What was suffragist Edna Kearns concerned about 100 years ago? Suffrage films!

Edna Kearns: 100 years agoby Marguerite Kearns, History Communicator*

New York State suffragist Edna Kearns was no slouch. Her correspondence shows this clearly. One hundred years ago New York State suffrage activists were poised on the cusp of a year-long campaign to win a referendum. New York wasn’t alone. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts women were also up against the challenges before them. And an enormous amount of effort was poured into these state campaigns. Although the prospect of votes for women in these four states were defeated, the national momentum toward victory in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was well  underway.

This letter sent to suffragist Edna Kearns in January 1915 shows that activists on the community level freely communicated their needs and challenges with each other. In this letter,  one activist reached out to Edna Kearns to pick her brains about the use of film to bring women out of their homes and introduce them to the idea of woman suffrage. What a concept!

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF FILM IN SOCIAL MOVEMENTS LIKE SUFFRAGE

Film is an especially important medium today. Check out Suffrage Wagon’s “Crash Course on Suffrage Film” that features film and video selections from today and yesterday, all of them extremely important in introducing the public to the suffrage movement, here and abroad.

Are you up to date about the upcoming film, “Suffragette,” from the UK that’s expected to be released in September 2015? The BBC suffrage movement sit com is in its second season. Watch the trailer. And books continue streaming out of the UK, in particular the recently-released work on English suffragette, Princess Sophia. This book by UK broadcast journalist Anita Anand is especially interesting because of its six-figure advance.

FacebookEDITORIAL NOTE:

The asterisk above next to the byline refers to the link to an appeal for people to step forward as “History Communicators.” Take a close look at a passion many of us already share.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate suffrage centennials and women’s freedom to vote. And follow SuffrageCentennials.com for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. Check out Suffrage Wagon’s video channels on Vimeo and YouTube.

The long-awaited Chinese fortune cookie demonstration: From Suffrage Wagon Cooking School

Make Chinese fortune cookies at Suffrage Wagon Cooking School

Make Chinese Fortune Cookies at Suffrage Wagon Cooking School on Vimeo. Give yourself enough time and space to make and serve traditional Chinese fortune cookies for 2015’s Chinese New Year! Make every suffrage movement celebration memorable!

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate suffrage centennials and women’s freedom to vote. And follow SuffrageCentennials.com for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

Crash course on hot tea and the suffrage movement

Suffrage tea cups
January is Hot Tea MonthThe Suffrage Wagon Cafe will open soon and feature hot tea during January, Hot Tea Month. Did you know that suffragist Alice Paul ran a teahouse, The Grated Door,” in Washington, DC? The story.

Paul always had her tea set ready for serving tea at the National Woman’s Party as part of entertaining guests involved in the lobby effort for the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Did you know that oolong tea was Lucretia Mott’s favorite? And suffragist Alva Belmont built a Chinese teahouse that was used for suffrage gatherings. The Chinese teahouse was an opportunity to show off Belmont’s specially designed Votes for Women china. A replica is featured in the photo above.

The relationship between hot tea and the suffrage movement is highlighted in a two-part article by suffrage author Kenneth Florey. Part I. Part II. We’ll be making traditional Chinese fortune cookies to serve with hot tea for the Chinese New Year at Suffrage Wagon Cooking School in February 2015. Cookie promo video. Article about how suffrage centennials and tea are related.

And now the accompanying VIDEOS:

Make a cup of hot tea: From Suffrage Wagon Cooking School from Vimeo.

Keep the tea pot hot for Susan B. Anthony’s birthday party in February! from Vimeo.

White House Picketing & Hot Tea in 1917: Part of the “Night of Terror” observance from Vimeo.

Suffrage tea memorabilia from the collection of Kenneth Florey: Video.

Chinese fortune cookies for the Chinese New Year on Vimeo.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate suffrage centennials and women’s freedom to vote. And follow SuffrageCentennials.com for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

VIDEO: A New Year’s Resolution– To make Chinese fortune cookies for the Chinese New Year!

Chinese fortune cookies for the Chinese New Year is a Vimeo video.

New Year’s Eve came and went but not without a resolution to make traditional fortune cookies for the upcoming Chinese New Year in February. That’s why it’s time to put the Suffrage Wagon Cooking School on your calendar to visit for the next demonstration. Create cute containers for fortunes you can write yourself with custom suffrage movement messages to surprise your guests. This video promo gets you in the mood and the demonstration is in the pipeline. The fortune cookie demonstration from Suffrage Wagon News Channel is coming soon.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate suffrage centennials and women’s freedom to vote.

January birthdays: Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Catt, Caroline Severance, and others! Two videos: Cook and celebrate.

Celebrate with a Vimeo video about January birthdays.

I love birthday parties! And January has had enough birthday celebrations to justify digging the traditional English scones demonstration out of the files of Suffrage Wagon Cooking School. January features the birthdays of Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, vintage-canning-labelsCarrie Chapman Catt, and Caroline Severance as well as other women’s rights activists.

I’ve been reading a biography of suffragist Caroline Severance, a terrific work by Virginia Elwood-Akers. More about Caroline as I read again, with pleasure, the story of yet another (relatively unknown) suffrage activist who devoted her life to the cause. She grew up in the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the U.S. (the Finger Lakes) and went on to became a mover and shaker in California. The book is a labor of love. As the author plunged into decades of research, she stumbled on the fact that Caroline knew her great-grandfather in California. And from there, the story of Caroline Severance only gets better.

With even more cold weather on the horizon, the thought of something baking in the oven while brewing a pot of tea sounds great, doesn’t it?  I’ve seen fresh strawberries already in the market recently. Nothing locally grown to be sure, but a treat like scones and strawberries will get special attention from your guests and family members.

This demonstration from Suffrage Wagon Cooking School was reason enough for me to update the page on the news channel. Check into Suffrage Wagon Cooking School for previews of what’s to come in the kitchen.

Here’s the video with the step-by-step instructions, for traditional English scones, custom made with the suffrage movement in mind.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate suffrage centennials and women’s freedom to vote.

“Great Work, Meryl Streep”: Marguerite’s Musings about the “Suffragette” film from the UK

"Marguerite's Musings" by Marguerite Kearnsby Marguerite Kearns

During an interview recently about the upcoming film “Suffragette” from the UK, Meryl Streep announced: “Girls, we’ve been waiting for this.”  Who was she talking to?

I haven’t been a girl for so long, I automatically assumed she wasn’t talking to me. But Meryl Streep got my attention and she’s referring to the new film, “Suffragette” from the UK where Streep has a starring role as Emmeline Pankhurst, the English suffrage movement matriarch. If there’s anyone who can knock down doors and get people to pay attention to something important, it’s Meryl Streep. She’s in a perfect position to bring this neglected part of history to light.

Meryl Streep made the point in an interview with USA Today that in their day, suffrage activists in England provoked the government so much that authorities developed surveillance cameras to document those they perceived to be terrorists.  In yet another statement, Streep expressed surprise about how the mainstream media generally has ignored this part of history.

APPEAL TO MERYL STREEP TO PRESS FOR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

How refreshing it is for those of us struggling to get out the word about the suffrage movement to have someone like Streep join the cheering section! While you’re out there, Meryl, please affirm the growing number of folks pressing for answers to questions about upcoming suffrage centennials as well as the 2020 suffrage centennial commemorating the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A considerable amount of blood, sweat and tears went into this accomplishment.

Will the upcoming 2020 national suffrage centennial in the U.S. receive the attention and funding it deserves? Is a national suffrage centennial commission realistic? The commission established to commemorate World War I recently received $5 million for its mission of serving as a national clearing house for events and programs. At the present time, there’s nothing in the wings for women and their suffrage centennial except more opportunities for yard and bake sales to carry out similar work.

WILL THE 2020 SUFFRAGE CENTENNIAL DO AS WELL AS THE CENTENNIAL FOR WORLD WAR I?

Meryl Streep, we’re delighted you’re on board. And we trust that you’ll be asking other questions wherever you go, such as:  Will the 2020 suffrage centennial observance in the U.S. bring to the attention of present and future generations the significance of this important votes for women accomplishment?

In what way will we receive the torch from past generations of activists and pass it on? There’s so much ground to cover and the “Suffragette” film is a terrific opportunity to raise questions and expect answers. Let’s the most of it, Meryl. We’re counting on you. And count on us to be allies by telling our friends about “Suffragette” and our plans to stand in line to buy tickets on opening night in mid September 2015!

BREAKING NEWS: The UK is pressing forward, not only with the “Suffragette” film but with the publication of two new books about the English suffrage movement: one about Princess Sophia and another about Emmeline Pankhurst. Stay tuned!

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Join the conversation by commenting on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate suffrage centennials and women’s freedom to vote.

Part II of Kenneth Florey’s article on the suffrage movement and tea

Video showing vintage tea sets and memorabilia from the suffrage movement from the author’s collection.  A special feature during January and 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? That’s the feedback we’ve been getting. Kenneth Florey’s web site. The video photos are from Florey’s suffrage memorabilia collection, items that are highlighted in his book on suffrage memorabilia.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Join the conversation by commenting on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.