Tag Archives: Edna Kearns

Four videos introduce the Kearns family and the suffrage movement

Suffrage Wagon News NotesTake a trip through four videos to get to know the Kearns family and their relationship to the suffrage movement: Edna, Wilmer and little Serena:

(1.) “Women Picket the White House for Votes for Women.” This video highlights wife Edna and daughter Serena as they picket the White House in Washington, DC for the suffrage movement in 1917.

(2.) “Snapshots of Suffragist Edna Kearns” has images ranging from childhood through her suffrage activist days from the Kearns family archives. Not only did Edna make a mark in the world, but she took her family along, including daughter Serena and husband Wilmer.

(3.) “Highlights of the Life of Edna Buckman Kearns (1882-1934)” gives a personal spin on the lives of a family where everyone supported the cause of winning votes for woman, a very important social movement in the United States.

(4.) “Wilmer Kearns: Being the Husband of a Suffrage Activist” highlights Wilmer’s perspectives and involvement in the movement.

Follow Wilmer and Edna Kearns on Suffrage Wagon News Channel for the story that inspired a multi-media platform of news and stories about the suffrage movement.

Loving dress ups and reminder about June 19th

Do you love dress ups like I do? Suffrage blogger Antonia Petrash spent an afternoon at a vintage clothes shop on Long Island and blogged about the experience. I dressed in my grandmother Edna’s dresses at about age ten. Here’s what I wrote about the experience: “Bonded from wearing Grandmother Edna Kearns’ dresses.”Grand Rapids centennial suffrage edition

In recent news items: The Grand Rapids Press recently featured a centennial edition in honor of an edition of the paper dedicated to the topic 100 years ago. Edna Kearns was one such suffrage editor for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, so it’s noteworthy that newspaper publishers back then recognized how increased circulation could result from covering topics of interest such as Votes for Women and the hard work of tens of thousands of suffragists. Update on the controversy associated with the creation of a national women’s history museum.

Over four years ago at the launching of Suffrage Wagon News Channel, suffrage news and events generally were anniversary related. Now, the topic is hot year round. Well, “suffrage” is yet to become a household word, but we’re making progress.

Do you have a special event for June scheduled in your active calendar? How about a party on or about June 19th to honor suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting. Put together a program for your party with little effort. Just consult the trial record and hand out a script to your friends.  Watch a new video for inspiration. 

Suffrage history has been ignored for so many decades, it’s fascinating to see the movement finally entering the national spotlight, even if in an uneven fashion. It’s likely to continue this way as the 2016 presidential election approaches when it seems likely that a woman will run for the nation’s highest elected position. The marginality of the subject matter could shift dramatically in January 2015 with the release of the major motion picture, “Suffragette,” now in production in the UK. Stay tuned for updates.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and views of the suffrage movement. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote. If you’re feeling feisty and restless when standing on the strong shoulders of those who have come before us, touch into LetsRockTheCradle.com

Suffrage Wagon Film Festival: Wilmer Kearns recommends!

Suffrage Wagon Film FestivalWilmer Kearns recommends suffrage movement videos.

(1.) “Rocking the ‘Cradle’ of the Women’s Rights Movement.” This video features some of the locations visited in the 2013 “Let’s Rick the Cradle” blogging tour. It’s to introduce the Finger Lakes of upstate New York as a vacation destination for the entire family. There’s so much to choose from, especially the women’s rights historic sites, plus sporting destinations, wineries, and so much more.

(2.) “Let’s Rock the Cradle” is another video with images collected from the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in upstate New York during the blogging tour. Of course, any trip to the region should be well planned.

Consult the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network for ideas about your trip planning to the Finger Lakes. LetsRockTheCradle.com is a member.

These and other videos are featured on LetsRockTheCradle.com, a platform promoting the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States. Follow by way of email subscription and Twitter. You’ll be glad you did.

 

New York State’s wagon women are Rosalie Jones, Elisabeth Freeman & Edna Kearns: a special for Women’s History Month

Rosalie Gardiner JonesThe “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon in the collection of the NYS Museum is a terrific jumping-off point when telling the suffrage story. New York State is not only the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the U.S., but New York has its three wagon women: Rosalie Jones, Elisabeth Freeman, and Edna Kearns. All three suffrage activists drove horse-drawn wagons on Long Island and beyond that figured prominently in suffrage activist tactics and strategies in the period from 1913 to about 1915.

Only one horse-drawn wagon used for grassroots campaigning remains from this period, and that’s the “Spirit of 1776″ used by Edna Kearns in the collection of the New York State Museum.

Rosalie and Elisabeth garnered considerable attention, especially in rural areas, when they traveled by wagon to Ohio and Washington, DC. Women traveling in a horse-drawn vehicle represented a novel attraction along the road, and it enabled face-to-face contact with many voters who otherwise would not have heard the women’s message.

See video on Rosalie Jones. Elisabeth Freeman’s great niece, Peg Johnston, has been telling Elisabeth’s story through a web site loaded with detail. Long Island historian Natalie Naylor considers suffragist Rosalie Jones one of her favorite characters from history. See Natalie Naylor’s book that features Roaslie Jones, as does the book on Long Island suffragists by Antonia Petrash.

And of course, there’s my grandmother Edna Kearns who has been inspiring me for years to learn more about the suffrage movement and spread the word through Suffrage Wagon News Channel. The great part is that Rosalie, Elisabeth and Edna worked together in the cause, and today we carry on the message of this early wave of voting activists.

Meryl Streep will be headliner in new “Suffragette” film in UK

Suffrage Wagon News ChannelNext week the cast and crew for the UK film Suffragette will be busy as the cameras roll. Meryl Streep will play suffrage activist Emmeline Pankhurst in the Ruby Films drama. In February, the national League of Women Voters celebrates its 94th birthday since its founding following the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Every time a posting arrives in my box from the Montana women celebrating their state suffrage centennial, I’m excited. What’s a recent story? The Montana web site, “Women’s History Matters,” highlights real people from Montana, people on the grassroots, our friends and neighbors, or they would have been if we’d lived in those times and places. It’s a tender and respectful, and let me say a “sweet” acknowledgment of those who might have been in our families and communities, and they certainly fit into the larger human family. Take the article, “Rose Gordon: Daughter of a Slave and Small-Town Activist,” for example. I love it!

In Rose Gordon, I can see myself and many others who persisted in spite of the odds throughout life. When I write about my suffrage activist grandmother Edna Kearns, I’m also writing about the tens of thousands of women across the nation who put themselves on the line and made a mark, even if they didn’t realize it in the moment. The Montana suffrage celebrants are doing a terrific job. We stand on the shoulders of women like Rose Gordon.

For news about suffrage centennials, check out suffragecentennials.com

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

“I walk on my suffragist grandmother’s carpet”: Marguerite’s Musings

Marguerite's Musingsby Marguerite Kearns

My writing space at home has two pieces of Oriental carpet –sections of the rug Grandmother Edna Kearns had in her home over 100 years ago. The carpet feels sturdy under my feet.  Though these remnants are now frayed and attract dog hair, I’d never expected this floor covering to have  lasted so long. But it has, just like the suffrage stories  Grandmother Edna passed down to me through my mother and of course, Edna’s own articles, stories and writings.

I can identify only a few things as having been touched by my grandmother. There’s the carpet, Edna’s tea tray, her silverware and letters, and suffrage archive. I walk on Edna’s carpet daily. Often I’m down on my knees tucking under frayed edges. When others mention how important it is to walk in other people’s shoes, I stand on Grandmother Edna’s carpet, listening to voices now faint (but growing louder) in this fast-moving world.

Suffrage stories are exciting. And they’re threatening. They’re a reminder of a time of grassroots organizing –people united in their determination to make change. We live in a time again of women rising, and at the same time, we are witnessing the last hurrah of a social system losing ground that no amount of legislation and other obstacles placed by backlash movements can change.

Grandmother Edna Kearns’ life has transformed me. The suffrage stories that have come down from her generation suggest the many ways in which it must have been a heady experience to have been involved in the suffrage movement. It represented a rush of sensation in a dead environment where education, marriage, political and personal power were limited, or for many, non existent. Women made many compromises, but the cat was out of the bag. Equality was on the horizon, and there was no turning back.

Women understood the value of working together, building constituencies, power and control through a nonviolent social revolution. As I walk on the carpet each day, I remember the legacy of our grandmothers and great grandmothers, as the power of their suffrage stories grow larger in spirit. The carpet’s surface is worn and beautiful in its strong threads.

Stay up to date with Marguerite’s Musings, plus news/views/stories  of the suffrage movement at the suffrage “go to place,” Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Edna Kearns is among 2014 National Women’s History Month Nominees

2014 National Women's History Month NomineesEdna Kearns is a 2014 National Women’s History Month nominee, as featured in the “Women’s History 2014 Gazette.” The theme for 2014 is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment.”

The National Women’s History Project is one of the trailblazers in the field of women’s history and is increasingly recognized as such. Each year’s Gazette features noteworthy women, and it is a resource for projects and key events around the nation. A gala reception and dinner celebrating the National Women’s History Month 2014 honorees will be held March 27, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at The Willard Hotel, Washington, DC. Tickets are available at the NWHP web site. The NWHP Gazette costs $10 for 25 copies, plus all sorts of goodies available to order for Women’s History Month celebrations in March. It’s a no brainer.Edna Kearns: 2014 National Women's History Month Nominee

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and views of the suffrage movement. Postings twice a week, plus a quarterly newsletter. Suffrage Wagon also has YouTube and Vimeo channels.

“Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas…” letter and new video, plus December 25th birthdays and stories!

Federal and state womens trailsDear Santa, All I want for Christmas. . .

We’ll see if Santa, Mrs. Claus and all the elves can pull off what appears to be a minor miracle in terms of putting a federal and state women’s trails in Santa’s sleigh on Christmas eve. There’s a video called “All I want for Christmas is a women’s trail” that lays out the situation published in “New York History” recently by Marguerite Kearns and Olivia Twine. See Part I of the series. And then Part II.

merryxmas_whiteberryChristmas Story Wrapup: Enjoy the holiday story from Elizabeth Cady Stanton about Christmas in Johnstown, NY where she grew up. Plus a story from 1914 where international suffragists exchanged holiday greetings even though their countries were at war. Interesting!

Two birthdays on December 25th: Edna Kearns and Martha Wright. See video honoring them. Also, Edna Kearns acknowledged as “Suffragist of the Month” during December on web site about the Long Island suffrage movement that’s inspired by a book on the same subject by Antonia Petrash. Having a birthday on Christmas didn’t make Edna Kearns a happy camper. One of Marguerite’s Musings. Seneca Falls convention activist Martha Wright has a birthday on December 25th. Celebrate her contributions at the 1848 Seneca Falls convention.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news, views, videos, audio and much more about the suffrage movement. Everything you need to know, and then some. We have a YouTube channel (suffragewagon) and a Vimeo channel too. Postings twice a week and a quarterly newsletter.

Wilmer Kearns introduces December Suffrage News Notes

Wilmer R. KearnsThis is, after all, a news channel. And that means I follow what’s happening in the larger world of issues, events, centennials, books and perspectives about women’s suffrage, as well as  the accomplishments of the  suffrage movement and how we  build on that base today. Of course, my passion is inherited from my suffragist activist grandmother, Edna Buckman Kearns, who was born on December 25th.

This year I’ll be celebrating her 121st birthday, and so these news notes are for her, and for my grandfather Wilmer Kearns who told me the suffrage stories when I was young. I grew up hearing my Grandaddy Kearns talk about the movement. Only now do I fully appreciate his contributions and the role the suffrage movement played in his life. This is one of those occasions when Edna steps aside and my grandfather Wilmer Kearns, born and raised in Beavertown, PA, takes over with introducing the first of the Suffrage Wagon news notes for December.

Much-talked about video from UN Women. See also: #1. #2.  From the UK where suffrage history is honored: Susan B. Anthony had her horse chestnut tree that still shades her home at 17 Madison Street in Rochester, NY.  Glascow has a tree too, an oak planted in 1918 to honor the suffrage movement. #1. #2.  Wales honors one of its suffragettes: Emily Phipps. #1. #2.  “Woman and her Sphere” highlights the 1911 census boycott by the English suffragettes. #1. #2.

The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association is gearing up for more fundraising to build a memorial to the women whose harsh incarceration at the Occoquan Workhouse was a turning point in the effort to secure voting rights for all women. Stay up to date on these efforts by visiting their web site.

 

Don’t forget the recent article about the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon and Grandmother Edna Kearns’ big confrontation in Huntington, NY in 1913. It’s from “New York Archives” magazine and reprinted with permission.

Suffrage Wagon News Channel publishes posts twice a week and a quarterly newsletter four times a year. Follow us. We’re a mulit-media platform of news, stories, features, videos and much more about women’s suffrage and the suffrage movement. Videos are added often to the Suffrage Wagon video channel. Check them out! 

December 25th birthdays for suffragists Edna Kearns and Martha Wright

Martha Wright & Edna Kearns birthdays

It’s sufragist Edna Kearns‘ birthday on December 25th, as well as Seneca Falls convention heavyweight Martha Wright.

Video to celebrate these December 25th birthdays.

Edna Kearns (1882-1934) is cited as one of two suffragists of the month in December 2013 for the Long Island women’s suffrage site.  #1. #2. Want to give a gift? Edna Kearns has her own chapter in Antonia Petrash’s 2013 book about women’s suffrage: Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement. To order. And then a look at the information about Long Island historian Natalie Naylor‘s book where Edna is also featured.

Past postings about the life of Edna Kearns: Video about the love of Edna’s life: Wilmer Kearns, a response to reader requests. See video about WilmerMarguerite Kearns muses about Grandmother Edna’s birthday on December 25th. The highlights of Edna Kearns’ life on Wikipedia. Videos and background about Edna Kearns.

Edna shares a December 25th birthday with Martha Wright, who may not be as well known as her sister, Lucretia Mott, but she was a mover and shaker at Seneca Falls nonetheless. Give someone a suffrage book this holiday season. Antonia Petrash’s book highlights Grandmother Edna, plus many other suffrage activists on Long Island, some of whom may surprise you. And A Very Dangerous Woman about the life of Martha Wright is a great choice. You can get a used copy online for very little and make someone very happy. Or buy it new.

Martha Coffin WrightDecember 25, 1806 (1875) – Martha Wright, called the first Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 with her sister Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Stanton and others. Wright was also president of women’s conventions in 1855 in Cincinnati, Saratoga, and Albany, a founder of the American Equal Rights Association in 1866, and she continued working for equal suffrage during the Civil War.

Biography of Martha Wright

And while you’re at it, December is Suffrage Wagon News Channel’s birthday. See the video!

Visit the Suffrage Wagon feature platform and enjoy the platform you don’t get to see when you subscribe by email. Follow the suffrage wagon and link up with the “go to” place on the internet for what’s happening with women voting, today and what led up to it.

A happy 4th birthday to Suffrage Wagon, plus birthday video!

Happy Birthday, Suffrage Wagon News Channel Every year in early December there’s another birthday for Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Now it’s number four!

We’ll be celebrating 350 posts this month, and that’s quite an accomplishment. Back in the early days it wasn’t clear just how long I could keep up with blogging on a subject as focused as my suffragist grandmother Edna Kearns and her “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon. Here I am, four years later and not running out of things to say.

There’s a happy birthday video. Take a minute and smile at the thought of four candles as you send birthday greetings by way of cyberspace. Leave a comment on YouTube so that we know you’re out there cheering on the wagon as much as people took notice 100 years ago. Today the news channel keeps fans abreast of suffrage news and views, events and centennials. The story of Grandmother Edna Kearns is just as fresh as it has ever been. She represents the tens of thousands of women on the community level that it took for women to win the vote. Current affairs suggest that rights granted can also be taken away. Choose the vote and use it!

The "Spirit of 1776" article in "New York Archives"An article about the “Spirit of 1776″ in the current issue of “New York Archives” demonstrates how the suffrage wagon in its centennial year continues to have juice. Suffrage centennials like this one are an opportunity to pause for reflection and honor the hard work and dedication that went into winning the vote. Take a stand and insist that rights fought for this shouldn’t be compromised. And don’t stop at the vote itself. It’s merely a tool in our toolbox as citizens.

Grandmother Edna Kearns’ birthday is on Christmas Day. She’ll be 121 years old in 2013.

Highlights of Suffrage Wagon News Channel in 2013 include the centennial celebration of the first journey of the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon from Manhattan to Long Island in July of 1913. Some links:

Media about “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon resolution in the New York State Legislature during 2013: Ms. Magazine blog: #1. #2. Newsday coverage. #1. #2. Legislative Gazette. #1.#2. Votes for Women 2020. #1.  Feature from Women’s eNews. #1. #2. Albany TV coverage. #1. #2.  State Senator Little’s web page about resolution.#1. #2. Transcript of June 18, 2013 of the New York State Senate introduction of the Wagon Day (July 1, 2013) resolution. #1. #2. New York History blog. #1. 

Suffrage Wagon News Channel publishes twice a week and four times a year with a special quarterly newsletter. Follow us. “Marguerite’s Musings” are a special feature.

A tale of lemon meringue pie, women’s suffrage style

Marguerite's MusingsMarguerite’s Musings:

When Thanksgiving comes around each year, I love to cook and become the center of attention like I did at age ten.

My mother Wilma didn’t mind telling people about how she was a terrible cook. This was always accompanied by the explanation that her own mother, Edna Kearns, was a suffrage and women’s rights activist, and not a terribly good cook either. Because Edna had died when my mother was a young teen, even boiling water had been a challenge for my mom. So, in the absence of any of the other young’ins in my family stepping forward to care about Sunday dinners, I vowed to become a good cook.

Photo by Annie MoleLemon meringue was a delicate and delicious dessert surprise –the one thing I could carry from the kitchen and present to everyone at the dinner table, guaranteed to evoke waves of comments and compliments.

Lemon meringue pie was lip-smacking good. Roll out the pie dough. Clean up the flour mess. Make everything from scratch. No lemon pudding mix. Not me.

I dug into the back kitchen cabinet for my mom’s double boiler to prepare the lemon custard with fresh lemons, egg yokes and sugar. Yum. Bake the pie and hold the meringue until the end. Then, beat the egg whites with sugar until they form a stuff peak and spread over the top of the baked custard pie. That’s what I remember. Place the pie back in the oven and toast to a quick brown.

“You’ll make a good wife for some man, someday,” my father said after polishing off every crumb on his plate and standing in line for more. I don’t ever remember making lemon meringue pie for any of my husbands. Nor do I ever remember them making it for me. Perhaps it’s time to search for a women’s suffrage lemon meringue pie recipe as Thanksgiving approaches. There are several great suffrage movement recipe books online. I can see my dad peeking around the corner of some heavenly cloud and wondering if I’m searching for a new husband.

Follow Marguerite’s Musings on Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Postings twice a week and a newsletter four times a year. Suffrage Wagon Cooking School has yet to schedule a lesson on making lemon meringue pie. But stay tuned; you never know!

Photo of meringue by Annie Mole.

The story about womens suffrage activist Edna Kearns that has a lot of juice!

The "Spirit of 1776" article in "New York Archives"You can read all about the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon’s confrontation and threats in an article from the fall issue of “New York Archives” that’s still on the stands. The trip from New York City to Long Island for a month of campaigning in 1913 had a high point when the wagon arrived in Huntington, NY in a grand parade. People who were lined up on both sides of the street witnessed a historic event. That’s when the confrontation and threats were recorded by a Brooklyn Daily Eagle reporter. You can read all about it! This article gives an overview of the campaign wagon’s history and what was going on at this time. Check out the entire womens suffrage history feature piece by Marguerite Kearns in the fall edition of “New York Archives,” the quarterly publication of the Archives Partnership Trust. I call it the definitive suffrage wagon story, so don’t miss it! Read all about it!

Check in with the Suffrage Wagon feature platform where there are special features that don’t manifest when you get this message just by email and all the special effects are sliced out for efficiency. Touch into the magazine format once in a while. Make Suffrage Wagon News Channel a part of your daily check-in.

News from 100 years ago: Grandmother Edna Kearns’ Better Babies Campaign

Safe Fabric JournaL, NOV 2013I suspect that Grandmother Edna Kearns is behind some of our family activity these days. Though I never knew my grandmother because she died in 1934, she influenced my life profoundly. And it’s not just me. Edna has another granddaughter, Winifred Culp, who’s a mover and shaker, and the spirit is spreading. See Safe Fabric Journal, November 2013 issue where Winifred speaks about NearSea Naturals and her new project, SAFEfabric.org.

Edna Kearns wasn’t simply interested in the vote. She vowed to expand the range of women’s influence with her Better Babies campaign. See October 31, 1913 article from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The campaign went on for weeks, and who would have thought that classes on mothering and lobbying for social programs would be so controversial! Some of Edna’s suffrage associates were of the opinion their colleague shouldn’t mix up the issues in the suffrage movement, and Edna got her wrists smacked as a result.Edna persisted nonetheless. She didn’t believe in compartmentalizing and took her commitment to womens suffrage seriously. And if we go back to Grandmother Edna, my mother Wilma and forward, we’re touching into five generations in my family who are out in the traffic of life as movers and shakers.

Image above from an ad in one of Grandmother Edna’s womens suffrage newsletters. Visit the Suffrage Wagon platform for special features.

Still on the Road with the Cradle Blogging Tour

Stories from Edna Buckman KearnsSTILL ON THE ROAD WITH THE CRADLE BLOGGING TOUR: Yes, I’m behind in keeping up to date with the Cradle Blogging Tour postings. Yes, I’m still on the road and will be catching up soon. Meanwhile, here are some highlights of past postings, and the regular posting schedule will resume soon.

Traveling on the road with Edna:  Family stories about Grandmother Edna and Grandfather Wilmer. Edna’s speech noted in news account. Edna’s suffrage “voiceless speech” in the waves. What Edna did on the 4th of July in 1913. At the feet of the Statue of Liberty. Grandmother’s speeches from the suffrage campaign wagon. When the suffrage wagon was presented to the movement in 1913. Letters and news clippings from the family archive. Edna Kearns stood up on a automobile to give a speech. Long Island street corner debates. Current events of 2013: the wagon suffrage centennial and the resolution passed by both houses of the New  York State Legislature in June of 2013 designating July 1, 2013 the “Spirit of 1776″ Wagon Day in New  York.

 

12 Reasons Why the “Spirit of 1776″ Wagon is a Treasure!

The "Spirit of 1776" suffrage wagonAnd you thought the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon was safely tucked away in a warehouse of the New York State Museum near Albany, NY. Wrong! The security team at the museum warehouse will note the wagon is in its usual place. However, the wagon’s 1776 spirit is heading out in late September for a blogging tour of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the US .

Your spirit can join in with the fun. Follow the Suffrage Wagon by signing up for a seat on the blogging bus. It’s free. You don’t have to leave home. And if for some reason, you can’t join us live, stop by when it’s convenient. Join us at LetsRockTheCradle.com

The suffrage wagon called the “Spirit of 1776″ is considered an important part of American history. Here are 12 reasons why:

1. The suffrage wagon a prime artifact of the suffrage movement in NYS and the nation;

2. The suffrage wagon can be exhibited in a stationary place or taken on the road to travel;

3. The wagon symbolizes the national suffrage theme of the unfinished American Revolution and the “Spirit of 1776” theme of the Declaration of Sentiments going back to Seneca Falls in 1848;

4. The suffrage campaign wagon is in the collection of the NYS Museum and already has been seen by thousands of people in an exhibit at the state museum in 2010 and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Capitol exhibit in 2012;

5. The wagon has a constituency of people who follow its stories from history through an online multimedia news and story platform called Suffrage Wagon News Channel (http://suffragewagon.org);

6. The wagon has been well documented in its history, including coverage of the “Spirit of 1776” wagon’s travels by the New York Times, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the New York Tribune, and many other papers in 1913;

7. The New York Archives magazine in Albany, NY is preparing an article on the “Spirit of 1776” wagon that is scheduled to appear in October 2013;

8. The wagon is representative of the extensive grassroots organizing that was necessary for NYS suffrage movement leaders to campaign in 1915 and ultimately win the franchise for New York’s women in 2017;

9. The “Spirit of 1776” has come to represent the decade-long activism of the Kearns family (Edna, Wilmer, and their daughter Serena and descendants) for whom the NYS woman suffrage movement has been a family affair;

10. The “Spirit of 1776” wagon symbolizes the tens of thousands of activists that it took to win the vote for women nationally and how the movement also involved communities large and small across the nation;

11. The “Spirit of 1776” wagon continues to develop the theme of the 2012 Governor’s Capitol exhibit, “From Seneca Falls to the Supreme Court: New York’s Women Leading the Way”;

12. The suffrage campaign’s centennial of its first journey in July 1913 will be celebrated throughout 2013, and the wagon has a long shelf life in terms of public interest and the development of cultural tourism from now through 2017 and 2020, the NYS and national centennial of women voting in the United States.

The “Spirit of 1776″ is another way to rock the cradle of the women’s rights movement in the US. Sing along.

Subscribe to the Suffrage Wagon main platform for videos you can easily access. Follow the wagon!

Rosalie Gardiner Jones: The Story and the Video

Rosalie Gardiner Jones

Rosalie Gardiner Jones of Long Island drove a yellow horse-drawn wagon that on occasion campaigned with Edna Kearns and the “Spirit of 1776” campaign wagon. Among Long Island’s suffragists, Rosalie knew how to reach out to the movers and shakers. She also networked with other grassroots activists ands reached out to the public by standing on street corners, gathering petitions, and taking bold moves such as “hiking” or marching to the state capitol in Albany. Rosalie worked closely with any and all who put themselves on the line for Votes for Women.

Less known was the way in which Rosalie Jones was a maverick in her own family. Her mother, Mary or Mrs. Oliver Livingston Jones, was opposed to women voting, as well as Rosalie’s sister. Rosalie was the kind of rebel who didn’t hesitate to use her family’s social standing and the resources that came with it to leverage the cause of women’s rights. This was always a danger when parents sent their daughter to college, as they had with Rosalie, but relatively few took advantage of the associated opportunities as Rosalie Gardiner Jones did.

Rosalie Jones convinced photographers to document suffrage marchers if she couldn’t get the Bain News Service to show up at a particular event. She knocked down doors to get access to newspaper editors and reporters. Few questioned her bold moves because Rosalie Jones always had a good lead or unique angle. She wasn’t shy and retiring.

When Rosalie organized small bands to march from New York City to the state capitol at Albany, NY, for example, she marched in front with a megaphone and called herself the General. Rosalie Jones posed for photos as if she were on stage at the Metropolitcan Opera. When Edna Kearns rode her “Spirit of 1776” wagon around Long Island, Rosalie occasionally joined in with what she called her little yellow wagon that saw service in upstate New York as well as all the way to Ohio with activist Elisabeth Freeman to benefit the suffrage movement there.

Rosalie had reporters write about the time she went up in an airplane to distribute suffrage literature from the air. These writers covered every step of the way during the 1912 suffrage hike to Washington, as well as a hike to join the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC in 1913, plus another march to Albany in 1914 to meet with the governor. Rosalie Jones was good news copy. Any New York Times reporter could attest to that. Check out the Rosalie Jones video that’s a special feature!

For more information about Rosalie Jones, see “Women in Long Island’s Past” by Natalie Naylor and “Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Campaign” by Antonia Petrash. Follow the suffrage wagon with twice weekly postings and a quarterly newsletter. News and views of the suffrage movement, events and centennials. And don’t forget to get a seat in the front of the blogging bus that’s leaving soon for a tour of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the US.

Marguerite’s Musings: “Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement”

Marguerite's MusingsIf there’s a book that’s rocking the cradle of the women’s rights movement in NYS, it’s Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement by Antonia Petrash. The work was recently published by The History Press, and it adds volumes to what has been revealed in the past about what has happened out on the island.

Long Island historian Natalie Naylor has also covered a lot of ground going back to the earliest accounts of Long Island women; she touches on the suffrage movement, especially with her excellent research of suffrage activist Rosalie Jones. Antonia Petrash picks up on this and takes off with subject matter she clearly loves. An entire book featuring individual suffragists is an important contribution to what is known. Antonia approaches the subject as a journalist and storyteller, and she’s really good at what she does.

Long Island suffrage movementOf the 12 chapters featuring individual women in Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement, human interest abounds. The author hooks the reader on the individual activist and a particular tale –usually something with conflict and drama– before backtracking to telling about her birth and early years leading to contributions to the Votes for Women movement. Long Island claims some feisty and notable suffrage activists, including Alma Vanderbilt Belmont, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Lucy Burns, Elisabeth Freeman, Louisine Havemeyer, Rosalie Gardner Jones, Edna Buckman Kearns, Harriet Burton Laidlaw, Katherine Duer Mackay, Theodore Roosevelt, Ida Bunce Sammis, Elizabeth Oakes Smith, and others.

There’s a range of individuals from working women and grassroots activists, to wealthy women and high government officials who put themselves on the line. Antonia doesn’t claim that she has delivered a definitive survey of the Long Island suffrage movement. There’s a great deal more to say, Antonia points out, and this book is a welcome contribution, as well a delight and something worth adding to everyone’s Votes for Women library.

Antonia has her own blog about the Long Island movement. Check it out. She’s passionate about the Long Island suffrage activists. I captured some of her enthusiasm last year when I visited Antonia in Glen Cove, NY and documented some of her thoughts and comments about her work. Listen to her remarks from last year before the book’s publication. You’ll see what I mean.

Antonia’s book about Long Island suffrage movement (45 seconds). Highlights of work about Long Island suffragists (32 seconds). Edna Kearns’ contribution to suffrage movement on Long Island ( 44 seconds). The importance of New York’s suffrage movement (35 seconds). Why the suffrage movement story has been buried (39 seconds). The influential role of Long Island (NY) women (40 seconds). Celebrating the New York State suffrage centennial (42 seconds).  How Antonia became interested in the subjects of equal rights and suffrage (59 seconds). Two books Antonia wrote previously about extraordinary women in New York and Connecticut (56 seconds). Why the suffrage movement is inspiring. (60 seconds).

“Marguerite’s Musings” are a regular feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Wilmer Kearns introduces film “Ahoy” and suffrage news notes

Wilmer R. KearnsIt’s August and there were too many news notes for our posting at the start of the month. So Wilmer Kearns is stepping up to the plate:

We’ve been watching the progression of a great film from Holland, “Ahoy,” that features, among other courageous women, American suffragist Inez Milholland, the suffrage martyr who died for the cause when campaigning on the trail in the West for Votes for Women. Many people have seen photos of Inez when on horseback, when she led the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC. Among other facts about her fascinating life — her husband, Eugene, was Dutch. “Ahoy” is headed to film festivals in Europe and won’t be ready for release until early next year, but the promotional information is out. We’ll keep you posted. Have you ever been officially introduced to Wilmer Kearns? Check out this short video.

Wilmer R. Kearns

More news notes: Backlash to the idea of a woman in the political arena running for high public office. #1. #2. A link about antique cartoons and postcards that illustrate the opposition to equal rights and suffrage in its day. #1. #2. The opposition to equal rights today. #1.  Gloria Steinem receives presidential medal of freedom. #1. #2. Feminism and the lack of diversity hits social media. See video. Also, article. Excellent commentary about the importance of making historical destinations train friendly. #1. A world growing toward equality. #1. #2. Find out about suffrage centennials. Abolitionist and suffragist Harriet Tubman is at the center of a controversy in this centennial year of her death. See also: #1. #2. Sign up for blogging tour of the cradle of the women’s rights movement in the US. Voting rights matter. #1.

Don’t forget to celebrate August 26th. Check in with the Women’s Equality Day video. “Rap and Roll with the Suffrage Wagon.” And while fresh corn is in season, you’re missing out on free instruction on how to roast it, only at Suffrage Wagon Cooking School.

 

Bonded after wearing Grandmother Edna Kearns’ clothes: Marguerite’s Musings

MusingWagonby Marguerite Kearns

The first time I wore Grandmother Edna’s dresses, it was summer. I was about ten years old when we spent hours every day at the playhouse my father built –a small building in the back yard with green shingles on the roof and openings for windows Dad never finished.

My mother told me: “Here, go and play with Grandmother Edna’s dresses and her Votes for Women sashes.” I dug into the box. My brothers and younger sister weren’t all that interested in dress ups, so I had the cardboard box to myself with its musty-smelling thin fabric, lace, and flowing long skirts.

I marched in imaginary New York City suffrage parades and wrecked the dresses, tore and dragged them through mud. They’d been stored since Grandmother Edna’s death in 1934 –unwashed after she wore them. The sensation of dressing up like Edna never left me. Throughout life I’ve always loved high collars, long skirts, petticoats, and broaches worn at the neckline.

BONDED THROUGH WEARING EDNA’S CLOTHES

When my grandmother’s clothes touched mine, we bonded. I confided to Grandmother Edna Kearns in whispers, became convinced she worried about me and protected my secrets. My friends heard every story my mother told me about Edna’s horse-drawn wagon, the “Spirit of 1776,” how she wrote articles for New York City and Long Island newspapers, and marched in Votes for Women parades –especially the big one down in Washington, DC in 1913.

Edna’s archives fell into my hands in 1982. They’d been stored for years upstairs in my Aunt Serena’s closet. My mother and I sorted newspaper clippings and letters in an attempt to make sense of all this suffrage history. There were names of organizations I’d never heard of, plus events and speaking engagements spanning more than a decade from about 1911 through 1920.

GRASSROOTS ACTIVIST AT TURN OF 20TH CENTURY

Only years later did I recognize it as an archive of a grassroots suffrage activist at the turn of the 20th century. And then it became more than this. I learned about organizing for a cause as I sorted through Edna’s archives. Edna covered every inch of Long Island. In her free time, she participated in or organized events in New York City, such as a pageant at the Armory or being part of a suffrage program at the Metropolitan Opera. Though I’d never read Grandmother Edna’s writings all the years of storage in Aunt Serena’s closet, I was surprised to discover my own writing at the newspaper where I worked was almost identical in style to Edna’s. More than one person among my friends and family says I have Grandmother Edna in my DNA.

“Marguerite’s Musings” is a feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel. 

Follow the Suffrage Wagon to stay up to date with news and stories of the suffrage movement. We’ve been highlighting events, suffrage centennials, trends, and more since 2009. Tweets about suffrage news and views since 2010. Find out about Edna Kearns, the womens suffrage movement, how the 19th amendment came about, the campaign wagon called the “Spirit of 1776″ that is today in the New York State Museum and how it is the featured suffrage centennial in 2013 on this suffrage news channel.

New York State suffrage leader Harriet May Mills was at 108 Madison Avenue in NYC on July 1, 1913 to see off the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon

HarrietMayMillsOne hundred years ago, the hardy band of suffrage activists were still busy traveling throughout Long Island. It’s difficult to know exactly how many people saw them off from the NYS Woman Suffrage Association at 108 Madison Avenue on July 1st, even though newspaper reports said the event stressed the capacity of the meeting room at the state headquarters while the horse and the “Spirit of 1776″ horse-drawn wagon waited outside to take Edna Kearns, Serena Kearns, and Irene Davison on a month-long campaign.

State suffrage association president Harriet May Mills orchestrated the presentation ceremony. She may not be the best-known suffrage leader in the state, but she was a hard worker and dedicated. Here’s a little that I’ve gathered to fill out Harriet’s life and career: Harriet May Mills House. LINK. Rivalry over state suffrage politics.  #1. #2. Harriet May Mills, editor of suffrage news. #1. #2. The Freethought Trail. #1. #2. Harriet May Mills biography. #1.  The parents of Harriet May Mills. #1. #2. Harriet May Mills grave.  #1. #2. 1913 Brooklyn suffrage parade. #1. #2. Letter to NY Times. #1. #2. Harriet May Mills news photo.  #1.  #2. 1910 lobbying in Albany for suffrage.  #1.  Suffrage debate.  #1. #2. 1911 lobby day at the state capitol. #1.  State suffrage association incorporation. #1.  A woman ahead of her time.  #1. #2.

Follow the suffrage wagon. News and views of the suffrage movement, suffrage centennials and this year, the suffrage centennial of the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon. Subscribe for videos, audio readings, and coming soon: The Suffrage Wagon Cooking School.

Hurrah! July 1st is the “Spirit of 1776″ Wagon Day in NYS

The "Spirit of 1776" suffrage wagon

One hundred years ago the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon left Manhattan for an intensive month campaigning on Long Island.

Today, July 1, 2013, is the “Spirit of 1776″ Wagon Day in New York State because both houses of the state legislature passed resolutions on June 18, 2013 recognizing the wagon’s centennial. This doesn’t happen every day. Just to add a little juice to the announcement, there were two articles about this day and its significance.

Here’s an article from Women’s eNews. PDF. And another from the Legislative Gazette in Albany, New York. PDF  Votes for Women 2020.

And a NEW VIDEO announcing the publication and distribution of the summer issue of the Suffrage Wagon quarterly newsletter. Here’s the Suffrage Wagon quarterly newsletter summer issue in the event you’re not on the list.

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Fifteen Minutes of Fame for the Suffrage Wagon

It has been a great week and there’s more to come. One hundred years ago the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon made a “stir” with the coverage of its first journey in the New York Times. And one hundred years later, almost to the week, the wagon made a stir at the New York State Capitol in Albany, New York when both houses of the state legislature passed a resolution directing that July 1, 2013 be designated the “Spirit of 1776″ Wagon Day in New York. Right now, the wagon resides at the New York State Museum when it isn’t out on one of its journeys. In 2012 the wagon was the centerpiece for a Governor’s exhibit called “From Seneca Falls to the Supreme Court: New York’s Women Leading the Way.” In 2010, the wagon was exhibited in March and April at the NYS Museum in Albany, NY. The state legislature resolution and press conference in 2013 was covered by a TV station, Albany public radio, several newspapers, and the web sites of women members of the NYS Legislature.

Quotes from the event. Text of the resolutions from both houses of the NYS Legislature. Overview of this extraordinary accomplishment.

Audio and video about the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon. What you need to know about  Edna Kearns: life history and videos. What is the Suffrage Wagon? Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Our main Suffrage Wagon platform.

The “Spirit of 1776″ will be honored in Albany, New York this coming week

WagonDay

This coming week both houses of the New York State Legislature are expected to pass a special resolution honoring Grandmother Edna Kearns’ wagon and its centennial and designating July 1, 2013 as the “Spirit of 1776” Wagon Day.

Members of the bipartisan New York State Legislative Women’s Caucus that sponsored the resolution about the wagon’s centennial will make a presentation at a press conference at the state Capitol legislative building at 10 a.m.

One hundred years ago on July 1, 1913, Votes for Women activists Edna Kearns, Irene Davison, and eight-year-old Serena Kearns left Manhattan and headed to Long Island in the horse-drawn wagon called the “Spirit of 1776.” They spent the next month organizing in many communities to gather support for women voting.

Three years later in 1917, New York’s women finally won the franchise. This was followed by the vote being extended to millions of American women nationwide in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution.

The Wednesday press conference this week is expected to highlight New York’s special designation as the cradle of the women’s rights movement in the United States. The US women’s rights movement was launched in July 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention. New York’s women blazed a trail from 1848 to 1920 because of the large numbers of suffrage leaders, strategists, and grassroots activists from the state.

“As New Yorkers we have a special place in history,” said Susan Zimet, town supervisor of New Paltz, NY and co-founder of Votes for Women 2020, the organization that’s in the forefront of advocating for the “Spirit of 1776″ Wagon Day, as well as other upcoming celebrations of New York State’s centennial of women voting in 2017, followed by the national suffrage centennial set for 2020.

“New York’s women led the way from Seneca Falls to the Supreme Court. The importance of the work of these brave warriors who paved the way for myself and my daughter are unsung heroes that deserve to have their proper place in history. The passage of this resolution by our NY State elected leaders is a critical step in the recognition of the work ahead of us.”

The ‘Spirit of 1776’ campaign wagon reinforced this theme when it left the headquarters of the NYS Woman Suffrage Association on July 1, 1913 in Manhattan to further the movement’s mission of freedom.

The “Spirit of 1776” wagon represents a key piece of the state’s history of social movements. Not only is the wagon an important part of New York State history, but it also represents the theme of the unfinished American Revolution that was advanced by the suffrage movement across the country.

Find out more about Votes for Women 2020.

What was Edna Kearns doing on June 27, 1913?

What was Grandmother Edna Kearns doing in June 100 years ago? Grassroots organizing at every opportunity. There were meetings –outdoors, indoors, up on soapboxes, standing on automobiles, out with the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon on the beach, and anywhere a crowd gathered. Such is the nature of grassroots organizing. You get out the message however you can, where ever you can. The South Side Observer was a Long Island paper. Edna knocked on editors’ doors with her columns and special suffrage reports. For information about Edna Kearns, her life and work –video and bio.

And now the answer as to what Edna Kearns was doing on June 27th one hundred years ago. She was clipping the newspaper to preserve a record of her grassroots organizing:
South Side Observer, June 27, 1913

News of suffragette sit-com and many updates

newsnotesmore copyI just signed a digital petition. Tara forwards them to me. Bless her! It’s another tool in my tool box –along with recycling. Any of these things alone won’t budge the inertia associated with humans taking necessary steps to build a safe and sustainable future. But it keeps the Big Picture in mind while taking the garbage outsider to the composter. Digital petitions work when they’re included in a movement’s toolbox. If digital petitions are an end in themselves, they’re unlikely to attract much attention. Here’s the link to the petition Tara sent me. It’s all in the spirit of Grandmother Edna who was a peace activist, which in her day represented a challenging cause.

And now… on to Suffrage News Notes: A YouTube trailer about “Up the Women,” a suffragette sit-com. “Up the Women,” the suffragette situation comedy on UK TV featured. #1.  Even more about UK suffrage sit-com. #1.

An appeal to women to lead the Third Women’s Revolution. #1. #2. Speculation about a woman presidential candidate in 2016. #1. #2. Upcoming state suffrage centennial celebration in Illinois. #1. Woman mayor in Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s hometown has stepped down. #1. #2. Congressional medal for Alice Paul bill filed. #1. #2. Appeal to protect voting rights. #1. #2. Sojourner Truth statue vandalized. #1. #2.   Free suffrage downloads. #1. #2.  The Atlantic’s suffrage coverage. #1. #2. The story behind the story of Votes for Women. #1. #2. 

The unfinished women’s rights statue at the nation’s capitol. #1. #2. Should we change the date for Election Day? #1. #2.  Student wins contest for suffrage project. #1. #2. Pro women voters and candidates. #1. #2. Efforts to expand voting. #1. #2. Funding the Susan B. Anthony House. #1. #2.  Class trip to the cradle of the movement. #1. #2.  Suffragists in Texas. #1. #2.  One hundred years ago for big NYC parade. #1. #2. Honoring suffrage history. #1. #2.

News from: Japan. #1. #2. Bahamas. #1. #2. Norway’s national suffrage  centennial. #1.  Article from England: Suffragettes on hunger strikes. #1. Report from Australia. #1. #2. International Women’s History Month. #1#2. Jewelry of the suffragettes. #1.  The theme of cats in the suffragette movement. #1. #2.  Suffrage badge hung up in customs. #1. #2. 

This video about horse-drawn wagons used in the suffrage movement goes with Ken Florey’s wagon article (the images are from his postcard collection). See two-part article about wagons used in Votes for Women movement by Ken Florey, whose new book on suffrage memorabilia is expected to be published in late June 2013. See his web site for more information.

If you like suffrage news notes and commentary, subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

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The buzz has started about the Suffrage Wagon Centennial, plus suffrage news notes!

suffrage_wagone_high_res copy

July 2013 is the suffrage wagon’s centennial. It’s interesting how we pay attention to something when it has a 100th anniversary. Something that a few days before had been virtually invisible pops up on the radar screen and commends attention just because a centennial has been announced.

When I bring up my favorite subject of the suffrage movement, it’s surprising how often folks comment: “Women haven’t even had the right to vote for a hundred years. It’s not that long in the bigger scheme of things.”

Yes, I say. Ask people about the 19th amendment to the US Constitution and see how many know what you’re talking about. Not many.  Then mention that we have seven years to go before the national Votes for Women centennial in 2020. Most people don’t even think that far ahead, but it’s on my mind in 2013 in this year of centennials. The buzz started in earnest with the 1913 suffrage centennial parade in early March and the associated whirlwind of events, exhibits, and performances.

NewsNotesMoreMore news notes for April 2013 spill into this posting. Come May and you’ll see the full extent of suffrage-related news and events. Try for example: Alice Paul and hunger strikes. #1. #2. This latter article about Alice Paul calls her the “true” founder of the women’s movement. Now, I’ve never heard this before. And I  love Alice Paul. I suspect that Alice would bristle hearing such a claim. She had arms large enough for everyone. And then we continue on: A handmade lamp for suffrage. #1.  C-Span program about Sewall-Belmont House, headquarters of the National Woman’s Party in Washington, DC. #1. Statue of Liberty reopens in July. #1. #2.  Diversity of suffrage movement.  #1. #2.  A new look at Sylvia Plath. #1. #2. The husband of a suffragist. #1. #2. The old gap between what is and what should be. #1. #2. Women voters in Pakistan. #1. #2.  Important exhibition at the Smithsonian about women’s history. #1. #2. Community building. #1. #2. Gloria Steinem puts everything into perspective. #1. #2.   Program announced for Vision 2020. #1. #2.

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One hundred years ago suffragists knocked down doors: Part II

Suffrage Wagon Stories

by Marguerite Kearns

The first week in July of 1913 represented a high point in bringing the issue of Votes for Women to the public. This is  when the campaign suffrage wagon, the “Spirit of 1776,” left the Manhattan office of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association at 108 Madison Avenue in the care of Edna Buckman Kearns and headed to Long Island.

From this point on, campaigners under the state suffrage association’s umbrella barely rested. They barnstormed on foot, gave speeches on street corners, decorated and traveled in automobiles, and hitched horses to wagons to make themselves visible throughout Long Island. Agitating for change and interacting with a wide variety of people was exhausting –but oh, so stimulating– in the July 1913 heat.

Votes for Women activists stayed in touch with each other by phone, letters, and in person. They developed relationships with local and city newspaper reporters, as well as anyone else who would listen. If reporters couldn’t or wouldn’t cover suffrage news, suffragists themselves became reporters and press agents themselves. They stormed through every open door.

Suffragists learned how to make their own news and then participate in the process of gathering it as volunteers in the service of a cause.  For many, like Edna Kearns, it wasn’t paid work. But it was an exciting time to be learning about the Big Picture. Starting about 1911, Edna Kearns wrote suffrage columns and edited special newspaper reports about Votes for Women that were published on Long Island and in New York City papers. She was also a squirrel and saved as many of her speeches, news articles, letters, photos, leaflets, and suffrage memorabilia as she could. . .

Watch for more selections from the ongoing story of what happened 100 years ago with organizing for the vote and how the “Spirit of 1776″ theme and wagon played an important role in the unfinished American Revolution. For more information, check out our story and news source: Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

One hundred years ago on Long Island: Suffrage Stories

Suffrage Wagon Stories

Have a cup of tea with your suffrage stories and fortune cookies

by Marguerite Kearns

PART I:

The suffrage movement was big news in 1913, but Votes for Women activists had their eye on Long Island well before the turn of the 20th century. Women, in general, organized themselves into a complex web of local clubs and community groups throughout the island to promote everything from reading circles to the support of community institutions, the establishment of libraries, and a wide variety of social issues.

Newspaper accounts document that the state suffrage association sent representatives to Long Island women’s club meetings prior to 1900. On occasion, these women were keynote speakers at club luncheons and special events. Often it was enough for a newspaper article to document the presence of suffragists at club meetings which implied that Long Island represented fertile ground for the cause.

The first Long Island suffrage organizing meetings were held in private homes and informal settings. Organizing for the vote became more overt in 1912 with a “whirlwind campaign” of organizing that was covered in the state suffrage association’s newsletter and the local press.

Then on June 24, 1913, NYS Woman Suffrage Association president Harriet May Mills wrote to suffrage organizer Edna Kearns in a letter about her concern that the Women’s Political Union had been sending organizers to Long Island and  the state suffrage association better get busy making its mark. Mills wrote: “The W.P.U. has two workers on the Island and is trying to steal the whole of it.” She asked Kearns exactly when their volunteers would hit the ground running. Kearns replied that she was ready to take on the challenge, and she expected others to join her immediately. . .

Check out these videos of about one minute each that illustrate the Long Island movement organizing for Votes for Women.

WATCH FOR PART II OF THIS ARTICLE ABOUT THE EARLY DAYS OF SUFFRAGE ORGANIZING –LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK. COMING SOON. The main Suffrage Wagon platform changes often. Not familiar with us and want to know more? Check us out! And then subscribe.

What was Edna Kearns doing in March 100 years ago?

New York City and Long Island suffragist Edna Kearns wrote Votes for Women columns for the newspaper and she responded to letters to the editor! Here, she answers a man who writes to the paper about how women have it good and they should stop complaining. In another piece (below), Edna refers to the big 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC and then spells out how the New York State suffrage campaign is shaping up. The suffs realized the importance of press coverage, and Edna did her part in terms of keeping the issue alive in the newspapers. For an overview about Suffrage Wagon News Channel. LINK.

Large crowd today in Washington, DC in 2013 for 1913 centennial suffrage parade

Washington, DC newspaper from the archives of Edna B. Kearns. If you like this and other related articles, visit us at Suffrage Wagon News Channel. And subscribe. See other parade highlights: The 1913 Washington, DC suffrage parade from the archives of Edna Buckman Kearns. Link #1. Link #2. Link #3.1913ParadeNewsEDIT
1913ParadeNewspaper2

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.

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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Reading tea leaves during National Hot Tea Month

tealeavesLet’s have some fun. Marie Knight is a guest blogger who’s sharing her reading of tea leaves for Suffrage Wagon during our celebration of National Hot Tea Month. Here’s what the tea leaves said:

“Before I even began your tea leaf reading, I kept getting a message that February will be a big month for you.  I have a very strong feeling One Billion Rising can be significant. Then I did your reading, and it confirmed this for me. I saw a flock of birds flying towards the handle. This is a sign that good fortune is coming your way, but in a manner that affects groups of people. Get involved with One Billion Rising or host your own local event which was also in the cup. (See the SWNC link.)

“A book is the second symbol that shows strongly in your reading. Have you been thinking about writing a book? Perhaps you should. As for the subject, I believe this has to do with the third symbol –a hand-held mirror. Your book should take a look into your own family for the subject, perhaps a view of the world today from Grandmother Edna’s perspective or a historical view of her own life.

“My sister Lynn is a better channeler than I am. Together we spoke to your grandmother. She said that young women are still under the same societal pressures to conform. Look at the role models they are given and these girls believe they are imperfect because of them. Unreasonable goals to be thin, to be ‘loose acting,’ and to be dim witted. Someone has to be there to show them the way. “Something else that came to my sister was an overwhelming sense of pride that Edna’s own family is continuing in her path.  The sensation was so strong that my sister Lynn was overwhelmed and brought to tears. Your grandmother is so proud of you for continuing the work.”

Thank you, Marie. She can be contacted directly for readings: LINK. January is National Hot Tea Month. Celebrate with special features on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

NEXT TIME: Part II of Ken Florey’s article on suffrage tea memorabilia.

It has been a good year!

Suffrage Wagon News Channel

Suffrage Wagon News Channel

Grandmother Edna’s birthday each year is on December 25th. Other news and stories:

“Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon used by Edna Kearns on exhibit in Albany, NY for six months in 2012. American apple pie wasn’t sacred to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. California women have been voting for 100 years. Guest bloggers, news notes, and book reviews were special features in 2012. Action in the world today. Book reviews. New features and video. A Christmas story by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Upcoming book about suffrage memorabilia. The story behind Grandmother Edna’s suffrage wagon. Op-Ed wagon piece by Olivia Twine. New Video: “This Wet and Wrinkled Paper.” Viral suffrage email. Suffrage movement quilting. The UK had a Suffragette Summer School. Demonstration about suffrage at the 2012 Olympics. Virtual birthday party for Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Kansas almost didn’t have a suffrage centennial except for writer Tom Mach. More about Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Link #1. Link #2.  Women voters thank their suffrage ancestors VIDEO. Holiday gifts for your suffrage buff.

Film and video is how many people learn about the suffrage movement. Suffrage wagon storytelling at Hudson River Playback Theatre. Suffrage hikers to Washington, DC captured on film. Mother’s Day interview about Grandmother Edna Kearns. “Holding the Torch for Liberty” suffrage musical gala in Manhattan. Behind the scenes of great suffrage music video, “Bad Romance.” Audio interview about Edna Buckman Kearns in Chick History series.

Alice Paul, the most overlooked civil rights leader of the 20th century. Do you know about “Suffrage Buffs of America”? Suffrage Wagon quarterly newsletter: The Fall 2012 quarterly newsletter.  Summer 2012 issue. Spring 2012. Suffrage Wagon highlighted in ElectWomen magazine.  Albany, NY women’s exhibit had the “Spirit of 1776.”Grandmother Edna makes “New York History.” Article in “Albany Kid,” by Tara Bloyd about Edna and Serena Kearns. A holiday story by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Art work of the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon by Peter Sinclair. Spice Cake for High Tea from a Suffragist CookbookValentine’s Day stories about suffrage. New Suffrage Wagon videos. Check out the SWNC archive.

Make a New Year’s resolution to subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel in 2013.

Happy Birthday, Grandmother Edna Kearns!

ColumnMKMarguerite’s Musings:

Grandmother Edna was born on Christmas day in 1882. My mother told me how Edna hated having her birthday on Christmas. She claimed to always get shirt shrift as a child when it came to gifts and attention on her birthday.

For Edna, Christmas meant books as gifts; each book contained sweet messages from family members. Edna’s gifts of books to her two daughters on Christmases past ended up in my hands as an eager young reader with the date on the inside cover and a Merry Christmas from “Dearie,” which is how her daughters addressed her, and not “Mother.” Oh, what a scandal it was in those days not to call one’s mother by her role. I loved the Louisa May Alcott series starting with Little Women, all the way through to  Jo’s Boys.

Christmas meant holly and mistletoe to Grandmother Edna, plus hand-made sachets of dried roses and lavender, storytelling next to the fireplace as holiday tree candles burned on Christmas eve and the kitchen buzzed with talk of fruitcake, candied pineapple and citrus… MORE of the article!

Marguerite’s Musings is a feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Special feature for the upcoming holidays: Gifts for the suffrage buff in your life.

Thanksgiving letter from Edna Buckman Kearns to her childhood friend Bessie

Thanksgiving 1904

Dear Bessie,  Remember the promise we made to each other before my June wedding about the two of us getting together at the Russian tea place over the Christmas holidays? Wilmer and I might come down to Philadelphia. And Mama and Papa are thinking about traveling up to New York, but no decision yet. If we make it home, I’ll be so happy to see you.

Being a married woman is so different than I ever imagined. A long train trip with Wilmer all the way to St. Louis for our honeymoon was exhausting enough, and I could barely concentrate on the exhibits and crowds at the world’s fair. We came back earlier than expected. Being in New York City makes me realize what a country girl I’ve been when it comes to becoming a woman and growing up overnight. I’ll get used to it, I suppose.

The two of us I must talk over tea. My mother’s generation is so much in the attic when it comes to things of this world. So New York is the best thing that’s happened to me. People speak languages I didn’t know existed, even though I studied geography and was convinced I knew it all.

The men Wilmer works with at the accounting firm had dinner at a restaurant downtown and took their wives along. One of them, who grew up in New Jersey, talked all through the meal about awful it is that women are allowed to vote in Wyoming and how nobody knows anymore whether a woman’s visit to a neighbor is to solicit votes or get support to run for political office.

I laughed, but only to myself. Have been taking the bus now and then for meetings about women voting. Getting used to New York and being married is plenty for now because I tire easily. My fingers are crossed for the two of us having tea over the holidays.

Thy loving friend, Edna

SEND YOUR SUGGESTIONS FOR OUR HOLIDAY SUFFRAGE GIFT COLUMN. Fill out the Holiday Gift Suggestion form! Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

NEW VIDEO: “This Wet and Wrinkled Paper”

“My voter’s card arrived today, and as I perused the tiny paper, wet and wrinkled from the rain, I felt the spirit of Grandma Edna watching over me,” Goldman-Petri wrote in a poem set to music and presented in this video.

“They stood on soapboxes, signed petitions, rang doorbells, smiled and dialed. They marched, paraded. They waited.  They waited, so I could have this paper.”

There’s more, and then the poem concludes: “My voter’s card arrived today, so thank you Grandma Edna. I’ll vote, I’ll lead, and I’ll succeed. I’ll remember how you fought for me. And it’s all because you believed, Women deserve liberty.”

As I post this video, I’m still reeling from last evening’s U.S. presidential debate where the two candidates, Romney and Obama, strutted on stage at Hofstra University, while outside police arrested the two Green Party presidential and vice presidential candidates –Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala. The two women political candidates were handcuffed to chairs for hours for attempting to be part of the public debate.

There was a time, once, when political parties other than Democrats and Republicans were part of a dialogue and a process known as democracy. Remember when the League of Women Voters organized the debates? The women organizers were inclusive, as if this were a radical idea. Then, the mainstream parties forced the League out of the job.

The so-called debate last night took place on Long Island –Grandmother Edna’s turf. My grandmother’s generation was familiar with women getting arrested for standing firm on the issue of participation and the democratic process. They believed in the Spirit of 1776.

For more information, visit womenssuffrage.org  

NEWS FLASH: The story behind Grandmother Edna Kearns’ Suffrage Wagon

The blog of the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum in Washington, DC features the story of Grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon, especially the family stories. Check it out.

I’ve written stories about Grandmother Edna’s campaign wagon in the past, but this time I’ve included more in the Sewall-Belmont post, especially the role Grandfather Wilmer Kearns played in suffrage campaign work and the many ways in which Suffrage Wagon News Channel celebrates women’s freedom to vote.

The Sewall-Belmont House & Museum‘s location in downtown Washington, DC makes it a frequent destination for tourists and visitors from all over the world. The National Woman’s Party headquarters at the Sewall-Belmont House highlights a vibrant part of our past for the increasing numbers of people interested in this part of American history, especially the dramatic and difficult campaign for passage and ratification of the 19th amendment.

Storytelling is when our fabulous Votes for Women history comes alive. Share our stories.  Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel. An overview of the news channel.

 

So, tell us about your suffragist grandmother, Edna Kearns . . .

There’s nothing like a newspaper article of the period that reveals character. I found this article in the Nassau Post published on July 16, 1915 describing a Long Island suffrage parade. Edna Kearns is identified as the campaign press chair (second campaign district) and the way in which she addressed the crowd is noted. The reporter stated that she expressed herself in “her usual quiet yet forceful manner.” It’s brief and to the point. And the point goes a long way. Here’s suffragist Edna Kearns at her home office in Rockville Centre, NY, the headquarters from where she organized Long Island and the NYC area for Votes for Women. More about suffragist Edna Kearns.

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A fairy tale story of suffrage

My Aunt Serena Kearns was known as Nassau County’s “youngest suffragist.” If there was a poster child for woman’s suffrage, it was little Serena. Her image was preserved when sitting in her mother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon, the “Spirit of 1776″ with the large bow in her hair. Yes, this is the same wagon on exhibit on the second floor of the New York State capitol through the summer of 2012.

Little Serena accompanied her mother, Edna Kearns, in New York City parades and on whirlwind campaigns for Votes for Women on Long Island.  This article from the Brooklyn Times on February 13, 1913 documents a suffrage story that Serena wrote:

“Once upon a time there was a fairy called Suffrage. Now it happened that the laws of the land did not suit her. She believed in equal rights. But in that land the men did not believe in the women voting.

“Now fairy Suffrage was a smart fairy: She went to the President. But she did not dress as a fairy. Oh, no! She dressed as a poor working girl asking for the vote to help her in her work. The President wouldn’t help.

“The next day while she was out walking she met an enemy of hers. His name was Ignorance. Ignorance began to say disagreeable things to her. ‘Ignorance,’ she said. ‘I will go to Justice, the queen of the fairies, for help.’ This she did. And Justice said: ‘I can help you because I dwell in almost everybody’s heart, while Ignorance lives in the hearts of so few people. I can overcome Ignorance with my wonderful power.’ Then Justice won the battle in the year 1915 and fairy Suffrage was saved.”

Poor Serena must have been disappointed as suffrage wasn’t approved in 1915 by New York State voters. However, it passed in 1917, which means the upcoming 100th anniversary is in 2017.

Subscribe. Classic stories and up-to-date news on Suffrage Wagon News Channel. The summer 2012 issue of the newsletter is available for Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Suffrage wagon storytelling with the Hudson River Playback Theatre

I hadn’t planned to be on stage with the Hudson River Playback Theatre. In fact, this  was the last thing I predicted the Monday evening I spent attending a performance for organizations attending Service Week at Omega in Rhinebeck, NY.  I’d been on the road the previous three weeks from Long Island to Albany to Binghamton and back to the Hudson Valley again in hot clammy weather.

I was tired, but relaxing in the audience wasn’t meant to be. Hudson River Playback Theatre is interactive story theatre for dialogue and connection. The cast creates memorable theatre on the spot based on the true stories of people in the audience.

“Go up and tell your story,” Susan Zimet urged. Susan sat next to me in the audience, and I ignored her the first time she poked. Then her plea became a kick and an order:  “Do it, now.” You don’t say no to Susan.

Well, okay. I could tell about visiting Albany, the second floor of the capitol, to see Grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon in the women’s exhibit around the corner from the Hall of Governors. I could talk about Grandmother Edna being part of the grassroots suffrage movement and someone who campaigned in her horse-drawn wagon called the “Spirit of 1776″ on Long Island and NYC.  Then I’d throw in how I’d grown up with this icon of the suffrage movement, mention how every summer when I was a kid, my mother would dress us up. We’d visit my Grandfather Wilmer Kearns and he’d drag the old wagon out of the garage and we’d have our photo taken. It was important to mention how Edna died in 1934, so I had to learn about Edna from my mother and plowing through my grandmother’s writings, speeches, photos, news clippings packed in stacks of boxes. She saved everything.

Sarah Urech, the theatre’s assistant director, interviewed me on stage and made this part of the process easy. Then she asked me to choose who would play me (Jody Santriani), who would play Edna (the theatre’s director Jo Salas), and Grandfather Wilmer (Mateo). Musician Dean Jones backed up the performance on the piano.

Eeverything flowed from that point on with few props other than a curtain, wood boxes, and several scarves. Grandmother Edna came alive on stage, directing traffic from her soapbox wagon, leading marches to Albany, standing firm in her position that all American women should vote. There were few words, other than “Freedom,” and the finale became me, up on the soapbox wagon after Edna had departed, carrying on the unfinished work of the American Revolution.

Sarah Urech’s a master in helping people tell their stories. I found out later that she’s a distant cousin of Jeanette Rankin, suffragist and the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. So this story joins all the others because Susan Zimet poked me and challenged me to march up to the stage and live beyond the boundaries.

Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel. If two postings a week aren’t your cup of tea, sign up for our quarterly newsletter. The summer 2012 newsletter for Suffrage Wagon News Channel is available online.

Suffrage hikers to Washington DC are captured on film

Suffragist Elisabeth Freeman on her soapbox. From the web site elisabethfreeman.org published by her great niece, Peg Johnston.

There’s very little film footage from the suffrage movement, so this 80-second clip from the National Film Preservation Foundation is a treasure. It’s entitled “On to Washington.” The occasion is the suffrage hiking march with Rosalie Jones and Elisabeth Freeman and others who headed south to Washington, DC to join the suffrage parade scheduled to coincide with the inauguration of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. My grandparents Edna and Wilmer Kearns marched in that parade, along with Serena Kearns, my mother’s older sister who was born in 1905.

Grandmother Edna Kearns worked on Long Island suffrage organizing with both Rosalie Jones and Elisabeth Freeman. Jones was born and raised on Long Island where she carried out a significant amount of grassroots suffrage work. Elisabeth Freeman was born in England and became a paid organizer for the  movement. Rosalie, Elisabeth, Edna Kearns (along with Wilmer and Serena Kearns) and others started out on the march to Albany from NYC to see the governor about Votes for Women the first week in January of 1914.

Elisabeth Freeman’s web site is published by Elisabeth Freeman’s great niece, Peg Johnston of Binghamton, NY. Visit the Suffrage Wagon News Channel’s new platform.

The story behind the story. . .


Grandmother Edna Kearns took the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon to Long Beach in July of 1913. When she drove the suffrage campaign wagon onto the beach, it caused quite a stir, not to mention when she stood in the waves and wore a yellow bathing cap and a yellow sash while holding signs that were described as a Votes for Women “voiceless speech.” Silence was a tactic used by the movement, and the most famous example of this can be found in the “Silent Sentinels” pickets of the White House in 1917, which Grandmother Edna was a part of, as well.

This  article –“Suffrage Talk Amid Waves” is descriptive enough to give us a sense of what it must have been like sitting on the beach that day and watching the suffrage demonstration. Silent marching in parades and witnessing is getting attention today from activists who continue the silent tradition that was also practiced by the suffragists. More often than not, the suffs don’t get credit for it.

Writer Antonia Petrash has lots of suffrage stories to tell

Suffrage pageant on Long Island. Photo: Library of Congress

There’s a new audio feature on Votes for Women Salon, a special feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel: an interview with Antonia Petrash who speaks about her upcoming book about the Long Island suffrage movement. The book is expected to be published in 2013 by  The History Press.

Grandmother Edna Kearns will be featured in Antonia’s work as someone significantly contributing to the suffrage movement because of her focus on the news media. Antonia has other stories to share with listeners in this Votes for Women Salon podcast special. Many of the interview selections are one minute or less. Listen when you have a break in your busy schedule.

Find out the story of the day when Susan B. Anthony met Elisabeth Cady Stanton. What the suffrage movement was like on Long Island. Remarkable New York women, and more. Click on the link above for Votes for Women Salon, a special feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

News from other places: In the Bahamas, there’s a suffrage celebration. A suff mural in Canada. The Canadians are strong in the promotion of history, and the U.S. could gather a few tips from their example. Especially this Canadian model of Strong Girls/Strong Canada!

What did Edna Kearns do on the 4th of July, 1913?

Grandmother Edna Kearns hitched a horse to her “Spirit of 1776″ wagon and headed to the shore at Long Beach on Long Island. She took two outfits with her: a bathing suit and a white dress with a “Votes for Women” sash. What a crowd on the beach that day, and the group of women made a splash. Edna even got out in the surf to make a “voiceless speech,” a tactic of the suffrage movement which fell under the category of the visual rhetoric associated with sophisticated public relations. Take a look at this link. The suffrage campaign wagon again made the NY Times.

“Appeal to Liberty” on behalf of the foremothers. . .

Read at the feet of the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 1915

To the Men of New York,

We therefore appeal to you, in the name of justice and fair play, for relief from the intolerable position in which we have been placed.

We protest that no Government is just which taxes and governs half its people without their consent.

We protest that no Government is efficient which is guilty of so absurd a discrimination as that of putting a vote in the hand of male paupers and denying that privilege to at least a third of its taxpayers; of counting the opinion of illiterate males, and denying that count to the 41,000 women teachers of the State.

We protest that no Government is sound which pretends to secure the highest welfare to its people, yet pays no heed to what half its people want.

We protest that no Government is logical which elevates half its people regardless of qualifications to sovereignty and condemns the other half to political subjection.

Justice gave you the vote, in the name of that same great virtue, we ask you to give it to us!

For news clips about the entire story about the “Appeal to Liberty” and Edna Kearns carrying on the work on Long Island, follow this link.

Six-part interview series on the overview of suffrage history

Among serious suffrage buffs, you either like Carrie Chapman Catt or you don’t. Some believe she got too much credit for the suffrage win, and others would say not enough. Chances are, most people today haven’t heard of her. So the six-part interview series featuring Nate Levin might be filed away in the deep archives of human memory, except for the fact that Levin lays out a simple story line explaining the suffrage movement which is worth spending some time with.

Nate Levin wraps himself in the term “suffrage buff,” so much so that he created a Facebook page called Suffrage Buffs of America. His mother was a loyal member of the League of Women Voters (Grandmother Edna was a member) which has turned into a lifelong interest for Nate. He’s written  a book about Carrie Chapman Catt that’s free on Google Books. (It’s also available in hard copy). You can get to know more about Nate by way of YouTube in this five-part suffrage interview series: Program #1, Program #2, Program #3. Program #4. Program #5. Program #6.  And there’s more about Nate Levin on Suffrage Wagon News Channel where we feature his Facebook page that’s geared to other suffs like Nate…and me. There’s a great deal of information out there about the suffs, and it’s comforting to find a corner where people talk about these subjects.

Grandmother Edna Kearns presented an “Appeal to Liberty” to thousands

The Votes for Women activists took their appeal to the Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July in 1915. It’s an example of the bold tactics of the suffragists in 1915 which didn’t win them the vote during that campaign, but it certainly sent a message that the issue wouldn’t go away.

One version of the story is told about New York City where huge suffrage parades and demonstrations put an “Appeal to Liberty” (read by suffragists) into the mainstream awareness as it became an essential element of the Fourth of July observance. See the Fourth of July 1915 coverage in the Times.

Grandmother Edna Kearns carried the “Appeal to Liberty” theme to Long Island where this report noted that local firefighters gave Edna the platform to speak about Votes for Women and thousands listened. News about Edna is in the second column.

Photo: Associated Press.

What did Grandmother Edna Kearns say when standing on her campaign wagon?

Grandmother Edna kicked up a fuss on Long Island in 1912 as she kept the newspapers filled with suffrage news. She connected the dots between current events and the need for the vote, whether in the newspaper columns she wrote or when campaigning after 1913 in her horse-drawn suffrage wagon now on exhibit at the state capitol in Albany, NY through the summer of 2012.

You can’t have a baby without engaging in politics, Edna argued. And she raised eyebrows among other suffragists who believed they shouldn’t venture outside their limited sphere of lobbying for the vote. Edna raised her voice about the scandal at the Mineola jail and ventured forth to say that women would take care of community business better then men. Just give women a chance, she said.

When the newspapers carried the controversy, Edna defended herself from those who claimed her Better Babies campaign on Long Island was merely a “fad,” a ploy for “sensationalism.” Edna’s motivation? She insisted she was concerned that mothers didn’t have all the skills they needed for mothering and vowed to establish parenting classes. Underlying her argument, of course, was how much women needed the vote! This speaks to us today by remembering the interconnectedness of issues and reaching out to others to bring us together in linking our past with taking leadership in these times.