Tag Archives: suffrage news

Kearns archive at New York Botantical Garden for Echo Dale Gardens

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

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

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

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

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

“Sister in Struggle”: Get to know suffragist Elizabeth Freeman

Elizabeth FreemanA great article about suffragist Elizabeth Freeman is the cover story in a recent issue of Pasadena Weekly. Their angle: Elisabeth died there, and the editorial staff was particularly interested in Elisabeth’s contribution to the anti-lynching campaign of 1916. They made a link between Elisabeth’s work and the Michael Brown case in Missouri today, welcome coverage because it illustrates the extent to which many Votes for Women activists had more than one concern, reminiscent of the early women’s rights activists involved in abolition and temperance. Elisabeth receives more attention these days for her activism in the suffrage movement, so this is a welcome addition to what’s available about her life and work. PDF of the Pasadena Weekly article.

See the great web site on Elisabeth Freeman produced by Elisabeth’s great niece Margaret Johnston of Binghamton, NY. Also. “Long Island’s Three Wagon Women” in the New York History blog.

Marguerite's MusingsI’ve been aware of Elizabeth Freeman going back years when I first heard stories about “Great Aunt Elisabeth” from my friend Jane Van De Bogart, a member of the Woodstock town board back when I lived in Woodstock, NY and prowled around local issues with my pen, pad and camera for Woodstock Times. I don’t remember if Jane mentioned her great aunt first or if I trotted out my grandmother Edna Kearns. In any event, one thing led to another.

Two people with family members who’d been suffragists in NYS would sooner or later insist on details and that’s how I found out that not only did Edna and Elizabeth know each other, but they worked together with Rosalie Jones on Long Island on women’s suffrage organizing. As Grandmother Edna Kearns was a Long Island wagon woman, so was Elisabeth Freeman who organized women from diverse backgrounds. Elisabeth also marched with Rosalie Jones to the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, DC –hardy souls who hiked through bad weather to prove their point.

In 1986 the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon became part of an exhibit about Elisabeth and Edna in Kingston, NY with a seed grant from the NYS Council on the Arts. Jone Miller and the Floating Foundation of Photography in High Falls, NY organized the exhibit which got me started on the long road to bring this part of American history to the attention of a broader audience. Several programs at SUNY New Paltz for Women’s History Month even involved our mothers.

Pick up a rock these days and you’ll find a descendant of a suffrage activist. That’s why I love Elisabeth Freeman. Peg Johnston has picked up the torch from her great aunt and is carrying it high these days. The general public may know about the suffrage movement nationally, but we find out much more by touching into the lives of individuals like Elisabeth, as well as the records and news coverage of clubs and associations on the local level that kept the suffrage issue alive for years. The existence of these organizations, and their ongoing events and activities, gave backbone to the national movement. Leaders at the top can’t do anything without support on the grassroots.

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We have an ongoing podcast series: “Playing Politics with the President” that features the work of the National Woman’s Party right at the time of Elisabeth Freeman’s work. Podcast #1. You can listen to the next podcast in the series, #2, this coming weekend.

Audio podcast #1: “Playing Politics with the President”

Doris StevensWe’re jumping forward to 1913 and following along with Doris Stevens in the audio podcast series, “Playing Politics with the President.” Stevens was an eyewitness to the suffrage movement and we’re fortunate to have the Librivox recording of “Jailed for Freedom” to slice into digestible audio bits of two minutes or less.

Podcast #1 starts with the story about U.S. President Woodrow Wilson arriving at the train station in Washington, DC in March of 1913 and asking “Where are the people?” after noticing that the station is virtually empty. The answer: ” On the avenue watching the suffragists parade” came the answer from an aide. Did it really happen this way? Suffrage activist Doris Stevens certainly wasn’t in the train station in the loop with Woodrow Wilson, but she was around long enough to fill an entire book about the suffrage movement and her perspective on it. “Jailed for Freedom” is a terrific basic text when discovering the suffrage movement. It’s also a quick and easy homework assignment for students.

So test the first podcast of the series. Just two minutes as you settle down with the audio and mark on your calendar that “Playing Politics with the President” is a nine-part series. It features access to the series of events that led up to the eventual decision by the National Woman’s Party to picket the White House to make the point of American women were determined to vote. YouTube has video selections from “Iron Jawed Angels” that features this same time period leading up to an increasing confrontation with President Woodrow Wilson. The YouTube selections will also be featured on Suffrage Wagon in the future. You’ll find these small audio chunks enjoyable and very informative. Photo of suffragist Doris Stevens, above.

New Podcast: “Playing Politics with the President.”

IN OTHER NEWS: There’s a tea house in Castle Rock, Colorado –the Regency Tea Room– that has a great article worth taking a look.  This posting makes the connection between the suffrage movement and tea houses, a subject we’ve given plenty of attention to over the past few years. Castle Rock is 28 miles from downtown Denver and 37 miles north of Colorado Springs.  It’s by reservation only. I haven’t been there, but it’s on my list.

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Get ready for Women’s Equality Day, plus more: Suffrage Wagon News Notes

NewsNotesSWNCHave you set plans in motion to celebrate August 26th, Women’s Equality Day? Fun gifts and other products available to inform your event are available from the National Women’s History Project.

Are you following the audio podcasts from Seneca Falls? Five of the total series of seven podcasts, “Trouble Brewing in Seneca Falls,” have been published. If you haven’t had a chance to hear the words of Elizabeth Cady Stanton reflect on the 1848 women’s rights convention, here’s your chance. Podcasts #1. #2. #3 #4 #5 . Watch for the remaining two podcasts, coming soon.

On Tuesday, August 26, at 7 p.m. at the William G. McGowan Theater in Washington, DC there will be a special program, Women’s History on the Horizon: The Centennial of Woman Suffrage in 2020. In commemoration of Women’s Equality Day and the 94th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, this discussion considers how nearly one hundred years of voting rights have impacted present-day political, social, and economic roles for women. Presented in partnership with the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum.

The updates on the Harriet Tubman national park include a video and several articles for background. Video from LetsRockTheCradle.com

Make your voice heard on the proposed Tubman national park!

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Marguerite’s reminders about June 19th, plus Susan B. Anthony resources

Marguerite's MusingsI love the ongoing discussion about Susan B. Anthony on this blog and the implications of what it must have been like for Susan to devote her life to the vote. Today we can take on challenges, like Susan did, that are meaningful (and even have fun) while making a difference.

How would Susan respond to this free-spirited poem presented recently about our suffrage activist ancestors at a Slam Poetry event? Check out “Suffragette 69″ and smile –just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any new angles relative to this part of American history.

Susan B. Anthony’s networking and advocacy energized her. When I took a bus trip last fall with Friends of the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, one point was brought to my attention –about how Susan took “power walks” around her neighborhood on early mornings. I loved hearing all about Susan, the activist, the sister, the family member, the cook, the human being, and so much more. Getting inside the personal lives of our suffrage ancestors involves getting to know them as people, as well as heroic historic figures. That’s why I love doing this work!

Susan B. Anthony’s June 19, 1873 speech can be found in lists of great American oratory. If you sign up for a speech class, there’s a possibility Anthony’s presentation may be referred to as a way to learn about the structure of powerful presentations. I’m looking forward to playing Susan today at a  birthday party. For the past week or so I’ve been setting aside a few items: a long dress, hat, cape, plus an edited version of her speech. It’s great fun to add a skit to a birthday celebration.

Susan B. Anthony resources: Short video introducing Susan’s trial speech for illegal voting on June 19, 1873. Audio selection (three minutes) about Susan B. Anthony’s famous 1873 trial speech from Doris Stevens’ book, “Jailed for Freedom.” A feature story about Barbara Blaisdell who has been interpreting Susan B. Anthony for the past 23 years for groups, organizations and for special occasions. My appeal to friends about the importance of making June 19th and Susan B. Anthony’s trial speech a national observance.  New book about Anna Howard Shaw, and author Trisha Franzen, makes argument about Shaw (video included) being “true heir to Susan B. Anthony” and attempts to separate fact from fiction. Visit the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House in Rochester, NY.

June 19th is not only the date when Susan B. Anthony gave her now famous speech at the Ontario County courthouse near Rochester, New York. It’s also a celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The suffrage and antislavery movements were intricately connected, and this is definitely reflected in the wide range of events that can be accessed in the LetsRockTheCradle.com calendar. The Cradle site is a recognized resource destination and online community for events, historic sites, action campaigns, movement stories, and the many ways the past inspires our actions today!

The news notes shared here are by no means a representative sampling of what’s available online. But they give me an opportunity to keep up to date, and point out some noteworthy content I found online. For example, here’s an article about five commentators who still are angry about the fact that women won the right to vote in 1920. Link. Seneca Falls, NY will be the birthplace of a Muslim women’s rights declaration in July of 2014. Link. A conference in Detroit during July features women and their role in the Underground Railroad. Link. June 19th and a celebration about the end of slavery. Link. An overview of “male feminism.” Link. Observations on the stalemate concerning the governor’s Women’s Equality Agenda in the NYS Legislature. Link. Women and Canadian elections. Link.

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Male suffragist dresses as a woman, Inez Milholland Festival 2014 and other news notes

Inez Milholland Festival 2014SideInezThe rocking of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement moves forward, whether or not New York State has this important centennial on its “to do” list. Mark your calendar for August 16-17 for the Inez Milholland Festival 2014 that will be held in the Champlain Valley in the Adirondacks. LetsRockTheCradle.com is the “go to” place for upcoming announcements of the two-day program.

“Male suffragist dresses as a woman” is a headline that’s certainly to get some attention. Great musical video of the Corrs sisters singing “The Long and Winding Road” demonstrates the power of combining women’s issues with music and bringing attention to African women. Online link. Another cool story about a suffrage quilt. Huffington Post has article about the lessons learned from suffragist Anna Howard Shaw. Many new New York History blog contributors wrote about women’s history during March, Women’s History Month. New  York women and their contributions to the Adirondacks. Ken Florey’s book on suffrage memorabilia reviewed. The Missouri Women’s Network Education Fund launched its 1,000 Strong Campaign to raise $10,000 for the bust of St. Louis suffragist Virginia Minor to join the collection of bronze memorialized Missourians.

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

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?

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