on the carpet for not taking care of their families and daring to leave the safety of the home where they belonged. In my grandmother Edna Kearns’ papers, there are various references to this, such as when she marched in parades in Washington, DC and New York City where such taunts from the sidelines were common.

IN OTHER NEWS:

Material Mama blog and commentary about the history of voting. Digitized copy of The Woman’s Bible. Colorado women voted ahead of the countryLucy Hayes on stage. Women shouldn’t give away their power. Book on women in the South. Historians remember harsh history of woman’s suffrageRemember the past to shape the future.

National Suffrage Memorial is Long Overdue

Plans for a national suffrage memorial at Occoquan Regional Park in Lorton, Va. are underway to bring recognition to the woman’s suffrage movement. Finally!  The conceptual design for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial has been unveiled. Fundraising is underway. Design features for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial include: Entrance Plaza Gates duplicating the White House gates where suffragists stood as “silent sentinels” in protest and held “watchfire for freedom” rallies. Commemorative Banners anchoring the entrance, replicating those carried by the suffragists. A Memorial Cascade and Waterfall emanating from a wall mounted with more than 120 stainless steel plaques that identify the women incarcerated for the cause and copy the design of the “jailed for freedom” pin that was presented to them by Alice PaulA Footbridge Into A Memorial Meditation Garden symbolizing the crossing over and/or advancement of the movement and signifying the continuing push for equality. Nineteen Interactive Vignettes along a winding path that will provide the history of the suffragist movement and the story of the women held at the Occoquan Workhouse.

Historians with the Sewall Belmont House and a Smithsonian curator are participating in the creation of the vignettes. The memorial is expected to cost between two and four million dollars and the goal is to have the memorial built by the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in August of 2020. The memorial’s organizers have a online newsletter and ambitious ideas.

Suffrage Documentary to be Showcased in Silver City, NM

The upcoming November election, the Day of the Dead, and the 90th anniversary of U.S. women voting all converge with a shrine to suffragist Edna Buckman Kearns that will be on display from October 25 through November 14 in Silver City, New Mexico in the Silver City Day of the Dead Shrine Show.  The exhibit, spread throughout Silver City in 14 businesses and galleries, showcases the shrines of 21 artists. The opening reception is Friday, October 29, 2010, 6-9 p.m. at the A-Space Studio Gallery, 110 West 7th Street. Exhibits fall into the categories of contemporary and traditional shrines. Many shrines are traditional, such as Chickie Beltran’s shrine honoring miners and Gloria Beltran’s shrine honoring the Apache.

“Five Generations and the Million Dollar Wagon” is an example of a contemporary shrine in the form of a 19-minute documentary honoring Edna Buckman Kearns who campaigned for woman’s suffrage. This shrine also acknowledges the thousands of American women who campaigned for the vote over a 70-year period, an effort which was launched in 1848 with the woman’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York.

Serena Kearns: Poster Child for Suffrage

To me, she was Aunt Serena. To the many people who knew my grandmother Edna, Serena was the poster child for the suffrage movement in New York City and Long Island. Edna Kearns was the suffrage editor for The Brooklyn Daily Eagle which meant Serena went everywhere with her mother. She rode in the suffrage wagon, handed out literature and even went to Washington, DC to picket the White House. Photo from the collection of Edna Buckman Kearns.

All the Suff News that Fits!

The suffrage wagon is a back door opening to the subject of a grand period of our history: the struggle for Votes for Women.  Judging by the number of mentions about the suffrage movement, as seen online, the level of interest is increasing. Here are some recent highlights:

One Washington county honors its suffragists. College student reports on reflections about voting in light of the sacrifices made by the suffragists she studied in Beverly, MA. Review of the book, The Feminist Promise. A quick lesson on the American Woman Suffrage Association. A teachable moment (one hour and fifteen minutes) about Alice Paul and the passage of the 19th amendment. “Woman’s Suffrage: I had no idea.” The discovery of women’s history and Alice Paul in a blog called “Mom2Mom.” British women activists connect their present-day struggle with the suffrage movement.

Suffrage News Roundup

Philadelphia Inquirer review of a new book about Alice Paul by Mary Walton. Review in a New Jersey paper. Columnist Jack Levine writes about his grandmother voting and her involvement in the suffrage movement. Susan B. Anthony letter on sale for $15,000. News article about how women’s history doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. US president Obama mentions woman’s suffrage in a September 29th speech. Program features suffragist in Massachusetts program. In New York program.

Book Underway About Long Island Suffrage Movement


“They aren’t absentee –just absent” is a Newsday Op Ed piece written by Antonia Petrash about women and voting. Petrash is the director of the Glen Clove (NY) Public LIbrary, and she is writing a book about the suffrage movement on Long Island.

Grand Opening of Matilda Joslyn Gage Center

The grand opening of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center in Fayetteville, New York is scheduled for the weekend of October 8-10, 2010. This is an incredible opportunity to find out more about a key suffragist in the movement, Matilda Joslyn Gage. There’s a very full weekend of activities –both educational and entertaining. Visit the newly-restored Susan B. Anthony house in Rochester, NY on a bus tour. Be part of the open house at the Gage home with special exhibits and features. Enjoy an evening of music and the special opening ceremony. For more information.

Long and Short Suffrage Hikes

A rare and precious film clip of 1913 showing Rosalie Jones and Elisabeth Freeman leaving on a hike to Washington, DC for suffrage gives a sense of, not only their courage, but the intense interest in women voting and the need to accelerate the pressure. The story in my family was that my grandmother, Edna Buckman Kearns, planned to take the wagon, the “Spirit of 1776,” on the long trip with Rosalie and Elisabeth, but she backed out at the last minute for health reasons. Edna went to the big march in Washington, but couldn’t commit to the long ordeal of the hikers underwent.

Edna, her husband Wilmer Kearns and their daughter Serena Kearns accompanied Rosalie Jones and Elisabeth Freeman on the 1914 hike to Albany in January, no small accomplishment. Hiking as a media event in the suffrage movement received considerable publicity.

Edna’s Hometown of Rockville Centre has a Woman Mayor

On the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, the newspaper covering Nassau County on Long Island featured Edna Kearns and a roundup of the number of women holding elected positions on Long Island. Check it out! I’m sure Edna thought it perfectly reasonable that Rockville Centre, where she lived, should have a woman mayor, Mary Bossart. While an accomplishment, it should be noted that Mary Bossart was elected in 2007 as the first woman mayor for Rockville Centre. She served as a village trustee for eight years.

“Iron Jawed Angels” to Bring in the New Year!

What a way to celebrate the New Year as I concentrate over the next few weeks and dive into grandmother Edna’s life and correspondence. I watched “Iron Jawed Angels” which focused on Alice Paul and others who worked their fingers to the bone for a national suffrage amendment. There were no films like this when I was growing up. And there’s another reason to celebrate. The year 2010 is the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. constitution. Women worked hard and long for it. Our grandmothers and great grandmothers were in the front lines. This is a highlight of how Hollywood dealt with the issue.

Part 1 of “Iron Jawed Angels.”