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Christmas in 1823, a story by Elizabeth Cady Stanton

2015 is the 200th birthday of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Here’s what she had to say about Christmas in 1823. Two large and diverse events in New York City and Seneca Falls, NY in November 2015 brought many people together to remember that the women’s rights movement in the United States was long and uphill. This holiday message adds to the year’s birthday observance.

Note that Peter, referred to in this piece, is key to this holiday story. In service to the family, Peter appears to have been in charge of inspiring the holiday spirit, assisting in the preparation of the holiday meal and telling stories. Stanton notes that he sat in a separate section at the church in the Finger Lakes region of New York State and his presence caused static. Check out this story. It’s a personal account of the life experiences of a very complex and controversial activist. Johnstown, NY, the childhood home of Mrs. Stanton, has an active program year round of programs featuring Mrs. Stanton and women’s history.

Holiday stockingsby 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 iberties allowed, center in that large cellar kitchen to which I have already referred. There we spent many winter evenings in uninterrupted enjoyment.

A large fireplace with huge logs shed warmth and cheerfulness around. In one corner sat Peter sawing his fiddle, while our youthful neighbors danced with us and played blindman’s buff almost every evening during the vacation. The most interesting character in this game was the black boy called Jacob, Peters lieutenant, who made things lively for us by always keeping one eye open — a wise precaution to guard himself from danger, and to keep us on the jump. Hickory nuts, sweet cider, and olie-koeks (a Dutch name for a fried cake with raisins inside) were our refreshments when there came a lull in the fun.

As St. Nicholas was supposed to come down the  chimney, our stockings were pinned on a broomstick, laid across two chairs in front of the fireplace. We retired on Christmas Eve with the most pleasing anticipations of what would be in our stockings next morning. The thermometer in that latitude was often twenty degrees below zero, yet, bright and early we would run downstairs in our bare feet over the cold floors to carry stockings and broom to the nursery.

STOCKING STUFFINGS BACK IN 1823Vintage holiday card

The gorgeous presents that St. Nicholas now distributes show that he, too, has been growing up with the country. The boys and girls of today will laugh when they hear of the contents of our stockings in 1823. There was a little paper of candy, one of raisins, another of nuts, a red apple, an olie-koek, and a bright silver quarter of a dollar in the toe. If a child had been guilty of any erratic performance during the year, which was often my case, a long stick would protrude from the stocking; if particularly good, an illustrated catechism or the New Testament would appear, showing that the St. Nicholas of that time held decided views on discipline and ethics.

During the day we would take a drive over the snow-clad hills and valleys in a long red lumber sleigh. All the children it could hold made the forest echo with their songs and laughter. The sleigh bells, and Peter’s fine tenor voice, added to the chorus, seemed to chant, as we passed, “Merry Christmas!” to the farmers’ children and to all we met on the highway. Returning home, we were allowed, as a great Christmas treat, to watch all the preparations for dinner.

Attired in a white apron and turban, Peter assisted the cook. Holding in his hand a tin candlestick the size of a dinner plate, containing a lighted tallow candle, with a stately step he marched into the spacious cellar, with Jacob and three little girls dressed in red flannel at his heels. As the farmers paid the interest on their mortgages in barrels of pork, head-cheese, poultry, eggs, and cider, the cellars were well crowded for the winter, making the master of an establishment quite indifferent to all questions offinance. Laden with vegetables, butter, eggs, and a huge turkey, Peter and his followers returned to the kitchen. There, seated on a big ironing table, we watched the dressing and roasting of the bird in a tin oven in front of the fire. Jacob peeled the vegetables, we all sang, and Peter told us marvelous stories.

StrawberriesA BLACK AND WHITE CHRISTMAS IN UPSTATE NEW YORK

Peter was a devout Episcopalian, and took great pleasure in helping the young people decorate the old stone church, built by Sir William Johnson, and which stood just opposite our house. He would take us with him and show us how to make evergreen wreaths. Like Mary’s lamb, where’er he went we were sure to go. His love for us was unbounded, and fully returned. He was the only being, visible or invisible, of whom we had no fear. We would go to divine service with Peter Christmas morning and sit with him by the door, in what was called “the negro pew.”

He was the only colored member of the church, and, after all the other communicants had taken the sacrament, he went to the altar. Dressed in a new suit of blue with gilt buttons, he looked like a prince, as, with head erect, he walked up the aisle, the grandest specimen of manhood in the whole congregation; and yet so strong was prejudice against color in 1823 that no one would kneel beside him. On leaving us on one of these occasions, no sooner had he started than the youngest of us, Kate, slowly followed after him and seated herself close on the altar steps beside him. As he came back, holding the child by the hand, what a lesson it must have been to that prejudiced congregation!

SuffBookShelfFrom: ELIZABETH CADY STANTON: As Revealed in Her Letters, Diary and Reminiscences. Edited by Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch. Free ebook is available online.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platform on VimeoIn your free time, meet friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Your host: Marguerite Kearns.

SuffrageCentennials.com for trends, news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

Publishing since 2009: Suffrage Wagon News Channel!

WATCH THE VIDEO ON SUFFRAGE WAGON

Suffrage Wagon News Channel has been publishing since 2009: Holiday News Notes  on Vimeo.

Suffrage Wagon Cafe is open on December 8, 2015 for a special holiday program.

KSFR public radioListen to the interview with Marguerite Kearns on public radio that features director Timothy Hines and producer Susan Goforth of “10 Days in a Madhouse.” It’s about Nellie Bly’s undercover investigative reporting in a mental hospital, an expose that rocked the nation before the turn of the 20th century. Nellie Bly opened the doors for women in journalism. Nellie Bly covered the women’s suffrage movement. Her interview with Susan B. Anthony presented the activist in ways that no other reporter had been able to reveal.

Suffrage Wagon Cooking School has been busy behind the scenes. Drop in for a visit.

Suffrage Wagon Cooking SchoolFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platform on VimeoIn your free time, meet friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

SuffrageCentennials.com for trends, news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

 

Episode #8: The Good & Bad News of “Spirit of 1776” Suffrage Storytelling

WATCH THE VIDEO ON SUFFRAGE WAGON

Episode #8: “Spirit of 1776” suffrage storytelling with special guest, Jonathan Geffner on Vimeo.

THE GOOD NEWS & THE BAD NEWS!

How’s Wilmer Kearns doing in his ongoing effort to win the heart of Edna Buckman? Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news. Edna loves Wilmer’s storytelling. The bad news is that she hates his pipe and cigar. Edna’s mother May Begley Buckman was a temperance activist and these two items (a pipe and cigar) are on May’s “no no” list. It could be worse. May dislikes alcohol even more and Wilmer’s happens to like beer. And this only complicates matters. But Wilmer’s of the opinion that he’ll address these obstacles one at a time.

Are you wondering about the temperance movement? More than 100 years ago alcohol was even more of a problem than it is now. And some people like Edna’s mother got on the bandwagon to do something about it. See PBS special trailer.

THE PLOT THICKENS AS WILMER KEARNS FACES A NEW PROBLEM

The situation with Wilmer is complicated by the fact that his first job was in the accounting office of a cigar manufacturing firm in New York City, a rapidly growing industry at that time. The combination of cigars and booze didn’t endear Wilmer to Edna’s family. They didn’t know about Wilmer’s fondness for beer –only cigars. And Wilmer’s looking in the mirror mornings to ask himself: Which is more important? Edna or cigars?

The solution? Wilmer needs advice and he’ll ask Aunt Sarah. Meanwhile, the writings by Mary Wollstonecraft are still causing problems. Coming soon on Episode #9 of “Spirit of 1776” suffrage storytelling. Stay tuned!

Special thanks to Jonathan Geffner, special guest on Episode #8.

Suffrage Wagon CafeFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platform on VimeoIn your free time, meet friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

SuffrageCentennials.com for trends, news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

New markets for “Suffragette”film, plus great contests to enter!

The-Other-Side-(single-bill).png

Participate in a contest to bring more people into the fold who know about American history and women’s place in it.  Womenon20s.org commissioned the above image and shared it with the U.S Treasury. Each of the individuals shown worked tirelessly for women’s rights and what is taken for granted today.

Name The People Contest: No cost to enter. Submit the names of the 12 people featured on The Other Side on the form provided on the Womenon20’s website. Winners will be announced by Thanksgiving. Essay Contest: Tell in 500-1000 words why commemorating women on national currency is meaningful.  All entries will be sent as one package to the Treasury and the U.S. President. Send entries to: women@womenon20s.org.

Turning Point Suffragist Memorial’s contest is geared to undergraduate and graduate students across the nation.

"Suffragette"NEW MARKETS FOR “SUFFRAGETTE” FILM AS OF NOVEMBER 6, 2015. Albany, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Champaign-Urbana, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Dallas, Denver, Des Moines, Ft. Myers, Harrisburg, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Madison, Milwaukee,  Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orelans, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Portland, ME, Portland, OR, Providence, Raleigh, Richmond, Rochester, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, Seattle, St. Louis, Syracuse, Tucson, and West Palm Beach. WATCH FOR MORE RELEASES OF “SUFFRAGETTE” FILM ON SuffrageCentennials.com

November 8, 2015: Special program at Suffrage Wagon Cafe about the November 2015 release of film, “10 Days in a Madhouse.”

SuffrageWagonCafeFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platform on VimeoIn your free time, meet friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

SuffrageCentennials.com for trends, news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

Marguerite Kearns is fuming over “Suffragette” film!

“Marguerite’s Musings” with Marguerite Kearns is a regular column! on Vimeo.

"Marguerite's Musings" by Marguerite Kearnsby Marguerite Kearns

This posting is more appropriately called “Marguerite’s Fumings.” For those of you who have been following Suffrage Wagon News Channel during 2015, you’re well aware of the preview coverage I’ve given to the “Suffragette” film from the UK.

Sure, there are aspects of the film I would have done differently. But I’m not focusing on me as a back-seat driver. I’m referring to the broader significance of this production and why so many people have been waiting for the opportunity to move this important part of history out of the closet.

The long and short of it is that the “Suffragette” film didn’t open in the city where I live, even though there’s a large and sophisticated movie-going population. It’s a diverse city with people for whom this film has been anticipated since the start of 2015. The previews played in a local movie chain here. But then we were only treated to choices of action films and standard Hollywood fare after “Suffragette” opened on October 23rd in other “selected” parts of the United States.

AN OUTRAGEOUS DEVELOPMENT

The “Suffragette” film was written, directed, and produced by women; the primary performers are women. It’s a period film illustrating the long and difficult struggle to win women’s voting rights in England. Considerable pre-publicity makes the connection between women’s rights struggles of today (pay gaps, under representation on boards, and in elected positions, etc.) and the past.

Many of us have been following how this all-woman production team has gone up against the film industry. The only course open to concerned people is to vote with our tickets that may translate into box office receipts. But that won’t happen if the film has been wiped off the map where we live. If the opening box office receipts don’t provide the anticipated profits, the movie will be pulled from theaters. And the movement to break through the sandbags Hollywood has stacked against women performers, directors, and support personnel will be undermined again.

WATCH THE TRAILER AND SEE “SUFFRAGETTE” IF YOU CAN

Jane Barker of Turning Point Suffragist Memorial is pulling out all stops in terms of getting the word out to her networks. Watch the trailer: http://www.focusfeatures.com/suffragette Pass on the word that the distribution in the U.S. is already limited. Jane has been circulating the list of theaters in the Washington, DC area, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Franciso and Phoenix where people can actually buy tickets to see “Suffragette.”

Meanwhile, I’m fuming. Recently I spoke before a local group urging people to see “Suffragette.” I sent out an appeal last week to my email network making the connection between the “Suffragette” film and our own suffrage history here in the United States. My expectations were raised by the previews in a local movie theater. But Hollywood and its distributers didn’t deliver. I can only assume it’s business as usual. Vote with your theater tickets in places where the “Suffragette” film will be shown. And get behind those organizations and constituencies that support the idea that history belongs to the people, not just those salivating over profits!

Vote graphic on Suffrage Wagon Nes ChannelFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platform on VimeoIn your free time, meet friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

SuffrageCentennials.com for trends, news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. “Choose it and Use it” is a video reminding us of how the past is linked to what we do today and its impact on the future. We’re celebrating voting rights and women’s freedom to vote! Join us.

Episode #7: Edna responds to Wilmer’s love of writings by Henry David Thoreau!

WATCH THE VIDEO ON SUFFRAGE WAGON

 

 

 

Episode #7: Wilmer Kearns courts Edna Buckman with his storytelling on Vimeo.

We’re moving toward the day when Edna, Wilmer and Bess (Edna’s best friend) are active in the women’s suffrage movement. But long before that, we meet them in 1903 when they’re young. Their direction in life is still in formation.

MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT INTERESTED THE YOUNG WOMEN

In previous posts, Bess got in trouble after her parents discovered copies of Mary Wollstonecraft’s books hidden in her bedroom. Edna also read Mary Wollstonecraft. Then Wilmer entered the scene and he loved talking about his favorite author, Henry David Thoreau. The writer understood the art of walking and how he considered every walk a “crusade.” Edna listened carefully.

HENRY DAVID THOREAU INTERESTED WILMER KEARNS!

Wilmer agreed with how Henry David Thoreau needed leisure, freedom, and independence. For Thoreau, walking represented more than exercise. It turned into an adventure, an occasion that brought air and sunshine to his thoughts.

Thoreau loved climbing a tree, studying the landscape, and discovering new horizons during his walks. He listened to the quiet that wasn’t really soundless at all. While walking he contemplated the known and the unknowable. He studied the moon and buildings in varying shades of light and darkness. Thoreau said he ventured out into the world for a walk with no idea of direction. But he found a new way of traveling and being. Then he added: “In short, all good things are wild and free.”

Wilmer’s in the process of wearing down Edna’s reservations about relationships. But will he be successful in winning Edna’s heart? Stay tuned!

Wilmer KearnsRelax this fall by following Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platform on VimeoIn your free time, meet friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

SuffrageCentennials.com for trends, news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. “Choose it and Use it” is a video reminding us of how the past is linked to what we do today and its impact on the future. We’re celebrating voting rights and women’s freedom to vote! Join us.

Videos: Wrapping up our first year at Suffrage Wagon Cooking School!

Suffrage Wagon Cooking SchoolOur first year at Suffrage Wagon Cooking School is coming to an end. This is the last day for visiting the farmers’ market where, over time, the refrigerator’s produce bin has been crammed with food fresh from the fields. We love to cook with fresh local ingredients!

Our Irish wood-burning cook stove has been a hit with cooking school students and fans. During 2015 we’ve baked apple pie in it, as well as butternut squash soup.

A demonstration on how to make French onion soup is coming soon from Suffrage Wagon Cooking School. Keep your produce bin stocked with fresh onions. They come in handy when you’re in a hurry and a pot of fresh soup is all that you can manage for dinner.

VIDEOS: Highlights of cooking school demonstrations for 2015. If you didn’t have a chance to attend our birthday party celebration on video, here’s your opportunity now.

Here’s what we crammed into the shopping bag during our last visit to the farmers’ market. Check in with this video now:

More fresh produce from the Farmers’ Market! on Vimeo.

Cooking School posterMeet our cooking school students and check out our vintage Irish wood-burning stove. Relax this fall by following Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platform on Vimeo.

In your free time, meet friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

SuffrageCentennials.com for trends, news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. “Choose it and Use it” is a video reminding us of how the past is linked to what we do today and its impact on the future. We’re celebrating voting rights and women’s freedom to vote! Join us.