Tag Archives: Edna Kearns

VIDEO, plus News Notes for November 2014 from Suffrage Wagon

Marguerite's Musings with Marguerite KearnsVideo about following the Suffrage Wagon on its ride to freedom. The street speaking of Edna Kearns in Nashville, Tennessee 100 years ago is the topic and you can find out more on “Marguerite’s Musings”.

SPECIAL FROM “THE OWL” (Long Island): November 29,1914:

“Miss Rosalie Jones organized a squad of speakers on nearly every corner in Nashville. This is the first time that street speaking has been tried in a southern city. Mrs. Laidlaw, Mrs. Norman Whitehouse, Mrs. Raymond Brown, Miss Potter and Mrs. Wilmer Kearns were among the women who held the men of Nashville spellbound with their speaking, and in spite of the fact that it started to rain, not a man left the crowd. Even when it poured so hard the speakers themselves gave up, yet their audiences were still there; talking it over under the awnings, when they left. Mrs. Wilmer Kearns, of Rockville Centre, had the distinction of having the Governor of Tennessee listen to her speech, even when it rained. These meetings are the outcome of the Forty-Sixth Annual Convention of the National Woman Suffrage Association, held in the House of Representatives at the capitol in Nashville.” 

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Subscribe to email on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Comment on the Suffrage Wagon blog to register your views and observations. Follow the news about suffrage centennials while celebrating women’s freedom to vote.

Tennessee governor listened to suffragist Edna Kearns’ speech in pouring rain 100 years ago!

Story of Tennessee governor listens to Edna Kearns in pouring rainby Marguerite Kearns

I heard the story about the Tennessee governor when I was young. Yes, in back in 1914 the governor of Tennessee listened to grandmother Edna Kearns’ suffrage speech in the rain. No one bothered to tell me where this happened. It could have been at Long Beach on Long Island for all I knew.

Even worse, I didn’t know enough to ask, but I got the message. The Tennessee governor was important. He listened to Edna speak. Therefore, my grandmother Edna must have been important. Not much to pass on in my storytelling, at least until 1oo years passed and the other day I delved into researching exactly what happened in November 1914.

I know nothing about what the delegates discussed at the National American Woman Suffrage Association annual conference in Tennessee where Edna served as a NYS delegate in the proceedings from November 2 to 17, 1914. But I know now that Long Island suffragist Rosalie Jones set up suffrage street speeches all over Nashville, the first time that street speaking for the suffrage cause had been tried in a Southern city. Edna Kearns put herself in the thick of the street corner action.

Marguerite's Musings with Marguerite KearnsEdna Kearns, who’d made a reputation for herself back in New York as a popular suffrage speaker, captivated the attention of the Tennessee governor, Ben W. Hooper (1870-1957). He served the state from 1911 to 1915. His administration was so controversial, documents say, that armed guards were required in the state legislature. In 1920 the State of Tennessee legislature provided the final ratification vote to bring about the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. So all of this Big Picture explanation is now viewed by me in retrospect.

It was a novelty for women to speak in pubic on Nashville, TN street corners 100 years ago. So Governor Hooper must have been fascinated to listen in the rain to a determined activist like Edna Kearns who didn’t fold up shop when the rain pelted the sidewalks. It was a big deal, just as I’d heard about as an impressionable youngster –and even more so now that I’m aware of the details. Back in New York in November 1914, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a long article about the contingent of Long Island women who took Nashville by storm in November 1914. And we’re enjoying hearing about the details 100 years later.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Subscribe to email on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Comment on the Suffrage Wagon blog to register your views and observations. Follow the news about suffrage centennials while celebrating women’s freedom to vote.

Story Episode #1. A conference in Tennessee: 1914, 100 years ago

Edna Kearns 100 years ago on Suffrage Wagon News ChannelWhere was Edna Kearns 100 years ago? In Nashville, Tennessee attending a national convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. This leads to a story I heard when growing up when hearing about my grandmother Edna Kearns. Featured here is the letter Edna received informing her that she had credentials to attend as as a delegate and the conference would be from November 12th to 17th in 1914. Follow the Suffrage Wagon for what happens next. Stories will be presented in episodes. Stay tuned!

"Marguerite's Musings" by Marguerite KearnsYesterday was the last day of blogging about the suffrage activists behind bars at the Occoquan Workhouse outside of Washington, DC. That really took all my energy, but it was great fun working with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial whose work continues to raise money so the memorial can be open on or before the 2020 votes for women centennial celebration. And now I’m back to the usual schedule of twice a week for posting. And I’m adding the overview of the “Night of Terror” blog postings in the event you missed any.

November 15th “Night of Terror” Blogging: Day #1 (Nov.1); Day #2 (Nov.2); Day #3 (Nov. 3). Day #4 (Nov. 4), Day #5 (Nov. 5). Day #6 (Nov. 6). Day #7 (Nov. 7). Day #8 (Nov. 8), Day #9 (Nov. 9), Day #10 , (Nov. 10), Day #11,  (Nov. 11), Day #12 (Nov. 12), Day #13 (Nov. 13), Day #14 (Nov. 14), Day #15 (Nov. 15).

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Subscribe to email on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Comment on the Suffrage Wagon blog to register your views and observations. Follow the news about suffrage centennials while celebrating women’s freedom to vote.

Day #5 of the ‘Night of Terror” observance & the “why” of the White House picketing

Marguerite Kearns at Suffrage Wagon News Channelby Marguerite Kearns

I’m late getting the blog post Day#5 finished, but it’s still 10:54 p.m. where I am. One of my stalwart friends asked me the other day: “But why did the women picket the White House in 1917? Couldn’t they have expressed their point of view in some other way?”

Good question and one that I welcome in this fifth day of partnering with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial to raise awareness of and support for the building of a suffragist memorial to honor those brave women who experienced the “Night of Terror” at the Occoquan Workhouse near Washington, DC in 1917.

When you look at the 1917 picketing from a larger perspective, put yourself back into time. How would you feel as someone in the second generation of women petitioning for the right to vote? Then turn the clock back to 1848 and the women’s convention at Seneca Falls, NY. This wasn’t the first occasion when women decided that enough was enough. But it’s the date when we start counting as far as the suffrage movement is concerned –when there’s no doubt that the nation heard the rumblings from impatient citizens who demanded participation in the public arena. The suffrage movement started in 1848 and concluded in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Keep this in mind: it was touch and go for a great deal of that time.

Think of it. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and others spent 50 years petitioning for the vote by the turn of the 20th century. This is when my grandmother Edna Kearns and her generation stepped up to the plate and took over from the first wave of activists. By 1917, women had been working themselves into states of exhaustion by continuing to pressure for the right to vote. I’ve written a lot about Grandmother Edna Kearns. Here’s a video where she speaks for herself.

By 1917, my grandmother Edna B. Kearns had been in the suffrage fold for at least a decade. When’s the last time you spent ten years working on a single cause? Did you burn out? Were you even a bit annoyed or frustrated at your lack of progress? When the National Woman’s Party announced the White House picketing in 1917, many activists didn’t hesitate to join. However, others condemned them for taking such a bold action. The “suffrage movement” wasn’t one movement. It existed under an umbrella of women from many backgrounds.

Women joined the picket line from all over the United States. The National Woman’s Party needed people on the front lines who were prepared to go to prison, if necessary. And without the extraordinary support network that stretched across the United States, the campaign wouldn’t have been as effective.

This is Day #5 of blogging to honor the “Night of Terror” observance on November 15th, a partnership with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association.

COMING SOON: The eight audio podcast series called the “Night of Terror.” You’ll get a ring-side seat account about what happened on November 15, 1917 at the Occoquan Workhouse.

November 15th “Night of Terror” Blogging: Day #1 (Nov.1); Day #2 (Nov.2); Day #3 (Nov. 3). Day #4 (Nov. 4)

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Join the conversation by commenting on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

On Day #4, ELECTION DAY, fire up the oven for hot treats!

Vote graphic on Suffrage Wagon Nes Channelby Marguerite Kearns

The picketing of the White House started in January of 1917 and went on for over a year. Standing in front of the White House gates with a picket sign was no walk in the park. So, a cup of hot tea and some goodies must have sounded terrific at the end of the day.

This is why a visit to Suffrage Wagon Cooking School is a perfect way to honor Election Day and the November 15th observance.  Turning Point Suffragist Memorial is the “go to” place if you’re on a college or university campus and would like to host a fundraiser for the Occoquan Workhouse suffragist prisoners’ memorial. And you can quickly put together a fundraiser at home with a little determination and a recipe for traditional English scones.

This is my fourth day blogging in honor of the “Night of Terror” observance on November 15th, a partnership between Suffrage Wagon News Channel and Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association. Turning Point has a web site and blog. You can also follow on Twitter and Facebook. There’s a great deal of activity going on at Suffrage Wagon and Turning Point these days. The goal? To fund and complete a memorial to the brave women who faced the “Night of Terror” November 14-15, 1917.

And now the fun part: Let’s cook up a storm with a fundraiser for the memorial right in your own home or school, organization, or college campus. Video about how to make traditional English scones for a fundraiser.

Suffrage Wagon Cooking School‘s video guides you through making traditional English scones like suffrage activists used to make. Hot tea and goodies must have been welcome treats after a long day out in the streets speaking from soapboxes or picketing the White House.

Baking scones is part of the two-week observance of November 15th this year when Suffrage Wagon News Channel partners with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. It isn’t easy raising money to build a memorial to the brave women who picketed the White House in 1917 and then were held at the Occoquan Workhouse near Washington, DC to experience the “Night of Terror.” That’s why we love having you along for the ride. Find out how you can host a fundraiser with friends and family. Contribute to and support the proposed suffragist memorial with the goal of it being completed before or in time for the 2020 votes for women centennial celebration.

Carry the vision of a suffragist memorial forward. These events and celebrations are part of the previews of suffrage centennial observances now and in the future. Follow SuffrageCentennials.com for updates about suffrage centennials. If you’re planning a centennial event, let SuffrageCentennials know about it.

Suffrage Wagon News Channel is a multi-media platform for news and stories of the suffrage movement that has been publishing since 2009. Follow the Suffrage Wagon. December 2014 is Suffrage Wagon’s fifth birthday. Suffrage Wagon News Channel is inspired by the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon used by suffrage activist Edna Kearns in New York City and on Long Island.

November 15th “Night of Terror” Blogging: Day #1 (Nov.1); Day #2 (Nov.2); Day #3 (Nov. 3).

LINKS: “Why I vote and support a suffragist memorial”: Marguerite’s Musings.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Join the conversation by commenting on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

A homework assignment for the “Night of Terror: A basic video to start

Marguerite's Musings, a feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channelby Marguerite Kearns

The other day a friend of mine asked me for homework? “What do you mean?” I responded.  I couldn’t help but consider the question a joke. Then the talk grew serious. She really wanted a video, a podcast, or a crash course on the suffrage movement, an exciting part of American history. Either she’d been absent at school when the “Night of Terror” had been taught, or the 1917 picketing of the White House by American suffrage activists simply wasn’t in any of her teachers’ lesson plans. Fortunately Suffrage Wagon is partnering with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial on the November 15th “Night of Terror” observance, or I wouldn’t have been able to respond so fast.

OK. Here it is. If you haven’t seen the Lady Gaga parody, watch it. The video always reveals surprises. And while you’re watching, imagine that the streets near the White House in 1917 as bedlam some days when the women lined up with their picket signs. By the time November 15th rolled around, things were hot and heavy at the Occoquan Workhouse, the scene of the “Night of Terror.” I always think of it personally, as when my grandmother Edna Kearns and my aunt, Serena Kearns, then 12 years old, joined hundreds of others from around the nation to stand vigil at the White House gates in the U.S. Capitol to press for change.

From November 1 through November 15, Suffrage Wagon News Channel is partnering with the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial to draw attention to the “Night of Terror” at the Occuquan Workhouse near Washington, DC. This means that Turning Point Suffragist Memorial will be Tweeting like mad, and you can touch in with my musings over the next two weeks. Tweets and Facebook deliver the updates. Or you can subscribe by email.

Watch the video. Take a careful look at this music video produced in 2012 by Soomo Publishing that took the nation by storm and won a raft of awards for excellent educational programming. The “Bad Romance” video highlights the picketing at the White House, as well as the process of ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A lot to cram into a video of about three minutes. But it’s worth the effort. It takes much more than three minutes to explain the suffrage movement that took 72 years. So consider yourself significantly up to speed. And pass this along this history to women voters headed for the polls on Tuesday. This video alone is reason enough to vote, but we’re building a foundation to celebrate suffrage centennials in the future, including the 2020 suffrage centennial.

The next two weeks constitutes a crash course on the suffrage movement, with the end point of the “Night of Terror” in mind on November 15th. In another segment of my “Musings,” I’ll review the content of the nine podcast series recently completed on Suffrage Wagon News Channel called “Playing POlitics with the President.” It gives the background as to why the suffragists of the National Woman’s Party picketed the White House in the first place. But I’ll get to that soon. Stay tuned!

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Join the conversation by commenting on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

Kearns archive at New York Botantical Garden for Echo Dale Gardens

Echo Dale GardensWhat happened to Wilmer and Edna Kearns and the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon after the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920? They moved from Rockville Centre, NY with daughter Serena Kearns back to Pennsylvania where their second child, Wilma, was born in November 1920.

The New York Botanical Garden  (the LuEsther T. Mertz Library) has archival materials in its collection from the business Edna and Wilmer founded, Echo Dale Gardens, located in the Philadelphia area. More items have been added recently. The Mertz Library maintains a wide scope of materials related to the nursery industry in the United States, including correspondence between nursery owners and their customers, invoices, plant inventories, sales brochures, catalogs, newspaper and magazine articles.

Edna B. Kearns and Wilmer R. Kearns’  love of plants and nature led to the establishment of Echo Dale Gardens, the nursery they owned and operated together after 1920. Wilmer and Edna were active in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and their prize-winning flowers and plants were displayed each year at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Local newspapers document Edna’s public speaking about gardening in the Philadelphia area. The “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon was on display at the nursery for many years for the purpose of educating the public about how American women won the vote.

Their second child Wilma dressed as the little Dutch girl, the trademark for Echo Dale Gardens for special events and at the Philadelphia Flower Show. After Edna’s death in 1934, Wilmer continued operating the nursery at Echo Dale until World War II. In retirement he reopened the nursery in Ambler, PA. The overall collections at the New York Botanical Garden library also include plant information guides, nursery catalogs, exhibition guides, and other materials.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the movement, as well as the life and times of Edna Kearns, Wilmer Kearns, and the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon.