Tag Archives: women’s suffrage

New Video and a peek into suffragist Alice Paul’s tea room


“The Grated Door” was the tea room for the National Woman’s Party. The selection below is from The Story of The Woman’s Party by Inez Haynes Irwin. 1921. LINK.

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

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

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

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

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Suffrage News Notes for January 2013

JanuaryNewsNotes

The 2013 winter issue of Suffrage Wagon’s quarterly newsletter is on the stands. LINK.

SuffrageWomen’s History Month in March 2013 is off to a great start with a suffrage centennial celebration in Washington, DC. For more information. Yeah!!! Sign up for email updates as the event approaches. LINK.

Suffrage Wagon News Channel has a YouTube channel. LINK.

New York needs to connect history with public policy. LINK. DAR suffrage exhibit in Washington, DC during March. LINK. Open letter to the women of Seneca Falls. LINK. PDF. A transgender woman visits the Susan B. Anthony House to learn more about what it means to be a woman. LINK.

Did Susan B. Anthony oppose abortion? Interview with Deborah Hughes, executive director of Susan B. Anthony House. LINK. More Votes for Women quilt design updates. LINK. PDF. The Catholic church and its suffrage history. LINK. PDF. The franchise in Egypt today. LINK. PDF. Young Canadian woman in politics. LINK. PDF.

In the event you missed some of January 2013’s special Suffrage Wagon features –here they are: The strange story of the Governor’s wife –video and story. LINK. Suffrage icon Joan of Arc. LINK. Special tribute to suffrage leader Alice Paul on her January 11th birthday. LINK. Author Ken Florey’s special features on suffrage tea memorabilia. LINK #1. LINK #2.

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Have a cup of tea with your suffrage scone!

800px-Tea_and_scones_2It’s National Hot Tea Month. SWNC special features help celebrate the ways in which tea played an important part in the suffrage movement. Today we only have a vague idea of the tea culture which played such an important part of the lives of our ancestors. If Downton Abbey is your passion, it’s difficult to get past an episode without afternoon tea playing a central role. The English suffrage movement is referred to only briefly in Downton Abbey. Considering that the series addresses shifting gender and class issues, I would have liked to have seen the suffrage movement have more of a place in the overall period drama of Downton Abbey.

Upcoming in January 2013: a two-part series about suffrage tea memorabilia by Ken Florey, author of Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia; a feature on Alice Paul’s tea house, a tea leaf reading by Marie Knight, and more.

Videos on tea can set the mood:

LINK to tea resources.

If you like these upcoming features, make sure you don’t miss them. Subscribe. Also, don’t forget the special tribute to Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Doris Stevens. LINK.

Photo by Jeremy Keith.

Alice Paul’s birthday on January 11th!

AlicePaul

Suffragist Alice Paul’s birthday is on January 11th, and it’s also Alice Paul Day.

We have a NEW special feature highlighting Lucy Burns, Doris Stevens, and Alice Paul.

LINK to Suffrage Wagon News Channel’s tribute to Alice, Lucy, and Doris.

Special links with more information: Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, DC (the home of the National Woman’s Party) LINK and the Alice Paul Institute in Mount Laurel, New Jersey LINK.

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It’s the birthday of Joan of Arc, icon of the suffrage movement!

Happy birthday, Joan! Joan of Arc was important to the suffrage movement, here and in England, and possibly other places in the world. Just type in “suffrage movement” and “Joan of Arc” and you’ll see what I mean. In England, Joan was openly acknowledged as the patron saint of the suffrage movement. In the HBO film, “Iron Jawed Angels,” the above clip features Inez Milholland on a horse evoking the commitment and leadership of Joan of Arc.

Inez Milholland on her horse leading U.S. suffrage parades evoked Joan of Arc more than any other single individual who took on the role. Inez was a familiar figure in suffrage parades (see image left, below) on her horse. The association was, in part drama and beauty, plus a heavy dose of symbolism to evoke strength and courage from the parade participants.

Check out the video trailer from “Iron Jawed Angels,” the HBO film about the suffrage movement.

“Iron Jawed Angels” is primarily about Alice Paul and only briefly highlights Inez Milholland. Nonetheless, the film grows in value with the passage of time.

If you’re planning afternoon tea and choosing an occasion worthy of friends and family arriving for the occasion, Joan of Arc’s birthday is perfect –especially if your activism project is in need of a resource of strength and resolve.

More information about Inez Milholland: Link

For curriculum materials relative to the use of “Iron Jawed Angels” in the classroom, check out “Teach with Movies.”

Suffrage Wagon News Channel has posting updates twice a week, as well as updates four times a year with the SWNC quarterly newsletter.

The ghosts of suffrage ancestors got Nancy Pelosi in trouble!

US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was teased in 2012. She was attacked. Some commentators suggested that she had a serious mental disorder. What’s behind such a vehement reaction?

Pelosi suggested that she’d been in communication with some of our most revered ancestors who struggled for women’s right to vote. Suffrage ancestors reportedly whispered in Pelosi’s ear about how women finally had a seat at the table of power and as a result, the suffrage spirits crowded in to witness the proceedings.

An animation short produced by an off-shore production company seems rather suspicious in terms of its origin and motivation, considering that Nancy Pelosi and our suffrage ancestors is a relatively obscure story associated with American politics. The video is worth watching, however, if only to cheer on Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and other activists. Not mentioned in the feedback is an apparently long tradition at the White House of staff and others witnessing ghosts.

Anecdotes and references to these famous suffrage ancestors were recorded at Pelosi’s speeches over time. No one in the audience threw tomatoes at her. It isn’t often when US political figures even mention the suffrage movement, though it’s happening more often these days as awareness of the long and difficult struggle to win the vote for women becomes more mainstream.

ARE YOU DESCENDED FROM A NATIONAL WOMAN’S PARTY ACTIVIST?  Get in touch with The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association. LINK

LAST-MINUTE DONATION TO SUFFRAGE MEMORIAL: LINK

Stay up to date with suffrage news and stories and the long and difficult struggle for the 19th amendment to the US Constitution. We wish everyone a happy New Year!

“Christmas in 1823,” a story by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Hioliday

by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The winter gala days are associated in my memory with hanging up stockings, and with turkeys, mince pies, sweet cider, and sleigh rides by moonlight. My earliest recollections of those happy days, when schools were closed, books laid aside, and unusual liberties allowed, center in that large cellar kitchen to which I have already referred. There we spent many winter evenings in uninterrupted enjoyment. MORE STORY

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Images: Holiday cookies by Miyagawa; Christmas pudding by Musical Linguist; Holiday ornament by Hmbascom.

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Ideas: Marguerite’s Musings

Huddling under the covers mornings until the last minute like me because it’s so cold? Still trying to dig your way out of the snow in the driveway? Needing some last-minute gift ideas for the suffrage buff in your life?

It’s freezing here and the snow hasn’t cleared from my back yard. But more gift ideas are coming in. One idea is the music CD by Bob Warren featuring Susan B. Anthony. “Only the Message Mattered” is available on CD Baby and Amazon. You can listen to mp3 samples online. For more information.

bobwarren4Check out our special page with gift ideas for the suffrage buff in your life.

Find out about Grandmother Edna’s birthday on December 25th. She’ll be 120 years old.

Video wishing Suffrage Wagon News Channel a happy third birthday during December 2012.

Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel and don’t miss updates during 2013. Don’t forget to check out our regularly-updated magazine page.

It has been a good year!

Suffrage Wagon News Channel

Suffrage Wagon News Channel

Grandmother Edna’s birthday each year is on December 25th. Other news and stories:

“Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon used by Edna Kearns on exhibit in Albany, NY for six months in 2012. American apple pie wasn’t sacred to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. California women have been voting for 100 years. Guest bloggers, news notes, and book reviews were special features in 2012. Action in the world today. Book reviews. New features and video. A Christmas story by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Upcoming book about suffrage memorabilia. The story behind Grandmother Edna’s suffrage wagon. Op-Ed wagon piece by Olivia Twine. New Video: “This Wet and Wrinkled Paper.” Viral suffrage email. Suffrage movement quilting. The UK had a Suffragette Summer School. Demonstration about suffrage at the 2012 Olympics. Virtual birthday party for Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Kansas almost didn’t have a suffrage centennial except for writer Tom Mach. More about Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Link #1. Link #2.  Women voters thank their suffrage ancestors VIDEO. Holiday gifts for your suffrage buff.

Film and video is how many people learn about the suffrage movement. Suffrage wagon storytelling at Hudson River Playback Theatre. Suffrage hikers to Washington, DC captured on film. Mother’s Day interview about Grandmother Edna Kearns. “Holding the Torch for Liberty” suffrage musical gala in Manhattan. Behind the scenes of great suffrage music video, “Bad Romance.” Audio interview about Edna Buckman Kearns in Chick History series.

Alice Paul, the most overlooked civil rights leader of the 20th century. Do you know about “Suffrage Buffs of America”? Suffrage Wagon quarterly newsletter: The Fall 2012 quarterly newsletter.  Summer 2012 issue. Spring 2012. Suffrage Wagon highlighted in ElectWomen magazine.  Albany, NY women’s exhibit had the “Spirit of 1776.”Grandmother Edna makes “New York History.” Article in “Albany Kid,” by Tara Bloyd about Edna and Serena Kearns. A holiday story by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Art work of the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon by Peter Sinclair. Spice Cake for High Tea from a Suffragist CookbookValentine’s Day stories about suffrage. New Suffrage Wagon videos. Check out the SWNC archive.

Make a New Year’s resolution to subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel in 2013.

Happy Birthday, Grandmother Edna Kearns!

ColumnMKMarguerite’s Musings:

Grandmother Edna was born on Christmas day in 1882. My mother told me how Edna hated having her birthday on Christmas. She claimed to always get shirt shrift as a child when it came to gifts and attention on her birthday.

For Edna, Christmas meant books as gifts; each book contained sweet messages from family members. Edna’s gifts of books to her two daughters on Christmases past ended up in my hands as an eager young reader with the date on the inside cover and a Merry Christmas from “Dearie,” which is how her daughters addressed her, and not “Mother.” Oh, what a scandal it was in those days not to call one’s mother by her role. I loved the Louisa May Alcott series starting with Little Women, all the way through to  Jo’s Boys.

Christmas meant holly and mistletoe to Grandmother Edna, plus hand-made sachets of dried roses and lavender, storytelling next to the fireplace as holiday tree candles burned on Christmas eve and the kitchen buzzed with talk of fruitcake, candied pineapple and citrus… MORE of the article!

Marguerite’s Musings is a feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Special feature for the upcoming holidays: Gifts for the suffrage buff in your life.

Amelia Bloomer: a book review, a song on video, and more by Tara Bloyd

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer, by Shana Corey; Chelsey McLaren ill.  Scholastic Press, 2000.

by Tara Bloyd

Aimed at young children, this short picture book presents the story of Amelia Bloomer and her eponymous outfit in a simple, direct fashion.  The illustrations are bright and compelling, and are set off by a generous amount of white space.  The book contrasts Amelia Bloomer with the “proper ladies” who surrounded her – women who were not supposed to work or vote, and who wore dresses that required 20-30 yards of fabric just for the skirt.  The fact that Amelia didn’t invent bloomers – something that many people do not know – is clearly stated and is important.  As editor of the woman’s newspaper The Lily, Amelia’s championing of the short skirt and baggy pantaloons to replace cumbersome, socially-approved dresses was crucial to their popularization, and the book shows how both men and women reacted to the new clothing option.

I found the Author’s Note at the end of the book the most compelling part; it provides additional information about Amelia Bloomer’s life and times that couldn’t really be discussed within the parameters of a book for young children.  As an introduction to the issues facing women in the 19th century, though, the book is a good addition to suffrage-related libraries.

SuffBookShelf

The life and writings of Amelia Bloomer are available as a free ebook. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Surprise the suffrage buff in your life this holiday season!

GUEST BLOGGER Ken Florey describes the background of writing his book in a special column for Suffrage Wagon News Channel. See his special blog posting.

Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study by Kenneth Florey will be published by McFarland Press in April/May of 2013. Order now and give as a holiday gift. This gift idea doesn’t have instant gratification, but it has substance guaranteed to last throughout the year.Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study, consists of a discussion of over 70 different types of memorabilia produced by activists to promote the cause, including postcards, buttons, ribbons, sashes, sheet music, china, and toys and games. The book relies on numerous period references to discuss the importance of memorabilia to the movement, and includes fascinating stories about individual objects. With over 215 photographs, many in color, this work is intended for suffrage buffs, as well as collectors and historians.

Book highlights include stories, in particular the suffrage prisoner who was accused of “biting” her warden when the official tried to rip off her blouse and was stuck by a suffrage pin. There’s the tale of the anti-suffragist who wrote to the Times, complaining that suffrage workers were essentially soliciting sex by having “pretty young girls” sell suffrage pencils on the street.  And among others, the Wall Street broker who hawked colorful suffrage pins on the sidewalk much like stocks to the delight of the crowds surrounding him. AND MORE. See Ken’s article on the writing of his book, a special feature of SWNC.

Women’s Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study can be ordered in advance through the publisher, as well as Amazon. Check out Ken’s web site.

Gift ideas from the National Women’s History Project. Do you have holiday gift ideas for suffrage buffs? Send them to us. 

Visit suffragewagon.org

Suffrage Notes include Bob Weible on history, sainthood for suffragist, and much more

“Hey, people like history. Some love it. They read books, go to history-themed movies, visit museums and historic sites, preserve buildings, research their family genealogies, participate in re-enactments, support local historical societies, and hold never-ending debates about historical subjects that matter to them. History is fun, yes, and even entertaining. But it’s more than that. A good history program educates people and makes them better citizens. It builds an appreciation for our sense of place and raises the quality of life for everyone. And it helps promote economic growth.” Bob Weible is the state historian of NY. The resources of the state library, museum and archives are available online. LINK PDF

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Trolling the internet for suffrage news involves visiting a variety of online sites. I wouldn’t have expected the Catholic Church, for example, to consider sainthood for suffragist Dorothy Day who served jail time for the vote.  LINK PDF  Unlikely reference to suffrage in green building post. LINK PDF  Quilters 2012 sew a block about universal suffrage. LINK Have you registered yet for One Billion Rising in February 2013? LINK

December newsletter for Sewall-Belmont House. Link #1. New Hampshire women stand on strong shoulders. Link #2. Link #2a. Rethinking voter registration. Link #3. Link #3a. Vote for grandmother. Link #4. Link #4a. Ulster’s suffrage centennial in Northern Ireland. Link #5. Link $5a. Formerly banned suffrage speech in the Bahamas. Link #6. Link #6a. Anniversary of woman’s suffrage in the Phillipines. Link #7.  2012 election outcome. Link #8. Link #8a.

Exhibit of Christmas cards with social themes, including suffrage. Link #9. Link #9a. Mark Twain support of suffrage included with other social issues. Link #10. Link #10a. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Hurricane Sandy. Link #11. The soul of voting and other civil rights movements shouldn’t be forgotten. Link #12. Link #12a. The Oregon suffrage centennial continues. Link #13. Link #13a. Women and the 2012 vote. Link #14.  Pews dedicated to Mrs. Pankhurst in the UK will have to be moved. Link #15. Link #15a. Susan B. Anthony remembered in Kansas. Link #16. Link #16a. People revisiting Emily Davison’s death in the UK. Link #17. Link #17a. Call for more suffrage scholarship in the UK. Link #18. Link #18a.  Anti Suffrage postcards important to study today. Link #19. Link #19a. More centennial events in Oregon. Link #20Link #21. Celebrating over tea Susan B. Anthony’s attempt to vote. Link #22.

Do you have suggestions for holiday gift ideas for suffrage buffs? Send your suggestions for us to feature by filling out this form. Is there an event, book on suffrage, a celebration you’d like the world to know more about? Send us your event or program press release.

Thanksgiving letter from Edna Buckman Kearns to her childhood friend Bessie

Thanksgiving 1904

Dear Bessie,  Remember the promise we made to each other before my June wedding about the two of us getting together at the Russian tea place over the Christmas holidays? Wilmer and I might come down to Philadelphia. And Mama and Papa are thinking about traveling up to New York, but no decision yet. If we make it home, I’ll be so happy to see you.

Being a married woman is so different than I ever imagined. A long train trip with Wilmer all the way to St. Louis for our honeymoon was exhausting enough, and I could barely concentrate on the exhibits and crowds at the world’s fair. We came back earlier than expected. Being in New York City makes me realize what a country girl I’ve been when it comes to becoming a woman and growing up overnight. I’ll get used to it, I suppose.

The two of us I must talk over tea. My mother’s generation is so much in the attic when it comes to things of this world. So New York is the best thing that’s happened to me. People speak languages I didn’t know existed, even though I studied geography and was convinced I knew it all.

The men Wilmer works with at the accounting firm had dinner at a restaurant downtown and took their wives along. One of them, who grew up in New Jersey, talked all through the meal about awful it is that women are allowed to vote in Wyoming and how nobody knows anymore whether a woman’s visit to a neighbor is to solicit votes or get support to run for political office.

I laughed, but only to myself. Have been taking the bus now and then for meetings about women voting. Getting used to New York and being married is plenty for now because I tire easily. My fingers are crossed for the two of us having tea over the holidays.

Thy loving friend, Edna

SEND YOUR SUGGESTIONS FOR OUR HOLIDAY SUFFRAGE GIFT COLUMN. Fill out the Holiday Gift Suggestion form! Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Women who dared: “Her Hat Was in the Ring”

Jill Norgren, Kristen Gwinn-Becker, and Wendy Chmielewski are project directors for “Her Hat Was in the Ring: U.S. Women Elected to Political Office Before 1920,” a searchable database and web site showcasing 2,300 women who campaigned for and were elected to political office in over 40 states across the U.S. between 1869 and 1920. The web site is freely available and constantly being updated. There is information on the site about campaigns, political office, campaigns by state, and political party. Links to other sites about elected women and suffrage, as well as cartoons, postcards, and literature are also included.

GIVE FEEDBACK TO THE SUFFRAGE HOLIDAY GIFT COLUMN. Fill out the Holiday Gift Suggestion form! Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel.  Sign up for the quarterly newsletter. You’ll love the suffrage news notes, the special events and celebrations!

Wins for women in 2012 election, plus suffrage news notes!

Big wins for women in 2012 election. LINK  PDF  See also: LINK  Sign a petition designating a federal holiday to honor our suffrage ancestors. LINK. PDF. The election is over and women have made a mark on the landscape. Slide show of 92 years of women voting. LINK.

It has been quite a year. Women rising in all sorts of ways and in different directions. This weekend “Sister Giant” held an important conference in Los Angeles with an estimated 1,000 people in attendance and many more participating with streaming coverage.

I’ve been digging into Grandmother Edna’s stories. Reading her columns and the documentation of her suffrage organizing on Long Island and New York City has me submerged. When I come up for air — the story of Grandmother Edna Kearns continues. Yeah! Carry on!

The subject of suffrage  won’t go away in the here and now. There’s plenty  to consider in this news notes roundup. Seneca Falls Dialogues held in late October. LINK. PDF. Malala: the tragic case that reminds of serious work still to be done! LINK. PDF. One woman who opposes women voting today. LINK  PDF.

“American Suffragist in Africa” was a three-lecture course at the University of Cape Town about Rebecca Hourwich Reyher (1897-1987). Link #1.Link#1a.  Update on UK women’s library. Link #2.  Women’s history digital library is live. Link #3. Link #3a. Digital collection of women’s posters from the Center for Women’s Global Leadership. Link #4. Link #4a. Primary source digital collections for women’s history. Link #5.  Chapel that was key to suffrage movement. Link #6. Link #6a.

More on the suffrage quilt project. Link #7. Link #7a. Minnie Fisher Cunningham collection. Link #8. Link #8a. First woman to run for U.S. President. Link #9. Link #9a. Question as to why more women don’t run for public office. Link #10. Link #10a. Commentary about women as decoration in the past. Link #11. Link 11a. There’s nothing like the persistence of Bruce Dearstyne who’s holding New York State’s feet to the fire. See blog posting in New York History where Dearstyne poses provocative questions about New York’s commitment to its history.

Controversy about study claiming that women vote with their hormones. Link #12. Link #12a. A survey of women in advertising. Link #13. Link #13a. Important women’s suffrage lecture in Oregon. Link #14. Link #14a. Teaching accomplished women in college courses. Link #15. Link #15a. Seneca Falls Dialogues. Link #16. Link #16a. Importance of woman moderator at second presidential candidate debate. Link #17. Link #17a. Teaching about the suffrage movement can get sticky in Texas –review of a documentary. Link #18. Link #18a. Nominations for NYS women of history. Link #19. Link #19a. Writer Alice Walker has a new poem about “Democratic Womanism.” LINK.  The Statue of Liberty is closed indefinitely in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. LINKPDF

There’s a live link, plus a PDF in the event the live link is no longer available. Goodbye to broken links when it’s a matter of staying up to date with suffrage news and events. Enjoy!

Subscribe to the quarterly newsletter of Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Check in with the magazine platform.

“Your vote is magic,” Hurricane Sandy, and book reviews for young audiences

NEW FEATURE: Tara Bloyd’s suffrage book reviews for young audiences, a new column for Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Read Tara’s first review!

NEWS FLASH: Hurricane Sandy support. The Times Union of Albany NY ran a story questioning how Susan B. Anthony would vote in this 2012 presidential election? LINK  PDF Our long-time friend Teri Gay (whose comments can be found on this site in “Votes for Women Salon”) was interviewed for the Times Union article.

LAST MINUTE VOTING INFORMATION: Find out where you should go to vote, what will be on your ballot and the issues at stake (Vote411.org). For last minute questions, contact the National Voter Empowerment hotline at 866-698-6831. Make sure you have the right ID to vote (VoterID.me) and know your congressional district (My2012District.com).

“You Don’t Own Me,” a last-minute video appeal to women voters that has gone viral relative to issues affecting women.

SUFFRAGE BOOK SHELF HIGHLIGHTS: Kindle review blog highlights Suffrage Wagon News Channel.  Video (BELOW) and new book, “Your Vote is Magic,” a public affairs campaign by Lyn Dillies, one of the few women master illusionists.

Book on ballot bandits. National award for work on suffrage movement and the power of rhetoric. Five books for young readers recommended. Book outlines what life was like for our suffrage ancestors.  A book about the Pankhurst sisters and their relationship. A mystery novel with a suffragette as the victim. Another review of Sylvia Pankhurst, the rebellious suffragette. Writer hard at work researching life of Emily Davison. A book about the suffrage movement in Oregon. Link #2. Link #2a.

Seeing Suffrage: Voting, then and now is a new book to be published in 2013. Link #1Link #1a.

Amelia Bloomer Project is a committee of the American Library Association evaluating books about gender, including suffrage, geared to readers from birth to age 18. Find out more. The books that girls read are featured in this blog post.

If you’ve read a book that’s important to share, let us know. Contact us at suffragewagon at gmail. Check out the magazine platform of Suffrage Wagon News Channel and new features.

California women have been voting for US president for 100 years!

“Why We Women Must Vote in November: An Inspirational Story from the California Suffragists” by filmmaker Martha Wheelock

When we women vote for U.S. President this November, we mark the 100th anniversary of California women’s first vote for president, an election when 90 per cent of the rest of American women could NOT vote. While I was researching the story of California suffragists’ victory for the documentary film, California Women Win the Vote, I learned how they won the vote, and why this early suffrage victory made a difference in women’s lives. So, women voters, take heed of the lessons they showed us for this election season.

As we learn some much-needed women’s history, we know that women were not given the right to vote by founding fathers or by beneficent statesmen. Women had to WIN their right to vote in hard-fought campaigns over a 72 year period, beginning in 1848 at Seneca Falls, NY, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton pronounced that women have the right to vote! And Iron-Jawed Angels (from HBO- a must see!) demonstrates what suffragist Alice Paul and the White House pickets underwent to attract support for our suffrage cause –through hunger strikes.

CALIFORNIA’S 1911 VICTORY WAS AN INSPIRATION FOR THE REST OF THE NATION

The story of California’s suffrage campaign is less known as an early victory and as the inspiration for the rest of the country. When California women lost their first suffrage referendum in 1896 by 20,000 votes, they were not defeated, but resolute and probably darn mad. They energized the California legislature to place a suffrage amendment on the 1911 ballot. This action meant that the male voters of California would determine whether their mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters should have the right to vote. Think of the challenge that the women faced: to persuade men, who wanted their women at home, caring for their needs and families that women were suitability and importance to the society as voting citizens. An added challenge was that most women did not even know themselves why they should have the right to vote. . .

MORE OF THE ARTICLE    More information about the film.

If you write Martha Wheelock directly, mwheelock@sbcglobal.net, she will take 25 percent off the DVD with free shipping. Total price is $19.95. Available on the website: http://www.wildwestwomen.org

For information about Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Suffrage Wagon News Notes: October 2012

I can’t help but pounce on all the references I can find to the suffrage movement in the media theses days.  There are so many I can’t keep up, especially during this election season. Start with the demand for Alice Paul coin that exceeds all expectations. Link A. Link A-1. Fans have been busy sewing the Kansas block for the online Votes for Women quilt project. Link B. Link B-1. For other blocks,  see below or subscribe to the quilt blog. Visit the Susan B. Anthony House in upstate New York on election day. Link C. Link C-1. We take for granted that women joined the suffrage movement easily. Not true. The cult of true womanhood worked against this. Link #1, Link #1a.

Ever taken a cruise to the Bahamas? Their 50th anniversary of women voting in the Bahamas raises some interesting issues. First, commemorative stamps that honor individual women and the movement’s origins. Link#2. Link #2a. And there are more news notes from all over: California celebrates 101 years of women voting and many make certain that leadership roles for women and girls continues as a priority. Link #3. Link #3a. Oregon talk is part of the state’s suffrage centennial: Link #4. Link #4a. Work on the online suffrage quilt project continues with the New Jersey star. Link #5. Link #5a. So much fuss about women voters. Link #6. Link #6a.

Teacher open house at Gage Foundation home. Link #8. Link #8a. Presidential debate fallout.  Link #9. Link #9a. Green presidential candidate Jill Stein talks about multiple parties and mentions suffrage movement. Link #10. Link #10a. Alice Paul coin update. Link #11. Link #11a. Suffrage movement in Canada. Link #12. Link #12a. Suffrage activism of a tenant noted in New York City building. Link #13. Link #13a. Suffrage play in the UK. Link #14. Link #14a. Women voters in Africa. Link #15. Link #15a. Presidential candidates woo American women voters. Link #16. Link #16a. Comedy Central refers to 1920 when American women won the vote. Link #17. Link #17a.

With each link we’re including the URL and a backup PDF in the event of broken links. Check out new videos published on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Illustration: Vintage postcard from the turn of the 20th century. From the collection of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Suffragists out of the Shadows: Plus News Flash!

History of Woman Suffrage, Volume I, by Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Matilda Joslyn Gage. Free ebook, available online.

NEWS FLASH: Original 19th Amendment document on display at Clinton Library for a limited time. Special radio report by Malcolm Glover. Link.

EXTRA, EXTRA!!  A new book about Long Island women, published by The History Press, just came in the mail. I’m looking forward to curling up on the couch and reading Women in Long Island’s Past: A History of Eminent Ladies and Everyday Lives by Natalie A. Naylor, Professor Emerita at Hofsta University, editor of the Nassau County Historical Society Journal, and Long Island Historian. This puts Grandmother Edna and her times in a much clearer perspective.

I’m gearing up for a virtual birthday party in Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s honor on November 12, 2012 by reading the featured free ebook, History of Woman Suffrage: Volume I, with its 1157 pages. It’s the introduction to a six-volume set of the history of the woman suffrage movement started in 1881 and completed in 1922.

I breezed through the digital book with many clicks and slides, although it took considerable effort to digest the material. Consider it a detailed report from the Big Three of the suffrage movement (Cady Stanton, Anthony, Gage) passed on down to us today. Personal accounts, letters, original documents, reports, recommendations, meeting minutes, speeches, and much more were documented with a freshness and with an ear and eye to passing on an account of those precious moments.

If people laughed or clapped during a speech, it’s noted. The authors were aware that if they didn’t document the suffrage movement, no one would. And since women documenting their activism was a rare event, it’s all the more valuable for us today. Volume I is a remarkable document, considering it’s from a time period when women were infrequently seen and heard. I read my free version on Amazon, and it’s available on several other internet sites.

My favorite parts: the 1840 Anti-Slavery Convention in London where Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott hatched their plans for the Seneca Falls Convention (though it wouldn’t take place until eight years later) and the Seneca Falls Convention itself.

DON’T FORGET to send your birthday greetings on this form to Elizabeth Cady Stanton for her 197th virtual birthday party on Suffrage Wagon News Channel!

Suffrage Wagon News Channel has news and stories of the suffrage movement. Find out more!

NEW VIDEO: “This Wet and Wrinkled Paper”

“My voter’s card arrived today, and as I perused the tiny paper, wet and wrinkled from the rain, I felt the spirit of Grandma Edna watching over me,” Goldman-Petri wrote in a poem set to music and presented in this video.

“They stood on soapboxes, signed petitions, rang doorbells, smiled and dialed. They marched, paraded. They waited.  They waited, so I could have this paper.”

There’s more, and then the poem concludes: “My voter’s card arrived today, so thank you Grandma Edna. I’ll vote, I’ll lead, and I’ll succeed. I’ll remember how you fought for me. And it’s all because you believed, Women deserve liberty.”

As I post this video, I’m still reeling from last evening’s U.S. presidential debate where the two candidates, Romney and Obama, strutted on stage at Hofstra University, while outside police arrested the two Green Party presidential and vice presidential candidates –Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala. The two women political candidates were handcuffed to chairs for hours for attempting to be part of the public debate.

There was a time, once, when political parties other than Democrats and Republicans were part of a dialogue and a process known as democracy. Remember when the League of Women Voters organized the debates? The women organizers were inclusive, as if this were a radical idea. Then, the mainstream parties forced the League out of the job.

The so-called debate last night took place on Long Island –Grandmother Edna’s turf. My grandmother’s generation was familiar with women getting arrested for standing firm on the issue of participation and the democratic process. They believed in the Spirit of 1776.

For more information, visit womenssuffrage.org  

Suffrage Bookshelf: The life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Women’s Suffrage and the First Vote by Dawn C. Adiletta

As the 2012 presidential election approaches and all the media coverage about extensive efforts to deny the vote to citizens, the spirit of Elizabeth Cady Stanton is stirring in the wake of her birthday on November 12, 2012. She’ll be 197 years old. Join us in celebrating at her virtual birthday party. For more information about the event, visit this link.

When I was young, my mother made sure my birthday and holiday gifts included books about famous and accomplished women. I didn’t realize then how unusual that was. Sadly though, I never had a book about Elizabeth Cady Stanton. These days Elizabeth Cady Stanton has considerably more recognition, although it’s too often, “Oh, that lady and Seneca Falls.” Which brings us to the part we all play in educating young people by passing on the torch of wisdom and appreciation.

This book, featured above, is available on Audible and worth listening to. Type “suffrage” into the Audible search engine, however, and only this work  comes up. It’s an excellent overview of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s life for young audiences. After spending a little over an hour with the audio version, it’s clear how much we owe to this one woman who changed the world. Someday when political parties are more interested in democratic participation rather than manipulating the outcome of elections, our suffrage ancestors will be given their due.

Combined with Stanton’s memoir (free as an ebook online), Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Women’s Suffrage and the First Vote, gifts us with the essentials of a life devoted to equal rights. The work provides details Elizabeth doesn’t tell you herself, including the resistance from her father and husband about her political activities. I love the part describing Elizabeth using her white hair and matronly figure so as to be less threatening to audiences when she laid out her radical views.

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NEWS FLASH: The story behind Grandmother Edna Kearns’ Suffrage Wagon

The blog of the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum in Washington, DC features the story of Grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon, especially the family stories. Check it out.

I’ve written stories about Grandmother Edna’s campaign wagon in the past, but this time I’ve included more in the Sewall-Belmont post, especially the role Grandfather Wilmer Kearns played in suffrage campaign work and the many ways in which Suffrage Wagon News Channel celebrates women’s freedom to vote.

The Sewall-Belmont House & Museum‘s location in downtown Washington, DC makes it a frequent destination for tourists and visitors from all over the world. The National Woman’s Party headquarters at the Sewall-Belmont House highlights a vibrant part of our past for the increasing numbers of people interested in this part of American history, especially the dramatic and difficult campaign for passage and ratification of the 19th amendment.

Storytelling is when our fabulous Votes for Women history comes alive. Share our stories.  Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel. An overview of the news channel.

 

More Suffrage News Notes From All Over

A lot’s going on to win the hearts of suffrage buffs:

FEEDBACK: “Suffrage Wagon News Channel is a terrific testimony to women’s achievements over 200 years and a guide light for the future about making sure women’s voices are heard across the globe and that they vote. This online source provides updated news and stories about the women’s suffrage movement. Full of stories, history, struggles and triumphs. This superb site bridges history and the present and paces the way for the future. Founder, writer and editor Marguerite Kearns has suffrage in her DNA. As the granddaughter of suffragist Edna Buckman Kearns, she designed this site to honor  strong women leaders throughout time, surrounding the women’s vote. Suffrage Wagon is the authoritative site on women’s suffrage. Join the movement today. Participate, learn, enjoy, celebrate great women leaders and get active.”

Mary Ford, Hewlett, New York_______________________

Update on Alice Paul coin; October trip to Gage House in Fayetteville, NY; UK women’s library saved; suffrage character on UK television noted; Bryn Mawr College award in honor of suffragist activists; locals celebrate suffrage history; suffrage supporter Frederick Douglass’ statue moved; obituary for suffragist;  find out about memorabilia for suffrage movement; concern over voter suppression; commentary about voting restrictions; uppity view about suffering suffrage; find out dates in October that are significant in women’s history from the National Women’s History Project. Suffrage centennial in Arizona: Link #1, Link #2; college student op-ed; rally against ID laws; Alice Paul dramatization; Texas suffrage event; comment on First Lady speech; Geeenwich, NY history blog has suffrage angle; voting in Washington State.

ACTION: Yes, Virginia. Teaching state and local history is important!

Grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon is in line to become a teachable moment every time a school group spends time with the exhibit, “From Seneca Falls to the Supreme Court” that’s on display at the state Capitol in Albany, NY. And right now through October 11th, the state education department is accepting public input on the proposed core curriculum for NYS.

Some commentators are concerned that state and local history is getting short shrift. And there are those who caution that New York State government has had similar plans in the past to what is proposed now, including funding and promises of economic development. If these efforts aren’t integrated and in alignment with the state school curriculum guides, then they question the process of littering highways with signs and calling this significant without a focus and long-term plan.

Important links with background: Link #1. Link #2. Link #3.

Send in your comment to the NYS education department before October 11th. Fill in the dots between state and local history, the suffrage movement, and economic development, now and in the future.

Yes. Virginia. New York should be teaching state and local history, as well as citizenship. Our Votes for Women commentators –Teri Gay, Louise Bernikow, and Antonia Petrash– aren’t shy when emphasizing the importance of the local angle on national news. Teri Gary’s book, “Strength without Compromise,” is precisely about this wrinkle. In a Votes for Women Salon interview, Teri speaks about growing up in the Glens Falls area and being fascinated with local women’s contributions to win the vote. Louise highlights New York City, and Long Island is the focus of Antonia Petrash.

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News Notes From All Over About Womens Suffrage Movement: September 2012

Here we go on a great ride through suffrage news notes from all over: 

Suffrage inspires high-end Paris fashionable clothing styles; designer supports freedom fashions; Documentary underway about the life of women’s history pioneer Gerta Lerner; the big picture for women globallysuffrage parade in San Diego; the votes of single women; Quebec women won vote in 1944; movement called Sluts Vote; a reminder about how primary documents teach; new historical suffrage marker in Oregon; Irish suffrage jewelry; a North Dakota editor speaks her mind; presidential site has suffrage exhibit; Schlesinger Library has new digital suffrage poster collection; political parties push for women’s votes; unique project featuring Susan B. Anthony’s quilt made when she was young; Suffrage storyteller makes history come alive; Amelia Bloomer historic marker; University of Rochester new important digital historic archive.

New Zealand is the first country in the world for women to vote. September is the 199th anniversary. This short video, below, shows the awareness of the New Zealanders of their accomplishment and the recognition that women in many parts of the world remain disenfranchised and worse.

News clips from New Zealand: Link #1, Link #2, Link #3, Link #4, Link #5

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Viral suffrage email gets renewed life by women voters before 2012 election

THIS EMAIL, WRITTEN BY NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST CONNIE SCHULTZ, WENT VIRAL A FEW YEARS AGO. It surfaces every election season. I know. It has come into my email box at least a dozen times and continues to remind us of what’s important. Send it to your friends. Now is the time! Here it is:

This applies to everyone. become knowledgeable and vote! We owe it to our Mothers and Grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.
Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of “obstructing sidewalk traffic.” They beat Lucy Burns (photo above), chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

They hurled Dora Lewis (photo above) into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed, and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the “Night of Terror” on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food –all of it colorless slop– was infested with worms.
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul (above), embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat, and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh MY memory. Some women won’t vote this year because – Why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining? Mrs Pauline Adams (above) in the prison garb she wore while serving a 60 day sentence.

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s movie “Iron Jawed Angels.” It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

Photo above of Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown ,  New York
All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.

Photo: Berthe Arnold, CSU graduate
My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women’s history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was –with herself. “One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,” she said. “What would those women think of the way I use, or don’t use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.” The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her “all over again.”

HBO has released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum. I want it shown on Bunco/Bingo night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

Photo: Conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at  National Woman’s Party headquarters, Jackson Place , Washington , D.C. Left to right: Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer,  Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel,  Mabel Vernon (standing, right)

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: “Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.”

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.  We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party — remember to vote.

Photo: Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk , Conn.   Serving 3-day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, “Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Make a quilt for the women’s suffrage movement

This online quilt project speaks to tradition and connecting with the grandmothers and great grandmothers. It’s digital and exciting, whether or not you’re actually working on a suffrage quilt. I’ve signed up, just to be a vicarious participant. The site is:

And the suffrage quilt block changes every week. The research about suffragists and the suffrage movement is splendid. The activity is delightful. Here’s the block of one week:

As I check in every week with the progress of the suffrage quilt, I am delighted and impressed following along with the research invested in the project. Even if you don’t make a quilt, you’ll enjoy being part of the quilting circle. Check out grandmotherschoice.blogspot.com

Suffrage Wagon News Channel is accepting press releases of suffrage programs and events. Find out how to submit your releases.

The suffragettes are alive and kicking in the UK . . .

Even The New York Times has picked up on the feisty British women who have a Suffragette Summer School scheduled for September 2012. A new generation of activists are looking to their suffrage tradition and history to propel themselves into motion. Is the suffrage movement a thing of the past? “No,” they respond in a loud voice.

This side of the Atlantic there’s not quite as much matching the enthusiasm and passion of linking the past with the present, although this is changing, especially during this election season. For too long the American suffrage movement has been put on the shelf as something old fashioned and stuffy. So let’s take a close look at the UK and check out the Suffragette Summer School.

There’s a series of links from the UK  and US media that puts the Suffragette Summer School into perspective. Link #1   Link #2   Link #3  Link #4

This video link gives an overview:

Photo: 1908. A suffragette meeting in Caxton Hall, Manchester, England. Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and Emmeline Pankhurst stand in the center of the platform. New York Times photo album. Image is in the public domain.

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What you’ve always wanted to know about Suffrage Wagon News Channel

Check out this overview of Suffrage Wagon News Channel: who we are, how long we’ve been covering news and stories of the suffrage movement, plus why this work is important.

ACTION ITEM: Help the National Women’s History Museum find a home. Sign a petition.

Suffragette descendants hit the streets in the UK & at the Olympics

Who would have thought that a suffrage parade would attract mass attention in 2012? This happened in the UK recently when descendants of suffragettes and others marched at the Olympic opening ceremonies. It’s not the best video (see link below) possible, but it gives a feel for how it must have been for the suffrage marchers. It’s not surprising that the event was a life-changing experience for most, propelling them to future involvement in the political process, just as their grandmothers and great grandmothers were involved.

Take a look at some of these articles from the UK. English women are also planning to continue with the suffrage theme and march on Parliament in October 2012 to draw attention to the backsliding relative to women’s rights!

Here are several links to brighten your day: Link #1  Link #2   Link #3

This isn’t the first time when protestors have showed up dressed as suffragettes. Check out this example in the UK in 2010.

Photo: 1913, arrest of suffragette. London. Library of Congress. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and stories of the Votes for Women movement. Visit SWNC central.

Happy August 26th and celebrate with a new video!

Women have been voting in the United States for 92 years. To celebrate, here’s a new video to help us make the most of the day! It’s from the National Women’s History Museum.

The National Women’s History Project has wonderful resources for the celebration of August 26. Highlights include a downloadable brochure, August dates for women’s history observances, a first-person story by Maud Wood Park about the suffrage movement, and much more! When planning any sort of event or community program, you can count on the NWHP to have lots of links and resources on its web site.

Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and stories of the Votes for Women movement that interests, delights and builds leadership for these times. SWNC posts twice a week. And we have an issue of our quarterly newsletter in the works for the fall. The SWNC 2012 summer issue is still available.

Cake and lemonade, buttons and propaganda . . .

Article about suffragists in 1912 fills in some of the details of the Long Island campaign. This is where you find out about cake and lemonade, buttons and propaganda.

Suffragists at Long Beach, Long Island, 1912

Antonia Petrash’s upcoming 2013 book about Long Island suffrage movement (45 seconds) will add more to what’s known about the movement in the metropolitan NYC area. Here are some examples. . . Antonia gives highlights of her upcoming book about Long Island suffragists (32 seconds of audio). 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 ). More stories by Antonia Petrash are featured on Votes for Women Salon on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

IN OTHER NEWS: The New York State Museum is now open on Sundays, but is closed on Mondays. It has been closed on Sundays since 2011. With the experience of the NYS capitol attracting thousands of visitors to its exhibits, the state museum is cashing in on this increased tourism. Good work!

New life for an old logo: Women’s Equality Day!

Every week the planning moves forward for the August 26th celebration. Events can be large or small. Private or public. With big budgets or a process of assembling what’s around the house. There’s an updated logo for Women’s Equality Day from WomenArts in San Francisco from that’s based on the  bugler used by the suffs on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. See above. It’s available on buttons, stickers, t-shirts from Cafe Press. Even if you only wear one button to set the mood, it’s worth it. Get busy!

The history? Well, here it is, plus some background. August 26th celebrations are fun, informative and necessary!

A fairy tale story of suffrage

My Aunt Serena Kearns was known as Nassau County’s “youngest suffragist.” If there was a poster child for woman’s suffrage, it was little Serena. Her image was preserved when sitting in her mother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon, the “Spirit of 1776″ with the large bow in her hair. Yes, this is the same wagon on exhibit on the second floor of the New York State capitol through the summer of 2012.

Little Serena accompanied her mother, Edna Kearns, in New York City parades and on whirlwind campaigns for Votes for Women on Long Island.  This article from the Brooklyn Times on February 13, 1913 documents a suffrage story that Serena wrote:

“Once upon a time there was a fairy called Suffrage. Now it happened that the laws of the land did not suit her. She believed in equal rights. But in that land the men did not believe in the women voting.

“Now fairy Suffrage was a smart fairy: She went to the President. But she did not dress as a fairy. Oh, no! She dressed as a poor working girl asking for the vote to help her in her work. The President wouldn’t help.

“The next day while she was out walking she met an enemy of hers. His name was Ignorance. Ignorance began to say disagreeable things to her. ‘Ignorance,’ she said. ‘I will go to Justice, the queen of the fairies, for help.’ This she did. And Justice said: ‘I can help you because I dwell in almost everybody’s heart, while Ignorance lives in the hearts of so few people. I can overcome Ignorance with my wonderful power.’ Then Justice won the battle in the year 1915 and fairy Suffrage was saved.”

Poor Serena must have been disappointed as suffrage wasn’t approved in 1915 by New York State voters. However, it passed in 1917, which means the upcoming 100th anniversary is in 2017.

Subscribe. Classic stories and up-to-date news on Suffrage Wagon News Channel. The summer 2012 issue of the newsletter is available for Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Suffrage wagon storytelling with the Hudson River Playback Theatre

I hadn’t planned to be on stage with the Hudson River Playback Theatre. In fact, this  was the last thing I predicted the Monday evening I spent attending a performance for organizations attending Service Week at Omega in Rhinebeck, NY.  I’d been on the road the previous three weeks from Long Island to Albany to Binghamton and back to the Hudson Valley again in hot clammy weather.

I was tired, but relaxing in the audience wasn’t meant to be. Hudson River Playback Theatre is interactive story theatre for dialogue and connection. The cast creates memorable theatre on the spot based on the true stories of people in the audience.

“Go up and tell your story,” Susan Zimet urged. Susan sat next to me in the audience, and I ignored her the first time she poked. Then her plea became a kick and an order:  “Do it, now.” You don’t say no to Susan.

Well, okay. I could tell about visiting Albany, the second floor of the capitol, to see Grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon in the women’s exhibit around the corner from the Hall of Governors. I could talk about Grandmother Edna being part of the grassroots suffrage movement and someone who campaigned in her horse-drawn wagon called the “Spirit of 1776″ on Long Island and NYC.  Then I’d throw in how I’d grown up with this icon of the suffrage movement, mention how every summer when I was a kid, my mother would dress us up. We’d visit my Grandfather Wilmer Kearns and he’d drag the old wagon out of the garage and we’d have our photo taken. It was important to mention how Edna died in 1934, so I had to learn about Edna from my mother and plowing through my grandmother’s writings, speeches, photos, news clippings packed in stacks of boxes. She saved everything.

Sarah Urech, the theatre’s assistant director, interviewed me on stage and made this part of the process easy. Then she asked me to choose who would play me (Jody Santriani), who would play Edna (the theatre’s director Jo Salas), and Grandfather Wilmer (Mateo). Musician Dean Jones backed up the performance on the piano.

Eeverything flowed from that point on with few props other than a curtain, wood boxes, and several scarves. Grandmother Edna came alive on stage, directing traffic from her soapbox wagon, leading marches to Albany, standing firm in her position that all American women should vote. There were few words, other than “Freedom,” and the finale became me, up on the soapbox wagon after Edna had departed, carrying on the unfinished work of the American Revolution.

Sarah Urech’s a master in helping people tell their stories. I found out later that she’s a distant cousin of Jeanette Rankin, suffragist and the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. So this story joins all the others because Susan Zimet poked me and challenged me to march up to the stage and live beyond the boundaries.

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Suffragette Slasher Story from film artist!

The suffrage movement is inspiring storytellers. The tale of the English  suffragette slasher is one example from Julie Perini.

Other suffrage stories and news from around the U.S. include: Suffrage storyteller Judy Baker. Oregon’s black suffragist story. Kansas women’s stories on film.

Summer 2012 Suffrage Wagon newsletter on the stands!

The Summer 2012 newsletter for Suffrage Wagon News Channel is available with the effort of a click.

Check out the Summer 2012 issue of Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Subscribe.

Out for the holiday!!!!

The office is closed. Am out enjoying the 164th anniversary of Seneca Falls. The following blog posting comes to you by way of the National Women’s History Project:

On July 19-20, 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott spearheaded the first women’s rights convention in American History. Over 300 women and men came to Seneca Falls, New York to protest the mistreatment of women in social, economic, political, and religious life. This marked the first public call for women’s right to vote.

At the end of the conference 68 women and 32 men of the 300 attendees signed the Declaration of Sentiments. This document was drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who used the Declaration Independence as her guide and listed eighteen “injuries and usurpations… on the part of man toward woman” (same number of charges the colonists leveled against the King of England).
Those who attended the conference were vilified and mocked by the press who described the conference as “the most shocking and unnatural event ever recorded in the history of womanity.”

Yet, thanks to the countless numbers who have worked to preserve the history of the women’s rights movement, Seneca Falls, NY is now the site of the Womens Rights National Historical Park.

To honor democracy and the amazing legacy of the women’s rights movement, be sure to register and vote!
Happy Anniversary!

Link to activities this weekend at Seneca Falls, NY highlighting dramatic presentations of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage.

Photo: Library of Congress.Grundy County, Iowa, 1939.

Suffrage hikers to Washington DC are captured on film

Suffragist Elisabeth Freeman on her soapbox. From the web site elisabethfreeman.org published by her great niece, Peg Johnston.

There’s very little film footage from the suffrage movement, so this 80-second clip from the National Film Preservation Foundation is a treasure. It’s entitled “On to Washington.” The occasion is the suffrage hiking march with Rosalie Jones and Elisabeth Freeman and others who headed south to Washington, DC to join the suffrage parade scheduled to coincide with the inauguration of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. My grandparents Edna and Wilmer Kearns marched in that parade, along with Serena Kearns, my mother’s older sister who was born in 1905.

Grandmother Edna Kearns worked on Long Island suffrage organizing with both Rosalie Jones and Elisabeth Freeman. Jones was born and raised on Long Island where she carried out a significant amount of grassroots suffrage work. Elisabeth Freeman was born in England and became a paid organizer for the  movement. Rosalie, Elisabeth, Edna Kearns (along with Wilmer and Serena Kearns) and others started out on the march to Albany from NYC to see the governor about Votes for Women the first week in January of 1914.

Elisabeth Freeman’s web site is published by Elisabeth Freeman’s great niece, Peg Johnston of Binghamton, NY. Visit the Suffrage Wagon News Channel’s new platform.

The story behind the story. . .


Grandmother Edna Kearns took the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon to Long Beach in July of 1913. When she drove the suffrage campaign wagon onto the beach, it caused quite a stir, not to mention when she stood in the waves and wore a yellow bathing cap and a yellow sash while holding signs that were described as a Votes for Women “voiceless speech.” Silence was a tactic used by the movement, and the most famous example of this can be found in the “Silent Sentinels” pickets of the White House in 1917, which Grandmother Edna was a part of, as well.

This  article –“Suffrage Talk Amid Waves” is descriptive enough to give us a sense of what it must have been like sitting on the beach that day and watching the suffrage demonstration. Silent marching in parades and witnessing is getting attention today from activists who continue the silent tradition that was also practiced by the suffragists. More often than not, the suffs don’t get credit for it.

Writer Antonia Petrash has lots of suffrage stories to tell

Suffrage pageant on Long Island. Photo: Library of Congress

There’s a new audio feature on Votes for Women Salon, a special feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel: an interview with Antonia Petrash who speaks about her upcoming book about the Long Island suffrage movement. The book is expected to be published in 2013 by  The History Press.

Grandmother Edna Kearns will be featured in Antonia’s work as someone significantly contributing to the suffrage movement because of her focus on the news media. Antonia has other stories to share with listeners in this Votes for Women Salon podcast special. Many of the interview selections are one minute or less. Listen when you have a break in your busy schedule.

Find out the story of the day when Susan B. Anthony met Elisabeth Cady Stanton. What the suffrage movement was like on Long Island. Remarkable New York women, and more. Click on the link above for Votes for Women Salon, a special feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

News from other places: In the Bahamas, there’s a suffrage celebration. A suff mural in Canada. The Canadians are strong in the promotion of history, and the U.S. could gather a few tips from their example. Especially this Canadian model of Strong Girls/Strong Canada!

What did Edna Kearns do on the 4th of July, 1913?

Grandmother Edna Kearns hitched a horse to her “Spirit of 1776″ wagon and headed to the shore at Long Beach on Long Island. She took two outfits with her: a bathing suit and a white dress with a “Votes for Women” sash. What a crowd on the beach that day, and the group of women made a splash. Edna even got out in the surf to make a “voiceless speech,” a tactic of the suffrage movement which fell under the category of the visual rhetoric associated with sophisticated public relations. Take a look at this link. The suffrage campaign wagon again made the NY Times.

“Appeal to Liberty” on behalf of the foremothers. . .

Read at the feet of the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 1915

To the Men of New York,

We therefore appeal to you, in the name of justice and fair play, for relief from the intolerable position in which we have been placed.

We protest that no Government is just which taxes and governs half its people without their consent.

We protest that no Government is efficient which is guilty of so absurd a discrimination as that of putting a vote in the hand of male paupers and denying that privilege to at least a third of its taxpayers; of counting the opinion of illiterate males, and denying that count to the 41,000 women teachers of the State.

We protest that no Government is sound which pretends to secure the highest welfare to its people, yet pays no heed to what half its people want.

We protest that no Government is logical which elevates half its people regardless of qualifications to sovereignty and condemns the other half to political subjection.

Justice gave you the vote, in the name of that same great virtue, we ask you to give it to us!

For news clips about the entire story about the “Appeal to Liberty” and Edna Kearns carrying on the work on Long Island, follow this link.

Artist from Seneca Falls, NY passionate about the suffrage Big Three

Katherine Pfeffer Pross is an artist and painter from Seneca Falls, New York who considers herself “intensely concerned about equal rights and peace in the world.” She says: “I create works that are thought provoking with messages of inspiration and enlightenment.” One of her favorite movies is “Iron Jawed Angels.”

In this painting Pross features Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, who are considered The Big Three movers and shakers of the American suffrage movement. You may have heard about Anthony and Stanton. Matilda Joslyn Gage is less well known, although her participation and commitment to the cause is increasingly coming to the forefront. This is due, in great part, to the work of scholar Sally Roesche Wagner, director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation in Fayetteville, New York.

Oregon suffrage centennial sash, plus news from Arizona and Kansas

  • Oregon’s suffrage centennial has some novel programs, such as the traveling sash that’s photographed as it moves around the state (called “Follow the Sash”). A sash is available for $15 from the Oregon Women’s History Consortium. The centennial web site, “Century of Action,” has historical documents, essays, news, events, and suffrage history.
  • Glencoe Elementary Suffrage Singers are shown above with Oregon’s first female governor, Barbara Roberts. The choir performed an original suffrage song called “Hey Mister” for audiences. Photo by Andie Petkus, courtesy of Oregon Women’s History Consortium, Century of Action project.
  • For some of the Arizona suffrage centennial highlights, follow this link. New play part of Arizona celebration.
  • Novel published in time for Kansas suffrage centennial celebration.
  • You can subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel on several platforms.

Video about women voting in our back yard to the north

Nine minute video about the history of women voting in Canada. Plans for a suffragette statue in Australia. Click here. New Zealand women plan their 120th anniversary of Votes for Women. Online book about woman suffrage in Mexico. Canada’s extraordinary suffragists.

Susan B. Anthony is a corker! Find out for yourself!

Cartoon of Susan B. Anthony

They called her Aunt Susan and she had so many adopted nieces, people couldn’t keep count. That’s why this post features a ten-minute audio clip from “Jailed for Freedom” by Doris Stevens, published back in Grandmother Edna’s day, that gives you a feeling of almost being there.

Susan B. Anthony died before the ratification of the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote in 1920. So when August 26th comes around this year, at a time when people aren’t usually thinking about Aunt Susan, consider the possibility of having a party. There are lessons to be learned by putting on a skit about Susan. How about courage? Vision. Inner strength. She had her eye on the prize of women voting and wouldn’t give up. These themes are eternal.

I didn’t even have a script when I directed and produced my own Susan skit back in 2010. I went to the primary sources, lifted lines straight from the record, recruited the cast, and everyone had a blast with dress ups. The audience got the point.

So if you’ve been toying with the idea of putting on a program for August 26th (Women’s Equality Day) or a special fundraiser or other event for your friends, organization, or club, try Susan B. Anthony’s arrest in 1872 and her trial for voting. The trial was a hit at the Susan B. Anthony birthday party I organized in February of 2010, and it’s especially relevant for other special events because it’s an example of nonviolent civil disobedience. Susan was arrested for voting, and everyone knew back then that women couldn’t vote.

The audio clip on this post is a wonderful resource, plus the internet is a great resource for finding quotes from Susan, as well as her speeches, for reading out loud.  Here’s Susan B.’s petition to Congress in January of 1874. And resources from Susan’s trial record. Think about it! It’s a great way to introduce young people to Aunt Susan and there are great parts: Susan, the officer who arrests her, the district attorney, and the judge. Drama, conflict, plenty of action. Great lines.

Now –see how you do on a quiz about Susan B. Anthony.

Six-part interview series on the overview of suffrage history

Among serious suffrage buffs, you either like Carrie Chapman Catt or you don’t. Some believe she got too much credit for the suffrage win, and others would say not enough. Chances are, most people today haven’t heard of her. So the six-part interview series featuring Nate Levin might be filed away in the deep archives of human memory, except for the fact that Levin lays out a simple story line explaining the suffrage movement which is worth spending some time with.

Nate Levin wraps himself in the term “suffrage buff,” so much so that he created a Facebook page called Suffrage Buffs of America. His mother was a loyal member of the League of Women Voters (Grandmother Edna was a member) which has turned into a lifelong interest for Nate. He’s written  a book about Carrie Chapman Catt that’s free on Google Books. (It’s also available in hard copy). You can get to know more about Nate by way of YouTube in this five-part suffrage interview series: Program #1, Program #2, Program #3. Program #4. Program #5. Program #6.  And there’s more about Nate Levin on Suffrage Wagon News Channel where we feature his Facebook page that’s geared to other suffs like Nate…and me. There’s a great deal of information out there about the suffs, and it’s comforting to find a corner where people talk about these subjects.

What did Grandmother Edna Kearns say when standing on her campaign wagon?

Grandmother Edna kicked up a fuss on Long Island in 1912 as she kept the newspapers filled with suffrage news. She connected the dots between current events and the need for the vote, whether in the newspaper columns she wrote or when campaigning after 1913 in her horse-drawn suffrage wagon now on exhibit at the state capitol in Albany, NY through the summer of 2012.

You can’t have a baby without engaging in politics, Edna argued. And she raised eyebrows among other suffragists who believed they shouldn’t venture outside their limited sphere of lobbying for the vote. Edna raised her voice about the scandal at the Mineola jail and ventured forth to say that women would take care of community business better then men. Just give women a chance, she said.

When the newspapers carried the controversy, Edna defended herself from those who claimed her Better Babies campaign on Long Island was merely a “fad,” a ploy for “sensationalism.” Edna’s motivation? She insisted she was concerned that mothers didn’t have all the skills they needed for mothering and vowed to establish parenting classes. Underlying her argument, of course, was how much women needed the vote! This speaks to us today by remembering the interconnectedness of issues and reaching out to others to bring us together in linking our past with taking leadership in these times.