Tag Archives: Alice Paul

Musing about my Susan B. Anthony speech, plus release of new Alice Paul biography

MKmusingsI’m still working out the details of my Susan B. Anthony speech for the party commemorating the June 19th presentation Susan gave at the Ontario County, NY courthouse. The occasion: her trial for illegal voting in 1873. The courthouse is located in what’s known as the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States, not far from Rochester, New York –a great idea for historical road trips this summer.

Susan B. Anthony sure had spirit, and I wrote about it in Suffrage Wagon’s spring newsletter. After describing the upcoming party’s skit planning in the last blog posting, someone wrote in to note that Susan hadn’t actually been handcuffed. She’d held out her hands for handcuffs, but the arresting officer refused to comply before taking her downtown for booking. Many scripts are rewritten during the process. I love the feedback and need all the help I can get in this celebration of spirit.

Be forewarned, however. Susan B. Anthony’s 1873 speech isn’t for the thin skinned. Susan let loose about the injustice of second class citizenship for women. Her words are now included in lists of great American speeches. For someone like Susan B. Anthony to stand tall and give the judge hell must have taken courage and a truckload of chutzpah.

I love the potential surprises associated with Susan’s trial speech. At the 2011 party where I featured Susan’s trial, I invited guests to wear period costumes. One women chose a dress once worn by her grandmother, and others supplemented with hats and scarves. The tea table groaned with freshly-baked sweets. Grandmother Edna’s great-great grandchildren provided the entertainment — live music on violin and viola. I shared about the suffrage project I’ve been doing online since 2009. And then the trial skit. It was so much fun, I decided to do it again this year! I’ll write up the entire play shortly so you can see it doesn’t require a rehearsal, though you might do a test run first.

If you’re planning to send out invitations for a June 19th Susan B. trial speech party, consider attaching this promotional video link. Send me an email at suffragewagon at gmail dot com if you need any encouragement!

Suffrage Wagon BookshelfOn June 2, Publishers Weekly released its review of Jill Zahniser and Amelia Fry’s biography of Alice Paul. It’s a starred review of Alice Paul: Claiming Power by J.D. Zahniser and Amelia R. Fry.

“Zahniser and Fry’s biography shines a bright light on the ‘elusive’ figure of suffragist Alice Paul (1885–1977). A woman whose life bridged the ‘first’ and ‘second waves’ of feminism, Paul was once a towering figure in American suffragist politics, having cut her teeth on the battle for women’s voting rights in Britain. The elegantly constructed narrative combines the filaments of Paul’s precocious life into an incisive tale, beginning with her Quaker upbringing and following her as she emerges as an activist and agitator.

“The book shows how Paul navigated the shoals of propriety, respectability, and the necessity of forthright activist tactics. In addition, Zahniser and Fry (who died in 2009) effectively explore the often forgotten warrens of feminist history and its intersections with world events, including WWI. The authors deserve credit for tackling the issue of racism within the suffrage movement, as well as Paul’s latent prejudices. While showing how Paul became a suffragist, and the battles that defined a generation of fractious feminist activism, the book leaves the rest of her long life, after 1920, to other scholars. This is not only the story of one person, but of her epoch and culture. Zahniser and Fry have done readers a profound service.”

Follow the Suffrage Wagon with news and views of the suffrage movement. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote. Carry on the “Spirit of 1776.” If you’re off on a historical road trip this summer, check in with LetsRockTheCradle.com for suggestions and ideas.

Organizations carry on the work of suffrage grandmothers and great grandmothers today!

Turning Point

Are you familiar with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial?

The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association needs financial help to begin construction of a national memorial to those women who went to jail to win the right to vote. Turning Point Suffragist Memorial must meet a November 30, 2014, deadline for funding initial construction. Let’s help them reach that goal! The land is purchased. The overall design is completed. Help pay for the engineering analysis and detailed engineering drawings. Find out more.

Alice Paul Institute: Historic preservation consultants, Preservation Partners, has teamed with the Alice Paul Institute to introduce a revised New Jersey women’s history website:  njwomenshistory.org. Take a stroll through the Alice Paul Institute gift shop online when looking for a gift. There’s a stone tile coaster, a utility apron, and suffrage pendants. The gift items are described in the December 2013 issue of the online newsletter, and you can sign up to keep in touch the rest of the year.

The National Women’s History Project has quite an offering for Women’s History Month items. Newsletters and special mailings feature birthdays and other special days in women’s history. Check out the web site. There’s a special Women’s History Month brochure that’s handy to print out. And the National Women’s History Project is sponsoring a gala dinner for its honorees of this year’s theme: “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment.” There’s a great tour of women’s history sites planned in Washington, DC as well. See web site for details.

Sewall-Belmont House: The historic headquarters of the National Woman’s Party. Great store for shopping. Collections, exhibits, programs, museum. Located in Washington, DC, the Sewall-Belmont House is a terrific travel destination. The Sewall-Belmont House makes suffrage history in the nation’s Capitol come alive. Don’t miss a visit. Tours available Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.

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Correction: The book Alice Paul: Claiming Power coauthored by J.D. Zahniser and the late Amelia Fry will be released in July 2014, not September, as previously reported.

Upcoming Alice Paul book author claims new approach to suffrage leader

Book about Alice Paul: Claiming Power

Alice Paul: Claiming Power by J.D. Zahniser with Amelia R. Fry is an upcoming book expected to be published in September 2014 by Oxford University Press. Suffrage leader Alice Paul may have preferred to be remain out of the limelight as she organized the picketing of the White House and other controversial actions that resulted in the passage and ratification of the 19th amendment that granted American women the right to vote in 1920.

Scholarly works about Paul have been few and far between in recent years. One biographer simply gave up and said that Paul didn’t leave enough personal resources behind to be useful for historians. This upcoming book will be examined closely because Zahniser is expected to offer a new perspective about Paul’s entry into suffrage activism. She uses oral history resources gathered by historian Amelia Fry, as well as interviews with Paul’s friends and family. Fry’s extensive oral interview sessions with Paul are available online.

Upcoming: Women’s History Month in March and International Women’s Day on March 8th. Encourage young people to step forward!  Sign a petition and help high school students in California focus attention on the Equal Rights Amendment. Go to ERA web site and follow the progress (or lack of it) and how you can push things along.

Interesting links to articles to share: A provocative article from the Huffington Post about the sex lives of the founding fathers. A history of American women can be read between the lines, as well as directly. #1.  A novel by Sue Monk Kidd deals with the human issues associated with being a strong and independent woman during the time of slavery. #1.  A senior citizens blog recommends Seneca Falls, NY as a travel destination.  #1. #2.

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A VIDEO: Hot Tea and Picketing the White House with Alice Paul

Hot Tea Month during January
It’s “Hot Tea Month” and what better time than to feature “The Grated Door,” the brainchild of Alice Paul (her birthday: January 11th). The Grated Door was the tea room for the National Woman’s Party in Washington, DC and the “go to” place for those who picketed the White House for suffrage. See video about Alice Paul’s tea house. The selection below about The Grated Door 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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Grandmother Edna Kearns sends report back from 1913 suffrage parade: Marguerite’s Musings

MusingWagonThe 1913 suffrage centennial events in Washington, DC March 1-3, 2013 has people participating from all over the nation. I can’t be part of it, but I’m “there” in spirit, as is Grandmother Edna Kearns and tens of thousands of our ancestors. The 1913 parade was a visual representation of decades of work on the local, state, and national levels, and this weekend’s centennial parade on Sunday, March 3rd represents the vision of the tens of thousands of grassroots suffrage activists that it took to win the vote for women. They passed the torch to successive generations of activists, and they’re showing up in Washington this weekend.

Grandmother Edna knew that the story had to be preserved, not only for American history but also for us today. Edna sent back reports of the 1913 parade to New York City metropolitan newspapers. Here’s a selection in her own words: LINK. She reported how the marchers were slapped, insulted, and abused as they marched in the streets.

Stay up to date with suffrage stories from Grandmother Edna and news of the suffrage movement from Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Suffrage buffs and nuts, like me, are in heaven: Marguerite’s Musings

MK-musing

I can’t tell you how happy I am to see the interest and attention increasing over the planned events March 1-3, 2013, in Washington, DC to commemorate the centennial of the 1913 big suffrage parade.

What a time. It’s when Grandmother Edna Kearns met Alice Paul for the first time, though they did have similar cultural roots as Quakers. Grandfather Wilmer marched in the men’s division. Young Serena Kearns marched with her mother Edna as part of a Quaker delegation, all of them in traditional dress. Edna wrote about it for New York City newspapers. The movement needed the press.

Suffrage hikers stormed into Washington (including Rosalie Jones, Elizabeth Freeman and others), excited from all the press coverage. The suffrage parade itself was a masterpiece of planning, vision, and symbolism. And the reaction and resistance to the suffrage message equally strong. People kept on talking about the suffrage activists who simply wouldn’t give up.

The centennial celebrations in Washington this year are expected to be great. And the year 2013 is the centennial for Grandmother Edna’s suffrage wagon. And everywhere I turn there’s something else.

“One Billion Rising” is set for February 14th this year, and it’s the dream realized from our suffrage ancestors. We’re participating. Make sure you do as well. LINK. I’m putting together a tribute to Susan B. Anthony this month. Make sure you’re subscribed to Suffrage Wagon. LINK. Alice Paul will get considerable attention during March and Women’s History Month because of the centennial celebration of the 1913 suffrage parade. Schedule and other information concerning this exciting upcoming event. LINK. New videos are posted regularly on Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Take a look.

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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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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Behind the scenes of great suffrage music video, “Bad Romance”

Chances are that you’ve seen the suffrage music video, “Bad Romance,” a parody of Lady Gaga. But have you seen the behind-the-scenes production short (link above)? The increase in creative material about the suffrage movement is exciting and noteworthy.  Here are a few examples:

A stroll on the new Rochester Heritage Trail. Boston Marathon runners who acknowledge those who came before them. Activism exhibit in New York City. New book to be published in July 2012 from Rutgers University Press: “The Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.”

In what ways have you been contributing to this outpouring of love and appreciation toward the tens of thousands of women who participated in this extraordinary civil rights movement?

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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

New curriculum materials for “Iron Jawed Angels” film

Grandmother Edna Kearns wouldn’t have had a starring role in “Iron Jawed Angels,” a classic introduction for many about the woman’s suffrage movement. However, she would have been in the office of the National Woman’s Party during the scenes when the suffs picketed the White House. And as such, she would have represented the many grassroots activists it took to win Votes for Women. Check out the mention of Edna in the online magazine, New York History.

Now there’s a curriculum guide available that uses “Iron Jawed Angels” to make history come alive. I haven’t seen the materials myself, but I’m passing them on because they stress the angle of nonviolent social change and its importance in the suffrage movement. Check out the press release. Plus additional information.

Suffrage Wagon News Channel is now on a new platform.

How could a wealthy woman like Alva Belmont be a radical Votes for Women advocate?