Tag Archives: suffrage movement

National women’s museum in Washington, DC might actually happen! Plus Suffrage Wagon videos.

Suffrage Wagon News NotesA women’s history museum in the nation’s Capitol is closer than ever to reality, as the U.S. Congress moved closer to approving the planned institution on the National Mall. Earlier proposals relied on public funding, but the recent proposal involving private funding brought the idea out of the shadows and into the sunlight of possibility. The museum has been an online nonprofit organization for the past 17 years.

House Republicans just may get in line since it won’t cost the public anything. Considerable effort has been invested in giving women’s history a nod. It’s the same legislative body that’s been sitting on the eggs of other important women’s history proposals such as funding for the Harriet Tubman national park and the “Votes for Women” heritage trail in the “Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. The next phase of the project involves selecting a site for the museum and hiring a woman architect to move the proposed museum forward. All the other buildings on the mall have been designed by men.

Check in with the Suffrage Wagon News Channel video offerings. More than 30 videos have been posted over the past few years. For  suffrage movement news and views, follow the Suffrage Wagon on Twitter, Facebook, email subscription, and a quarterly newsletter. Check in with the LetsRockTheCradle calendar of  suffrage-related events.

What happens after Downton Abbey? and other women’s history gems

Downton-Abbey-Season-4Some people swear by Downton Abbey. Others are yawning and wondering if the series will take on more life than reruns of the same themes, issues and personalities. Like the novelty of the chauffeur marrying into the family has worn off, and the family is adjusting, though slowly, to the end of a way of life. That’s why I found the following article refreshing and worth sharing, even if the link has been sitting on my desk since January.

What happens after Downtown Abbey, the article asks. Writer Alyssa Rosenberg isn’t interested in breathing life into the Downtown Abbey cast. She’s suggesting that the family be replaced with some real-life characters, and I love her suggestions. How about the Pankhurst family of suffragettes in England or the Mitfords? Rosenberg lists the reasons why.

MK-musing

What did one cherub say to the other one in this thumbnail image? They’re whispering, so it’s not easy to listen. But let’s try anyway. One cherub’s asking the other: “What do we have to do to shake a substantial commitment out of New York State for the state suffrage centennial in 2017 that gets the same attention and excitement as the funding of ads for wineries and white water rafting?” The other cherub responds: “How about a sloop called the Susan B. Anthony that sails down the Hudson River and visits every port and school classroom? Would that get attention or what? If there are Clearwater and Woody Guthrie boats, how about Susan or Elizabeth or Alice or Carrie or Harriot or any one of a long list of candidates to represent the state’s rich women’s history?”

Where’s Pete Seeger when we need him? Toshi and Pete Seeger would say they modeled grassroots organizing for decades in New York’s Hudson Valley, so it’s our turn to get busy.  Is voting important anyway? Many would say it’s an essential expression of our rights as citizens. Perhaps that’s what’s behind the numerous attempts to suppress voting nationwide. In any event, the suffrage movement represents the largest nonviolent social revolution in the U.S. Whenever I wrap my head around that fact, it shifts my awareness of the significance of keeping democracy alive, whatever’s left of it after big money dumped into political campaigns clears the stage.

So if you’re suspecting I’m growing anxious about the passage of precious time when New  York should be busy planning its 2017 suffrage centennial, you’re right. There’s plenty of lip service spread around for women’s issues. And as the suffragists used to say, “deeds, not words” carry the day. Send us an email with your thoughts about how to get New York off of Ground Zero and busy planning its centennial. Send me your thoughts: suffragewagon at gmail.com

Looking forward to hearing from you as the Suffrage Wagon rolls on. Follow the wagon by way of email, Twitter and Facebook. And while you’re at it, visualize the State of New York putting the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon on permanent exhibit. It’s not doing any good gathering dust at a state museum warehouse near Albany, NY.

 

A legacy trip in the “Cradle” of the Women’s Rights Movement, plus other news

Edna on a horseThe New York History Blog featured women’s stories during March 2014, Women’s History Month. It’s a platform that welcomes news of suffrage-related events, histories and news. Check out some of the offerings, and if you aren’t following the New York History Blog, get on board.

More baby steps in the long process to win approval for the National Women’s History Museum. All members of the House Administration Committee voted in support of HR 863, this week that will move the National Women’s History Museum legislation forward. Committee Chair Candice Miller (R-MI), Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-PA), and Committee Members Phil Gingrey (R-GA) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) spoke in support of creating a commission to produce a feasible plan for a privately-funded national women’s history museum. The bill passed out of the Committee without amendments, the first step to obtaining bill passage in the House of Representatives. The House Natural Resources Committee will consider the bill next.

A four-day, three-night Susan B. Anthony Legacy Trip is scheduled from August 4 through 7, 2014, “Be Part of Her Story” includes an in-depth and behind-the-scenes exploration of Susan B. Anthony’s life, her friends and family, her times and causes, her lifetime struggle to achieve equality for everyone. Organized by The Friends of Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, the trip includes three nights lodging in a downtown Rochester hotel, transportation to all venues, seminars on topics related to the suffrage movement with experts in their fields, travel around the historic Finger Lakes region, and visits to Rochester sites of importance to the Anthonys and suffrage. The trip is limited to 40, so sign up soon! National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, 17 Madison Street, Rochester, NY 14608.

Follow LetsRockTheCradle.com for upcoming events, action campaigns, and featured historic sites in the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States. In other news: There’s a new Facebook page about Matilda Joslyn Gage. The Finger Lakes Museum has appointed a new director.

Follow Suffrage Wagon for news and views of our suffrage history. 

Join the national network to give women’s history a much-needed boost!

Poster TorchDo you belong to an organization, academic program, community group, or national institution that works to promote women’s history? Are you a blogger, a performer, a teacher, an archivist, an author, a librarian, or a reporter writing about women’s history? Do you have a website devoted to women in history? Do you help sustain a women’s historic site? Whatever you are doing, the National Women’s History Network is gearing up to spread the word about the innovative work being done to advance women’s history around the nation. The first organizing meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sewall Belmont House and Museum, 144 Constitution Avene, NE, Washington, DC. Everyone interested in promoting women’s history is invited. The National Women’s History Project will expand its website this summer to make it a digital hub for information related to how others can participate in this important endeavor. The goal is to leverage all the remarkable work that is being done to further expand the impact of women’s history on an individual, local, state, and national level and to further expand the impact of women’s history in the decade ahead. Email your contact information along with a 50-word description of your work to nwhp@nwhp.org. The National Women’s History Project will also network with members to organize planning meetings throughout the nation to develop plans for promoting women’s history. If you’d like a summary of the meeting on March 30, send your email address to nwhp@nwhp.org and you’ll be included in all the updates. Become an official member of this very important team. If not during Women’s History Month, when?

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news, views, events and suffrage centennials.

NYS state women’s trail dusted off during Women’s History Month, plus new women’s history exhibit at state Capitol

When we traveled on the blogging tour of the “Cradle” last fall, Olivia Twine and I documented the importance of storytelling about winning the franchise for women. We heard terrific stories in Johnstown, NY, the birthplace of Elizabeth Cady Stanton; the Harriet Tubman home in Auburn; the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center in Fayetteville; the Quaker meeting house restoration project in Farmington; and the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester. Other venues for suffrage storytelling are opening up, including several milestones initiated by the State of New  York this month.

Seal of Governor of NYSA new women’s exhibit opened at the state Capitol in Albany, New York  in early March to highlight trailblazing women and advocates, as well as utilize the opportunity for a “final push” to win passage of the Governor’s 10-point “Women’s Equality Agenda.” The State of New York also dusted off its state women’s history trail as Governor Andrew Cuomo encouraged NYS residents and travelers to the state to visit women’s history sites.

We’ve been advocating for a fresh look at the state women’s trail from the legislature, plus funding and promotion, especially as the 2017 suffrage centennial approaches. Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address in January 2014 highlighted tourism and women’s issues. Many observers waited for even a passing reference to the 2017 centennial, but they may have to wait longer. This isn’t recommended as planning and development takes time when government is involved.

The State of California put significant funding toward its suffrage centennial several years ago. And Montana’s state centennial in 2014 may be a model that New York could have difficulty matching. An emerging theme from the state is of New York’s women leading the way. This is a great slogan. As suffrage activists insisted during the movement, they were more interested in “deeds,” not words. And this part of history deserves more than throwing something together at the last minute. We’ve been anticipating the 2017 suffrage centennial in NYS for a long time. Let’s make it the best ever!

We’ll keep you posted if New York continues to inch toward its 2017 suffrage centennial planning. No word out of state government about how the centennial will be acknowledged, let alone celebrated. With the truckloads of state funding directed toward special interest tourism, not a peep yet about 2017 and how it represents an extraordinary opportunity for education, celebration, and economic development.

The National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY has announced the “Showcasing of Great Women” exhibit that premiered on the Google Cultural Institute on March 8, 2014. The exhibit features inductees whose contributions are recognized in social reform, business and technology.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement: yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

 

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.

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

Turning Point

Are you familiar with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial?

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

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

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

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

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

Comic book women to be highlight of journal theme: Women’s History Month news note!

MissFuryTimelyA special issue of a future issue of the Journal of Fandom Studies will focus on comic book women in response to an increased interest in representations of women in comic books and the general explosion of comic studies over the last decade. The best-known comic book heroes historically have been men. However, fan communities throughout the world have rebelled against this tradition.

Wonder Woman has never gone out of style. Gloria Steinem is one such fan. Others have been introduced through the Lynda Carter television show or her most recent comic book appearances. Some of Wonder Woman’s peers from the 1940s, such as Miss Fury and Nelvana of the Northern Lights, have recently reemerged in print due to crowd funding efforts. Interest in such female comic book characters is not purely nostalgic; instead, it speaks to the ways in which fans have reinterpreted their cultural relevancy.

New fan communities are responsible for the revival of Ms. Marvel, who will now appear as a Muslim teenager. She will be the first comic book character to represent contemporary intersections of gender, ethnicity, and religion. In spite of these cultural trends, there’s little scholarly research about fan responses to comic book women. Existing research tends to focus upon gender stereotypes within texts and has not addressed what these heroines have represented to actual fans, both past and present.

The journal plans a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches. For more information: Dr. Caryn E. Neumann (neumance@miamioh.edu), Lecturer, Dept of Integrative Studies and Affiliate, Dept of History, Miami University of Ohio.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views about women’s issues and the suffrage movement.

International Women’s Day features new film by Dutch women: “Ahoy!”

Inez Milholland in Dutch film "Ahoy!"

 American suffragist Inez Milholland on horse, featured in film by Dutch women, “Ahoy!” 

Message from the Dutch women who filmed “Ahoy!” and featured American suffragist, Inez Milholland.

With pride we present our film Ahoy! unsurpassed women of the world. The film is about a young woman who’s inspired by the lives of heroines. When  the leadroll dreams, some heroines come alive. Eventually the main character makes a decision. In this film we honour female leadership and courage of women all over the world and show their relevance for women in our time.

The idea of the film  came  as a result of a year project “Heroines Woldwide” from our Dutch Women´s organization Zeeuwse Wereldvrouwen. Our women’s group is located in the south of the Netherlands, the province Zeeland (Sealand). We live on a peninsula. We meet every week and the participants are Dutch women and women from all over the world, young and old etc. The goal of our organization is to empower women  and to increase awareness in society about the role of women. We work through education, art, film, poetry and with projects. At the moment we’re working on the project Silent Voices about violence against women. The exposition will open on March 8th, International Womens’ Day 2014.

During the year-long project “Heroines Worldwide,” all women chose  a heroine from their own original country and shared it with the group. In this way we got to know many unknown heroines. We made a Wall of Fame in our room where we have our weekly meetings.

For most of us, Inez Milholland was totally unknown. We were excited when we heard about her. Her story is so inspiring and visual. We definitely wanted her in our film. We found out a lot of heroines who died young and dedicated their life to womens’ rights.

Making the film was a real adventure. We did everything ourselves. The film is entirely shot on iPhone. And women of our group played the heroines. We asked the community to help us with locations and horses.

This project has really changed us. Actually, playing the heroines, literally crawling into their skin, changed the spirit of our group. On the 14th of February 2014, we joined the One Billion Rising movement and we went on the streets to demonstrate against violence  against women, and we also danced Break the Chain. With us was a Dutch heroine Aletta Jacobs  (also in our film) she came to life, to demonstrate with us and hold a speech for the public. We are not to be stopped now. Thank you, Inez Milholland, and all the other heroines.

The film has shown at Film By the Sea in Vlissingen and Cineffable, Filmfestival International Lesbien et Feministe du Paris. 
www.roslinprager.nl       http://vimeo.com/61417700 

www.zeeuwsewereldvrouwen.nl

Book about suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw, plus need for suffrage film!

New book on Anna Howard ShawIt has been a long journey for women’s history professor Trisha Franzen of Albion College whose new book on suffrage leader Anna Howard Shaw represents two decades of research and writing to produce the work now available from the University of Illinois Press. Anna Howard Shaw: The Work of Woman Suffrage is believed to be the first major work on this suffrage leader who was well known in her time but has faded into the past. Thank you, Trisha Franzan, for your vision and persistence.

The film “Suffragette,” now in production in England about the militant wing of the suffrage movement, is getting attention in the U.S. because of its subject matter (about women and women’s history), and also because of the opportunities for women in film roles. “The Academy’s Celluloid Ceiling” is the topic of a public radio program by host Martha Burk who interviewed Melissa Silverstein, founder of the Women and Hollywood blog. The last dramatic film about the suffrage movement, “Iron Jawed Angels,” was produced by HBO back in 2004. Both commented that it’s about time for this part of American history to receive more exposure. Both Burk and Silverstein lament the declining numbers of women involved in the Hollywood movie business and say it is unacceptable to make it close to impossible for women to break into the industry.

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

Upcoming Alice Paul book author claims new approach to suffrage leader

Book about Alice Paul: Claiming Power

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

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

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

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

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Suffragette fashion highlighted at New York Fashion Week

KAREN WALKER LOOK 1-0Marguerite's MusingsYeah for suffrage history and the way in which it is penetrating the mass culture. Just when I’m thinking that it can’t be possible to marginalize suffrage history any more, I’m surprised. The word is getting out. Like, there’s a suffrage focus on the History Channel during the month of March, and how about a top New York fashion designer who unveiled what she’s calling a glamorous fashion inspired by our grandmother’s and great grandmother’s generations?

I don’t have the shape to show off wearing such outfits, but I’ll tip my hat to those who do. A woman designer from New Zealand, Karen Walker, isn’t the first designer to tap into our women’s suffrage past. And she won’t be the last. The awareness of our history is happening. Every week across the nation, in communities large and small, so many suffrage-rekated events are scheduled that I can’t list them all in terms of exhibits, plays, conferences, lectures, art exhibits, forums, and much more.

Other updates from Suffrage Wagon News Channel: Madison Kimrey, the 12 year old identifying herself as part of a new generation of “suffragettes,” confronted the NC governor about making voting difficult for young people, and then she set up a Facebook page.

NC Youth RocksThe Facebook page highlights past and current activities that respond to guidelines relative to rolling back voting rights for young people.

Australian currency

What country followed New Zealand in granting women the right to vote on Planet Earth? Australia. This doesn’t mean that suffrage history is taught better in Australia than in other places around the world. I stumbled on a great blog article that addresses this point. The blog commentator noted:

“Most people know in a vague way that Australia was the second country to grant all women (except Aboriginal women, in some states) the right to vote after New Zealand, and if you didn’t know that, we super did and go us. That’s pretty much everything you learn about Australian women’s suffrage at school, which makes it seem like women were just gifted the vote without having to do anything. That’s wrong, sister — the suffragettes worked their petticoated butts off, touring the country and collecting thousands of signatures on petitions…”

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement.

Get ready for upcoming events, plus Suffrage Wagon news review

Grandmother's Choice quilt projectJoin an international movement that builds on women’s civil rights movements of the past. One Billion Rising for Justice is on February 14th in 2014. I’ll be participating. Check out what’s happening in your community and join in!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: February 15th is Susan B. Anthony’s birthday. A special article is planned. The month of March is Women’s History Month, so participate in events near where you live. Also join in by hosting friends and family for a tea party featuring goodies from your kitchen. March 8th is International Women’s Day. March 29th is the Seventh International SWAN Day or “Support Women Artists Now” Day. There have been over 1,000 SWAN Day events in 23 countries in the first few years of this holiday.

Sad to see the end of the online suffrage quilt project. See photo above. Over the past year I’ve been following the Grandmother’s Choice quilt blog project that has inspired and involved all sorts of people with Votes for Women history and quilts inspired by this fabulous time in our history. The projects have been varied and fascinating. The above illustration called “Gerry’s Suffrage Crazy Quilt” is one example. It demonstrates a terrific way to combine art, history, civil rights, and fun. Quilting is an extraordinary networking opportunity. #1. #2. 

Montana is moving full speed ahead with its suffrage centennial in 2014. It has a Facebook page, and the launch of media coverage. The Montana Historical Society points out that women didn’t serve on state juries until 1939, and the state celebration doesn’t include just “accomplished” women. A video gives an overview. For other suffrage centennial news from all over, follow suffragecentennials.com.

And now a Suffrage Wagon review of January. It was “Hot Tea Month” and we celebrated our past that’s tied to the present and future. January 3rd was Lucretia Mott’s birthday. She was featured on the New England Historical Society’s blog and there’s a new book out on Lucretia Mott by Carol Faulkner that I plan to read (another promise). For more information. Suffrage Wagon honored Joan of Arc’s birthday on January 6th with a special article from Kathleen Kelly about Joan and how the theme played out in the suffrage movement. Carrie Chapman Catt’s birthday in January didn’t go by on Suffrage Wagon without comment from one of her fans, Nate Levin, who shared a visit to Catt’s childhood home.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon. Postings twice a week. Facebook and Twitter. Vimeo and YouTube channels. 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.

Suffrage Wagon gathered speed in 2013 for women’s suffrage!

The "Spirit of 1776" suffrage wagonSuffrage Wagon News Channel celebrated a total of 350 posts since its inception in 2009. We have several platforms including the Suffrage Wagon blog and the web site. There’s a newsletter four times a year. I also post suffrage history on New York History, as well as Lets Rock the Cradle. Follow the suffrage wagon directly or touch in occasionally.

Edna Kearns is a 2014 National Women’s History Month nominee, as featured in the “Women’s History 2014 Gazette.”  New York Archives magazine article about the suffrage wagon, the “Spirit of 1776″ highlighted and summarized its history. And the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon was honored by a resolution by both houses of the New York State Legislature designating July 1, 2013 as Wagon Day in the state. During “Hot Tea Month” in January 2014, we featured videos on tea and the suffrage movement (See Video #1, #2), as well as Ken Florey’s articles about the role tea events had in organizing for the larger movement.

Tea for Two at Suffrage Wagon News ChannelWomen’s suffrage history isn’t a top draw, so considering what’s out in the marketplace for folks to consider thinking about, this is terrific. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has come a long way in the past four years as a multi-media platform about what it took for women to win the vote from 1848 to 1920. We also follow our sisters in the UK and around the world who have a passion for their history.

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Suffrage china and suffrage movement tea parties

Suffrage tea cups“Hot Tea Month” is almost over, but there’s still room for a good hot cup of tea, plus two great articles. One is from Grandmother’s Choice, a terrific web site that is ending its focus on women’s rights. The Underground Railroad is next, and many suffrage activists also were part of that movement. As a loyal follower of Grandmother’s Choice, we’ll miss the suffrage history! See great tea cup spread. Grandmother’s Choice PDF.

Enjoy this special article from the Canton Tea Company in the UK which caters to those who love tea. See below!

The English suffrage movement’s tea parties by Kate/Canton Tea Company

Tea has many unusual connections but one of the least obvious perhaps is the fact that towards the end of the 19th century, tearooms provided a safe haven and meeting place for the women suffragists and may have been instrumental in furthering their cause.

In many areas of Britain, local branches of the women’s movement grew out of the temperance societies. T-Total meetings were often just very large tea parties (with a sermon or two thrown in) and the women, who brewed gallons of tea and dished it out in mugs, encouraged “guests” to turn away from harmful alcohol and instead drink “the cup that cheers but does not inebriate.”

Towards the end of the 19th century, society was changing fast. New public transport allowed easier movement into and around town, more women were working in professional employment, going out more, shopping in the new department stores. And yet, there were no even moderately respectable places where some kind of refreshment could be taken by female shoppers.

BAD MANNERS TO REFER TO WOMEN’S BODIES

When William Whitely opened his department store in Bayswater in the 1870, he applied for a licence to open a restaurant inside the store but was refused on the grounds of its potential for immoral assignations! And where were women to wash their hands and find other essential comforts? It was still considered very improper and frightfully bad manners to refer to women’s bodies, and finding a lavatory was almost impossible.

The provision of public conveniences for ladies was considered outrageous and it was not until 1884 that the first “convenience” run by the Ladies Lavatory Company opened near Oxford Circus. To provide for women’s needs, women-only clubs started appearing – The University Women’s Club in 1883, The Camelot Club for shop and office workers in 1898, Harrods Ladies Club in 1890. And women met more and more frequently in tearooms.

Tea had always had very genteel connections. As the public tearooms became more and more popular during the 1880s and 90s, they were recognised as very respectable places where women could enjoy a peaceful cup of tea away from the hurley-burley of busy urban streets. They created the perfect place for a little light refreshment, for a chat, and for discussions about politics and votes for women and, of course, for planning campaigns and demonstrations.

INDEPENDENCE AND TEA PARTIES WENT HAND IN HAND

In Votes For Women, published in 1956, Roger Fulford wrote: “The spread of independence was helped by the growth of the tea shop. A few expensive restaurants existed but apart from these, there were no places for a quick meal other than the formality of the large damask tablecloth and best silver at home, or the brisk clatter of the bar parlour. The tea shop gave the young – perhaps in revolt against the stuffiness of family afternoon tea – an ideal meeting place; it was an integral part of the women’s liberation movement.” And according to Margaret Corbett Ashby, the teashops run by the ABC (Aerated Bread Company) were “an enormous move to freedom.” Once the suffrage campaign got going, the tearooms played a central part.

YOUNG HOT BLOODS TOOK TO TEA

In 1907, the Young Hot Bloods (the younger members of the Women’s Social & Political Union, founded in 1907) met at a tea shop in the Strand. And Alan’s Tea Room at 263 Oxford Street regularly advertised the free use of its large function room for members of the Women’s Social Political Union. Records show that the room was used in 1910 by the Tax Resistance League and in 1911 by the Catholic Women’s Suffrage Society for its inaugural meeting. In 1913, at the end of the “pilgrimage” to London by the NUWSS (the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies), some of the women (a few from the 50,000 who attended the rally) went to Alan’s for dinner and no doubt for several restorative and well-deserved cups of tea!   (Complete Canton Tea Company article in PDF format.)

Don’t forget that U.S. suffrage activist Lucretia Mott loved oolong tea. Stock up for gatherings with friends and family members.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon with twice weekly postings of news and views of the movement. Suffrage Wagon has YouTube and Vimeo channels. Suffrage Wagon video for “Hot Tea Month.” Make a cup of hot tea and relax.

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.

No New York State suffrage centennial planning (yet): News notes and videos during “Hot Tea Month”

New video for Hot Tea MOnthSuffrage film buffs in the UK are busy preparing to go into production for a suffrage movement major motion picture, “Suffragette,” in February. And the UK suff sit-com “Up the Women” has been pleasing audiences over the past year.

But what about your local community, your friends and associates who are itching to get started with suffrage centennial planning? In the US during 2014, Nevada and Montana have their centennials underway. And don’t forget the necessity of advance planning for the 2017 suffrage centennial for New York State.

When NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo presented his 2014 State of the State message in early January, he said nothing about planning the upcoming 2017 state women’s suffrage centennial. The entire 2014 message can be streamed online. Cuomo’s “Women’s Equality Agenda” is on the front burner for 2014. Although this agenda is great for addressing women’s issues of the present day and the future, leaving out past history suggests an imbalance.

It isn’t too late, though time is passing quickly. Planning should be in motion during 2014 and 2015 so that the NYS suffrage centennial can be launched by 2016 in preparation for an intense year of celebrations and special events the following year.

Perhaps nothing is going on behind the scenes for NYS to start the planning. Or we could be surprised! New York, after all, has within its borders the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States.

The website of the BBC History Magazine is featuring an excellent article: “1848: The Year of Revolutions.” The American women’s rights movement was kicked off in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848 and the BBC History Magazine gives the broader context of this important historical event in terms of social change movements throughout the world.

Tea MemorabiliaHave you been following the Suffrage Wagon Film Festival during “Hot Tea Month”? Check out some of these videos: #1: Suffrage Wagon launches “Hot Tea Month. #2: Alice Paul and her tea house, “The Grated Door.” #3: Examples of tea sets and suffrage tea memorabilia from the collection of Ken Florey.

Take a look at the Bloomsbury book on suffrage plays. There are some great ideas if you’re thinking about planning a special suffrage centennial event. And follow SuffrageCentennials.com.

Suffrage Wagon News Channel posts twice a week and four times a year with a special newsletter. Join us!

VIDEO, plus Part II of Ken Florey article about hot tea and the suffrage movement

Video showing vintage tea sets and memorabilia from the suffrage movement from the author’s collection. A special feature during national Hot Tea Month!

by Kenneth Florey

English suffrage activist Sylvia Pankhurst was responsible for the design of several tea sets. One, commissioned by the WSPU from the Diamond China Company for their refreshment stall at the Scottish WSPU Exhibition in Glasgow in 1910, was also available for sale after the event. Here Pankhurst’s angel with clarion was now facing right. A thistle, the national flower, was included in the image. A third set, probably also attributable to her and certainly the rarest of all English suffrage tea china, pictured the image taken from the Holloway Prison Badge that was given to all WSPU martyrs for the cause.

The prison gate was drawn in green, and the prison arrow, which all suffrage prisoners were forced to wear on their dresses, was in dark purple. The Women’s Freedom League, the militant but non-violent organization that broke away from the WSPU over policy differences, also produced china that probably consisted in part of teacups and saucers, but no independently produced full tea services are known.

One of the first suffrage “collectibles,” a piece that was made for display only and had no utilitarian value at all, was a silver commemorative spoon that was designed by Millie Burns Logan of Rochester, New York in 1891. It featured a bust of Susan B. Anthony at the tip of the handle, her name, and the words “Political Equality.” While there are about five different types of spoons known in this design, including a walnut spoon,” at least two are associated only with tea, including a small demitasse variety as well as a full teaspoon. Logan’s mother was Anthony’s cousin, and the spoons were probably sold as a fundraiser and not for personal profit. Other commemorative silver teaspoons were later produced, including one ordered by NAWSA for their convention in 1912.

NAWSA, as well as other suffrage groups, also sold special “Votes for Women” paper napkins, which, although theoretically could be used with any type of meal or refreshment, probably were quite popular at suffrage tea parties. Certainly, not all suffrage “tea events” necessarily involved special tea or “Votes for Women” cups, saucers, and napkins. However, enough of them did, in part to encourage the sale of such suffrage artifacts, and in part to reinforce the message of the day. If one were not encouraged sufficiently by a speaker to contribute to the cause, either through money or through work, perhaps the very tea cup that one was drinking from reinforced the compelling message of the movement.++

Link to Part I of the story about suffrage tea memorabilia. Did you like this article? Ken Florey’s web site. The video photos are from Florey’s suffrage memorabilia collection. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel. 

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

Hot Tea Month during January
It’s “Hot Tea Month” and what better time than to feature “The Grated Door,” the brainchild of Alice Paul (her birthday: January 11th). The Grated Door was the tea room for the National Woman’s Party in Washington, DC and the “go to” place for those who picketed the White House for suffrage. See video about Alice Paul’s tea house. The selection below about The Grated Door is from The Story of The Woman’s Party by Inez Haynes Irwin. 1921. LINK.

“Alice Paul’s office, which is on the second floor, was done in purple and gold; the woodwork of gold, the furniture upholstered in purple velvet. Later, a large room, originally a stable at the rear of the first floor, was transformed into a tea room. Vivian Pierce had charge of the decorations here; and she made it very attractive. The brick walls were painted yellow, the tables and chairs black. The windows and doors were all enclosed in flat frames of brilliant chintz, of which the background was black, but the dominating note blue. The many hanging lights were swathed in yellow silk.

“The tea room rapidly became very popular in Washington; and, as rapidly, became one of the most interesting places in the city. Visitors of many distinguished kinds came there in preference to the larger restaurants or hotels. They knew the members of The Woman’s Party who lived in the house, and they gradually came to know the habitues of the tea room. At meals, separated parties were always coalescing into one big party. People wandered from table to table. There was an air of comradeship and sympathy. Afterwards, groups often went up the little flight of stairs which leads to the ballroom, and sitting before the fire in the huge fireplace, drank their after-dinner coffee together. These talks sometimes lasted until midnight.

“All about and from the offices that ran beside the ballroom sounded the click of typewriters — some one counted twenty-four typewriters in the house once. Everywhere, you ran into busy, business-like stenographers with papers in their hands, proceeding from one office to another. If it were lunch time, or dinner time, pairs of young girls, with their arms around each other’s waists, chattering busily, were making their way to the tea room. At night, the big ballroom was filled with groups reading magazines at the big (and priceless) tables; or talking over the events of the day

“Late at night, the discussions still went on. Upstairs, they followed each other from bedroom to bedroom, still arguing, still comparing notes, still making suggestions in regard to a hundred things : organizing, lobbying, personal appeal to political leaders, et caetera, ad infinitum. The huge, four-poster bed — big enough for royalty — in Mrs. Lawrence Lewis’s room was the scene — with ardent pickets sitting all over it — of many a discussion that threatened to prolong itself until dawn.”

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Reflections on Carrie Chapman Catt’s birthday from a suffrage buff

The importance of visiting historic sites associated with the suffrage movement can be seen in Nate Levin’s response to visiting the Carrie Chapman Catt girlhood home in Charles City, Iowa.

“I stepped out of my car and looked across the prairie, at the countryside–the same view, give or take 150 years, that Carrie Lane had seen every day as a girl and young woman. I felt like a pilgrim arriving at a long-desired destination, joy, a sense of a dream becoming a reality.

“The house itself did not disappoint. With their limited resources the people of Charles City have done a fine job of weaving Carrie’s story together with those of the suffrage movement and the even larger currents of history. CCC’s home upholds the suffrage spirit like few other places on earth.”

CattSlider44Nate Levin is upfront about his passion, to the point where he created a Facebook page called “Suffrage Buffs of America.” Nate created the online space in the hope of attracting others. His interest in the suffrage movement grew out of his involvement in the League of Women Voters. “I’m a second-generation League member –my mom was active in the League for decades and served on the board of LWVNYS for a short time,” he said. “I was an active member of my local chapter for six or eight years, rising to president.”

The intense interest in Catt stirred after Nate did some background reading on the League and was struck by the compelling personality of the League’s founder, Carrie Chapman Catt (who of course was a key suffrage leader before founding the LWV as a successor to the main suffrage organization).

“I asked myself why I hadn’t learned about her in school, and conceived the idea of writing a book for kids about her (there was no such book at the time, though three adult-level biographies of her existed). This was back in 1994. My plan of research was simple and doable –just to read those three books for adults. At the time, my job was quite demanding, but I soon changed to a somewhat easier job, and had a burst of energy which I devoted to writing the book. I did a lot of the work on the commuter train.”

It took Nate five years for the book (Carrie Chapman Catt: A Life of Leadership) to get into print which opened up a window into the suffrage movement. He calls Century of Struggle by Eleanor Flexner, a must read, and an immersion into subject matter that led him to the lecture circuit, including such provocative topics as “Crunch Time in the Woman Suffrage Movement,” and more recently on “What Fox News Would Have Said about Carrie Chapman Catt.” You can find interviews with Nate online about the suffrage movement, including this piece on YouTube.

“So you see this was kind of a solo path for me,” Nate continues. “I don’t believe there is or recently has been any national network of suffrage enthusiasts, but there are a fair number of individuals or ‘clumps.’ This is changing. “The centennial of suffrage is ‘walking’ across the country. Last year was the 100th anniversary of the successful referendum campaign in California. The year before it was Washington State. This year Oregon and Arizona join the spotlight. These centennials are observed to a greater or lesser extent on a local basis. Of course, 1913-1917 were the key years in New York, and there is perhaps an opportunity to build some momentum to 2017 and then beyond for the climax of the national suffrage battle in 2020.”

But it’s more than history that’s part of these observances, Nate continues. “Young girls still face great barriers in achieving leadership positions. The leadership at the end of the movement was really great, and the ‘followership’ was even greater. Women had achieved ‘agency’ to some extent in the abolition and temperance movements, but never before as much so as at the climax of the suffrage movement.

“I’m most curious about what it was inside the suffragists that drove them so. My working theory is that it was anger, righteous indignation, even rage, at being relegated to the place of those deemed less than fully human. I’m also fascinated by the internal battles and contradictions within the movement. It’s a dynamic time, and I find that if I can get in front of an audience, both men and women are taken up by the huge scale and passion of the movement.

“The U.S. suffragists were a big part of a much larger movement. Of course, the militants in the U.S. were greatly influenced by the militants in Britain. In the period 1904–1923 (except during the war) Catt was the key leader of the international movement as a whole, in addition to being the key U.S. leader.”

Nate Levine says he likes the information generated by Suffrage Wagon News Channel. He’s also appreciative of the park rangers at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, the members of the National 19th Amendment Society who have beautifully preserved Carrie Catt’s girlhood home in Iowa, the staff at the Sewall-Belmont House in D.C., Robert P.J. Cooney, Jr., who is the author of the massive, beautiful coffee table book entitled Winning the Vote, and Ellen Carol Dubois, who’s a leading academic expert on suffrage.

“I’m also a big fan of Ken Burns, but not particularly because of his documentary Not for Ourselves Alone. This telling of the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony seemed rather bloodless to me. How do we increase the number of suffrage buffs? I wish I knew how –I’m not the greatest marketer. All I can think to do is to keep plugging away. And why is this important? Like the civil rights movement, the suffrage movement was one of the most magnificent chapters in American history. It was a huge story, a huge part of the public consciousness back then, and has mainly been lost for the current generations. There are good reasons to be proud of being an American (as well as fake reasons), and the suffrage movement is one of the best reasons.”

Follow the Suffrage Wagon with postings twice a week and a quarterly newsletter.

America’s Joan of Arc and two videos: Special for Joan’s birthday!

Inez Milholland as Joan of ArcKathleen Kelly, long-time friend of Suffrage Wagon, takes Joan of Arc on the road on her birthday with a special feature in “New York History.” See the special article for Joan’s birthday that spreads the word about the U.S. having its own Joan of Arc.

VIDEOS: A clip from “Iron Jawed Angels,” that shows Inez Milholland leading the 1913 suffrage parade in the nation’s Capitol. It’s a great clip. And Kathleen’s article nails down the details of how we have our own Joan of Arc on this side of the Atlantic. My grandmother Edna and grandfather Wilmer marched in the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC at the time of Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration. Can’t help the tears that well up every time I watch the clip. If you haven’t seen “Iron Jawed Angels,” it’s available online, including YouTube. Treat yourself during Hot Tea Month in January! And serve hot tea.

Here’s the launch video for Suffrage Wagon during Hot Tea Month. Link and I’ll embed it , though I’m not sure it’s going to hold on all platforms.

Have a party in honor of Joan of Arc, Inez Milholland, Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Catt, Lucretia Mott, Anna Vaughn Hyatt and others from our history and feature hot tea at your gathering during Hot Tea Month in January.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon. Postings twice a week and a quarterly newsletter. Vimeo and YouTube channels. Suffrage Wagon News Channel celebrates women’s freedom to vote.

Suffrage Movement Was Fueled by Hot Tea: Part I

TeaMemorabilia

by Kenneth Florey

That there was more than a casual connection between tea and suffrage activism is undeniable. Suffragists organized tea parties to promote their cause and to raise money, as evidenced by many of the state reports that appear in Volume VI of The History of Woman Suffrage, a work that was originally conceived by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Further references to suffrage tea parties are scattered throughout the pages of the Woman’s Journal, where they are sometimes held up as models to advance “votes for women.” The Woman’s Journal, the most popular and longest lasting of all suffrage publications in America, was for a time the official organ of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the main periodic source for all things suffrage related.

SPECIAL BRAND OF TEA FOR SUFFRAGE EVENTS AND FUNDRAISING

But there was also a manufacturing component involved, and “suffrage tea,” along with its ancillary products, was sold to the general public and proved to be a successful fundraiser. During the California campaign of 1911, for example, the Oakland Amendment League had a suffrage booth at the Cherry Festival at San Leandro where they dispensed, among other items, “Equality Tea.” This tea was a special brand for the campaign manufactured for the Woman Suffrage Party that was also sold by other organizations to raise money at their events.

The Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Association advertised their own “Suffrage Tea in a Special Box” for fifty cents. In England, the Women’s Social and Political Union began selling in 1910 “Votes for Women Tea” in half pound and one pound packets. When WWI began, the English movement, which produced a greater variety of suffrage memorabilia than did its counterpart in America, placed a semi-halt on the sale of artifacts, perhaps considering novelty items to be inappropriate during darker times.

Suffrage tea was an exception and continued to be offered through suffrage periodicals. It is unfortunate that given its ephemeral nature, no tea, or even its attendant packaging, appears to have survived from the period, although one hopes that some examples may as yet emerge.

SUFFRAGE TEA CUPS AND TEA SETS, MOSTLY ENGLISH

There are a number of suffrage tea cups and tea sets known, but most of them are English. The National American Woman Suffrage Association did offer for sale in its 1915 catalog a demitasse cup and saucer for fifty cents each that were embellished with the words “Votes for Women” on a small, elegant gold rim. The setting was made for them by Hutschenreuther Selb Bavaria and imported by the Art China New York Import Company. Alva Belmont, Newport socialite and founder of the Political Equality Association, sold a small creamer for twenty-five cents that was inscribed “Votes for Women” in cobalt blue at the suffrage shop that was connected to both her headquarters and the Association’s lunchroom in New York City.

The Women’s Political and Social Union sold the most famous of the English sets at their huge bazaar at the Prince’s Skating Rink in Knightsbridge, London, held from May 13 to 26, 1909. Manufactured by the firm of Williamsons of Longton, Staffordshire, various distinct pieces included teacups and saucers, small cake plates, a teapot with lid, a small milk jug, and a sugar basin or bowl.

In 1911, the WSPU remade the set in a slightly larger size, expanded the number of items in it from 13 to 22, and sold it for ten shillings, six pence to the general public. All pieces featured an imprint with a design by Sylvia Pankhurst, daughter of WSPU founder Emmeline Pankhurst, of an angel facing left, blowing a curved horn. In the background are prison bars and the initials of the WSPU. Above the angel is a banner upon which the word “Freedom” is inscribed.

COMING SOON: The second part of the special feature by Ken Florey about suffrage movement tea memorabilia. The author’s web site. Photos above are from the author’s suffrage memorabilia collection.

It’s Lucretia Mott’s birthday today, January 3rd. Have a cup of tea in her honor and invite your friends to join you. Monday, January 6th is Joan of Arc’s birthday. Joan was an icon for both the American and English suffrage movements.

Lucretia Mott birthday January 3

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel during January, Hot Tea Month.

Tea parties and receptions were one of the few socially-acceptable ways for a woman to get out of the house, both in the US and UK. They used tea gatherings for fundraising and for organizing. While digital organizing is great for many aspects of community organizing today, there’s nothing like face-to-face collaboration! Plan a tea gathering for your action group. Follow the wagon during January. Suffrage video film festival scheduled throughout the month!

Suffrage Video Film Festival. . .COMING SOON

Tea for Two at Suffrage Wagon News ChannelDuring “Hot Tea Month” in January, you can watch videos about how the suffrage movement and tea were related. And while you’re at it, make a pot of hot tea, put up your feet and relax:

Find out about Alice Paul’s teahouse in Washington, DC and how it became a refuge for women who picketed the White House to win the vote for women!

Another video takes a look at suffrage tea memorabilia, plus articles by Ken Florey about how tea parties and receptions were extremely important for the movement!

There’s video special from Suffrage Wagon Cooking School on how to make a cup of hot tea.

Plus a new rap video that highlights many women’s events where you can show off your hostess skills, bake and invite friends over.

Travel sign promoting women's heritage trails

These videos will be showcased during January 2014 on Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Follow the Suffrage Wagon on Twitter, Facebook, or email subscription.

Stirrings about 2017 suffrage centennial for New York, plus other news notes

News NotesI did some baking recently and then put my feet up to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” that many believe was set in Seneca Falls, NY. #1. #2. The resulting article was published this week in “New York History.” It highlights the town and its cottage industry, including the Frank Capra film and women’s rights sites.

There’s an increased number of references to the upcoming 2017 suffrage centennial  in New York State. #1. #2.  New York may be the “cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the U.S., but move on over and let the torch enter. #1. #2.

Do you know that the first country claiming to be the first in women’s suffrage –Pitcairn– had its 175th suffrage anniversary this year? Pitcairn disputes New Zealand’s claim to be number one in the world by challenging the definition of a “country.” Today, Pitcairn has 36 residents of voting age: 19 women and 17 men. They spent their 175th women’s suffrage anniversary on November 29th with a feast prepared by the men for the women. Most of Pitcairn’s 60 residents are descended from mutinous sailors of a British ship. #1. #2.

Misc. News Notes: Gloria Steinem was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. Among the facts listed in a bio published by CNN is the fact that her grandmother, Pauline Perlmutter Steinem, served as president of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association. #1. #2.  U.S. President Barack Obama referred to the civil rights and suffrage movements when presenting recently to a room of young people at the White House Youth Summit.

Advice from the heart of Rochester, New York where local heroes include Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. The greats were helped by others. They didn’t do everything alone. Don’t forget this, says local commentator. #1. #2.  Looking to name a baby? This article scans history and finds some extraordinary women with very unusual names. #1. #2.  February luncheon is set for Susan B. Anthony’s birthday in February 2014 at the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, NY. #1. #2. 

How about a book for the suffrage buffs in your life this holiday season? The National Women’s History Project has quite a selection. And Elizabeth Crawford publishes suffrage stories and offers books on the suffrage movement. Current offerings are available in her December 2013 catalog. Great possibilities for gifts year round.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel, a multi-media news and story platform about women’s suffrage and how the 19th amendment came about. LetsRockTheCradle.com deals with building awareness of the “Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement in the U.S. 

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.

Signs of life for NYS’s suffrage centennial, plus Susan B. Anthony & News Notes

Susan-B-Anthony-PrincessThe suffrage movement or “women’s suffrage” may seem like a niche topic, yet the news items  concerning Votes for Women events and activities increase by the day. Here’s a sampling:

Statewide conference planning underway for 2017 suffrage centennial of women voting in New York State by CRREO (the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach) and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at SUNY New Paltz. Yeah! #1. #2.

If Susan B. Anthony were a Disney princess. #1. #2. What would Susan B. Anthony think of secrecy in government? One commentator wonders why all the secrecy when naming an elementary school after Susan B. #1. #2.  And why is the South Dakota school being named after Susan B. Anthony when another suffrage leader, Matilda Joslyn Gage, had South Dakota connections? #1. #2. Kick-Ass quotes from Susan B. Anthony. #1. #2.One upstate New York woman dresses her daughter as strong women, including Susan B. Anthony, Jane Goodall, Helen Keller. #1. #2.

Women voters will face challenges in voting because of name changes. #1. What are women voters concerned about? This commentator says that the women’s vote is essential to an election outcome, yet many political strategists still don’t understand what women really want. #1. #2. Legislation is pending in Congress (HR 863 and S. 398) that would create a Congressional Commission to identify a building site for a national women’s museum. Where do your representatives stand on this? #1. #2.

Voiceless speeches played an important role in the public relations strategies of the suffrage movement. Check out an excellent article illustrating this point. #1. #2. Kate Roosevelt and her campaign to oppose the right of women voting in New York State. #1. #2. Women in the Civil War and their role in the suffrage movement. #1. #2. Colorado women reflect on how far they’ve come as voters in the past 120 years since their suffrage movement achieved victory. #1. 

A commentator from Iowa claims that suffragists like Louisa May Alcott, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone and Elizabeth Cady Stanton have become household names. She makes the point that equal pay for equal work still leaves much to be desired. Her point is well taken, though it’s still debatable if the names of these individuals roll off the tongue of many Americans easily. See #1. #2.

Follow the suffrage wagon with postings twice a week and a special newsletter four times a year? Where else do you get  up-to-date news about the suffrage movement, as well as today’s news and views and stories? New York History features my writing with Olivia Twine, as well as LetsRockTheCradle.com. We’re shaking up the “Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement. How about joining us?

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.

Points of view about Elizabeth Cady Stanton on her November birthday!

Happy Birthday Elizabeth Cady Stanton copyNovember 12th is Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s birthday, and it’s my mother Wilma’s birthday as well. And don’t forget my friend and collaborator Olivia Twine who weighs in with November 12th as her birthday. November is heavily weighted with women’s birthdays, and the National Women’s History Project does a great job of pointing this out.

After a trip to the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States this fall, we stood witness to the places that percolated with activity and risks during the 19th century. And these free thought activists experienced their share of criticism as well. Each year we promote travel to Seneca Falls, NY and the national park there with a virtual birthday party for Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Join us this year!

But not everyone is taking a seat at the virtual birthday party. Blogger Mikki Kendall believes that Elizabeth Cady Stanton is a skeleton in the closet of feminism. Listen to her audio. Lori Ginzberg, Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s biographer, expresses what it was like to write a biography of Stanton, the first serious biography in decades, and she doesn’t spare any words about Stanton’s mixed history in the suffrage movement.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton Stanton caused waves on many levels. And the purpose of studying any period of history is to draw a circle around it and examine the details, the warts, the high and low points. The suffragists were as varied as any group of women voters today, and we continue to build on their strong shoulders. Here at Suffrage Wagon News Channel we rock the cradle by embracing the suffrage movement as an important part of American history.

Visit Seneca Falls, New York: Historic gateway to the Finger Lakes. Seneca Falls has an insider’s guide. Women’s Rights National Historic ParkNational Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY. Find out about other historic sites to visit in the “Cradle” of the suffrage movement near Seneca Falls, NY. A one-hour documentary about  Seneca Falls, NY and nine teenage girls who visited there to discover themselves and their history. Ideas for teachers. Review of novel about Seneca Falls by Tara Bloyd.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon with twice-weekly posts of news and views of the suffrage movement.

Two-part article about the politics of the proposed Harriet Tubman national park

Suffrage Wagon News NotesThe report of the 2013 blogging tour of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States continues with a two-part article by Olivia Twine and Marguerite Kearns in New York History.

Part I:  “The politics of Harriet Tubman and Barack Obama.” #1. #2. Part II: “Harriet Tubman and the Projected National Park.” #1. #2.

Overview of the 2013 blogging tour of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States.

MORE NEWS NOTES:  There’s a new play about suffragette Annie Kenney in the UK. Another example of how the Brits love their suffrage history. #1. #2.  An excellent overview about the history of granting various groups the right to vote puts woman’s suffrage in a broader perspective. #1. #2.  A new book about suffragist Anna Howard Shaw from the University of Illinois Press. #1. #2.  Jerusalem women remembered for their role in Palestinian politics. #1. #2. “Votes for Women” quilt project auctions off quilt to raise money for women’s health issues. #1. #2.

Visit our multi-media platform of news and stories of the suffrage movement.

“Marguerite’s Musings” and feature piece about “Cradle” and Cotton Country

Cradle articleArticle about rocking the Cradle in the Finger Lakes of New York State.

Last week I returned from Texas cotton country where my sister Winifred Culp received an award for her work with NearSea Naturals (and sustainable and organic fabrics) from the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative in Lubbock, Texas. Grandmother Edna would be proud. One hundred years ago Edna launched her “Better Babies” campaign on Long Island and who would have thought it would have been controversial? Some Long Island women thought it inappropriate to mix the issues of voting and everyday life. Not so, said Edna. And I’m seeing, more than ever, the inter-relatedness of issues when once compartmentalizing seemed so neat and tidy.

It’s been a busy two months starting with the “Cradle” blogging tour in September. Olivia Twine and I are still blogging about our whirlwind trip through the Finger Lakes region of New York State. My article about Grandmother Edna’s “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon was published in the fall issue of New York Archives. And Suffrage Wagon Cooking School moves forward to its second recipe and lesson to celebrate November birthdays starting with Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 198th birthday tea party (pull up a chair to the virtual party table) and a spread featuring traditional English scones brought to us by Chef Cutting.

The Texas organic cotton growers rolled out the red carpet for us in Texas this past week, and I learned more about organic cotton production than I could have ever imagined. Women as a voting block have many issues on their minds today, especially safety, as far as food, fabric, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. What we wear is just as important as the quality of food we put in our mouths. Logical? Cotton seems like such an American apple-pie product until you realize how much poison it takes to keep insects from eating the cotton ball in one gulp.

Other news items from Suffrage Wagon News Channel for November 2013. Stay current on new comic book about suffragist Margaret Sanger and updates on the upcoming film ‘Suffragette” in the UK.

Follow the suffrage wagon with postings twice a week and a special newsletter four times a year? Where else do you get  up-to-date news about the suffrage movement, as well as today’s news and views and stories? New York History features my writing with Olivia Twine, as well as LetsRockTheCradle.com. We’re gearing up to shake up the “Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement in upstate New York (the Finger Lakes district). How about joining us?

NEWS FLASH: “Suffragette” feature film, comic book & news notes

WOMANREBEL.tour-posterTHE WORD IS OUT about the next step of the news about the UK feature film on the suffrage movement. The work, previously known as “The Fury,” has now been changed in name to “Suffragette.”  The drama is due to shoot in February 2014.

Alternative-comics master Peter Bagge has published the work, “Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story,” that brings the story of a gutsy birth control and suffrage activist to broader public notice. #1. #2.  He’s on tour, so catch him if you can. Education about these early women reformers is in great demand, so it’s essential to touch in with some of the best that’s out there.

The PBS documentary, “Women Who Make America,” is an excellent resource for teaching about women’s history. The three-part documentary is, at this time, available online. It does not deal with the suffrage movement directly, though it makes clear how the first wave of feminism (1848-1920) passed the torch to contemporary women. The challenges associated with teaching women’s history are detailed in this excellent article from the American Historical Association. #1. #2.

More news notes from all over: The campaign to take back the legacy of Susan B. Anthony. #1. #2. Author Ken Florey is featured on “Grandmother’s Choice,” a great ongoing quilt project about voting and women’s rights. #1. #2.  Is NYS History Month Dead? The answer from New York State Historian Bob Weible. #1. #2. Hillary Clinton is popular with women voters. #1. #2. Perspective on voting rights and women. #1. #2.  GOP working on reaching out to women voters after the government shutdown. #1. #2. 

Bringing suffragists like Ida B. Wells and Susan B. Anthony to the elementary school classroom. #1. #2.  The grandmother stories are taking form in a novel that’s a new angle on women’s history. #1. #2.  News of the Salem Women’s Heritage Trail from author Bonnie Smith. #1. #2. The Schlesinger Library at Harvard updates five-year backlog of cataloging to make more women’s collections available. #1. #2.

News notes from around the world: Sixty years of women voting in Mexico. #1. #2. Canadian women students draw attention to Person’s Day when voting. #1. #2.  Women voters outnumber men voters in Mizoram, but no women represented in legislature. #1. #2. Women voters in India critical to election outcomes. #1. #2.

Support the New  York State History blog. Even a little bit helps to keep it going for another year. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news, views, and stories of the suffrage movement!

UK suffragette film, plus sit com’s second season, and news notes

nagy_woman_reading_newspaper_1918The Brits are serious about their suffrage history and a suff sit-com is big time on the telly. Plus there are plans in the works for a major motion picture about the movement!

Suffrage news from the UK: UK media features a perfectly strange and hilarious story about an English suffragette hiding in theatre in order to steal the limelight from Winston Churchill. #1. #2. No recent updated news about the development of UK suffragette film, “The Fury,” with Carey Mulligan, so it’s still hush-hush and old news is still interesting news. #1. Female-led comedy on prime-time telly, “Up the Women,” a suffrage sit com, has a second season in its future. #1. #2.

Musical drama “Wrong’Un: A Suffragette’s Story” based on life of real English activist. #1. #2. English working women in the suffrage movement. #1. #2. Love and women’s history. #1. #2. Suffragettes of the 21st century bring the stories of the past into the present day by featuring activists who are inspired by the English suffrage movement. #1. #2. Those who believe that English suffragist Emily Davison didn’t act alone during her protest of 100 years ago involving the King’s horse –researchers continue to dig into the past. Lost tape could be key to cracking the mystery. #1. Sorting out the facts from fiction in the case of suffragette Emily Davison continues. #1. #2. 

For your news and stories of the suffrage movement: Suffrage Wagon News Channel.  Rock the cradle of the women’s rights movement with Marguerite Kearns and Olivia Twine. Subscribe to LetsRockTheCradle.com

Can the Women’s Rights Trail become a reality?

by Marguerite Kearns and Olivia Twine (as published in New York History)

Street sign in Seneca Falls, NYThe federal government shutdown in Washington, DC may have dimmed the lights at the Elizabeth Cady Stanton house in Seneca Falls, NY, at the visitors’ center, Wesleyan Chapel, and other park site locations. But it didn’t deter our determination to continue on the blogging tour of the “Cradle of the Women’s Rights Movement in the US” that has kept us busy from late September into October 2013.

Seneca Falls took up most of our fourth day on this blogging tour that also included Johnstown, Fayetteville, Auburn, Rochester, and Farmington. Identifying what constitutes the “cradle” is an informal process we devised that highlights key locations of activism located in a geographic area of the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York that suggests a cradle shape.

These historic sites are within easy access of the New York State Thruway which makes the region an attractive and accessible destination for local, regional, national, and international travelers. Rest stops along the superhighway are loaded with state “Path Through History” leaflets and brochures, including one feature magazine where the photos of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony are prominently displayed.

At the present time there’s no definitive way to determine where to begin and end when navigating the “cradle.” Numerous historical sites in this region could qualify as destinations on a journey through this hotbed of free-thought movements.

3-StatueSenecaVisitorsCenter-300x160

We had to be realistic about what could be accomplished in a short time. Regular travelers would likely cover the territory more quickly and efficiently, while we lugged heavy camera equipment, lingered to photograph sites, and speak to as many people as possible along the way.

We purchased books, t-shirts, ate in local diners, and in our own way contributed to supporting the Finger Lakes region that has considerable strengths in history, arts and culture, colonial and abolitionist resources, Native American culture, an attractive landscape, and much more.

Seneca Falls, NY is a key site in the “cradle”. It’s the location of the 1848 convention that’s considered the jumping off point for the first wave of the US women’s rights movement. Other important historic sites, events, and themes are also associated with philosophical and political movements stirring the region and its residents throughout the 19th century.

Women’s rights activists were extremely active in abolition and temperance, which could have easily distracted us when our instinct was to race off in the direction of anything and everything that remotely seemed interesting. Even settling on a few representative locations still resulted in a whirlwind trip leaving us exhausted but more certain than ever about one thing.

The promotion and development of the “cradle” should be an important and essential priority for New York in its efforts to stimulate the upstate economy and lay the groundwork for a campaign to put the state in the forefront of travel destinations during the 2020 national suffrage centennial celebrating the 19th amendment to the US Constitution.

Back in 1848 there were many challenges facing the women who wrote and promoted the Declaration of Sentiments declaring that all men and women are created equal. The tasks facing those who promote the “cradle” remain equally daunting today.

Belt tightening at the Seneca Falls national park site has been ongoing for some time. Federal employees have been called upon to do more with limited resources. And uncertainty about additional funding for a Votes for Women History Trail only adds to the complexities associated with doing more for less money or nothing at all.

The Votes for Women trail is a proposed federal initiative that would highlight 20 historic sites, including many of those on our own “cradle” blogging tour this fall. In addition, New York State has an incomplete women’s heritage trail initiative that encompasses more than the suffrage movement. Funding to complete this state trail is supported by many New Yorkers, but whether or not funding is possible during future legislative sessions in Albany remains to be seen.

The creation of a federally-funded Votes for Women auto trail doesn’t involve the pouring of concrete, the construction of new roadways, the erection of bridges, or a delivery of bricks for new buildings. It remains, however, a significant undertaking that has advanced to the stakeholder criteria phase. A Votes for Women trail has the potential of manifesting the vision of a clearly-identified “cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the US. But realistically, what are its chances of success?

An optimistic interpretation of the significance of reaching the stakeholder phase is by no means assured without additional federal funding. Some commentators question if completing this stakeholder criteria phase is an identifiable accomplishment that’s able to propel a drive to attract more visitors (and new revenues) to New York. Others suggest that reaching the stakeholder phase may simply represent a dead end.

“We really don’t know what it means,” says Noemi “Ami” Ghazala, acting superintendent of the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. “The criteria may sit there for a short time or remain there for years.” When Ghazala took on the position of acting superintendent of the federal park in August of 2012, the annual Seneca Falls visitation numbers were at 20,000. In one year under Ghazala’s watch, this number has increased 40 percent to 29,000.

The increased visitation numbers involved considerable effort and outreach, Ghazala explains, including appearances in schools, state fair visitations, and a focus on increasing the numbers. When Ghazala gazes into her crystal ball to the year 2017 (the centennial of women voting in NYS), she sees support and interest in the state centennial, though how a statewide celebration will manifest is less clear.

“Whatever happens, we’ll do our best here at the park. I emphasize to groups that raise the question of a state or national centennial that it’s important to work smarter. Let’s stop duplicating our efforts. If one organization has an event, let’s all of us go to it. We can all use the support. None of us has the resources to pull off a big celebration.”

For more information about the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States, visit LetsRockTheCradle.com 

Photos: Street sign in Seneca Falls, NY outside the home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Statue in national park visitors’ center. Images by Marguerite Kearns.

Free ebook and new books for today: Suffrage Bookshelf

BOOKS TO BE AWARE OF: Book by Bonnie Smith about how women’s history relates to young girls today. #1.  Book by Susan Goodier about New York State and the campaign to defeat Votes for Women. #1.  Publication on the Long Island suffrage movement by Antonia Petrash. #1. As for the plot to kill Susan B. Anthony, this novel is a cliff hanger as two detectives follow Aunt Susan on her speaking tours and protect her from angry mobs. #1. #2.

Review: Curtis, Isabel Gordon. The Congresswoman. Chicago: Browne & Howell Company, 1914.

Suffrage Wagon Bookshelf

This 1914 story plays out the downside of what was predicted  by opponents and skeptics when women won the right to vote and hold public office. It’s important to read in order to understand the pressures of public opinion at the turn of the 20th century. Just as there is push back today by some segments of society because of women’s increasing political influence, the pressure was even more intense back in 1914. It speaks to the courage and persistence of suffragists to carry on the work begun in 1848 at Seneca Falls and not give up.

What could go wrong manifested, as predicted, for U.S. Rep. Cynthia Pike in the book, The Congresswoman. Cynthia had difficulties everywhere she turned –in her family, at the congressional office, from her colleagues. And in the end, she threw in the towel.

The long hard struggle for suffrage created a corps of determined women who didn’t give in so easily. Women have not served in public office in great numbers in the years since 1920 and the persistent resistance to women in political life that has lasted long past what otherwise might have been predicted. Some polls, however, suggest that more people feel as if a woman could be elected to this top post in the 2016 presidential election.

The free e-book of The Congresswoman is available through Google Play.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for book reviews, commentary, audio and video you can’t get anywhere else. Suffrage Wagon is on Twitter and Facebook.

A visit to Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s hometown in Johnstown, NY

Nancy Brown of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown AssociationBy Marguerite Kearns and Olivia Twine

It’s late afternoon in Johnstown, NY, magic hour, right before sunset when filmmakers capture the best lighting. Nancy Brown, a fifth grade teacher, is waiting to take us to the local historical society and out to dinner with three other board members of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association.

This is the town where well-known women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton grew up. The place is also loaded with history of the American Revolution, plus generations of tanners and workers in the glove industry who lived and worked here. We can’t get to the Johnstown Historical Society at 17 North William Street without passing sites of major historical interest. It’s as if everybody is related in some way to this historical community. It looks like classic small town America, made in America.

The Historical Society building has a front parlor room that’s devoted entirely to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, with things to die for: her piano, her chair, her father’s bookcase, her family bible. They have sleuths volunteering for the board who ferret out facts about the Cady family never known before. Elizabeth’s parents and many of her relatives are buried in the local cemetery. Local people here talk about Elizabeth Cady Stanton as if they’re related to her. And they are. Like they’re first cousins or neighbors.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton's piano

Today the activists of the local historical and hometown association understand the value of what they’ve got in their cultural heritage and they’re building it up from the grassroots.

Yet they feel there’s something lacking, despite the fact that Johnstown has the oldest working courthouse in America, the same courthouse where Elizabeth’s father was a judge. This is an area with strong women, well-known local women, including Molly Brant, Rose Knox, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and a Native American Catholic saint, Kateri Tekakwitha.

Johnstown has a strong revolutionary history, a strong labor history. By going to the next level, the two local organizations are moving into the future by developing awareness through advertizing, street signs, a social media presence, collaboration and partnering. They have organized themselves thoroughly, and the town reflects this with its banners, cell phone tour, and exhibits including one at the local bank, the site of the Cady home where Elizabeth grew up.

The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Women’s Consortium, the umbrella of women’s organizations including the hometown association, is planning a symposium in 2015 to honor the year of Cady Stanton’s 200th birthday.

And still, something is missing. Ask them what they need, and there’s no question in their minds.

“The greatest gift the State could give us would be to fund a Votes for Women history trail,” said Nancy Brown of the Hometown Association. “A trail has been established, but there’s no funding.”

And what else is missing? They say that other historical-related groups located in the “cradle” are worthy, energetic, and well organized, but there’s no unity among the separate organizations. These associations of people may work together and share information, but there’s a recognized need to make a focused effort to get a trail funded that would be good for the state and visitors on a number of levels.

Emphasized Helen Martin of the historical society: “Money for a historical trail is desperately needed. Money –that’s the biggest gift the state could give us. There’s so much potential, like I could see a big convention of womens’ groups in New York State, maybe at the state fairgrounds. Some place where we can celebrate women’s past, get media coverage and press, get the right speakers.”

“We must pull together,” added Nancy Brown. “Look at all that needs to be done!”

“We know our past; we know where we are. But where are we going?” posits Helen Martin. “Let’s break that glass ceiling!”

These community grassroots organizers are aware of what can be accomplished by themselves and the value of working together with others to reach a goal. This involves rocking the cradle.

As we made our way back to the Holiday Inn from the Union Hall Inn Restaurant and dinner with Hometown Association board members Bonnie Valachovic, Barb Taylor, Sandy Maceyka, and Nancy Brown, we asked about their goal. We were told: “…to be the home of women’s equality by 2020.” But isn’t this competing with Seneca Falls? “Oh no,” they said.

“We complement Seneca Falls and other places and sites. There’s no doubt in our minds that Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s experience in Johnstown as a young person made her the revolutionary thinker she was.”

The Johnstown Historical Society at 17 North William Street, Johnstown, NY is open weekends 1-4 p.m., Memorial Day through September. Or by appointment 518-762-7076.

The Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association has a one-hour, one-mile cell phone tour called “Walking the Footsteps of Elizabeth Cady Stanton,” plus events, exhibits, banners and signs throughout the town. They also have a fabulous web site: http://ElizabethCadyStantonHometown.org

Follow Marguerite and Olivia on their travels for LetsRockTheCradle.

Photos: Top is a photo of Nancy Brown of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association featuring an image of one of Johnston, NY’s historic landmarks. Below is Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s piano at the Johnstown Historical Society.

Suffrage Wagon News Notes: October 2013

NewsNotesOctober2013Citizens and businesses in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York State are proud of its cultural riches and a recent news article says this is something to crow about. Olivia Twine and I barely scratched the surface on our 2013 blogging tour of what’s available. We could have been on the road for a month in upstate New York and still wouldn’t have been able to touch into everything that’s available for visiting and thinking about. See article. #1. #2.

Too bad that we’d just left Rochester, NY in early October 2013 because we missed the Susan B. Anthony: Spirit in Action Legacy Women Conference. New York’s women are stirring in the “Cradle.” It won’t be long before they’re asking questions, like: Is New York State planning and moving forward to celebrate the centennial of its women voting for the past 100 years? Not yet. The upcoming suffrage centennial is in 2017. Scholars are rolling up their sleeves at the potential of enormous opportunities coming our way. The interest is evident on the grassroots, though it appears to be too early for details. Check out the Rochester conference program. #1. #2.

If you aren’t busy this weekend and happen to be in the vicinity of Seneca Falls, NY and the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the US, check out the induction ceremony at the National Women’s Hall of Fame. #1. #2.

The lights at the national park in Seneca Falls, NY have been shut down over the past week. The federal government closings has many up in arms, but no one would have predicted the extent of the public reaction. #1. #2.

And now for the news notes. There are more than you ever thought possible: Illinois suffrage centennial celebrants produce play honoring Chicago. #1. The ongoing Votes for Women quilt project continues. #1. #2. The National Women’s History Museum is still seeking building in Washington, DC after 20 years. #1. #2.  October is Women’s History Month in Canada. #1. #2. Find out about the background slogan’s origin: “Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History.” #1. #2.  Fascinating article about researcher who dug up 50 primary documents about Americans, their views and struggles for freedom. #1. The perspective that women aren’t suited for voting comes up on the internet in various forums by some commentators who claim to have access to the subconscious of women. Take a look at this one: #1. #2.

LetsRockTheCradle features the upcoming 2017 suffrage centennial in NYS, the proposed state and federal trails in the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the US, and the 2013 Cradle blogging tour in late September and early October with Marguerite Kearns and Olivia Twine. Suffrage Wagon News Channel is a multi-media platform with news and stories of the suffrage movement. Subscribe, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The “Cradle” Blogging Tour was a great success: Marguerite’s Musings

Seneca Falls Visitors Center

Home from the blogging tour of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the US in upstate New York! What an eye opener! It’s one thing to talk about the “Cradle” of the movement in the US, and yet another thing to see it for myself. I’m exhausted. I’m happy. I have enough material to write about for the next six months.

And we left the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, NY right before the federal government shutdown. Or we would have been among the thousands of visitors from around the nation and world disappointed (on many levels) about the politicizing of public services. Roads were closed, visitor centers shuttered, and campers ordered to pack up and hit the road.

The loss in revenue is tremendous. An estimated 716,000 people spend  $76 million dollars a day visiting the national park system, according to one AP story in the daily paper delivered to my front door yesterday. The news piece focused on national park sites in Utah and Arizona and the bewildered tourists, many of whom had traveled considerable distances to reach the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and other national sites.

The number of visitors to the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, NY aren’t at the level of these destinations, although in my opinion, the national park in the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in upstate NY hasn’t yet reached its potential in terms of public awareness.

Olivia Twine and I started out with the unveiling of the Sojourner Truth statue in Port Ewen in the Hudson Valley as a launching pad. Then we visited Johnstown, Fayetteville, Seneca Falls, Auburn, Rochester, and Farmington. There are hundreds more places we could have visited, depending on how broad we defined our parameters. It was ambitious enough for six days on the road. Visiting sites, photographing, interviewing, and driving kept us going nonstop, and still, we couldn’t keep up with the daily blog posts. We’ll be blogging about the experience some more, and there’s plenty to think about.

This was an experience made easier by the cradle’s accessibility to the New York State Thruway. We covered a lot of territory quickly. And it appears as if we may have rocked the cradle until the limb of the national government broke in two.

Subscribe to our blog, Lets Rock the Cradle, to keep up to date with the developments associated with making the Finger Lakes region of New York State a destination for people of all ages and backgrounds interested in this significant part of American history.

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!

The women of Long Island’s past revealed in book by Natalie Naylor: Marguerite’s Musings

Marguerite's MusingsIt is more than appropriate to set aside some time to reflect on an important book by Natalie Naylor, Women in Long Island’s Past: A History of Eminent Ladies and Everyday Lives (The History Press, 2012). This book has been winking at me every time I dust near the stack of books that I consider a “must read.” Natalie’s “eminent ladies” is no best seller, but I’ve grown to accept this when it comes to women’s history. This is an arena where those of us who love history must stick together. And Natalie has gone beyond the call of duty in terms of following this subject for years and then leaving something behind of substance for people like us to reflect on.

I remember getting to know Natalie years ago at a Long Island library where she met with me during the very early stages of researching my grandmother Edna Kearns’ suffrage activism on Long Island. She was generous with her own research, which isn’t always the case with scholars. Natalie’s support and encouragement has been extremely important for me, and I’ve grown to respect the time and commitment she has put into documenting the long and what she calls the “invisible” history of Long Island women.

Long Island women book by Natalie NaylorThe first chapter on native women is a no-nonsense account of a culture where women were respected and honored. Their contact with the so-called civilized world of colonial settlers must have been an eye opener to these women, and Natalie’s painstaking work to present this sorry history is a major contribution to those of us who like to know the real story. Some of these images of native women are profound.

“Colonial records usually include only names of men among the original settlers, but Long Island towns were settled by families,” notes Natalie as we descend into the past with her as a guide. We follow along with details about Quaker settlements on Long Island that preceded William Penn’s settlement in Philadelphia, slavery, women’s journals, witchcraft, the British occupation of Long Island, the agricultural economy, artists, historians, civic and political activists, plus the movers and shakers of a wide range of Long Island women over the years.

There are the usual big names, like Jackie Kennedy Onasis and Eleanor Roosevelt, plus numerous examples of ordinary people who made significant contributions. Natalie states upfront that space limitations prevented her from making the book more of a representational document of women who made a difference. That Grandmother Edna Kearns made it into the collection is, of course, a source of delight to me. And it suggests that those writers and historians looking for documentary projects have Natalie’s book to launch their efforts.

There’s so much great material in this 192-page work. In one interview that Natalie gave about her book, she mentioned that suffragist Rosalie Jones has been a source of considerable fascination for her over the years. Thank you, Natalie, for your persistence in bringing all these women to light. It’s an accomplishment much needed and appreciated.

Don’t forget the Cradle Blogging Tour that’s soon to begin. Follow the Suffrage Wagon on the “Let’s Rock the Cradle” road trip in late September 2013. “Marguerite’s Musings” is a regular feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

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.

September 2013 Suffrage Wagon News Notes from Edna Kearns

Suffrage Wagon News Notes, September 2013The fall is a terrific time for travel, and the blogging bus headed to the Cradle of the women’s rights movement in the US is about ready to hit the road. Join us! Sign up for the free tour. Enjoy a road trip through upstate New York, the “Cradle.”

While it’s still warm outside, squeeze in a cookout with roast corn on the cob. Chef Cutting shares his secrets for a mouth-watering way to roast corn, either outside on a grill or in your oven, at the first lesson from the Suffrage Wagon Cooking School.

News Notes for September 2013: What Obama did in Seneca Falls, NY. #1. #2. August 26th or Women’s Equality Day is like July 4th. #1. #2. Women voters in US are going to the polls in high numbers. #1. #2. The importance of Susan B. Anthony’s scrapbooks. #1. How department stores changed the dynamics for early 20th century women and their families. #1. #2.  One hundred years for women voting in Illinois. #1. Award for film about suffrage movement in the Bahamas. #1. #2.

A second season for UK suffrage sitcom, “Up the Women.”  Study notes for the Declaration of Sentiments from the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. #1. Pathways for highway travel have important implications for attracting visitors to the “Cradle” of the US women’s suffrage movement. #1. #2.  The implications of a New York State Free thought Trail. #1. #2.  News from around the world: Women voters in India. #1.

Visit the Suffrage Wagon magazine feature platform. Follow the Suffrage Wagon as it’s headed to the cradle of the women’s rights movement in the US. It’s the wagon’s suffrage centennial and we want to make the most of it.

Don’t make a fuss –get a front-row seat on the blogging bus!

Blogging Road Trip

Sign up for a free tour of the cradle of the women’s rights movement in the US

Late September is a great time to take a trip when the leaves are turning and soon to be at their peak. We want you to join us on a free tour of the “cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the US. You hop on the blogging bus and take off. As simple as that. Sign up online at LetsRockTheCradle.com

The idea started with the suffrage campaign wagon called the “Spirit of 1776” that had a day of glory on July 1, 2013 when the State of New York designated the “Spirit of 1776” Wagon Day to commemorate the centennial of the wagon’s first journey in 1913 from Manhattan to Long Island to campaign for women’s rights. Both houses of the New York State Legislature passed the resolution on June 18, 2013 creating the 2013 Wagon Day.

Now there’s an opportunity to help us take the suffrage wagon out on the road again with a blogging tour of the “cradle” of the women’s rights movement. Seneca Falls will be one of the stops, plus the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, the home and center of Matilda Joslyn Gage in Fayetteville, and much more.

It’s not necessary to leave home to join us on the blogging bus. It’s free. No worries about parking, hotel overnights, meals. This is a road trip to build interest in and momentum for the upcoming centennial of women voting in New York in 2017 and the national centennial suffrage observance in 2020.

If you think it’s early to be thinking about the future, consider this: We have an opportunity to create a splash with our fabulous history in 2017 and 2020, but it requires advance planning and building interest in the opportunities these suffrage centennials provide.

Sign up for the Cradle Road Trip by visiting Let’s Rock the Cradle, a project of Suffrage Wagon News Channel, the web site and blog that tells the story of the suffrage campaign wagon in New York City and Long Island. Follow us!

You’ll be in the forefront of an effort to rock the cradle. Start now by joining with  the blogging tour at LetsRockTheCradle.com

Suffrage Bookshelf: Crossing Stones review by Tara Bloyd

Crossing StonesCrossing Stones, by Helen Frost.  2009: Francis Foster Books.

Crossing Stones is a phenomenal book.  Coming of age during the beginning of World War One, eighteen-year-old Muriel Jorgenson examines her life, her beliefs, her hopes for the future, and the concepts of war, peace, and women’s roles in this Young Adult book.  The book is written in free verse and cupped-hand sonnets, which I at first thought would annoy me but soon grew to appreciate immensely.  (The author put a lot of thought into the structure; read her note at the end to learn more.  I almost wish I’d read the note first, as I ended up going back through the book after doing so to more consciously understand and admire.)

Caught up in the build-up to WWI, Muriel is what many would have described a “headstrong” young woman; she’s not sure that she wants to follow the prescribed roles.  Frost writes:

“My mind sets off at a gallop
down that twisty road, flashes by “Young Lady,”
hears the accusation in it – as if it’s
a crime just being young, and “Lady”
is what anyone can see I’ll never be
no matter how I try, and it’s obvious
that I’m not trying. “

(I can’t easily reproduce the poem’s format in this review … seeing it for yourself is just one of the reasons I strongly recommend reading this book!) Although it’s expected that Muriel will marry the boy next door, Frank, that’s not necessarily what she wants to do.  When Frank, like so many other young men, joins the Army at the beginning of World War I, Muriel’s feelings about love, proper roles, and war become even more conflicted.  Muriel travels to Washington, DC, to help her Aunt Vera recover from a suffrage hunger strike.

While there, Muriel joins in the picketing, helps at a settlement house, makes friends, and more.  These experiences help solidify Muriel’s feelings that there are other possibilities for her, that it’s not wrong to question and challenge the status quo (even though both her high school teacher and the Espionage Act would have her believe differently. Yet she still struggles with questions of patriotism and loyalty: is it wrong to challenge the president during a time of war?  Is it wrong to wonder, out loud, if war is the right choice?

“When someone takes it
seriously, it’s only to chastise the protesters:
unwomanly, unpatriotic, a thorn in the side of the president
when he has more important things (The War)
to think about.”

And
“Papa thinks I’m strong because
I speak up for my beliefs – but as the war
gets louder all around us, I’m becoming quieter.”

Traveling through the influenza epidemic, the previously-idyllic lives of two small town families and the larger-scale vision of Washington, DC, the women’s rights movement, the war in Europe, and more, this book covers hard topics and does so well.  It puts personalities and faces on people and events from a time about which most teenagers know rather little, and is valuable for that as well as simply for the lyrically beautiful writing.

I highly recommend Crossing Stones.  Get it.  Read it.  Enjoy it. And learn, too, a bit more about what it was like to be a woman in those very turbulent times, to believe in suffrage and in questions and in possibilities.

Tara Bloyd is the great-granddaughter of suffragist Edna Kearns. She is passionate about the suffrage movement and writes often for Suffrage Wagon News Channel about Votes for Women books for young audiences.

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.

 

New Video: “Rap and Roll” about Women’s Equality Day

Edna on a horseVideo and audio about August 26th or Women’s Equality Day, available now. Plus an audio reading of the 1971 resolution that passed Congress.

Video: “Rap and Roll the Suffrage Wagon” celebrates August 26th.

Audio: Amelia Bowen reads the text of the Women’s Equality Day resolution that passed the US Congress in 1971.

Audio: T. Fowler’s rap about Women’s Equality Day.

Each year the United States President announces the commemoration of the granting of the vote to women throughout the country on an equal basis with men on August 26th. US women were granted the right to vote on August 26, 1920 when the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution became official. The amendment was first introduced in 1878. Every president has published a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day since 1971 when Bella Abzug introduced the legislation in Congress. 

Reminder: It’s still summer, and the first session of the Suffrage Wagon Cooking School is underway. Buy corn on the cob, especially if you can get it fresh at a farmers market or grocery. Even better if you grow it yourself. Chef Cutting can guide you through its roasting that will have everyone demanding more. Include corn on the menu, whether it’s in your oven or on a grill or campfire. Visit Suffrage Wagon Cooking School for the first session with Chef Cutting.