Category Archives: 60-Second History Lesson

AN INVITATION TO ROCK THE CRADLE!

LetsRockTheCradleWhat started out as a blogging tour of the U.S. women’s rights movement in September 2013 has developed into an online platform featuring suffrage events, historic sites, and action campaigns. If you didn’t go along for the ride. the articles about the “Cradle” are available online.

LetsRockTheCradle will be stirring up activity this summer with the Inez Milholland Festival 2014. Sign up for updates on the festival program and more.

Mark your calendar for the Inez Milholland Festival 2014: 

August 16-17, 2014, Events in the Town of Lewis, New York (12950). Champlain Valley in the Adirondacks of New York State. Subscribe to email updates or follow “The Foremothers” on Twitter.

And the Harriet Tubman historic site located in the “Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement is the featured historic site for LetsRockTheCradle. A related action campaign addresses the fact that Congressional funding for the proposed Harriet Tubman national park has been stalled for ages. Give the campaign a boost with your support.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MK-musing

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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!

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

Turning Point

Are you familiar with Turning Point Suffragist Memorial?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Video and article: Join Susan B. Anthony in Rochester

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get ready for upcoming events, plus Suffrage Wagon news review

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

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

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

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

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

Follow the Suffrage Wagon. Postings twice a week. Facebook and Twitter. Vimeo and YouTube channels. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

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

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

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

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

Follow the suffrage wagon and subscribe on YouTube and Vimeo. You can also stay in touch with the wagon through Twitter and Facebook.

Suffrage china and suffrage movement tea parties

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

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

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

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

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

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

BAD MANNERS TO REFER TO WOMEN’S BODIES

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

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

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

INDEPENDENCE AND TEA PARTIES WENT HAND IN HAND

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

YOUNG HOT BLOODS TOOK TO TEA

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

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

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

Edna Kearns is among 2014 National Women’s History Month Nominees

2014 National Women's History Month NomineesEdna Kearns is a 2014 National Women’s History Month nominee, as featured in the “Women’s History 2014 Gazette.” The theme for 2014 is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment.”

The National Women’s History Project is one of the trailblazers in the field of women’s history and is increasingly recognized as such. Each year’s Gazette features noteworthy women, and it is a resource for projects and key events around the nation. A gala reception and dinner celebrating the National Women’s History Month 2014 honorees will be held March 27, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at The Willard Hotel, Washington, DC. Tickets are available at the NWHP web site. The NWHP Gazette costs $10 for 25 copies, plus all sorts of goodies available to order for Women’s History Month celebrations in March. It’s a no brainer.Edna Kearns: 2014 National Women's History Month Nominee

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and views of the suffrage movement. Postings twice a week, plus a quarterly newsletter. Suffrage Wagon also has YouTube and Vimeo channels.

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.

Follow Suffrage Wagon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Kenneth Florey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suffrage Movement Was Fueled by Hot Tea: Part I

TeaMemorabilia

by Kenneth Florey

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

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

SPECIAL BRAND OF TEA FOR SUFFRAGE EVENTS AND FUNDRAISING

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

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

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

SUFFRAGE TEA CUPS AND TEA SETS, MOSTLY ENGLISH

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

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

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

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

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

Lucretia Mott birthday January 3

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

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

A story about Long Island suffrage activist Rosalie Jones, her “anti” mother and sister

Rosalie Gardiner JonesNate Levin is a real suffrage buff, and he found the article about the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon and the Huntington, NY confrontation with Mrs. Jones described in the recent New York Archives article as “fascinating.” Why?

Because Rosalie Jones, a prominent NYS suffrage activist, was from a divided family where her mother and sister were outspoken in their negativity about women voting. They weren’t shy in expressing their point of view that women had their own work to do and politics constituted a messy business. If you haven’t seen the article, take a peek with this link. And check out the video about Rosalie Jones from images that are part of the Library of Congress collection.

My grandmother Edna Kearns worked with Rosalie Jones on Long Island suffrage organizing, as well as Elisabeth Freeman who we’ll be hearing more of in 2014. Last year I paid a visit to Peg Johnston, Elisabeth’s great niece. And Elizabeth’s other great niece, Jane Van De Bogart, an old friend, was instrumental in starting me on my journey back in 1986 to discover the life and times of my grandmother.

The wagon’s exhibit in Kingston, NY was in conjunction with the Floating Foundation of Photography in High Falls, NY and the visionary work of curator Jone Miller.  It represented the first time the “Spirit of 1776″ was seen in public in New York since the days when Edna Kearns hitched a horse to the wagon and took it out on the road herself. So there’s a lot of history associated with the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon. Jane Van De Bogart and her mother Nettie, joined us in the programming at SUNY New Paltz back in 1986 (and several other programs at New Paltz College), as did my mother Wilma, plus Peg Johnston and her mother Ruth.

Watch the video about NYS suffrage activist Rosalie Jones and then imagine what it must have been like at the dinner table for the Jones family at their homes in New York City and on Long Island when the subject of women voting was raised. Video link. Long Island historian Natalie Naylor  has written extensively about Long Island women, and Rosalie Jones in particular. Natalie says that Rosalie is one of her favorite NYS suffrage activists.  Natalie’s book. Antonia Petrash’s book on the Long Island suffrage movement has an entire chapter devoted to Rosalie Jones.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel, your “go to” place for suffrage news and views, celebrations, events and centennials. Follow the “Spirit of 1776″ in postings twice a week and special newsletters four times each year.

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. 

December 25th birthdays for suffragists Edna Kearns and Martha Wright

Martha Wright & Edna Kearns birthdays

It’s sufragist Edna Kearns‘ birthday on December 25th, as well as Seneca Falls convention heavyweight Martha Wright.

Video to celebrate these December 25th birthdays.

Edna Kearns (1882-1934) is cited as one of two suffragists of the month in December 2013 for the Long Island women’s suffrage site.  #1. #2. Want to give a gift? Edna Kearns has her own chapter in Antonia Petrash’s 2013 book about women’s suffrage: Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement. To order. And then a look at the information about Long Island historian Natalie Naylor‘s book where Edna is also featured.

Past postings about the life of Edna Kearns: Video about the love of Edna’s life: Wilmer Kearns, a response to reader requests. See video about WilmerMarguerite Kearns muses about Grandmother Edna’s birthday on December 25th. The highlights of Edna Kearns’ life on Wikipedia. Videos and background about Edna Kearns.

Edna shares a December 25th birthday with Martha Wright, who may not be as well known as her sister, Lucretia Mott, but she was a mover and shaker at Seneca Falls nonetheless. Give someone a suffrage book this holiday season. Antonia Petrash’s book highlights Grandmother Edna, plus many other suffrage activists on Long Island, some of whom may surprise you. And A Very Dangerous Woman about the life of Martha Wright is a great choice. You can get a used copy online for very little and make someone very happy. Or buy it new.

Martha Coffin WrightDecember 25, 1806 (1875) - Martha Wright, called the first Woman’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 with her sister Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Stanton and others. Wright was also president of women’s conventions in 1855 in Cincinnati, Saratoga, and Albany, a founder of the American Equal Rights Association in 1866, and she continued working for equal suffrage during the Civil War.

Biography of Martha Wright

And while you’re at it, December is Suffrage Wagon News Channel’s birthday. See the video!

Visit the Suffrage Wagon feature platform and enjoy the platform you don’t get to see when you subscribe by email. Follow the suffrage wagon and link up with the “go to” place on the internet for what’s happening with women voting, today and what led up to it.

Washing sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving day . . .

Thanksgiving1895Marguerite’s Musings:

On Thanksgiving Day I’ll be off  for our 2013 family holiday gathering. It’s a day when I’m not wondering if the laundry basket is full, or the bed made, the carpet vacuumed, or the newspapers picked up from the front porch where they’ve stacked up for days.

On Thanksgiving I’m in charge of washing sweet potatoes to bake and serve with butter. While scrubbing the sweet potatoes, I’m remembering the story of the 100th monkey –about how a single monkey on an island discovers how to wash a sweet potato in a stream, eat it, and not struggle later with grit grinding down on his/her tongue or churning down in the gut.

Another monkey watches and washes his/her sweet potato until there’s a tipping point when the 100th monkey follows the same routine. Then, all the monkeys on one island instantly wash and eat their sweet potatoes in the same way which happens without any sweet potato washing lectures or workshops or demonstrations.

The insightful lesson on how to wash sweet potatoes travels on invisible jet streams of knowledge, or the collective monkey unconscious, until monkeys all over the world wash their sweet potatoes in the same way to clean off the grime and dirt before sitting down to dinner. This is what comes to mind when I’m troubled about so many critical situations facing us on Planet Earth and how change often occurs on levels far beyond our awareness and comprehension.

This morning I carried my empty glass bottles out to the driveway recycling bin and remembered back to the 1970s, when I was young, when Toshi and Pete Seeger practiced glass and newspaper recycling for everyone to see. Pete, America’s troubadour, didn’t pay someone to wash his sweet potatoes or sort his newspaper from glass. The Seegers modeled recycling for everyone from the little retreat that Pete built where the Seeger family lived and overlooked the Hudson River near Beacon, NY.

One day Pete Seeger drove up to the parking lot of Green Haven prison in the Mid-Hudson Valley in his old pickup filled to the brim with bottles and plastic and papers, on route to a recycling center. He grabbed his old banjo from the truck’s front seat and marched up to the prison’s front door, reported to the guard station, presented his driver’s license, and filled out forms and papers so he could enter the cement fortress and visit with those of us in the prison school. Pete opened his mouth as wide as he could and belted out one song after another.

The officers in the towers above the 30-foot walls stared down at Pete Seeger’s pickup filled with bottles and newspapers as they witnessed one of the first monkeys on the block wash away the grime and dirt and gravel from a highly-evolved institution with its electric chair, barbed wire fences, and gun towers with guards and machine guns. That’s how change happens, in increments, as words and deeds are passed around.

Image above by Marianna Sloan (1875-1954). The artwork for the Women’s Edition of The Press. From the Library of Congress. Color lithograph.

Marguerite’s Musings is a feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel, the “go to” place since 2009, for news and views of the suffrage movement and how the movement inspires us today.

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.

Young people get an education about slavery: DAY #1 of “Cradle” Blogging Tour

HandonStatue5

Young people touch the welts on the back of the bronze statue of Sojourner Truth, the abolitionist and suffrage activist, whose statue as a slave child was unveiled in Ulster County in the Hudson Valley on the first day of the blogging tour of the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement of the United States.  Read article by Olivia Twine. Article by Marguerite Kearns. Photo: Olivia Twine. For more information: http://letsrockthecradle.com

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.

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.

July 4th grill and a holiday story from 137 years ago: Suffrage Centennial Special

Image: Library of CongressIt’s a mulit-tasking feat to run from the computer to the back yard to greet friends and at the same time finish this Fourth of July posting. Tomorrow it’s old news that 137 years ago on July 4th, suffrage activists traveled to Philadelphia to be part of the nation’s celebration of the Declaration of Independence. It was too good of an opportunity to make the point that the American Revolution was far from finished as far as women were concerned. They asked permission to be part of the program and were refused. Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote about the holiday in vivid detail in her memoir. This is Part I read by Suffrage Wagon’s own reader, Amelia Bowen, who says this is one of her favorite readings. I’m turning up the volume as I’m counting out paper plates, cups, tableware, and napkins on their way to the picnic table. Part II: coming soon! Happy 4th of July!

Here’s the link to the six-minute reading in Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s own words.

The summer issue of the Suffrage Wagon quarterly newsletter is out. If you haven’t read it, here’s your chance. This Suffrage Wagon blog has limited options. For full features, visit our Suffrage Wagon full platform and follow us from there. See link.

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.

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.

Sign up here. For more information about Suffrage Wagon.

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. 

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel for news and views, videos, audio, and postings twice a week.

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.

Motorcycle ride to Seneca Falls: May News Notes

MotorcycleYou’d think the article wasn’t important: the news that greenhouse gas has reached a high never before encountered by humans! It appeared yesterday on page 5 in my local paper. Two million years ago was the last time greenhouse gas levels were this high.

COMING SOON: Suffrage Wagon columnist Tara Bloyd launches a letter writing campaign about sustainability issues of concern to the entire planet. Let’s receive the torch from our suffrage ancestors and carry on their work.

Highlights of suffrage news: UN staff travels to Seneca Falls, NY on motorcycles to bring attention to this historic site in the “cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the US. #1. #2. The 24th annual Elizabeth Cady Stanton Conference on Youtube. Illinois has its suffrage centennial. #1. #2. Summer suffrage centennial celebration. #1. #2. New play: “The Shrieking Sisters” in Ireland. #1. #2. Highlighting an Australian suffragist. #1. #2.  Interviewing one’s grandmother. #1. #2. Helen Hunt and her suffragist great-great grandmother. #1. #2. The ongoing women’s rights and suffrage quilt project features Theodore Roosevelt. #1. #2. An overview of what happened with One Billion Rising. #1. #2.  New Zealand suffrage memorial stirring controversy. #1. #2.  Scotland honoring its women. #1. #2. Wikipedia coverage of women. #1. #2.  Pushback on Pakistani women voters. #1. #2.

SusanB_LargeWideDon’t you just love it when Susan B. Anthony believes in a new cause in 2013? This letter places Aunt Susan in history. #1. #2.  We need a few laughs. Here, Peter Feinman recommends that historic sites be abolished in blog article published in New York History. #1. #2. More news notes coming this month.

More News NotesSuffrage Wagon has an archive of news and features you may have missed. In one click, you can catch up. New videos on the way. Current videos highlight suffrage organizing on Long Island and NYC. Visit our Suffrage Wagon magazine platform.

Photo at top of column by Sporty Driver.

NEXT TIME: Horse-drawn wagons in the suffrage movement! (a continuing series)

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!

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.

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.

Video: 2013 Suffrage centennial parade in Washington, DC

Check out Suffrage Wagon’s one-minute video of suffrage centennial parade in Washington, DC on March 3, 2013. Planning for the 2020 national suffrage centennial is already underway.

PBS video of the 2013 suffrage centennial parade in Washington, DC. LINK Great CNN coverage of the suffrage movement and the press. Link #1Link #2.

Subscribe to the Suffrage Wagon quarterly newsletter. COMING SOON: The Suffrage Wagon spring newsletter.

Curl up in a chair and listen to audio about our roots!

Happy Women’s History Month! This podcast from Indiana is worth listening to: “Helen Gougar: Foot Soldier for Suffrage.” Click here. Helen Gougar became a suffrage activist because of her determination to reduce the rate of domestic violence.

Martha Burk’s “Equal Time” radio broadcasts have guests you may never get an opportunity to listen to otherwise. Martha broadcasts from KSFR in Santa Fe, and her programming is available online.

Don’t forget that Suffrage Wagon’s archives have the audio version of “Jailed for Freedom” by Doris Stevens of the National Woman’s Party who reports on the tale of winning the 19th amendment. The book was published in 1920, and the story is still fresh in the words of those who lived it. For anyone who’s just been introduced to the suffrage movement by watching “Iron Jawed Angels,” read or listen to Doris Stevens.  Here it is:

Doris Stevens and “Jailed for Freedom.”  Section 1, Section 2, Section 3, Section 4. Sections 5 and 6 coming soon. Audio by Librivox.

Photo of radio: Massimianogalardi.


Suffrage parade centennial festivities starting in Washington, DC right now

Appeal letter from 1913 to organize marchers. From the archives of Edna Buckman Kearns. Edna Kearns and daughter Serena marched in the Quaker division. Wilmer Kearns marched in the men’s division. See Edna’s report after she returned to New York and wrote newspaper columns about the experience. LINK. For information about the centennial parade. LINK.
img209

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.”

If you liked this special feature, subscribe to Suffrage Wagon.

A hot cup of tea with your suffrage history lesson: Part I

TeaMemorabilia

by Kenneth Florey

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

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

SPECIAL BRAND OF TEA FOR SUFFRAGE EVENTS AND FUNDRAISING

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

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

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

SUFFRAGE TEA CUPS AND TEA SETS, MOSTLY ENGLISH

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

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

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

COMING SOON: The second part of the special feature by Ken Florey about suffrage movement tea memorabilia.” Ken’s new book on suffrage memorabilia will be published in the Spring/Summer of 2013. See article. The author’s web site. Photos above are from the author’s suffrage memorabilia collection.

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.

Subscribe to news and views and stories of the suffrage movement.

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.

Women who didn’t want to vote: New video and upcoming book

MKmusings 

Ninety-nine years ago in the first week of January, a hardy band of marchers under the direction of suffragist Rosalie Jones started out from from New York City on a march headed to Albany, NY to ask NYS Governor Martin Glynn to appoint poll watchers in the 1915 suffrage referendum. My grandparents Edna and Wilmer Kearns, plus their young daughter Serena, were part of the first contingent.

I’ve written about this before, and this is the time of the year to bring it up again because marching anywhere the first week of January doesn’t get me excited. In fact, it only reinforces my determination to curl up under a down quilt and read next to a nice open fire, even if it’s gas fired. This is exactly what I did today when I decided to catch up on some of the background associated with the 1:12 minute feature video I made for the web site, “Women Who Didn’t Want to Vote.”

I was fascinated with the prospect of my grandparents being part of a group appealing to the governor where Governor Glynn himself supported women’s suffrage, but his wife didn’t. The governor met with Rosalie Jones and a delegation of the marchers who made it during the long freezing ordeal on foot, but he was non committal about responding to their request.

I wanted to find out the real story, so I tracked down the only source of background information I could find, Governor Martin H. Glynn: Forgotten Hero by Dominick C. Lizzi, a former Town of Valatie historian. I had ordered it from the author last September and today finally got around to reading it.

It’s an extraordinary story that involves NYS, national, and international politics. The book refers to Governor Glynn’s support of votes for women and his progressive policies. Plus, there’s considerable discussion of his wife Mary Glynn and her popularity in the Albany social scene.

I stumbled on Mrs. Glynn’s name in a Women’s Anti-Suffrage Association pamphlet printed and distributed by the Third Judicial District of NYS in Albany, NY. where Mrs. Glynn’s listed as a vice president. Dominick C. Lizzi confirmed that –yes, indeed– it was Martin Glynn’s wife Mary. This fascinated me, and that’s how I came to spend the the day reading Lizzi’s book.

The details of story of the governor and his wife are too much to address here, and I’ll be finding out and sharing more, especially as a major book on the NYS anti-suffrage movement, No Votes for Women: The New York State Anti-Suffrage Movement by Susan Goodier, becomes available in March 2013 from the University of Illinois Press.

Stay tuned! Watch the video and order the book. One has been reserved for me in March, Women’s History Month. Subscribe to Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

 

“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

By subscribing, you receive postings twice a week. Or perhaps the quarterly newsletter is better suited for your interests. Try Twitter, Facebook, and just plain sharing. Subscribe.

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