Category Archives: Women's Suffrage

Be a Backer for Film About Votes for Women

Help us stand on the shoulders of courageous, determined women whose insistence on winning the right to vote carried forward the ideals of this country’s founders. Play an important part in telling the story through the Kickstarter campaign, “Hitch a Ride on the ‘Spirit of 1776.'” Make sure that an important part of our nation’s history isn’t forgotten. Back the work in progress about my grandmother who represents the thousands of women who persisted until Votes for Women was won. No money changes hands unless we reach our goal. Get on the bandwagon now! It’s Women’s History Month and there’s no time like the present.

How my Grandmother risked her life for Votes for Women

I wrote this award-winning story about how my grandmother (Edna Buckman Kearns) risked her life for Votes for Women; it takes us back to 1915. And what a great way to kick off the many activities of Women’s History Month! Accompanying this tale is a contribution by Tara Bloyd, Edna’s great granddaughter, who seasons the story with her favorite corn soup recipe. My grandmother Edna canned fruits and vegetables and made jam to raise money for the women’s suffrage movement. While our family saved some of Edna’s plates and dishes, the most prized possession is Edna’s canned corn which is featured in the story.

Women’s History Special Programs in New Mexico

It’s going to be a busy month for me as I join up with musician Gerri Gribi who’s bringing her autoharp and mountain dulcimer to the Santa Fe area for a whirlwind performance tour to celebrate Women’s History Month. She’ll be singing and I’ll tell stories about my grandmother, Edna Buckman Kearns. Gerri and I will be at the New Mexico School for the Arts, on KSFR radio with Diego Mulligan, the featured guests at a Saturday, March 5th meeting of the Santa Fe chapter of the American Association of University Women, as well as presenting a special program and afternoon tea party on Sunday, March 6th for the Abiquiu Library and Cultural Center. Later in the month, there’s a women’s history program for federal employees in Albuquerque. I’ll be breathless and exhausted by the end of March!

“Fall in Line” Suffrage March

Listen to the band play “Fall in Line” (Suffrage March) composed by Zena S. Hawn. This tune was at the top of the program at a special tea held on February 9, 1915 to celebrate the birthdays of Susan B. Anthony and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw. My grandmother was one of about 30 women on the planning committee for the event at the Hotel Biltmore in New York City. I used the 1915 program as a guide for planning a Susan B. Anthony party in Santa Fe during February. Birthday parties and elegant teas in honor of suffrage leaders were common during the women’s suffrage movement, and we’re falling in line by carrying on the tradition. Celebrate Women’s History Month by having a party with your friends and organization. A teapot, some tea and cookies. That’s all it takes. If you’re looking for a program, rent “Not For Ourselves Alone” which is about Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  It’s also available on Netflix instant play. Screen it in advance. Roll out the tea and sweets and have a great time!

Happy Birthday, Susan B. Anthony!

We had a great time on Saturday, February 12th celebrating Susan B. Anthony’s birthday in Santa Fe. Tea and sweets. Live music. A dramatic presentation and commentary. Here’s the program! The edited script from the public record of Susan’s arrest for voting in 1872 was a hit. Susan’s feisty spirit amazed the group of about 25 who gathered at the Quaker Meeting on Canyon Road (Susan was raised a Quaker). Celebrating Susan’s birthday is part of a long tradition in the U.S. Ninety-six years ago, my grandmother (Edna Buckman Kearns) was on the planning committee of a Susan B. Anthony tea at the Hotel Biltmore in NYC. See the Feb. 9, 1915 program: page 1 -page 2 -page 3 March is Women’s History Month, and the time is NOW to be planning a women’s history program or afternoon tea of your own during March. See the planning page on our web site. Large birthday parties were thrown for Susan in 1870, 1890, 1900 and 1906. A new book by Penny Coleman will be published in May 2011 about the significance of the friendship and working relationship of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Also, take an online tour of the Susan B. Anthony House in New York State.

Take a Quiz on Women’s Suffrage History

I know. Many people never learned anything about suffrage history in school. Most have picked it up along the way, and even more are just learning. This fun quiz plots your progress. Give it a whirl!

Is Anyone Paying Attention?

In the past, not all feedback about the idea of women voting was negative. Many prominent people put themselves on the line, including Walter Clark, chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court. He wrote to suffrage leader Alice Paul toward the end of the national suffrage campaign to pass the 19th amendment: “Your place in History is assured. There were politicians, and a large degree of public sentiment, which could be won only by the methods you adopted.” Justice Clark was referring to the direct action taken by Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party, which at the time was extremely controversial. Nowadays we take the civil rights movement to expand the franchise for granted. At the time it polarized people, as well as brought them together.

Water Dumped on Suffs’ Heads

Speaking from soap boxes in the street wasn’t an activity without its risks, as is noted by this June 30, 1914 New York Times article about an associate of my grandmother, Martha Klatschken, who had cold water dumped on her head when she was out advocating for Votes for Women at Twelfth Street and Avenue B in NYC.

With the observance of Martin Luther King Day this week, there’s also an awareness of other civil rights movements in the U.S., including the woman’s suffrage movement.

Below: Go to the web site about Elizabeth Freeman for more information: www.elizabethfreeman.org

Elisabeth Freeman on a soapbox, speaking for Votes for Women

A “Votes for Women” Teapot Means Celebrations!

I’m planning a Susan B. Anthony birthday celebration next month. More about this soon! And there’s news from Velya Jancz-Urban who always wanted a “Votes for Women” tea pot to go with her china set that has been stored away. Here’s what she said about it. Now the entire set will be coming out of storage just in time for afternoon tea party season. February 15th is Susan B. Anthony’s birthday and a perfect opportunity for Velya to use the “Votes for Women” dish set, which by the way, is available at the gift shop at the Susan B. Anthony House, among other places. Photo: Velya opens her teapot gift during the holidays.

Celebrate Alice Paul Day on January 11, 2011

My grandmother Edna worked with suffrage leader Alice Paul on the national campaign to win Votes for Women.

It’s the goal of many Americans to have the day of January 11th (Alice Paul’s birthday) designated as a national holiday. Have you signed the petition? Have you thought about planning high tea during 2011 for your friends or organization as a way to talk about the issues?

Take a look at this video piece about Alice that was produced by the Alice Paul Institute. They have ecards that you can send to friends and associates . . . for example, “You have a voice. Thank Alice.” “You can speak up. Thank Alice.” Author Mary Walton calls Alice Paul “the most overlooked American civil rights leader of the 20th century.” One source worth checking out is an Alice Paul interview conducted by Amelia Fry that’s available online.

Why Did The Story About Votes for Women Get Lost?

Check out this three-minute podcast that’s a selection from an interview with performer Gerri Gribi in the “Votes for Women Salon” series. She believes that history is taught in the context of war, not movements for peaceful nonviolent social change, which is one reason why the story of the 19th amendment hasn’t been given its due. The suffrage movement was the fulfillment of the promise of 1776 where the country’s founders declared that all men were created equal. Women wanted to be part of the political process, and they banded together to win the vote.

Find out more about Gerri Gribi online. Stay tuned for other points of view about why the story of the 19th amendment has been lost. What do you think?

A Special Suffrage Christmas Tree!

My grandmother Edna May Buckman was born Christmas day in 1882, the daughter of Charles Harper Buckman and May Phipps Begley.   I found a 1910 article about a Christmas suffrage tree and holiday party that shows how the holiday festivities were tied to the suffrage organizing in New York City and it’s precisely the kind of event Edna and daughter Serena would have enjoyed. The children attending the 1910 suffrage holiday party walked away with candy wrapped in suffrage colors and a Votes for Women button.

My Mother Would Be 90 years Old This Year

My mother –Wilma Buckman Kearns– was born within a week of that historic day in November 1920 when ALL American women voted for the first time. Wilma’s mother, Edna Buckman Kearns, was a New York State suffragist who had spent more than a decade of her life, working full time on Votes for Women. And instead of being able to fulfill the hopes and dreams of the suffragists, my own mother would face the Crash of 1929, the Great Depression, World War II, and raising children during the 1950s and 1960s. It was a difficult time to be a strong independent woman. It took me years to fully appreciate the strong shoulders on which I stand. Wilma played a key role in preserving her mother’s suffrage campaign wagon.  She passed away in November of 1997.

What if They Held a Parade and No one Showed Up?

This “Sixty-Second History Lesson” highlights how suffragist Alice Paul took up the challenge of organizing a Votes for Women parade in 1913 in the nation’s capitol. It was a delicate, and some would say an impossible task–to organize a successful parade as the city geared up for the inauguration of a U.S. president, Woodrow Wilson.

Alice’s intention was, not only for the parade to be politically effective, but for it to be an art form. Paul’s intention was described in a letter to a friend:  “Therefore, while we want, of course, marchers, above all things, we are endeavoring to make the procession a particularly beautiful one, so that it will be noteworthy on account of its beauty even if we are not able to make it so on account of its numbers.” The beauty and art of the parade were set into motion, but as it turned out – the city and its inhabitants weren’t in the mood to respond in quite the way Alice Paul had imagined.

More Holiday Gift Ideas

The shop at the National Women’s Hall of Fame is loaded with gift ideas for the girls and women in your life. Take a look at books, bookmarks, puzzles, buttons, calendars, card games, t-shirts, postcards, baby items and DVDs. Also, you can head over to ebay and type in Votes for Women. Original postcards are reasonably priced and there’s a lot of stuff for collectors who won’t be able to resist some of the offerings.

Yanking Your Vote Away With a Smile. . .

This isn’t a skit on Comedy Central. Judson Phillips isn’t joking when he proposes that only property owners should be able to vote in U.S. elections. The Tea Party founder has been floating this trial balloon recently to see if the idea will sink or swim. It sounds more like a temper tantrum than a serious proposal. Yes –a temper tantrum where Phillips is shaking his fist and stomping his feet because the population is becoming increasingly diverse and all sorts of people are becoming empowered, especially at the polls.

Come to think of it, a healthy proportion of the people on my holiday card list this year would  be turned away on election day under Phillips’ plan. This would include highly-mobile professionals, renters, city dwellers, women, the young, students, the retired and those downsizing in the current recession for any number of reasons. Apparently the idea of redefining voting rights has juice among those who either have no idea of the great sacrifice that was involved with the major civil rights struggles of the 20th century (of which woman’s suffrage was significant), or they simply couldn’t care less because of their personal and political agendas.

“strong, courageous, capable young women will take our place…”

Susan B. Anthony: “We little dreamed when we began this contest, optimistic with the hope and buoyancy of youth, that half a century later we would be compelled to leave the finish of the battle to another generation of women. But our hearts are filled with joy to know that they enter upon this task equipped with a college education, with business experience, with the fully admitted right to speak in public –all of which were denied to women fifty years ago. They have practically but one point to gain –the suffrage; we had all. These strong, courageous, capable young women will take our place and complete our work. There is an army of them where we were but a handful.”

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Girls and Women in Your Life

Replica "Votes for Women" plate.

There are gifts galore to choose from and you don’t have to leave home! Replica “Votes for Women” dinner plates come with high recommendations. See comments by Veyla Jancz-Urban. You can order items from the “Votes for Women” tea sets online at the Susan B. Anthony House gift shop, plus many other items. Zazzle has many personalized suffrage gift items, as does Cafe Press –whether it’s a mug, t-shirt, poster, set of stickers, mouse pad. Chances are. . . if they don’t have it, they’ll make it for you. The Louisa May Alcott House has a shop full of suffrage goodies. And don’t forget CDs and books. The online shop of the National Women’s History Project has a wide range of items from women’s history, including books for readers of all ages, games and educational items.

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.

Suffrage News from All Over!

Women remember the jailing of suffragists. “Iron Jawed Angels” is still being talked about. College student speaks about apathy and the value of voting. Reflections on Alice Paul. Washington State resident shares about her great-grandmother who was a suffragist. One hundred years of voting in Washington State. Scholar and biographer discusses Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Newspaper columnist reviews the history of women voting. British women use 1912 suffrage theatre performance as a fundraiser. New Mexico had a woman governor for two weeks in 1924. A detailed Woman’s Suffrage Timeline.

In other news, the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County (NY) is holding a celebration of the 90th anniversary of woman’s suffrage on Friday, November 12, 2010 (7:30-9:30 p.m.) at the Saratoga Music Hall at City Hall, 474 Broadway. There will be a dramatic reading of the “Declaration of Sentiments” written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and read by Coline Jenkins, the great great granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The 19th amendment to the US Constitution, written by Susan B. Anthony, will be read by Shirley Anthony Carman and Beverly Marx, first cousins, four times removed from Susan B. Anthony. There will be a champagne toast to the suffragists, a musical tribute, and food. $20 members and $25 non members.

New York City, a Hub of New Ideas

The New York City Edna moved to with her new husband, Wilmer R. Kearns, was bustling with activists and new ideas. The NYP is my least favorite newspaper, but a feature article highlighting this period of history lays it out in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which mentions suffrage activism of the women of the period.