Tag Archives: Votes for Women

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

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

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

Martial arts enthusiasts jump on suffragette bandwagon! Check out Bonnie Smith during Women’s History Month

Mrs-Pankhursts-Amazons-teaser-graphic-updated1Mrs. Pankhurst’s Amazons is a three-part graphic novel by martial arts master Tony Wolf scheduled to be published by 47North, the science fiction, horror and fantasy imprint of Amazon Publishing. The trilogy takes place in 1914 and features the adventures of English suffragette Persephone Wright who leads a society of radical suffragettes known as the Amazons who are skilled in Bartitisu. See the web site for the 2014 publishing schedule not available at the time of this posting.

If there’s a community resource to admire, it’s Bonnie Smith and HistorySmiths. Bonnie’s not only passionate about women’s history, but she’s also a terrific resource for individuals, families, organizations, businesses and anyone else interested in featuring history storytelling and benefitting from it. If you can’t launch a history storytelling project yourself, check with Bonnie Smith. She consults, gives presentations, writes articles and books. What a powerhouse!

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement during Women’s History Month!

Suffragette fashion highlighted at New York Fashion Week

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

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

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

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

Australian currency

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

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

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“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.

VIDEO Special for Hot Tea Month: “How to make a cup of tea”

Video: "How to make a cup of tea"

VIDEO for “Hot Tea Month” is “How to make a cup of tea.” It’s Suffrage Wagon Cooking School’s contribution to reducing the effects of cabin fever and the cold front impacting most of the nation.

In other news and commentary: We’re going into a year when it’s difficult to get much at all passed through the U.S. Congress. Various battles over voting rights are expected to set a trend in which the act of voting may become even more difficult for students, the poor andethnic minorities. At Suffrage Wagon we’re celebrating what it took to win the vote. Not even a hundred years have passed since that accomplishment. It’s expected to be a challenging year.

Meanwhile, let’s party with hot tea and sweets by inviting over our friends and family to celebrate women’s freedom to vote, although there are numerous vested interests that we stay behind in the kitchen. If so, let’s party in the kitchen and declare all attempts to suppress our vote as unacceptable.

HSSM_2014CalcoverCalendars have a relatively short shelf life in the marketplace. But it’s a close companion as the year passes. It’s still not too late to buy a 2014 Suffrage Calendar. This is the Howland Stone Store Museum’s first calendar of its type and what a treasure. See ordering information on the web site.

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“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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can the Women’s Rights Trail become a reality?

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

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

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

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

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

3-StatueSenecaVisitorsCenter-300x160

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free ebook and new books for today: Suffrage Bookshelf

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

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

Suffrage Wagon Bookshelf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elizabeth Cady Stanton's piano

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Marguerite and Olivia on their travels for LetsRockTheCradle.

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

Suffrage Wagon News Notes: October 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

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

MusingWagonby Marguerite Kearns

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

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

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

BONDED THROUGH WEARING EDNA’S CLOTHES

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

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

GRASSROOTS ACTIVIST AT TURN OF 20TH CENTURY

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

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

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

“Spirit of 1776″ by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Part III

Independence Hall, PhiladelphiaThe continuing story of the suffragists’ demonstration at the nation’s centennial celebration in Philadelphia in early July 1876.

by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

. . . With this rebuff, Mrs. Mott and I decided that we would not accept the offered seats, but would be ready to open our own convention called for that day, at the First Unitarian church. But some of our younger coadjutors decided that they would occupy the seats and present our Declaration of Rights. They said truly, women will be taxed to pay the expenses of this celebration, and we have as good a right to that platform and to the ears of the people as the men have, and we will be heard. That historic Fourth of July dawned at last, one of the most oppressive days of that heated season. Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Sara Andrews Spencer, Lillie Devereux Blake, and Phcebe W. Couzins made their way through the crowds under the broiling sun of Independence Square, carrying the Woman’s Declaration of Rights.

This Declaration had been handsomely engrossed by one of their number, and signed by the oldest and most prominent advocates of woman’s enfranchisement. Their tickets of admission proved an “open sesame” through the military barriers, and, a few moments before the opening of the ceremonies, these women found themselves within the precincts from which most of their sex were excluded. The Declaration of 1776 was read by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, about whose family clusters so much historic fame. The moment he finished reading was determined upon as the appropriate time for the presentation of the Woman’s Declaration. Not quite sure how their approach might be met, not quite certain if, at this final moment, they would be permitted to reach the presiding officer, those ladies arose and made their way down the aisle.

The bustle of preparation for the Brazilian hymn covered their advance. The foreign guests and the military and civil officers who filled the space directly in front of the speaker’s stand, courteously made way, while Miss Anthony, in fitting words, presented the Declaration to the presiding officer. Senator Ferry’s face paled as, bowing low, with no word he received the Declaration, which thus became part of the day’s proceedings. The ladies turned, scattering printed copies as they deliberately walked down from the platform. On every side eager hands were outstretched, men stood on seats and asked for them, while General Hawley, thus defied and beaten in his audacious denial to women of the right to present their Declaration, shouted, “Order, order!”

For more information, visit the Suffrage Wagon platform at suffragewagon.org This year is the 165th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention. Join us in a special celebration: a video, a book review, and links when planning a visit to Seneca Falls, NY. Part IV, the final installment of this suffrage series, coming soon.

Suffrage Wagon features news and stories, events. One recent suffrage centennial acknowledged the first journey of the “Spirit of 1776″ campaign wagon used in New York City and on Long Island.

August 26th is Women’s Equality Day!

2-BannerFirst, there’s the preparation for the celebration you’re going to have on or about August 26th, Women’s Equality Day. The National Women’s History Project has all sorts of cool things to buy to make things easy.

Women's Equality Day posterBalloons, posters, buttons. Guests love take home items and prancing around wearing buttons. You add the invitations, the goodies, and a place. And then see what happens!

Women's Equality Day logo

Watch Suffrage Wagon for an August 26th video and audio. Check us out on Twitter and Facebook. Our YouTube channel gets attention. Join us!

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

New York State Legislative Resolution for the “Spirit of 1776″ Wagon Day in NYS

editWagonState of New York Legislative Resolution (Senate:2421, Assembly:642)

Whereas, New York State is the cradle for the women’s rights movement in the United States and it is critically important to celebrate women’s history as well as support programs that build economic development through cultural and heritage tourism, including the development of a New York State Women’s Heritage Trail,

Whereas, A Governor’s Capitol women’s exhibit in 2012 pointed out how New York’s women led the way from “Seneca Falls to the Supreme Court” and the exhibit showcased a horse-drawn campaign wagon called the “Spirit of 1776” that was used in parades and special events on Long Island and New York City,

Whereas, This “Spirit of 1776” suffrage campaign wagon is held in the collection of the New York State Museum and it is a prime historical artifact symbolizing the significance of New York women’s participation in the suffrage movement over a 72-year period starting in 1848 in Seneca Falls, NY and ending with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920,

Whereas, Attendant to such interest in our history, and in full accord with its long-standing traditions, this Assembled Body is justly proud to memorialize the “Spirit of 1776” wagon as it celebrates the centennial of its first journey for freedom on July 1, 1913 when the wagon left the state headquarters of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association in Manhattan and headed to Long Island for a month of grassroots organizing for the vote, in addition to later appearances in New York City suffrage parades,

Whereas, Celebration of this “Spirit of 1776” wagon centennial is in alignment with the Legislative Women’s Caucus of New York State’s mission to educate citizens of New York State by celebrating our rich cultural heritage and advancing the centennial of New York Stare’s women winning the vote in 1917, followed by the national suffrage centennial in 2020,

Whereas, Celebration of the Spirit of 1776” wagon celebration is in alignment with the State of New York‘s “ Path Through History “ program that includes women’s rights as one of the 13 identified themes building on New York’s already robust heritage tourism attractions,

Whereas, The mission of Votes For Women 2020 is to celebrate, educate, inspire, and promote the history of women’s right to vote with a focus on the past and an eye to the future with the goals of preserving and promoting NYS history sites, including but not limited to the Susan B. Anthony House, Matilda Joslyn Gage Home, Harriet Tubman Home and others; creating a NYS Women’s Heritage Trail with the “Spirit of 1776” wagon” inaugurating that trail; and hosting national celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote in 2020, beginning in 2017 with the centennial of women gaining the right to vote in New York State,

Resolved, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to memorialize Governor Andrew Cuomo to proclaim July 1, 2013 as the “Spirit of 1776” Wagon Day in the State of New York ; and be it further Resolved, That a copy of this Resolution, suitable, engrossed, be transmitted to the Honorable Andrew Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York.

Adopted in Senate on June 18, 2013
Adopted in Assembly on June 18, 2013
State of New York Legislative Resolution

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.

For more information about Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Visit our main platform and subscribe. Postings twice a week and a special newsletter four times a year.

News of suffragette sit-com and many updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The 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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Suffrage News Alert and Tara Bloyd reviews “Marching with Aunt Susan”

NEWS ALERT: Two suffrage programs on UK television. One is a documentary on suffragette Emily Davison TODAY that can be viewed online. Details soon. The other show is a three-episode suffrage sitcom, “Up the Women” (see trailer) that starts this coming Thursday, May 30th. See overview and episode summaries: #1, #2, #3. And now for Suffrage Bookshelf:

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Marching With Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women’s Suffrage, by Claire Rudolph Murphy, illustrated by Stacey Schuett.  2011: Peachtree Publishers.

Review by Tara Bloyd

I thoroughly enjoyed Marching With Aunt Susan.  Based on the 1896 campaign in California, the book focuses on events in the life of an actual ten-year-old girl, Bessie Keith Pond.  In this story, Bessie’s belief in the suffrage cause is precipitated by two closely-related events: her father refuses to take her hiking with her older brothers because “strenuous exercise is not for girls,” and her mother suggests helping with a suffrage tea instead.

SUSAN B. ANTHONY,  NOT OLD AND CRABBY AT ALL

Looking at a newspaper picture of Susan B. Anthony, Bessie thinks the suffrage leader looks old and crabby; she soon learns differently, though, and is inspired by Anthony’s statement that “Women’s votes can help change the world.”  Bessie attends rallies, works in the suffrage office, visits a factory where young women work in poor conditions, marches in a parade, and more.   I found the story, told in first person, compelling.

The book tells of the long, dedicated quest for votes for women, and is all the more poignant because it concentrates on an unsuccessful aspect of the long campaign.  Bessie is lucky because her family is supportive – her aunt was a leader in both campaigns, her father buys her a new white dress when hers is destroyed by an egg splattered on it during a march and realizes over the course of the book that Bessie should be able to go hiking with the family, her mother is in a position to host teas honoring and attended by Anthony, etc.

But even from her privileged position Bessie still faces challenges: her friend’s father rules the family and won’t let her participate in marches, onlookers at the march both verbally and physically heckle participants, Bessie talks with factory girls her own age, and, of course, California’s men vote against suffrage.

REALISTIC, NOT SIMPLISTIC VIEW OF THE STRUGGLE

I appreciate that the book shows a realistic view of the struggle and how important it was to not give up even after major setbacks; Bessie’s mother is determined to learn how to ride a bike after the defeat (because “Aunt Susan says that a bicycle gives a woman freedom”). And the book ends with Bessie suggesting to her father: “Sunday there’s a rally for the next suffrage campaign.  Come march with Mama and Me.”

The richly-colored illustrations are expressive and enjoyable and definitely add to the story.  Even though it’s a picture book, Marching with Aunt Susan doesn’t talk down to readers.   The historical information in the back of the book tells quite a lot in a fairly limited space: we learn about Bessie’s life, about California’s suffrage campaign and suffrage history in general, and about Susan B. Anthony’s life and work.

The section of Further Resources for Young Readers includes book and website recommendations, and photographs and copies of various documents are both on the endpapers and scattered through the historical information.   I strongly recommend adding Marching With Aunt Susan to any suffrage library, and I think it would be an excellent introduction to the suffrage movement for any children who find stories more interesting than facts.  (Wouldn’t that be almost all of them?)

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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.

Suffrage movement gets wheels: Part II

by Kenneth Florey

Suffragists in America also promoted automobile tours as a way of advertising “Votes for Women.” The most famous trip was that of Alice Snitzer Burke and Nell Richardson in 1916.  The pair left New York on April 6, accompanied by their new kitten called “Mascot,” to make a circuit of the United States on behalf of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.

The Saxon Motor Company donated their car, and NAWSA arranged for their expenses and entertainment along the way. They reached San Francisco in June.  In reporting on their activities to the delegates at NAWSA’s annual convention in September in Atlantic City, Esther Ogden exuded delight in recounting the dangers and depredations the pair faced along the way.  They crossed a desert and traveled through the Bad Lands of the Northwest.  They were along the Mexican border during the raids, and their car had to be pulled out of the river during floods.  In all of this, they maintained their courage and were able to elicit nationwide newspaper coverage for the movement.

By the time Burke and Richardson had returned to New York later in the year, Mascot had grown from a kitten to a cat.  The Saxon Company picked up on their success and featured the two in a magazine advertisement headed “Two Noted Suffragists Travel 10,000 Miles in a Saxon Roadster.” While the ad did note that the journey proved the “ease” with which the car could be handled, it also demonstrated that the car, and, by implication, women, could surmount “every obstacle of road and weather.”

Suffrage auto trip across countryNAWSA issued a post card that pictured Burke and Richardson in their “Golden Flier” Saxon, with the names of some of the cities they had visited painted on the side of the car. Although some conservative suffragists maintained that they wanted the right to vote and nothing more, it is clear that the issue of the franchise was not an isolated one but part of a larger tapestry of social change and a re-clarification of the roles of men and women in our culture.

Part I of the suffrage auto story by Kenneth Florey that you may have missed!

NEW VIDEO: Automobiles used in the suffrage movement, with photos from the postcard collection of author Kenneth Florey, as well as the Library of Congress. Ken’s book on suffrage memorabilia is due for publication in 2013. Suffrage Wagon has a YouTube channel that specializes in short feature videos about the movement.

COMING SOON: The centennial of Emily Davison, English suffrage martyr. The case is still controversial after 100 years!

Suffrage auto video plus article & News Notes from all over (Part I)

NewsNotesMay2013Part I of Kenneth Florey’s article of suffrage automobiles is available NOW: “Suffrage Autos: A new form of freedom.” Automobiles became hot items during the suffrage movement because grassroots organizing became more efficient. Ken Florey makes this point. He’s the author of an upcoming book on suffrage memorabilia, and he’s also the Suffrage Wagon columnist who has documented the connection between tea and the Votes for Women movement.  Coming Soon: Part II of Ken Florey’s article about when the suffrage movement got wheels.

The new one-minute Suffrage Wagon video highlights the suffrage automobiles Ken writes about. Many of the images are from his suffrage postcard collection. If you’re receiving this posting by email, you might not be able to see the video player that’s embedded here. Click through on the link above! Just a minute of your time. It will be worth it. I promise.

When things are heating up on the suffrage front –like they are– I’m struggling to keep up with suffrage news notes. I’m behind (again), but there’s more to come in the next few postings.

News notes in this first round of May include: Norway’s women celebrate 100 years of women voting. #1. #2. Women still can’t vote in the Vatican. #1. #2. One hundred years ago in Troy, NY. #1. #2. South Dakota native Carey Graeber stands up for Dorothy. #1. #2. Another great block for the suffrage quilt project. #1. #2. Another try at getting a Congressional medal for suffragist Alice Paul. #1. #2. Alice Paul’s copy of Betty Friedan book. #1. #2. Margaret Thatcher and suffragettes in one breath. #1. #2. Susan B. Anthony birthplace attracting visitors. #1. #2. A pitch to visit the Susan B. Anthony House in NYS. #1. #2. Telling women’s stories at historic sites. #1. The importance of storytelling. #1.Women’s exhibit at New York State Capitol. #1. #2. 

Check in with our magazine platform. You’ll see that the content changes often. And if an overview of Suffrage Wagon is what you crave, we have this as well. Suffrage Wagon’s videos can be found on Vimeo and YouTube.

A new form of freedom for suffragists in automobiles, Part I by Kenneth Florey

PART I: Women, Cars, and the Suffrage Movement

Early on in the history of the modern suffrage movement, there was a strong connection between the development of the automobile and its adaptation by suffragist activists.  In part, cars were functional and could be used by various movement organizations to ferry workers from campaign office to campaign office and from rally to rally.

In 1911, for instance, the wealthy American socialite, Mary Dodge, gave Emmeline Pankhurst of the English Women’s Social and Political Union a new Wolseley that allowed her to travel to suffrage events with not only her luggage but also with WSPU literature and other materials that proved helpful when she delivered her speeches.Emmeline Pankhurst

This functional purpose was also a reflection of the emergence of women in public life, an emergence that was recognized not only by the suffragists themselves but also by manufacturers who saw the possibilities of a profitable new market.  The Peerless “38-Six” car was promoted in magazine advertisements as early as 1912 as “most satisfying for women to drive” because of its electric starting and easy steering. In 1915, American suffragists presented NAWSA’S President, Anna Howard Shaw, with a Saxon automobile, painted in the suffrage color of yellow. The company went on to maintain loose ties with the movement, directing some of its advertising not only to suffrage workers in particular but also to women in general.

Photo from the collection of Kenneth FloreySo closely was the Saxon to become identified with the movement that a song published in 1915 by Ella Lowe and Edward Johnson called “November” heralded the use of the car for suffrage activities: “In a Saxon built for two I will save a place for you in asking for the franchise next November.” Automobiles driven by women were to become a standard feature in suffrage parades, serving not only as floats but perhaps also as a not-so-subtle message pertaining to the liberation of womanhood.

After all, it was not that long ago that even women on bicycles were subject to intense derision and mockery. President Grover Cleveland forbade the wives of his cabinet members from riding bicycles, and Belva Lockwood, candidate for President in 1884 and 1888, was lampooned in the press for her use of a tricycle that she used to save time when she conducted her business rounds.  In England, Emmeline Pankhurst’s driver, Aileen Preston, was the first woman to qualify for the Automobile Association Certificate in Driving, so new even there was the concept of the freedom of women to command their own automobiles and thus their own movement.

COMING SOON: Part II about automobiles and the suffrage movement. ALSO, video about suffrage automobiles. Articles by author Kenneth Florey during May 2013 about automobiles and horse-drawn wagons used in the suffrage movement. Ken’s web page and order form for his book. Images from the suffrage memorabilia collection of Kenneth Florey.

Check out new features in Suffrage Wagon News Channel this month.

“Suffrage Books for Young Audiences” by Tara Bloyd

We The People: Great Women of the Suffrage Movement.4133IwK-JuL._  By Dana Meachen Rau, Compass Point Books,  2006.

This 48-page book includes biographies of several women involved in the fight for suffrage, each with a tagline.  (Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Mother of the Movement; Lucy Stone: Speaking State to State; Ida B. Wells-Barnett: Proud to March; etc)  Aimed at a fairly young audience (I’d guess 2nd-3rd grade), the book takes a somewhat simplistic view of the challenges these women faced.  That said, the women chosen to profile give a nice overview of the movement.

Great Women of the Suffrage Movement is part of the We The People series of books, which is designed to “explor[e] every era of U.S. history – from pre-colonial to modern times. This exciting series examines key events that have shaped the course of the nation, while clearly defining their place in history.”  Other books in the series discuss the Lowell Mill Girls, the Harlem Renaissance, the Haymarket Square Tragedy, etc. It looks like a useful series for learning a bit more about topics that are often glossed over otherwise.

This book is an option for children interested in the quest for suffrage who’ve moved beyond picture books but aren’t yet ready for more complex works. It could also be a quick reference for teachers who want to teach a basic unit to early-grade children, as it includes such useful bits as a map showing women in each state were granted at least basic suffrage, a timeline of the struggle, and suggestions for additional research. I enjoyed reading the book, and would recommend it to the right audience.

(As a side note, almost every book I’ve reviewed thus far is available at our local library; never overlook the power of the library!)

If you’re reading this posting with an email subscription, you’re missing the rich graphics and many videos that are available on Suffrage Wagon News Channel. We have a YouTube channel and videos are also available on Vimeo. A good place to begin is “Debby recommends these Suffrage Wagon videos” that gives an overview of recent short works (most one minute or less) that highlight the suffrage wagon’s centennial in 2013 and other relevant topics. Subscribe.

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

suffrage_wagone_high_res copy

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

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

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

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

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Palm readings as a suffragette fundraiser: Suffrage Bookshelf

campaigning-for-the-vote-cover

“Woman and her Sphere” is a blog and web site created and maintained by Elizabeth Crawford (UK researcher, writer, and dealer in women’s books and ephemera). She is not only on the search for great material, but she’s immersed in it. Her blog contains many features, including a diary entry of an English suffrage volunteer who read palms at a suffrage bazaar and fundraiser.

The diary, recently republished, details the life of a grassroots activist, Kate Frye. Wrap-around paper covers, 226 pp, over 70 illustrations, all drawn from Kate Frye’s personal archive and edited by Elizabeth Crawford.  Copies available from Francis Boutle Publishers, or from Elizabeth Crawford: e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk

Elizabeth Crawford not only has a passion for suffrage books, she also sells them. Check out a recent catalog. You might find something you never knew you wanted.

Find out about Suffrage Wagon’s new videos. Our videos now on a YouTube channel. More information about Suffrage Wagon.

Suffrage Films: “The Suffragette” and “The Militant Suffragette”

Watch Charlie Chaplin portray a suffragette in drag in this 1914 film called “A Busy Day,” which was also called “The Militant Suffragette.”

Film, a novelty at the start of the 20th century, received news coverage, and a film shown by the “antis” caused quite a commotion: “The Militant Suffragette.” This 1914 article is about Nellie, the militant suffragette, who made the “antis” blush. Interesting article about suffrage silent films. Another video, below, about suffrage and silent film is worth taking a look.

Excellent film and video about suffrage is highlighted on  “Crash Course on the Suffrage Movement.” Check out our magazine platform.

And Doris recommends videos from Suffrage Wagon. Yes, we’ve been busy producing videos of one minute or less to highlight the movement.

One hundred years ago suffragists knocked down doors: Part II

Suffrage Wagon Stories

by Marguerite Kearns

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

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

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

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

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

One hundred years ago on Long Island: Suffrage Stories

Suffrage Wagon Stories

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

by Marguerite Kearns

PART I:

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

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

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

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

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

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