Category Archives: Women's Suffrage

New suffragette feature film in UK: Suffrage Wagon News Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oregon suffrage centennial sash, plus news from Arizona and Kansas

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

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

Cartoon of Susan B. Anthony

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch a suffrage story on video and share your suffrage story

Did you know about the picketing of the White House by suffragists? This is a story we can’t tell often enough. The headquarters of the National Woman’s Party in Washington, DC (aka the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum) has prepared this video using some archival images many people have not seen.

These wonderful and energetic folks at the Sewall-Bemont House & Museum have launched a virtual campaign called “Share Your Story. Save HerStory.” It’s precisely the kind of campaign that builds leadership through stories of the suffrage movement, which is the mission of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Contact Elisabeth Crum at 202-546-1210 ext, 17, or send her an email with your answers to the following questions: “Why is woman suffrage important to you? Why will you vote this year? Who are the women (past and present) who inspire you to vote? What do you think women should know about the WNP and how will that move them to vote in 2012?” Stories will be collected as blog posts, video, Facebook, and Twitterview. For more information.

I’ll be participating in the story campaign. What about you? Stay up to date with news and stories of the suffrage movement: suffragewagon.org

Alice Paul: the most overlooked civil rights leader of the 20th century!

Alice Paul is finally getting the recognition she deserves. Yet, during her lifetime she wasn’t interested in glory. She kept her eye on the prize: women’s rights and the vote. This video fills in a great deal. And keep in mind that author Mary Walton never heard of Alice Paul before a newspaper editor brought Paul to her attention. Meanwhile, this interview highlights where Walton calls Paul “the most overlooked civil rights leader of the 20th century.”

Suffragists picked up their soapboxes and went to town!

Not only did the suffragists march in huge parades, but in some events they even carried portable soapboxes (such as in the photo below) in the event an opportunity arose for them to stand up on a street corner and speak. It was a novelty for women to speak in public back then as Susan B. Anthony knew well. And it was equally daring to climb up on a soap box and speak for as long as a crowd gathered to listen. This took considerable courage. The suffragists had to duck water thrown on them and smile in the face of insults and worse. The men who marched in suffrage parades also faced jeers and insults. Critics accused them of tagging after the “girls.” One man anonymously wrote a book entitled How it feels to be the husband of a suffragette. It’s not only funny, but you get the point. And it’s free for the download.

Splits in suffrage movement didn’t deter working relationships

Mrs. Raymond Brown took over after Harriett May Mills as president of New York’s state suffrage organization. A rare recording of Mrs. Brown speaking is a valuable look at the period, as well as a reference in one of Grandmother Edna Kearns’ newspaper columns that she wasn’t all that pleased with Mrs. Brown being selected as state president. Despite her personal opinion, Kearns and Brown worked closely together on suffrage organizing of Long Island. Photo: Library of Congress.

“Just show up,” say Votes for Women activists out in force at Mineola Fair

“Just show up.” That’s the advice for us today in all aspects of our lives. It was the motto of the suffragists who used community events such as the county fair to show up and use the occasion to advocate for human rights.

Check out the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 22, 1915. What’s Edna Buckman Kearns up to now? She’s making her presence known at the Mineola Fair, and here’s what the Brooklyn paper had to say about it.

Carrier pigeons sent messages to the U.S. President

Even children were on the speaking circuit to win votes for women –something important to remember. After spending “Suffrage Day” in 1914 organizing an automobile parade and open-air meetings, Brooklyn suffragists sent a Votes for Women appeal to President Woodrow Wilson by carrier pigeon. The NY Times covered the pigeon release. Grandmother Edna was busy speaking that day at Union Square Park in Manhattan. The article noted that when Edna spoke, she was accompanied by her ten-year-old daughter Serena Kearns. Edna wasn’t feeling well that day, but she dragged herself to the podium, as the article notes.

Other young girls, in addition to Serena, participated in the movement. On Suffrage Day in 1913, one such youngster (Dorothy Frooks) spoke from the podium to the hundreds of people gathered. According to the account, Dorothy had been on the suffrage speaking trail since the age of seven. The NY Times reported on another of Dorothy’s speaking engagements.

Congressional Gold Medal for suffragist Alice Paul?

Alice Paul, suffragist.

This week U.S. Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) re-introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to award the Congressional Gold Medal to suffragist Alice Paul.  The Alice Paul Women’s Suffrage Congressional Gold Medal Act officially recognizes Paul’s role in the women’s suffrage movement and in advancing equal rights for women. Make sure your congressional representatives are aware of this legislation, that they support it, and move it forward to passage.

Rep. Baca first introduced legislation to award Alice Paul the Congressional Gold Medal in 2005.  His legislation garnered near unanimous, bipartisan support in the 110th Congress with 406 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives.  This is the most co-sponsor support in history for any Congressional Gold Medal act.  Unfortunately, the legislation was not brought up for a vote in the U.S. Senate.  Since then, Rep. Baca has reintroduced the legislation in both the 111th Congress and the current 112th Congress.

Alice Paul spearheaded the effort to pass the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting all American women the right to vote. Her courage inspired thousands of women to join the women’s suffrage movement. She was among the first group to ever picket the White House and later embarked on a three-week hunger strike with her fellow suffragists when they were arrested for their cause. Alice Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923 and fought tirelessly for its passage until her death in 1977.

Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), who represents Paul’s home state of New Jersey in the U.S. Congress, is the lead Republican sponsor of the legislation.

Bad girls and troublemakers!

“History Detectives” was a great way to begin the week, along with Louise Bernikow’s article for the Women’s Media Center about this deep dark hole of our history.  You can watch the “History Detectives” show online after the fact.

Part of the thrill of doing this work is when my grandmother Edna Kearns speaks to me, when I can hear her voice above the noise and chatter of present day. Above all, she’s saying, “Don’t give up. Lucretia Mott took a lot of flack in her day from people who said she wanted too much too soon. And take Susan B. Anthony as an example. Ridiculed often, she never wavered from her goal.” Hefty advice for the days when we feel overwhelmed, isolated, discouraged. Hang in there, says Grandmother.

Notes pioneer women’s historian Anne Firor Scott: “It is worth trying to understand the past because in the process of doing so one learns so much about the possibilities and mysteries of human existence at the same time one is learning how partial and incomplete is even the most careful reconstruction of lives, events, and social movements. Sometimes I am willing to say, with Leonard Woolf, The Journey Not the Arrival Matters.” (From Making the Invisible Woman Visible.)

Anne Firor Scott’s interview with North Carolina Public Radio commentator Frank Stasio is worth a listen. Scott speaks about her life, women’s history, teaching and her perspective on the current state of affairs in the world. She reminds us that scholars and history buffs aren’t escapists in the sense that we prefer to live in the past instead of the present. Rather, we reach out to bridge the past with the present and extract the lessons meant for us today.

Blogging for BUST

Though the term “blog” didn’t come into use until 1999, it’s just like me to tell folks that Grandmother Edna blogged suffrage news and reported it much like a citizen journalist would today.  Edna wrote columns, press releases and was suffrage editor for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. She served as press chair for suffrage campaigns and had relationships with every news editor on Long Island.

Grandmother participated in suffrage events and then she raced home to write about the experience. The outcome wasn’t instant like a blog would be, but it was as fast as could be expected back then. A few women like Ishbel Ross and Emma Bugbee broke into writing through the suffrage movement. Check out this case study of Ross and Bugbee and how they got into “the exciting newspaper game.” The story of how Ross tracked down Mrs. Pankhurst led to her later comment about she owed her newspaper career to this front-page interview. Bugbee covered the 1914 march to Albany and the incident in front of the Metropolitan Opera in 1919 with Alice Paul and others where Grandmother Edna was smack in the middle of the fray.

While we’re waiting for the September 20th “History Detectives” program to air, I’m posting more audio comments from author and historian Louise Bernikow. Here, she speaks about the chronic forgetting of suffrage history.

Photo by Peter Norby.

Potential for “Cultural Tourism” or “Heritage Tourism” in Oregon during 2012

Oregon’s 1912 victory for Votes for Women is bringing a lot of history out of the bottom bureau drawer. See excellent article, the web site devoted to the centennial — a “Century of Action” in Oregon — and the building momentum of awareness about the political potential of women voting today. The lives of Oregon activists such as Abigail Scott Dunaway (close friend of Susan B. Anthony) are highlighted in an audio program on Oregon public radio worth listening to. Discussions like this raise nagging contemporary questions about pay equity, affordable day care, paid maternity leave, women holding political office and much more.

Maude Malone wouldn’t leave U.S. President Woodrow Wilson alone

Maude Malone at a 1914 suffrage meeting. Photo: Library of Congress.

When activist Maude Malone stood up at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in October of 1912 to interrupt Woodrow Wilson’s campaign speech on monopolies taking over the country, she yelled: “How about votes for women?” She then repeated her questioning: “You just said you were trying to destroy a monopoly, and I ask you what about woman suffrage? The men have a monopoly.” Wilson replied that this wasn’t an issue the national government needed to be concerned about. The suffragist continued: “I am speaking to you as an American, Mr. Wilson.”  Although Malone was hauled off to jail, the incident didn’t go unnoticed.

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“History Detectives” preview about Votes for Women mystery

Happy Women’s Equality Day! Here’s the preview for the September 20th episode of “History Detectives” where a Maryland woman inherited a colorful mystery from her father: a purple and gold pennant emblazoned with the words “Votes for Women.”  The imagery fascinated her – four women rallying around a fifth woman who stood blowing a trumpet.  She wondered if the pennant belonged to her grandmother, Addie Luther Blemly.  She was aware that her grandmother lived in Wolcott, NY, but knew little more about her life.  History Detectives host Elyse Luray set out to learn the significance of this pennant and to find out whether Addie Blemly played a role in the woman’s suffrage movement. The “History Detectives” special on September 20th features Louise Bernikow who will be interviewed on Suffrage Wagon News Channel prior to the broadcast. Save the date!

Read Suffrage Wagon News Channel on your Kindle. Order through the Amazon Kindle store. There’s a 14-day trial.

“Let them wimmin get the vote and stop making so much fuss!”

This story is from a New York Tribune article from Grandmother Edna Kearns’ archive documenting her woman’s suffrage activism on Long Island and New York City.

When Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon was presented to the state suffrage organization in 1913, a big crowd was in attendance, and the event received considerable media attention. 

Free download of suffrage music

Music. You gotta have music on August 26th, even if it’s from your own boom box. For starters, performer Gerri Gribi has a free download of “Oh, Dear, What can the matter be?” which is direct from the suffrage movement.  And playing “Fall in Line,” a suffrage march, will give your High Tea an air of authenticity. Formal invitations aren’t necessary. Surprise your guests by phoning them personally.

The program (below) is also from the February 1915 tea at the Hotel Biltmore honoring Susan B. Anthony and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw. It’s an example of the effort poured into movement tea parties and receptions. Check out the video about Rep. Bella Abzug who sponsored federal legislation for the creation of Women’s Equality Day in 1971.  The August 26th observance acknowledges the Votes for Women victory in 1920 and makes a bridge between the past and the present.

Woman’s suffrage is going national!

Find out more about “History Detectives” and Louise Bernikow’s appearance on the program.
Feedback I’ve been getting suggests that training is necessary in the art of High Tea. The Atlanta Board of Education produced a training film for young women that covers the basics of putting on a tea. Films like this aren’t being made any more. It covers “correct behavior,” proper form and dress, “etiquette and taste, where the tea-pot should be placed and more. Also, check out other training films in the archive of the Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

I like to use the program for the 1915 tea in honor of Susan B. Anthony and Dr. Anna Howard Shaw as an example of how to organize a similar event, even if it’s just you in charge of the organization. The enlargement for the image above may be slow in loading, but it’s worth the wait because the size is 100 percent. On the right page of the program, there’s the who, what, where and when. The suffrage quotes speak for the issue and justify the importance of the occasion, as do the patrons who are an integral part of the fundraising. If you think I’m pushing the 1915 tea, you’re right! Grandmother Edna was on the planning committee.

Don’t forget to put September 20th on your calendar in 2011!

Plan a party for Women’s Equality Day!

Clear the decks for a party celebrating Women’s Equality Day on August 26th! Need some help when it comes to getting excited about the passage of the 19th amendment? If you’re planning high tea and you’d like a program or memorabilia to go with the sweets, the National Women’s History Project has a collection of materials you’ll find useful: “Women Change America” place mats, equality-day balloons, posters, banners, speeches, a 15-minute Powerpoint, CD with 17 songs, video presentation for grade 7 to adult, purple and gold sashes, and a Women’s Equality Day program kit. Or a program could be as simple as asking people to write the answers to the Women’s Equality Quiz.

Just create an invitation, decide on the place, your guests, the menu. And you’re on your way to hosting a party. If it still seems daunting, just think about the number of people who will tell you afterwards: “Thank you for doing this!” This is the first of several postings this month in preparation for a party celebrating women winning the vote. If you can’t get it together for August, start a “to do” planning list for parties in January (Alice Paul Day) and Susan B. Anthony’s birthday in February.

Point of view from a Canadian lover of suffrage history

Barbara Allisen

I don’t remember when I first learned about the Canadian suffrage movement at school, but I do remember that politics were often discussed in our home. We lived in a very small farming community and the community hall, where elections were held, was across the street. Not all members of the family had the same voting preferences and should one of the females express a different opinion, teasing would follow about how terrible things were since women had been given the right to vote. But voting was taken seriously, and it was fully expected that each person who could vote would do so. I remember some farmers whose X signatures had to be witnessed because they could not write their names. At school, we had Civil Studies and held class elections. Much of the information I know comes from stories about the lives of these and other pioneer women I read after graduating from college.

On January 27, 1914, Nellie McClung and several hundred supporters filled the Legislative Building in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Nellie delivered the message: “We are not here to ask for a reform or a gift or a favor, but for a right–not for mercy but for justice.”

FOR MORE FROM BARBARA ALLISEN

Little-known fact: Women hissed a U.S. President

The suffragists didn’t take the insults by U.S. President William Howard Taft lightly when he addressed their organization, the National American Woman Suffrage Organization– back in April of 1910. Taft had been known to oppose women voting, but perhaps he’d at least be polite in addressing their convention. Instead, he launched into a tirade about how extending the vote to women would be a disaster. The audience hissed, to which Taft said that self restraint was part of the game. Later, the organization officially apologized to Taft, but the point had been made. The women were up against very powerful individuals and interests.

Is this story true? A two-minute suffrage podcast.

It’s all in the telling, and the suffragists are believed to have written their own version of the tale. In March of 1913. U.S. President-elect Woodrow Wilson arrived at the train station in Washington, DC all geared up for his inauguration ceremony. He expected  to be the center of attention, but he wasn’t. “Where are the people?” he is alleged to have asked. The response: “On the Avenue watching the suffragists parade.”

Doris Stevens in her book, “Jailed for Freedom,” tells the story as fact. Here’s her story about the parade in a two-minute clip. The reading is brought to us by Librivox.

Interview with Teri P. Gay gives woman’s suffrage movement a broad perspective

Suffrage Wagon News Channel is featuring an audio interview with author and historian Teri P. Gay. Find out why Teri believes the upcoming 100th anniversary of woman’s suffrage in NYS and the nation is significant. Listen to her point of view about how this celebration might play itself out. What’s behind the fact that suffrage history is so relatively unknown? And more!

The interview is presented in snippets of a few seconds all the way up to five and seven minutes. It’s the kind of interview you can listen to in your car, when taking a stroll with your headphones around the block, or when sitting down with a good cup of tea. Teri’s book, “Strength without Compromise: Womanly Influence and Political Identity in Turn-of-the-Century Rural Upstate New York” is proving to be a hit among audiences of organizations and civil groups in the upstate NY region because it’s about their local history. Teri has given book signings and talks on over fifty occasions over the past year. She’s discovered that among the groups and organizations, audiences are anxious to find out the local angle of the suffrage movement in their communities. Enjoy the interview! And you can order her book.

California and Oregon and their 100th suffrage anniversaries

California is celebrating its suffrage centennial celebration. Oregon is realizing the potential of its 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage by beginning the observance now. A presentation by former governor Barbara Roberts before the City Club of Portland demonstrates this point. Her speech to the group is worth listening to. Roberts told the audience: “History is meant, not to sit on a shelf, but to devour and think about and talk about and share.” She called the suffrage movement something “. . . that’s little told and is highly under appreciated” and how this “is about to change.” Roberts’ perspective is shared by many: “We’re bringing our place in history out of the shadows” and she’s reminded of Susan B. Anthony’s charge: “Never another season of silence.”

Oregon, Kansas and Arizona celebrate their 100th suffrage anniversaries in 2012. The state of Washington had its 100th suffrage anniversary last year. Colorado, Utah, and Idaho have already acknowledged their 100th year of women voting.

July 19-20 is 163rd anniversary of Seneca Falls convention

1848 Seneca Falls Convention

Think back to 1848 in Seneca Falls and hold the thought of women and men gathering for the conference where the radical idea of Votes for Women was first expressed. There’s still time to plan an event for Women’s Equality Day on August 26th for your friends or organization. The National Women’s History Project is a terrific resource.

Note the new feature column above, “Save the Date,” that highlights August 26 and September 20. On July 24th there’s an interactive tour of New York City of women’s history.

Lucy Burns donned an evening gown to get Churchill’s attention!

Lucy Burns.

Keeping the issue of voting alive and in the minds of politicians was an important tactic of the English suffragettes in 1909. It wasn’t one action that did the trick, but the constant reminders, in unexpected places, at unexpected times. Lucy Burns was an American, who with Alice Paul, was radicalized in the English front lines of suffrage. One evening she dressed in an elegant gown, socialized with the dignitaries at a fancy-dress ball, and then approached Winston Churchill. After waving a banner in  his face, she asked: “How can you dine here while women are starving in prison?”

The police removed her from the building, and Churchill got the message.

News from the NYS Museum

No one likes the belt tightening underway in organizations and institutions across the nation. And the distribution of pink slips in offices at the New York State Museum is no exception. The museum’s employees held their collective breath in 2010 when 12 staffers were laid off, and then again recently. There’s a breeze blowing through the museum these days when one considers that one third of its staff disappeared in just over a year due to layoffs, forced and voluntary retirements. In the past six months, the museum has closed its doors on Sundays, removed some exhibits and contracted its cafeteria out for cultural events. Some observers are wondering if the state museum will be able to carry out its legislative mandates.

How will this impact my grandmother’s suffrage campaign wagon that sits stored in a museum warehouse in the Albany area? No one knows at this point. With the 100th anniversary of women voting in NYS coming up in 2017, there are many reasons why New York should be planning an enormous celebration –one that will highlight the extraordinary accomplishment of New York women that was a tipping point in the national campaign.

All the more reason for us to continue gathering support for museum officials and those in the state’s executive chambers charged with budgetary matters to take the necessary steps to get the suffrage wagon out of the warehouse and on permanent exhibit. Let’s see what happens next!

A 4th of July story about Susan B. Anthony

Sit down in your favorite lawn chair for a little over ten minutes and sip some iced tea. Find out about a little-known story involving Susan B. Anthony and the 4th of July.  Doris Stevens wrote this splendid piece in 1920. It’s the first chapter of her book, “Jailed for Freedom,” and you can listen to it right now. This reading is in the public domain and brought to the Suffrage Wagon News Channel by LibriVox.

Photo of my grandmother Edna in 1912

Barnstorming for Votes for Women on Long Island, my grandmother Edna Buckman Kearns didn’t leave a stone unturned in her campaigning for Votes for Women. This photo is from a New York State suffrage publication, showing her to the right holding an umbrella.

Who gave her life for Votes for Women?

The English had their martyr –Emily Davison who threw herself in front of the King’s horse to bring attention to the cause of Votes for Women. In the U.S., Inez Milholland was well known for riding a horse in suffrage parades. Milholland died on the campaign trail when barnstorming in the West.  She was known as the couragous woman who died with the word of “Liberty” on her lips. Suffragists repeated her words often when confronting U.S. President Woodrow Wilson: “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?”

Suff Whirlwind Campaign of Long Island: Part 2

Meanwhile, back on the suffrage campaign trail, the women worked day and night, weekends and holidays.  This 1912 article from my grandmother Edna’s suffrage movement archive gives the details of the work. The suffragists were frequently accused of being emotional about the issue of Votes for Women. The reporter Cora E. Morlan includes Dr. Anna Howard Shaw’s story of 15,000 men at a convention in Baltimore putting on a show or what she termed a “wild demonstration.” Now, who’s emotional?

NYC Mayor and NYS Governor Cite Suffrage Movement in Major Speeches

The suff movement has been acknowledged in recent public speeches by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. In the course of expressing support for marriage equality in New York, these two officials highlighted the woman’s suffrage movement in New York.

In a letter to New Yorkers on May 26, 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the following: “New York has a proud, progressive history as a national leader in bringing greater equality and respect for all. From the fight for women’s suffrage to the struggle for civil rights, New Yorkers have not only been on the right side of history, we have made history. . .” A brief clip from Cuomo’s speech.   Check out Cuomo’s full video message.

Noted Mayor Bloomberg: “And the question for every New York State lawmaker is: Do you want to be remembered as a leader on civil rights? Or an obstructionist? Remember, on matters of freedom and equality, history has not remembered obstructionists kindly. Not on abolition. Not on abortion. Not on women’s suffrage. Not on workers’ rights. Not on civil rights. And it will be no different on marriage rights.” A brief audio selection from the Mayor’s speech.

The Good News and the Other News

Ok, let’s get the not-so-good news over with. We didn’t make the $5,000 goal on Kickstarter. But let’s not forget the $1200 grant from the Puffin Foundation and the pledges and support from many many friends. Thank you!

In the Good News Department, Mayor David Coss of Santa Fe, New Mexico has joined an ever-growing number of people around the country who are supporting the New York State Museum in its efforts to obtain the funding it needs to put my grandmother Edna Buckman Kearns’ suffrage campaign wagon on permanent exhibit in Albany, NY (the state capitol). The museum has plans for a renovation that would feature the wagon, among other things. However, funding has been held up indefinitely because of budget issues.

Subscribe to this blog if you’d like to stay in touch with those of us who are following the the suffrage campaign wagon on its journey to be seen by you and the general public. By subscribing, you’ll receive updates a few times each month –not enough to clog your email account, but enough to stay on top of the wagon’s progress. The subscription form is at the top of the right-side column.

One day to go on Kickstarter campaign for suffrage documentary!

This is a reminder about the Kickstarter campaign for the suffrage documentary ends Friday afternoon, June 3rd. And this posting has some interesting web pages to look at after you’ve visited the Kickstarter site.

The suffrage movement was coming into its own at the time of film and moving pictures. Here’s a link to a suffrage video gallery. Enjoy!

If you aren’t aware of the Susan B. Anthony handbag, this article from the New  York Times will bring you up to date. And if you’ve ever wondered about suffrage collectables, Legacy America lays out what’s available and what it costs.

BUST Magazine Publishes Last-Minute Appeal for Suff Film

Check out “Bust Magazine” online for an affirmative last-minute appeal to raise the $5,000 slated to fund the production of a professional version of the story about the suffrage campaign wagon used by my grandmother Edna in the Votes for Women campaign. And please pass the word. I still believe in miracles.

Here’s the link!

Hanging In, While Making Another Dent!

Some days I have no idea if I’m making a dent when I write yet another letter about the Kickstarter campaign.

I stand on strong shoulders when remembering the suffragists’ persistence. When suff lobbyist Maude Younger approached Senator Irvine Lenroot in the halls of Congress, he snapped at her: “Nagging. If you women would only stop nagging.”

Maude also had a sense of humor about her determination. She described Senator Thomas Martin as someone who “…would not sit down and talk suffrage, nor would he stand up and talk it. The only way to discuss suffrage with Senator Martin was to run beside him down the hall.” She said that talking suffrage with the senator was “very good exercise.” Maude was well known for her card index of representatives which turned out to be a very effective and not-so-secret advantage when lobbying.

NOW, BACK TO REALITY. There are 23 days left and the Kickstarter project is only 16 percent funded. The clock is ticking!

Film Project Receives Grant From Puffin Foundation

Great news! One big step toward the reaching the dream of finishing the documentary about my grandmother and the woman’s suffrage movement was accomplished this week with the news that the Puffin Foundation has awarded $1200 toward the completion of the work. Don’t put away your pens. This doesn’t count toward the Kickstarter campaign that is underway until the beginning of June. However, it’s a huge leap forward, and one that strengthens my dream of having the news of Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon spread to large numbers of people.

Help Me Realize My Dream!

Grandmother Edna's suffrage campaign wagon

My dream is that my grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon will be put on permanent exhibit at the New York State Museum in Albany, NY. And that the edited documentary I’m in the process of producing will be played on a monitor next to the wagon. An unrealistic vision? I don’t think so. It’s my dream and I stand determined to reach the goal of raising $5,000 to professionally edit the work in progress. Which is why I’m cranking up the Kickstarter campaign. There are 31 days to go before the end of the campaign. Honor the hard work that went into the state and national Votes for Women campaigns.

“It is doubtful if any man, even among suffrage men, ever realized what the suffrage struggle came to mean to women before the end was allowed in America. How much of time, patience, how much work, energy and aspiration, how much faith, hope, how much despair went into it. It leaves its mark on one, such a struggle. It fills the days and it rides the nights. Working, eating, drinking, sleeping, it is there. . .”

Carrie Chapman Catt and Nettie Rogers Shuler (suffrage leaders)

Suffragists Invented Modern Tactics?

Mary Walton’s recent book, A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot, has been introducing many people to the woman’s suffrage movement. In the mid-1990s, Walton had never heard of Alice Paul when her editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer suggested that she write a book on Paul and her contribution to American history. In the conclusion to her book, Walton noted: “The legal precedents set by the Woman’s Party protected later generations who took their protests for civil rights, an end to the Vietnam  War, and other causes to the streets, sidewalks and parks around the White House and the Capitol. But more than that, Paul and her party virtually invented the modern tactics of nonviolent civil disobedience that those later protestors would use.”

It might be exaggerating the point to say that the suffragists “invented” modern tactics, but they certainly stretched the boundaries of actions commonly associated with civil disobedience.

Sun and Heat Couldn’t Keep Them from Their Task

I’m continuing to spread the word about the Kickstarter campaign. While I’m at it, I deliver 60-second history lessons wherever I can. One such tale is about how spreading the word about Votes for Women on Long Island in 1912 was no small accomplishment. This account from my grandmother’s files shows the details and about how the weather didn’t deter the women from the task at hand.

The Whirlwind Campaign of Long Island: 1912

The women hit the streets, literally, when barnstorming Long island for Votes for Women in 1912. They also kept excellent records, took charge of their own publicity, and understood the importance of being visible.Long Island's 1912 campaign

News Notes From All Over

A film about the English suffrage movement called “Suffragettes” is in development. No votes for women in Saudi municipal elections. One hundredth anniversary of English boycott of census by suffragettes, an event that was inspired by Ghandi. There’s more suffrage news on the internet than ever before. The 100th anniversary of suffrage in the United States is in 2020, which isn’t tomorrow, but it suggests that the interest will increase in time.

My Grandmother Stepped Up to Volunteer!

This appeal from the New York Suffrage Newsletter of August 1912 spelled out precisely the tasks volunteers needed to do:  help out at headquarters and sell the newsletter. My grandmother did everything that was requested. She sent out suffrage leaflets in her correspondence, stamped “Votes for Women” on her checks. She recruited supporters, sold newsletters, gave speeches, participated in local clubs and organizations, marched in parades, and much more. Suffrage campaigners also sold flags, arm bands, leaflets, buttons, place cards, seals, pencils, rubber stamps, drinking cups, posters, blotters, stationary, and baskets. The personalized trinket industry was busy back then, just as it is today!

Don’t forget to pledge to support the Kickstarter campaign. Watch the video.

Louisiana Women Celebrated With a Flair

The National Women’s History Project reported that their phone rang off the hook prior to and during March. Folks from around the nation called with reports of events and many questions. Louisiana women celebrated Votes for Women with a parade where they dressed in period costume.


During March a suffrage manuscript was uncovered in Connecticut that revealed the extent of organization it took to win the vote.

Put on a Pair of Kickstarting Boots and Pledge!

I need you to pledge to fund the completion of the film project I started last year. There’s a goal of $5,000 for polishing the editing, adding some more material, and getting the news out into the world. No money changes hands until we’ve reached the goal in early June. A lot of work has gone into this so far. And BTW, the Kickstarter boots are in your size!

Slow Start, But Spirited Movement Forward!

Check out the story on my newest project about my grandmother and the “Spirit of 1776,” her suffrage campaign wagon.

And the newsletter from the Santa Fe chapter of the AAUW which said about the March presentation: “The March branch meeting was one not to miss. We had such a good time. Marguerite Kearns regaled us with tales of her grandmother who was a very active suffragist in New York State. She also had a slide show of artifacts from her grandmother’s life. Gerri Gribi taught us a suffragist song and she also sang several women’s folk songs for us. Talk about steel-willed women! Those Victorian ladies were a force to behold. And we are beholden to them.”

Yeah, Team! On the Road!

It feels good to have affirmation about spreading the story. Yesterday I spoke to about a hundred DOE employees in Albuquerque — a program sponsored by the Federal Women’s Program. The program was terrific. I started out by saying that I suspected history might not have been their favorite subject in school and got them laughing at my past associations in history class: yawning, daydreaming, watching the clock and waiting for the bell to ring. Then I followed up by saying that I didn’t intend to lecture them, but rather instead tell them a story and show them photos about my grandmother and family’s association with my grandmother’s suffrage campaign wagon. My grandmother, Edna Buckman Kearns, is an example of the tens of thousands of women across the U.S. who worked together to win the vote. History is much more interesting with a personal angle. I found this to be especially true when I spoke to high school history students at the New Mexico School for the Arts in late February.

The “Spirit of 1776″

Emmeline Pankhurst addresses crowd in U.S.

English suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst trumpeted the spirit of 1776 in her famous 1913 speech, “Freedom or Death,” when on a speaking tour in the United States: “We found that all the fine phrases about freedom and liberty were entirely for male consumption, and that they did not in any way apply to women. When it was said taxation without representation is tyranny, when it was ‘Taxation of men without representation is tyranny,’ everybody quite calmly accepted the fact that women had to pay taxes and even were sent to prison if they failed to pay them – quite right. We found that ‘Government of the people, by the people and for the people’ . . . was again only for male consumption; half of the people were entirely ignored; it was the duty of women to pay their taxes and obey the laws and look as pleasant as they could under the circumstances. In fact, every principle of liberty enunciated in any civilised country on earth, with very few exceptions, was intended entirely for men, and when women tried to force the putting into practice of these principles, for women, then they discovered they had come into a very, very unpleasant situation indeed.” Entire text of speech.

Passing the Torch: Family tradition to sit in the suffrage wagon

Hana sitting in "Spirit of 1776"

My niece Hana, shown here, represents the fourth generation in my family to sit in the “Spirit of 1776,” my grandmother’s suffrage campaign wagon. It was a tradition in my family to be photographed in the wagon, and it was also a way of passing the torch of story to the next generation. Few summers passed without my mother gathering up us kids, marching us over to my grandfather’s house. He opened the garage door, dragged out grandmother Edna’s suffrage campaign wagon, and my mother took our photos. Of course it took me many years to get to the point where I was ready to pass the torch to the next generation, and it takes many forms. In this podcast, I’m being interviewed about my grandmother by Marzia Dessi, a student at Northern New Mexico College, during February 2011. Marzia’s interested in our history, the woman’s suffrage movement, and how the past relates to young women today. Listen in!

International Women’s Day 2011

Selection below from the International Women’s Day web site:

“. . . International Women’s Day is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.”

On International Women’s Day, Dr. Ida Lichter reminds us to remember and support today’s “new suffragists” in her op-ed piece. Ida Lichter is the author of Muslim Women Reformers: Inspiring Voices Against Oppression.