Tag Archives: Margaret Fuller

The book that got Bess in trouble: Women’s suffrage storytelling special!

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Suffrage Storytelling is how we reach women voters, young voters, teachers, students & American history fans! on Vimeo.

SUFFRAGE WAGON CAFE PROGRAM on Suffrage Storytelling by Marguerite Kearns, your cafe host.

On the street where Edna grew up in Philadelphia, her best friend Bess became an outsider compared to most of the other young women interested in marriage and starting a family at the turn of the 20th century. Bess insisted on remaining single because of the limited rights for married women. This caused considerable distress for Bess because she loved men and romance and fashionable dresses. But Bess drew the line in terms of what she’d have to sacrifice in terms of her freedom. And so in her mid teens Bess announced to family and friends that although she invited love and romance into her life, she drew the line at marriage.

MR. WEISS WANTED HIS DAUGHTER BESS TO CHOOSE MARRIAGE, NOT FREEDOM

In the larger world, Bess wasn’t alone. Many young women like Bess longed for choices and opportunities. Increasing numbers of them, like Bess, were in a position to receive an education paid for by their fathers. Mr. Weiss wanted his daughter to be the best possible wife for a man. This included becoming a clever conversationalist, someone skilled in household management, music and art –all of the skills and opportunities that could be acquired with a proper education. And so at home, Mr. Weiss caved into pressure from his wife and daughter for Bess to attend high school, an opportunity denied to most young women of that generation.

BESS RAIDED THE PUBLIC LIBRARY SHELVES FOR BOOKS BY WOMEN WRITERS

Suffrage Storytelling features tale about how Bess got in trouble with her parents! on Vimeo.

When Bess attended high school with her best friend Edna, Bess raided the public library shelves and borrowed books from teachers. She read radical women writers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Margaret Fuller. Bess also heard stories about Lucretia Mott who turned the heads of old Philadelphia fogies with her radical abolitionist organizing. Many men quaked in their boots when hearing about the ways in which Lucretia Mott and her husband James Mott practiced equality in their marriage relationship. The word got around about how James played an essential role at the 1848 women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York.

YOUNG WOMEN LIKE BESS WANTED TO LIVE A FULL LIFE & THIS GOT BESS IN TROUBLE

Young women like Bess traveled to New York City to witness for themselves the outrageous bells of Greenwich Village who strutted and pranced and showed off their liberated views about women’s equality and freedom. To her father’s dismay and regret, Bess turned out to be exactly what her father despised: an independent thinker, someone committed to remaining single and spending all her free time looking for cracks in the family’s armored existence. All of this came to a head when Mrs. Weiss found the book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft under Bess’ mattress in her bedroom.

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN WILMER KEARNS ENTERED THE PICTURE . . .

Young Edna Buckman followed in the footsteps of her best friend Bess and announced her intention not to marry. But this resolve was eroded when she met Wilmer Kearns at an art exhibit in Philadelphia. We’ll find out about how this disagreement about marriage impacted the friendship of Bess and Edna on “Suffrage Storytelling.” The ideas of Mary Wollstonecraft and other women writers weren’t taught in school during my youth. Today I find it fascinating to discover the impact they had on my grandmother Edna and other young women like Bess, as well as the previous generation of Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and many others.

COMING SOON: THE BOOK THAT GOT BESS IN DEEP TROUBLE WITH HER PARENTS. You’ll be able to experience the book yourself on audio.
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Reporter Nellie Bly goes undercover on Day #2 of the Suffrage Wagon Cafe’s grand opening festival

Marguerite Kearns, your host

Suffrage Wagon Cafe: nellie Bly

With your host, Marguerite Kearns.

I’m back on this second day of the women’s history festival celebrating the opening of the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. This four-day festival started with my welcome greeting followed by the opening of the doors of the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. There was even a reminder that when you’re planning your next vacation, take a look at the video about visiting Seneca Falls, New York. It’s in the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States. Some folks consider it a destination for travel, but for me and many others, it’s a pilgrimage that women’s suffrage movement fans take seriously.

NELLIE BLY: A TRAILBLAZING INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER

In this Suffrage Wagon Cafe feature, we’re focusing on Nellie Bly, one of America’s early investigative reporters. And there’s an upcoming film: “10 Days in a Madhouse.” Pull up a seat for two videos and an audio selection. The more I know about reporter Nellie Bly, the more I appreciate the shoulders on which my grandmother Edna Kearns stood when she covered and edited Votes for Women news for New York City metropolitan newspapers from 1910 to 1920.

Many people are aware of America’s early press women especially Nellie Bly and Margaret Fuller. Relatively few are aware of how suffrage activists were in this wave of America’s early press women. They made noteworthy contributions as editors, columnists, publicists, and reporters.

SPECIAL ON SUFFRAGE WAGON CAFE: The production team for the upcoming film, “10 Days in a Madhouse” estimates its release date to be late in September of 2015. 

Nellie Bly, America’s muckraker, press woman, investigative reporter, and her “10 Days in a Madhouse” on Vimeo.

10 Days in a Madhouse Trailer from TriCoast Studios on Vimeo.

AUDIO READING OF “10 DAYS IN A MADHOUSE”: This is a selected reading from Librivox. Nellie Bly’s writing about her undercover work is in the public domain. This edited selection is part of Suffrage Wagon’s audio collection on Soundcloud.

 

AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: The “Suffragette” film from the UK has released its international distribution date as October 2015.

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Meet your friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Follow SuffrageCentennials.com for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials.