Tag Archives: suffragists

Videos on what you’re missing if you can’t visit Seneca Falls, NY this summer

Image from "Puck"

 

 

BELOW:

New video featuring the highlights of Seneca Falls, New York –the birthplace of the women’s rights movement in the United States.

BELOW: Video highlighting the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments read at the first women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon that from now through July 20th will highlight Seneca Falls, New York and the annual events there commemorating this important occasion in American history.

Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy little-known story of how suffrage activists crashed a national centennial celebration!

Fourth of July 1876HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY:

The Suffrage Wagon summer newsletter is on the stands. It spells out what happened on the Fourth of July in 1876 when five suffrage activists crashed the national centennial celebration in Philadelphia… a little-known story that’s also an important part of our national history.

See link and forward to the people on your social media list as a way to deepen the appreciation of our past and how it links to our present. Link to story. The story involves Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Phoebe W. Couzins, Sara Andrews Spencer, and Lillie Devereux Blake. There’s even an audio podcast where the event’s described by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

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

 

Four videos introduce the Kearns family and the suffrage movement

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update on Susan B. party, “Suffragette”film, and new Prudence Crandall book

Susan B. Anthony PartyHere’s the basket, ready to go for last Thursday’s Susan B. Anthony party! The play was a hit and marked my niece Tara’s birthday on June 19th, and conveniently Susan B. Anthony’s trial commemoration as well.

What fun!

SusanBAnthony2There’s other news too. “Suffragette,” the major motion picture from the UK has completed filming and is on its way to release. The public relations team calls it “a thrilling drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal state. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes; they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. Maud was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller; it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.”

The New York State Legislature has closed up shop for this session. One bill addressing the creation of a suffrage centennial commission was introduced in the Senate in late May without any action. For more information.

Suffrage Wagon BookshelfPrudence Crandall’s Legacy: The Fight for Equality in the 1830s, Dred Scott, and Brown v. Board of Education by Donald E. Williams Jr. 470 pp. 6 x 9″ $35.00 Jacketed Cloth, 978-0-8195-7470-1 $27.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7471-8. Publication Date: June 2014.

Prudence CrandallPrudence Crandall was the Connecticut schoolteacher who educated African-American girls in the 1830s. Today, she is Connecticut’s official state heroine. All hell broke loose when she opened Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color in Canterbury. Residents of the town refused to supply Crandall with goods necessary to run her school, and even went so far as to sabotage her efforts by poisoning the school’s well water. Crandall was ridiculed and finally arrested, but she only closed the school when it became clear that her students’ safety was at risk.

The year 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, as well as the 30th anniversary of the operation of the Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury, Connecticut. 

Follow the Suffrage Wagon. Different options for staying in touch.

How to Plan a Celebration Honoring Susan B. Anthony’s Trial Speech

PARTY INVITE 2011-5Three years ago I produced my first skit about Susan B. Anthony’s trial. I didn’t feature it on the invitation I circulated, mainly because I wasn’t convinced I could pull it off. I did. And now I’m working on another production for June 19th, the actual day that Susan B. Anthony stood up to the judge and made her position clear about the necessity of women being able to vote.

As far as June 19, 2014 is concerned, the party date has been set and the guests invited. There are spots for three characters:  the arresting officer, the judge, and Susan B. Anthony. The play goes like this. The arresting officer knocks on Susan’s door. She answers. He informs Susan that she’s under arrest and puts on pretend handcuffs. They leave for the police station. Few words. The arresting officer can ad lib.

Then the scene shifts to the courtroom with the judge sitting on a chair. Susan is standing before him. The lines are pretty basic and can read from an index card. The judge tells Susan to sit down and she refuses:

Miss Anthony—”Yes, your honor. I have many things to say. My every right, constitutional, civil, political and judicial has been tramped upon. I have not only had no jury of my peers, but I have had no jury at all.”

Court—”Sit down Miss Anthony. I cannot allow you to argue the question.”

Miss Anthony—”I shall not sit down. I will not lose my only chance to speak.”

In the next scene Susan B. Anthony stands on a raised platform to address the audience where she delivers an edited version of her presentation in the courtroom. She also reads from a script. Susan can be dressed in a period costume, or her costume can be as simple as a black dress. I’ll be wearing a red cape from my closet. Here’s some text from Susan’s speech on video to illustrate that producing a short program for your party isn’t difficult.

Video about Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting when she gave her speech on June 19, 1873. Follow the Suffrage Wagon or LetsRockTheCradle. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

Loving dress ups and reminder about June 19th

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you having a party on June 19th to celebrate Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting?

Trial for illegal voting:Of all the events for fun and parties in the weeks ahead, June 19th offers a great opportunity. Tea and sweets. Possibly a fundraiser for your organization. Celebrate Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting.

With not much effort and a few hams in your group, you can act out Susan B. Anthony’s trial for illegal voting in the spirit of the old melodramas. Start with Susan’s arrest at home. Then cast an arresting officer, Susan, and a trial judge. Susan wrote her own lines and someone only has to read them. Search online. Period costumes help spread the word of women’s history, but maybe you only have black outfits. That will do, and an audience that loves to cheer and boo. Not much effort and lots of fun. With a little more than a month to plan, see what you can do.

And while you’re at it, a little inspiration from a Susan B. Anthony video won’t hurt.

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

Suffrage Wagon Film Festival: Wilmer Kearns recommends!

Suffrage Wagon Film FestivalWilmer Kearns recommends suffrage movement videos.

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

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

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

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

 

Women Drivers: Marguerite’s Musings

Marguerite's Musings (Marguerite Kearns)When I was young, I was confused often when hearing  jokes about women drivers. I wasn’t exactly sure why so much attention was showered on women who drove, though subconsciously it must have made an impact because I didn’t learn to drive myself until my early 20s. Perhaps it had to do with a subconscious desire not to look foolish.

I haven’t heard any woman driver jokes for decades, though I’m certain they’re out there –like in Saudi Arabia, for example, where women aren’t allowed to drive. Saudi women drivers protesting the ban have caused a stir with petitions and women themselves posting their driving protests online. One cleric warned that women drivers could cause damage to their ovaries by operating a motor vehicle. Have you checked the health of your ovaries recently? Find out more. #1. #2.

There’s more information than ever coming down the pike about violence against women and girls, in particular the recent kidnapping of Nigerian students. In the United States suffrage leaders and women’s history is being politicized, no doubt a foreshadowing of what’s to come in the 2016 presidential election where a woman may run for the nation’s highest office. Who would have thought our marginalized suffrage history would come under attack? It’s all predictable. Tighten your seat belt for what’s to come!

Marguerite’s Musings (from Marguerite Kearns) are a regular feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Visit our feature platform for new updates on videos and other special postings you might not see on the email platform. We also have Vimeo and YouTube channels.

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.

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.

 

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.

Follow the suffrage wagon with Facebook, Twitter, email subscription, or the quarterly newsletter. Also, a free 14-day trial to receive Suffrage Wagon News Channel on your Kindle. Subscribe to our YouTube and Vimeo channels.

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.

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

Video and article: Join Susan B. Anthony in Rochester

Marguerite's MusingsWho loves Susan B. Anthony? Thousands of people, and that includes hundreds who attended the annual luncheon of the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, NY. this week. Susan’s birthday is on Saturday, February 15th.

I wrote an article about Susan, her fans in Rochester, and how the Susan B. Anthony House will be launching a virtual tour of the house in order to meet the demand. The story is about Susan’s fans today, as much as it is about Susan. Rochester, New York and the Susan B. Anthony House demonstrate a novel and very effective living history tied to economic development and education.

See my article in New York History. Article in PDF.

Video of Susan B. AnthonyThe article also features the horse chestnut tree growing outside the Susan B. Anthony House on 17 Madison Street in Rochester and how many are concerned because the tree didn’t produce chestnuts last year. Get the Big Picture about the preservation district that includes the house where Susan and her sister Mary lived for 40 years, the “1872 Cafe” around the corner where Susan voted illegally, the statues of Susan and Frederick Douglass having tea in a park down the street and much more .

Video: Commentary by Doris Stevens about Susan B. Anthony in “Jailed for Freedom,” 1920.

Follow feature articles by Marguerite Kearns and the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement. Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

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 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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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! 

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

Marguerite's MusingsMarguerite’s Musings:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of meringue by Annie Mole.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

New suffragette feature film in UK: Suffrage Wagon News Notes

NewsNotesA lot on our plate: The Brits are ahead of us with an announcement about a new feature film about the suffrage movement under production! #1. #2. Do you know about the Suffragette Cocktail? #1 #2. The “anti” suffrage forces are on the move –the same old thing and with the attitude of a former generation. #1. #2. 

Video on how to make the best roast corn for your next cookout. Introducing Suffrage Wagon Cooking School. It’s part of our suffrage centennial series, and 2013 is the centennial of the “Spirit of 1776′s” first journey. You’ll love this way of cooking from Chef Cutting. Make your next cookout a sensation!

August is perfect to begin planning for a high tea in early November to commemorate the Night of Terror. A quick refresher. This may seem early, but it’s also when planning should be underway on how to celebrate Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s birthday on November 12th.  And also, there’s the Night of Terror in November. It’s a possibility for a gathering of friends because there’s more possibilities for a program about our history that will have guests sitting on the edge of their seats.

Norway is having its suffrage centennial this year. The June events may be over, but there’s an international conference in November 2013 that promises to be interesting. For more information. Chick History has news items worth subscribing to. #1. #2. Women’s issues that haven’t changed since 1911. #1. #2. Activist school in UK was once called Suffragette Summer School. #1.165 years since the Seneca Falls convention of 1848. #1. #2.

And if you haven’t ever traveled to Seneca Falls, NY, it’s still warm weather right now. Visit our page on Seneca Falls resources.

Video of the Declaration of Sentiments, 1848, reading by Amelia Bowen. Video about the “Spirit of 1776″ resolution that declared July 1, 2013 Wagon Day in NYS. Ode to the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon.

News items to think about: Bad jokes about women’s rights aren’t funny these days. #1. #2.  Long Island exhibit includes women’s suffrage. #1. #2. And what about Votes for Women on the east end of Long Island? #1. #2. The Women’s Equality Agenda highlights. #1. #2. NOW impatient with politicians with histories of objectifying women. #1. #2. Another suffragist ancestor honored. #1. Illinois suffrage centennial produces play. #1. #2.  The force feedings are still remembered. #1. #2.

Suffrage Wagon has its own YouTube channel. We’re posting new videos all the time. Visit Suffrage Wagon’s feature platform.

The”Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon travels on: a suffrage centennial

One hundred years ago, all through the month of July 1913, the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon traveled for freedom throughout Long Island (NY). A quick overview of what happened during this suffrage centennial observance in 2013 can be seen through videos, special postings, and the story of the resolution that passed both houses of the New York State Legislature on June 18, 2013 designating July 1, 2012 the “Spirit of 1776″ Wagon Day in NYS. It’s a suffrage centennial celebration that brings the story home to us today.

Video about legislative resolution for the “Spirit of 1776″ resolution. Video about the 165th anniversary year for the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848.

About Edna Kearns: her life and her travels with the “Spirit of 1776.” About the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon. Ode to the Wagon video. About Suffrage Wagon News Channel. The archives, so you can catch up on what you missed. Audio highlights. The Suffrage Wagon media room. Edna Kearns’ family members chime in. Visit Seneca Falls, NY. Other news items that are special for this suffrage centennial celebration. Find out about Votes for Women 2020.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news, views, events, suffrage centennials, and more. Image: The “Spirit of 1776″ on exhibit for six months at the state Capitol in Albany, NY during 2012.

Coming soon: the Suffrage Wagon Cooking School.

July 2013 has its own Suffrage Wagon News Notes

NewsNotesJuly2013In both the US and UK, there’s considerable activism by those who’ve had enough of the last hurrah devoted to keeping women in their place. This is what happens when social systems transition, such as what we’re witnessing now. Women can grin and bear it, or stand up to be counted. One example is the banknote campaign underway in the UK, where the likeness of only one woman, Quaker and prison reformer Elizabeth Fry (other than royalty), has appeared on a bank note. Now Fry is being replaced by Churchill, and this has more than annoyed women. The protest went viral. This article about the 30,000 signatures gathered by motivated activists is worth looking at, and it stands squarely on the shoulders of the English suffragettes.

New book on Long Island’s movement: #1. Special feature coming soon.

This year’s birthday celebration for suffragist and human rights activist Ida B. Wells will take place July 12-14, 2013 in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Contact the museum for more information: idabwells@bellsouth.net. Video: “Ode to the ‘Spirit of 1776′ ” suffrage wagon. Video: “Spirit of 1776″ Wagon Day from Votes for Women 2020 which organized the 2013 legislative resolution and a press conference on June 19, 2013 in Albany.

News notes from all over:  “Lady Liberty: A Counter-Narrative.” #1. Second season for UK sit com about the suffrage movement. #1. #2. Star suffrage quilt. #1. #2. Illinois suffrage centennial. #1. #2. The Norway suffrage centennial. #1. #2. Opening of old suffrage safe sparks interest from around the nation and world. #1. #2. Coverage about US Supreme Court decision and erosion of voting rights. #1. #2. Plan for events associated with anniversary of Seneca Falls convention in July and Women’s Equality Day in August 2013. #1.  One billion rising for justice observance set for 2014. #1. #2.  Afghan women voters. #1. #2. Vote for wagon resolution. #1. #2. Clean tourism in NYS. #1. #2. 

Suffrage Wagon has been tweeting since 2010. Blogging about the suffrage movement and the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon since 2009.

Suffrage Bookshelf and a review by Tara Bloyd

Women's suffrage bookPeople at the Center of Women’s Suffrage, by Deborah Kops, Blackbirch Press: 2004

by Tara Bloyd

Rather than covering the suffrage movement as a whole, except for an overview at the beginning, this book gives short profiles of fifteen women important in the struggle.  I appreciated that instead of starting with the Elizabeth Cady Stanton/Susan B Anthony/Lucretia Mott era, the work begins much earlier: it includes information about Margaret Brent (“First American Woman to Demand the Right to Vote,” in the 1600s) and Mary Wollstonecraft (“Her Writing Inspired Early Suffragist Leaders”).  I’d never read about Margaret Brent in a children’s book about the quest for the vote, so I particularly appreciated seeing her here.

The author, Deborah Kops, does a very good job of including interesting details in her coverage; for instance, she writes of Carrie Chapman Catt that “By 1890, she was so passionate about the cause that her second husband, George William Catt, had to agree she could work for women’s suffrage four months out of the year before she would marry him.”  However, there were also a few notable omissions.  For instance, Lucy Stone’s marriage isn’t mentioned in her profile.  This saddens me because I think it’s an excellent example of people refusing to be bound by convention and instead creating their own, more equal, relationship.  Perhaps instead of including a picture of Oberlin College, the biography could have been a touch more comprehensive.  (I may be biased, though, as a proud “Lucy Stoner” … she was the first recorded American woman to not take her husband’s name upon marriage, saying “A wife should no more take her husband’s name than he should hers.”)

Many of the images included are rarely seen in works of this type; for instance, Sojourner Truth is shown, with her knitting, in a color painting instead of the more common black-and-white photograph seen elsewhere in which she looks quite stern.  (And why, I wonder, do authors so rarely explain why people tend to look stern and serious in those early photographs, and why they’re all black-and-white instead of color images?  I’d think it would be both important and interesting for readers to know a bit about how photography worked in the early years!)  There’s a beautiful picture of women celebrating passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, photos from various stages of Jeanette Rankin’s life, etc.  I appreciated the book’s layout and visual appeal.  That said, more than half of the book’s space was taken up by images … I would have appreciated more text, but that’s probably the English major in me!

I definitely recommend People at the Center of Women’s Suffrage for any readers who are drawn toward learning more about individual people instead of reading about the movement as a whole. Reading about the experiences of specific women who were involved can be very compelling, and the women profiled provide a nice overview – we learn about Francis Willard, Anna Howard Shaw, Harriot Stanton Blach, Alva Belmont, and several others.  If the biographies are somewhat sparse, that’s a fault of the format rather than the author.

Unlike several of the other books I’ve profiled, People at the Center of Women’s Suffrage is still available (though Amazon warns that it could take 2-3 weeks for delivery); I’d encourage anyone creating a library of suffrage works for kids to seriously contemplate including this work. Book ordering information.

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The “Spirit of 1776″ by Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Part I

Suffrage activists didn’t let the centennial of the Declaration of Independence pass in 1876 without a demonstration. In this chapter of her memoir, Elizabeth Cady Stanton explains the preparations associated with traveling to Philadelphia to make the point that the American Revolution remained unfinished as long as women were denied the ballot and basic civil rights.

Fireworks. Photo: Tom Walsh.

Chapter XVIII: The Spirit of ’76

THE year 1876 was one of intense excitement and laborious activity throughout the country. The anticipation of the centennial birthday of the Republic, to be celebrated in Philadelphia, stirred the patriotism of the people to the highest point of enthusiasm. As each state was to be represented in the great exhibition, local pride added another element to the public interest. Then, too, everyone who could possibly afford the journey was making busy preparations to spend the Fourth of July, the natal day of the Republic, ‘mid the scenes where the Declaration of Independence was issued in 1776, the government inaugurated, and the first national councils were held.

MAKING JULY 4TH A WOMAN’S DAY

Those interested in women’s political rights decided to make the Fourth a woman’s day, and to celebrate the occasion, in their various localities, by delivering orations and reading their own declaration of rights, with dinners and picnics in the town halls or groves, as most convenient. But many from every state in the Union made their arrangements to spend the historic period in Philadelphia. Owing, also, to the large number of foreigners who came over to join in the festivities, that city was crammed to its utmost capacity. With the crowd and excessive heat, comfort was everywhere sacrificed to curiosity. .  . .

As the lyceum season lasted from October to June, I was late in reaching Philadelphia. Appropriate headquarters for the National Suffrage Association
had been found on the lower floor of No. 143 1 Chestnut Street. As it was the year for nominating candidates for the presidency of the United States, the Repub-
licans and Democrats were about to hold their great conventions. Hence letters were to be written to them recommending a woman suffrage plank in their
platforms, and asking seats for women in the conventions, with the privilege of being heard in their own behalf.

WRITING THE WOMAN’S DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

Then it was thought pre-eminently proper that a Woman’s Declaration of Rights should be issued. Days and nights were spent over that document. After many twists from analytical tweezers, with a critical consideration of every word and sentence, it was at last, by a consensus of the competent, pronounced very good. Thousands were ordered to be printed, and were folded, put in envelopes, stamped, directed, and scattered. Miss Anthony, Mrs. Gage, and I worked sixteen hours a day, pressing everyone who came in, into the service, and late at night carrying immense bundles to be mailed. With meetings, receptions, and a succession of visitors, all of whom we plied with woman suffrage literature, we felt we had accomplished a great educational work.

Coming soon: Part II. The “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon carried on the theme of the national suffrage movement, which was the unfinished American Revolution. Photo: Tom Walsh. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote. Visit our main news channel platform.

June 2013 Suffrage Wagon News Notes

NewsNotesJune2013

Big week in Albany, NY with legislative resolution highlighting “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon: Book about Long Island suffrage movement expected to be published in late June 2013. #1. #2.

“Spirit of 1776″ wagon cited on Senator’s web page. #1. #2. Overview of the wagon’s travels in Albany, NY. #1. #2. News 10 in Albany covers “Spirit of 1776″ legislative resolution. #1. #2. #3.

The suffragette sit-com in the UK has been signed up for a second season. Emily Davison centennial reminds everyone of her sacrifice. #1. #2.  Unique perspective about English suffragette Emily Davison at the Derby. #1. #2. Excellent articles part of series on Emily (Woman and Her Sphere): #1. Guardian article on Emily. #1. #2.  Special June ceremony at House of Commons. #1.

UK media runs series about the “New Suffragists” of today. #1. #2. The new suffragettes around the world. #1. #2. And even more about the big suffrage picture. #1. #2. Women in Egypt called “new suffragettes.” #1. Young woman from UK interviewed about meaning of the vote to her today. #1. Young people are wild about the suffrage movement. #1.  Fourth graders learn about Elizabeth Cady Stanton. #1. #2. New England finds tourism outlook sunny. Suffrage history fits well with cultural tourism promotion.  #1. #2.  Men suffrage supporters referenced in contemporary appeal. #1. #2.  Ask a scholar about how the movement impacted the US. #1. #2. The women’s rights quilt continues. #1. #2.  The UK suffrage sitcom generates more media. #1. #2. 

Suffrage Wagon News Channel has new videos often. Do you ever check in with the main platform? If not, pay us a visit.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame for the Suffrage Wagon

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

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

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

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

WagonDay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more about Votes for Women 2020.

What was Edna Kearns doing on June 27, 1913?

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

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

Visit Seneca Falls, New York

Visit Seneca Falls, New York: Located in the “cradle” of the women’s rights movement in New York State. Seneca Falls is considered the historic gateway to the Finger Lakes.

Link to Seneca Falls ad. Women’s Rights National Historic Park and National Women’s Hall of Fame are in Seneca Falls, NY. Also: #1.  The park is a must see. New programs every season. Seneca Falls has an insider’s guide for visitors which makes the case that there’s something for everyone in the family.

Resources: The awakening of Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Part I. Part II. A virtual birthday party for Elizabeth Cady Stanton from Suffrage Wagon News Channel gives reasons for visiting Seneca Falls this summer. We celebrate Cady-Stanton’s birthday all year long.  Ideas for teachers.

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Suffrage Bookshelf: Ken Florey’s suffrage memorabilia book is out!

Kenneth Florey book on suffrage memorabiliaMcFarland Publishers has finished printing Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia–An Illustrated Historical Study by Kenneth Florey. Consult McFarland’s spring catalog for more information. The book is available at Amazon.  The New York Times antiques column recently gave the book a favorable mention. If you’re a fan of Ken Florey’s articles on Suffrage Wagon News Channel about tea and the movement, wagons and automobiles used in the movement, plus more –you’ll be interested in his book.

Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study by Kenneth Florey: Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-7293-2   Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-0150-2     ca. 215 photos (16 pages in color), notes, bibliography, index softcover (7 x 10) 2013

While historians have long recognized the importance of memorabilia to the woman suffrage movement, the subject has not been explored apart from a few restricted, albeit excellent, studies. Part of the problem is that such objects are scattered about in various collections and museums and can be difficult to access. Another is that most scholars do not have ready knowledge of the general nature and history of the type of objects (postcards, badges, sashes, toys, ceramics, sheet music, etc.) that suffragists produced.

New techniques in both printing and manufacturing that grew side-by-side with the suffrage movement created numerous possibilities for supporters to develop campaigns of “visual rhetoric.” This work analyzes 70 different categories of suffrage memorabilia, while providing numerous images of relevant objects along the way, and discusses these innovative production methods. Most important, this study looks at period accounts, often fascinating, of how, why, when, and where memorabilia was used in both America and England.

Kenneth Florey, professor emeritus at Southern Connecticut State University, is a long-time specialist in Woman Suffrage memorabilia. He has lectured on the subject both here and abroad, appeared on television, and written articles for a variety of publications. He has also served as an auction appraiser on suffrage material. His collection of suffrage artifacts, consisting of postcards, buttons, ribbons, sashes, sheet music, and other objects, may be the largest ever accumulated by a private individual in this country.

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News of suffragette sit-com and many updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The awakening of Elizabeth Cady Stanton –inspecting law books: Part II

Daniel Cady

Daniel Cady, Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s father.

by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The tears and complaints of the women who came to my father for legal advice touched my heart, and early drew my attention to the injustice and cruelty of the laws. As the practice of the law was my father’s business, I could not exactly understand why he could not alleviate the sufferings of these women.

So, in order to enlighten me, he would take down his books and show me the inexorable statutes. The students, observing my interest, would amuse themselves by reading to me all the worst laws they could find, over which I would laugh and cry by turns. One Christmas morning I went into the office to show them my present of a new coral necklace and bracelet. They all admired the jewelry, and then began to tease me with hypothetical cases of future ownership. “Now,” said Henry Bayard, “if in due time you should be my wife, those ornaments would be mine. I could take them and lock them up, and you could never wear them except with my permission. I could even exchange them for a cigar, and you could watch them evaporate in smoke.”

HER CHILDHOOD RESOLVE TO CUT THE NASTY LAWS FROM THE BOOKS

With this constant bantering from students, and the sad complaints of women clients, my mind was sorely perplexed. So when, from time to time, my attention was called to these odious laws, I would mark them with a pencil, and becoming more and more convinced of the necessity of taking some active measures against these unjust provisions, I resolved to seize the first opportunity, when alone in the office, to cut every one of them out of the books; supposing my father and his library were the beginning and the end of the law.

However, this mutilation of his volumes was never accomplished, for dear old FloraCampbell, to whom I confided my plan for the amelioration of her wrongs, warned my father of what I proposed to do. Without letting me know that he had discovered my secret, he explained to me one evening how laws were made, the large number of lawyers and libraries there were all over the state, and that if his library should burn up it would make no difference in woman’s condition.

“When you are grown up, and able to prepare a speech,” said he, “you must go down to Albany and talk to the legislators; tell them all you have seen in this office — the sufferings of these Scotchwomen, robbed of their inheritance and left dependent on their unworthy sons, and, if you can persuade them to pass new laws, the old ones will be a dead letter.”  Thus was the future object of my life suggested and my duty plainly outlined by him who was most opposed to my public career when, in due time, it was entered upon.”

SOURCE:  Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s memoir. Information about Daniel Cady, Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s father.

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The suffrage shop for the WPU: Part II, by Kenneth Florey

In the spring of 1914, suffrage leader Harriot Stanton Blatch continued experimenting with various forms of publicizing suffrage and purchased a used, horse-drawn van, with the intention of converting it into a roving shop. The van was moved from place to place every few days, and sold a variety of suffrage literature and memorabilia such as colorful buttons, pencils, ribbons, and even suffrage cigarettes.

“Votes for Women” cigarettes caused considerable controversy within the movement when the WPU announced earlier that they would be selling them at the grand opening of their headquarters in December 1910.  Many suffragists were strongly opposed to the use of tobacco, and condemned its sale in any form. The WPU version, however, was made of chocolate, a fact that was kept secret until opening day in order to create publicity through controversy.  The cigarettes sold from the wagon were also probably made of chocolate.

The WPU wagon shop carried on the format of its stationary predecessor in that it served both as a retail establishment and as a platform for speakers.  A side of the van folded out to allow a small platform to be let down, much in the manner of a drawbridge. Speakers emerged from the van, bringing the message of suffrage to various parts of the city.

Blatch explained to the press, “Young people move; the shop will move; democracy moves . . . youth harnessed to democracy is certainly a winner.” The shop apparently attracted many working women and men, one of Blatch’s main goals when she had organized the Equality League in 1907. As the suffrage movement became more and more popular among society women in New York, Blatch did not want to forget about workers, and the van became a way of reaching them.

The roving shop had but a limited shelf life, however. In late 1914, it was abandoned for a more permanent site, a shop on New York City’s famous Fifth Avenue.  Management of the shop became one of the prized positions in the WPU, and was held by some of the wealthiest of New York socialites, including Vera Whitehouse, Louisine Havemeyer, and Helen Rogers Reid.  Still, the wagon had achieved various successes. Its value was a form of visual rhetoric was enormous.  Articles about it in such papers as The New York Times gave valuable publicity to suffrage, as many in the general public eagerly awaited its appearance in their neighborhoods.

Image: WPU suffrage wagon shop. From Library of Congress.

If you have an email subscription, chances are that you’re missing out on a lot of the colorful photos, graphics, and videos available on the suffragewagon.org site.  If so, play us a visit. Also, check out Kenneth Florey’s web site on suffrage memorabilia.

Suffragette Emily Davison still controversial after 100 years

Centennial of death of Emily DavisonOne hundred years ago English suffragette Emily Davison stepped in front of the king’s horse at the Derby to draw attention to the long and difficult campaign to win the vote. Emily Davison’s death remains newsworthy and controversial today. Because of the upcoming centennial of Davison’s death in June 2013, a great deal is appearing in the UK media about this topic and all of its variations. This film clip of the Derby race and Emily’s demonstration from the UK archives is easily accessible online.

Emily Davison’s great-great-great niece, Lauren Caisley, recently attended a ceremony to unveil a plaque at the racetrack where Emily stepped into the path of the king’s horse as a Votes for Women demonstration (PDF). Dr. Helen Pankhurst, the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, and her daughter also attended the ceremony. A descendant of the jockey who rode the King’s horse that killed Davison has even emerged to speak publicly about the suffragette; the family has been silent (with one exception) all these years.

Here’s a sampling of postings about Emily Davison and the centennial: Upcoming TV special. #1. #2. No moment of silence at the Derby in memory of Emily Davidson. #1. #2.  Special tea lunch in Emily’s honor scheduled. #1.  BBC coverage of Emily Davidson centennial. #1. #2.  Is there more to the story of Emily Davidson? #1. #2. An overview of the suffrage movement in England. #1. #2. Art work planned for Emily Davison. #1. #2.   Emily Davison play. #1. #2. Emily fund. #1. #2.  Emily Davison exhibit. #1. #2. 

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The WPU and its Suffrage Wagon Shop: Part I

by Kenneth Florey

The Women’s Political Union was organized in 1910 by Harriot Stanton Blatch, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It evolved out of her earlier Equality League of Self-Supporting Women, created in 1907 to provide working women with a voice in their own lives.  The Union eventually became incorporated within Alice Paul’s Congressional Union in 1915, later renamed the National Woman’s Party.

In creating the WPU, Blatch was strongly influenced by the organization’s English namesake, Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union. To a degree, she emulated Pankhurst’s more assertive tactics, relying on marches, demonstrations, colorful buttons and sashes, and other forms of visual rhetoric to achieve the aims of the movement.

Most other suffrage organizations in America at that time were more conservative in their methods, some leaders even fearing that it was out of place for women to engage in public demonstrations until Blatch and Paul began to achieve success. Blatch borrowed not only the name of her Union from Pankhurst’s, but also copied its official colors of purple green and white, which created far more visual impact than the subdued yellow of the National Woman Suffrage Association. One of her buttons records Pankhurst’s famous slogan, “Deeds Not Words.”

Blatch very early on saw, as did the leadership of the WSPU, that merchandising the movement could contribute significantly in advancing its aims, In July of 1910, the Equality League, prior to its transformation into the Union later that year, erected a suffrage newsstand in front of its headquarters at 43 East Twenty-Second Street in New York City, where members sold suffrage ribbons, buttons, and post cards, as well as suffrage tracts. In addition to serving as a source of income, the newsstand gave a strong visual presence of suffrage to passersby, serving as a clever form of advertising for both the Union and the movement, even for those who had no interest in purchasing anything.

Later in 1913, the WPU experimented with another form of suffrage shop located outside of its headquarters, and rented a downtown storefront in New York City, where a daily program of suffrage speeches and events took place. Most other suffrage organizations such as NAWSA either had or were eventually to establish their own suffrage shops, but these generally were maintained inside of headquarters; the WPU shop, on the other hand, was a separate entity, allowing for all sorts of display possibilities in its windows to attract the public. . .

COMING SOON: Part II of Ken’s article on suffrage wagons, plus new video from his postcard collection featuring horse-drawn suffrage wagons. Check out Ken’s web site. His book on suffrage memorabilia is due for publication in 2013. Image above: Library of Congress.