New York makes a big deal out of 2017 women’s suffrage centennial

State of New York rolls out red carpet for 100 years of women voting on Vimeo.

NYS Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul launched the 100th anniversary of women voting in the state by announcing the Women’s Suffrage Commission’s website: It provides information about upcoming events across the state, profiles New York suffragists, and draws attention to historic destinations relevant to the suffrage movement and women’s rights.

“This month, we celebrate the critical role that New York played in the fight for a woman’s right to vote from the Seneca Falls Convention all the way to the passage of the Women’s Equality Agenda in 2015 because in New York we know that women’s rights are human rights,” Governor Cuomo said. “I encourage all New Yorkers and visitors alike to visit one of these exhibits and trace the historic timeline that New York’s women pioneered and to learn about the obstacles that they conquered in the fight for equality.”

New York was home to the first-ever Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls, on July 19 and 20, 1848 and organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Sixty-nine years later, on Nov. 6, 1917, women in New York State won the right to vote.


“New York women have an enduring legacy in the pursuit of equal rights that began nearly 170 years ago in Seneca Falls, and as a result of their advocacy this state passed women’s suffrage three years before the rest of the nation. This year we celebrate the accomplishments of the women who led the fight for equality, setting the stage for future battles against workplace discrimination, in support of pay equity, and to preserve a woman’s right to make decisions about her health care,” said NYS Women’s Suffrage Commission Chair, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “As the state’s highest ranking elected woman, I consider it my mission to inspire the next generation of women to rise up and shape a more just, equitable society.”

The 14-member NYS Women’s Suffrage Commission chaired by Kathy Hochul, will plan and execute a series of statewide programs starting in 2017 and lasting through 2020.

As part of New York’s recognition of Women’s History Month, a number of exhibits will be available for public viewing in both the Empire State Plaza and the New York State Capitol Building. The exhibit “Women’s Suffrage in New York State,” located in the Capitol corridor which connects the state house to the Empire State Plaza, includes imagery of pro- and anti-suffrage propaganda with historic photographs of the women who organized and marched until the vote was won.


The exhibit, “New York State Women’s Suffrage 1917 – 2017 | The Fight for the Vote and the March for Full Equality,” is located in the East Gallery on the second floor of the Capitol and traces the almost 70-year struggle for the vote. The exhibit highlights the lives of 12 influential Suffragists and the critical role they played in securing the vote by African Americans and working women. This month-long exhibit features the “Spirit of 1776” wooden suffrage wagon in which a Long Island suffragist edna Kearns and her eight-year-old daughter traveled throughout Long Island and Manhattan during the summer of 1913 to gather support for votes for women, a 1917 banner carried by suffragists, as well as Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 1854 address to the New York State Legislature.

One of the highlights of the New York State Capitol is the Great Western Staircase featuring a gallery of historic Americans brought to life in elaborate stone carvings. As the staircase was nearing completion, it was observed that not one famous woman was represented. Located in the area just outside the Empire State Plaza Visitor Center and Gift Shop this exhibit will feature photographs of the six carvings of women that were added to the staircase: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Clara Barton, Frances E. Willard, Molly Pitcher, Elmina Spencer, and Susan B. Anthony. Also on view outside the Visitor Center is the mural Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad  created by students from the Monroe Community College Art Department in Rochester, NY.


Throughout March, special one-hour Capitol tours focusing on the suffrage movement are available to visitors. The tours feature artifacts selected to showcase the suffragists’ journey. For more information about the Capitol tours, visit

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Celebrate women’s freedom to vote at Suffrage Wagon News Channel. 

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PBS women’s suffrage movement documentary

Dance to the music of the 2017 New York State suffrage centennial! on Vimeo.

Find out about the vote that changed history with the broadcast premiere of Perfect 36: When Women Won the Vote distributed through American Public Television. This half-hour documentary will air in March 2017 for Women’s History Month. One of the pivotal moments in U.S. history came in 1920 with passage of the 19th Amendment, an event celebrated in Perfect 36: When Women Won the Vote that tells the insightful, engaging, and colorful story behind Tennessee’s role as the crucial 36th state needed for ratification—and the vote of one man who made it possible.

Produced by Pretzel Pictures for distribution through American Public Television (APT), Perfect 36: When Women Won the Vote is available to public television stations nationwide. Learn more about the project online at

OTHER NEWS: Women’s Rights National Historical Park has partnered with the Seward House Museum in Auburn, NY to present a program titled “Seward Feminism” in the National Park Visitor Center’s Guntzel Theater on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 1 p.m. Although often overlooked because of Secretary of State William Henry Seward’s high profile, the women of the Seward family contributed significantly to the spirit of reform sweeping through mid-19th-century America. Women’s Rights National Historic Park is open Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit their website or call (315) 568-2991. The Women’s Rights National Historical Park is located at 136 Fall Street, Seneca Falls, NY.

Suffrage CentennialsimagesFollow on Facebook page, Twitter, email subscription, and the Quarterly Newsletter. Sign up for email on this web page. Stay up to date with postings, audio podcasts, and videos. Plan for your suffrage centennial event. And don’t forget to pass on women’s suffrage storytelling to the next generation. Suffrage Centennial videos on Vimeo.

Woodstock, NY in the news for its women’s suffrage ties

Woodstock, New York: Travel to this distinct Hudson Valley town! on Vimeo.

The State of New York kicked off the 2017 suffrage centennial in Albany, NY on March 1, 2017, Women’s History Month. And Woodstock Times (Woodstock, NY) published the story by Marguerite Kearns about how the “Spirit of 1776” wagon had Woodstock, NY ties and came to be part of New York State history.

Olivia Twine highlighted the exhibition of the “Spirit of 1776” wagon at the State Capitol in Albany during March, Women’s History Month, and at the New York State Museum through May 2018. Other events and celebrations during the 2017 state suffrage centennial are also noted.

“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.

Celebrate women’s freedom to vote at Suffrage Wagon News Channel. We have been publishing since 2009.

“Through the Eye of Marguerite Kearns” is a point of view column on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

“Does women’s suffrage hurt?” Point of View by Marguerite Kearns





Edna Kearns gets attention for her women’s suffrage work! on Vimeo.


When I first started blogging  in 2009 about my grandmother Edna Kearns and her votes for women activism, most people had no idea what I meant when I referred to the “women’s suffrage movement.”

“Suffrage? Does it hurt?” one friend asked me.

“The word suffrage refers to the right to vote, and it’s not a term used much these days.”

“Can you pick another word other than ‘suffrage’? It is difficult to remember.”

“I can’t. It’s not my place to change it.”


The conversation came to an end with my friend’s eyes glazing over and her parting remark went something like this:

“Suffrage sounds boring and old fashioned. Have fun doing what you’re doing. Those old bats have nothing to teach me.”

Sadly, the women’s suffrage movement has been marginalized and awareness of its scope and significance has long since disappeared into the void of forgetfulness. This happened especially after 1920 with the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting American women voting rights.

My grandfather and mother told me about my grandmother Edna and how she devoted a decade of her life to the cause.

“How exciting,” I thought. The stories I heard from my grandfather Wilmer sparked even more interest. He not only observed the activism but he marched in suffrage parades with his wife and daughter in New York City and Washington, DC.


There wasn’t one movement that spoke with a single voice constantly from 1848 to 1920. People joined various and diverse organizations. Over a period of 72 years, numerous strategies and tactics came and went. “The movement” was a handy way of referring to a coalition of quite different individuals who agreed on one thing. They didn’t like being treated as inferior, and they united over a single issue—voting rights for women. Many other issues were at stake. However one issue became the focal point because many believed it would make the most difference in the long run—the right to vote.

I couldn’t wait to raise my hand in elementary school and speak about my grandmother. I imagined myself—a shy kid in the spotlight speaking about a cause I believed should represent an important part of American history. You probably can guess what happened. The subject of the women’s suffrage movement wasn’t raised. I concluded that history was only about memorizing dates, the strategies and tactics of war. No wonder I didn’t like history. Nor did many of my friends.

A great deal may have changed in how history is taught today. Yet many Americans still know relatively little about how women have participated significantly in the building and nourishing of our nation.


The struggle continues for equality, sustainability, and social justice not only for women, but all of us. Following the Januaury 2017 women’s march in Washington, DC, across the nation and around the world, there has been a dramatic surge of energy. This has included more interest than ever in the contributions of our family members and ancestors. This is why I love telling the story of my grandmother Edna and her “Spirit of 1776” suffrage campaign wagon. It’s a symbol of where we’ve been and how we’re still on the move.

The “Spirit of 1776” wagon used by Edna Kearns will be on exhibit during March 2017 at the State Capitol in Albany, New York on the second floor. It will be shown in other locations during the year. Stay in touch. I’ll keep you posted!

“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.

Celebrate women’s freedom to vote at Suffrage Wagon News Channel. We have been publishing since 2009.

“Through the Eye of Marguerite Kearns” is a point of view column on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Why travel to New York State during 2017?

Watch the Video

Travel to celebrate the 2017 New York State suffrage centennial! on Vimeo.

Welcome to Suffrage Wagon Cafe where we stretch out and enjoy catching up on what’s happening with suffrage news, views, events and celebrations.

There’s a great deal going on in New York this year in observance of 100 years of women voting in the state. This is a long-anticipated observance and the cultural arts scene is already buzzing with literature, music, song, conferences, exhibits, speeches, and much more.

My grandmother Edna Kearns turned a decade of her life over to make sure every woman had the right to vote and the potential to determine her own future. So did tens of thousands other activists across the nation who in some small or large way invested in and worked hard for change.

For most, the work was unpaid. These volunteers organized and persisted because they believed in women taking their rightful place in the larger society. They experienced victories and defeats. Now that a century has passed, there’s more interest than ever about the details, the many organizers and the trails they blazed over a 72-year period from 1848 to 1920. We are their grandchildren—great grandchildren, family members, extended families, and fans.


Events are being scheduled from now through to 2020, the nation’s suffrage centennial when American women will have been voting for 100 years. Get busy scheduling a fundraiser for your action group, plan a party or reception to honor women’s history with friends and family members, and go out of your way to attend events inspired by those on whose strong shoulders we stand.

The State of New York is observing its state suffrage centennial in 2017. Other state observances are planned and underway. All of this is in preparation for 2020, the nation’s observance of its women voting for a century. Many opportunities are available for you to plan activities and programs for your community organizations, action groups, and other instances to keep alive the gains of the 2017 women’s march. Join us!

Four more states are on the women’s suffrage centennial bandwagon! on Vimeo.

Marguerite Kearns is your host at Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

“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.

Celebrate women’s freedom to vote at Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Visit to find out about centennial news, events, and celebrations.


Suffrage Centennial news & events

Watch the Video

Support the 2017 suffrage centennial for New York State. on Vimeo.

The “Spirit of 1776” suffrage campaign wagon used by Edna Kearns and other activists in New York’s state campaigns to win the vote is on exhibit during the month of March 2017 at the State Capitol in Albany, NY. Numerous programs and special celebrations are planned throughout the state. A conference at Cornell University sponsored by NYS Cultural Heritage Tourism on March 15th will feature what it takes to merge tourism with cultural resources such as women’s history and other sites celebrating the state’s legacy.


Upcoming “History in the Hall” Women’s History Exhibit: 100 Years: Votes for New York Women (1917-2017) at Suffolk County Historical Society, Long Island (Riverhead, NY)( When New York State women won the right to vote one hundred years ago—making 2017 the centennial of that historic civil rights victory—their success changed the national political landscape and was a critical tipping point on the road to a constitutional amendment. This exhibit celebrates the centennial by narrating the stories of Long Island women activists who dedicated themselves to the powerful grassroots movement. Curated by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell. On display beginning March 8, 2017.

IN OTHER NEWS: Convention Days, Inc. will honor the women and men who signed the movement’s foundational document, the Declaration of Sentiments, by recognizing the descendants of the document’s original signers. The 2017 Convention Days weekend is July 13 to 16. This year, 2017, marks the State of New York’s commemoration of 100 years of women’s full voting rights. The Declaration of Sentiments and the eleven resolutions adopted at the Seneca Falls Convention were signed by 100 of those in attendance—68 women and 32 men. Descendants of the original signers of the Declaration of Sentiments can register on the Convention Days website at or visit the Seneca Falls Visitor’s Center at 89 Fall Street, Seneca Falls, NY for more information.

Suffrage CentennialsimagesFollow on Facebook page, Twitter, email subscription, and the Quarterly Newsletter. Sign up for email on this web page. Stay up to date with postings, audio podcasts, and videos. Plan for your suffrage centennial event. And don’t forget to pass on women’s suffrage storytelling to the next generation. Suffrage Centennial videos on Vimeo.

Special women’s suffrage events in Seneca Falls, NY this summer

Celebration of the anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848! on Vimeo.


Join Women’s Rights National Historical Park for Convention Days 2017. This four-day event will feature speakers, historical interpreters, themed theater performances, activities for young people, and a Native American art exhibit.

Would you like to host a table at the event? Groups are welcome with themes of equality, human rights, civil rights, and women’s rights. Contact Ashley Nottingham at:

The park staff is also seeking various musical performances, singers, speakers, authors, etc that are involved with equality, human rights, civil rights, or women’s rights. If you are interested in performing at the NPS historic site at Seneca Falls, contact Ami Ghazala at:


The National Susan B Anthony Museum & House in Rochester, NY has launched plans to commemorate the centennial of woman suffrage in New York State with a VoteTilla – a weeklong navigational celebration – to take place along the Erie Canal from July 16 to 22, 2017. A core group of canal boats will set out from Seneca Falls and travel to Rochester, with a concluding celebration at the Anthony Museum on Madison Street.

VoteTilla boats will dock at several towns and villages along the route. Local residents and partner organizations are invited to share in the celebration by offering programming and excursions or by adding their own boats to the traveling fleet. Current partners include Bristol Valley Theatre, Canal Society of New York State, the City of Rochester, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the RIT Women’s and Gender Studies Coordinating Committee, Rochester Museum & Science Center, Susan B Anthony Neighborhood Association, the Seward House, and the University of Rochester’s Susan B Anthony Center for Women’s Leadership.The VoteTilla celebration immediately follows both the Fourth of July bicentennial celebration of the New York State canals and the Convention Days weekend in Seneca Falls, NY.


On March 18, 2017 at 9 a.m. at Saratoga State Park (the Gideon Putnam Hotel), there will be a special program about Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Ellie Stearns has researched and written portrayals of “Women  of Vision” for schools and organizations throughout New York. She participated for many years in the National Park’s dramatizations of the 1848 Convention and portrayed Elizabeth Cady Stanton on C-Span’s Writers and Books series in 2001. There will be a breakfast buffet and the program is called “Breakfast with Elizabeth Cady Stanton.” Reserve by March 8th for the March 18th program. Tickets are $55, $75, and $100. Make checks payable to LWV-NY and mail to Steve Koebrich, 718 Malta Ave extn, Ballston Spa, NY 12020. Tax-deductible donations, except for the fair value of the breakfast ($25), go to the League of Women Voters, Saratoga Account, within the LWVNY-EF to support voter service programming.

Suffrage CentennialsimagesFollow on Facebook page, Twitter, email subscription, and the Quarterly Newsletter. Sign up for email on this web page. Stay up to date with postings, audio podcasts, and videos. Plan for your suffrage centennial event. And don’t forget to pass on women’s suffrage storytelling to the next generation. Suffrage Centennial videos on Vimeo.