Tag Archives: Serena 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.

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!

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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.

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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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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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