Tag Archives: Matilda Joslyn Gage

Can the U.S. catch up with the U.K. on suffrage movement awareness? Marguerite’s Musings

VIDEO: “Marguerite’s Musings” with Marguerite Kearns is a regular column about women’s history! on Vimeo.

Marguerite's Musings, a feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channelby Marguerite Kearns

The United States is racing to catch up with the United Kingdom that has been far ahead in terms of bringing awareness of the historic women’s suffrage movement to public attention in recent years. Keep in mind that American audiences haven’t seen a home-grown major motion picture on the suffrage movement since 2004 with the HBO production “Iron Jawed Angels.” Excellent documentaries, especially independent productions, are being produced on the American shores, as well as YouTube and Vimeo offerings.

Public interest in the American suffrage movement has increased dramatically since the announcement about the U.K. “Suffragette” production team casting Meryl Streep in the role of Emmeline Pankhurst, the pivotal leader of the militant wing of the English suffrage movement.


The U.K. “Suffragette” film production directed by Sarah Gavron and written by Abi Morgan has announced the film’s release in September of 2015. In previous announcements, the release date had been in January 2015. Already there’s speculation among entertainment commentators about the production’s Oscar potential in 2016. While the United Kingdom has had the edge in terms of public attention, there’s a growing audience of those who want to know more about long and difficult struggle for U.S. women to win the right to vote from 1848 to 1920. Suffrage centennial events and celebrations in the U.S. and abroad are taking on an increased importance.

The 2004 HBO film “Iron Jawed Angels” introduced millions of Americans to the 1917 picketing of the White House by Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party. This led to the suffragists’ imprisonment, force feedings, and a round of publicity that wore down opposition to women winning the vote. The bold activism led to the eventual ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920 that expanded the franchise for American women. The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial project is organizing to honor this period of the suffrage movement in its fundraising to have a suffragist memorial completed and operational by the 2020 suffrage centennial.


The U.K.’s prominence in suffrage movement awareness has a lot to do with the “Suffragette” film as well as the high-profile media attention showered on the centennial observance of the death of English suffrage martyr Emily Davison in 2013. By comparison, the American suffrage martyr, Inez Milholland, is much less known. The centennial of her 1916 death in 2016 may bring Milholland out of obscurity. However, it’s too soon to tell if U.S. suffrage martyr Milholland will ever have the same public recognition as Emily Davison in the U.K.

The second season of the BBC suffrage sit com “Up the Women” has made the suffrage movement familiar to a broader segment of British television audiences. And the recent release of a major book, “Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary,” by Anita Anand (Bloomsbury) focuses on an Indian princess, the goddaughter of Queen Victoria and a high-profile player in the English suffrage movement.

The book “Sophia” is a great read, and this book doesn’t stand alone. There’s also a growing body of scholarly research about the U.S. suffrage movement that has eroded the movement’s relative obscurity. Some excellent books have been published in the U.S. over the past few years. The close ties between the American and English suffrage movement from 1900 through 1914 are also of increasing interest on both sides of the Atlantic. Projects in the process of development in the U.S. include the proposed national suffragist memorial in Lorton, Virginia and a statue of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in NYC’s Central Park.


Various advocacy organizations and historic sites are already busy planning upcoming suffrage events from now through 2020. These include the National Women’s History Project, the Alice Paul Institute, AAUW, SUNY, the NYS Museum, New York City government, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation, the National Park Service, the New York State Council on the Humanities, NOW, the NYS Cultural Heritage Tourism Network, WAMC public radio Albany, Vision 2020, Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, Sewall-Belmont House, the Girl Scouts, historic sites and local historical societies, the New York History blog, Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, Votes for Women 2020, Newseum, feminist and voting advocacy organizations, scholarly journals, and many individuals, community organizations, media outlets, public officials, state agencies, and those offering special content such as theatre, workshops, and conferences. If you are aware of suffrage events and programs, let me know at suffragewagon at gmail.com so I can add them to the expanding list.


State centennial celebrations held west of the Mississippi in recent years have brought considerable attention to how American women there first won the right to vote. Delta Sigma Theta made a major contribution to awareness of the participation of African-American women in the movement when it organized record numbers of its members to participate in the centennial parade observance in Washington, DC in 2013.

Susan B. Anthony’s 195th birthday was observed in February 2015 by suffrage movement fans across the U.S. Ambitious plans are also in the works to celebrate Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s 200th birthday in November of 2015. The Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, New York has announced an active program schedule throughout the year.

Tens of thousands of activists were responsible for American women winning the right to vote. It’s a remarkable accomplishment that deserves to see the light of day. And this means opportunities to mobilize on the local, state and national levels. Don’t forget to bring memories and stories from family archives out of the closet and down from the attic. And support ALL suffrage-related events. If you demonstrate support for the efforts of others, the support will also be there for you.

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Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy little-known story of how suffrage activists crashed a national centennial celebration!

Fourth of July 1876HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY:

The Suffrage Wagon summer newsletter is on the stands. It spells out what happened on the Fourth of July in 1876 when five suffrage activists crashed the national centennial celebration in Philadelphia… a little-known story that’s also an important part of our national history.

See link and forward to the people on your social media list as a way to deepen the appreciation of our past and how it links to our present. Link to story. The story involves Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, Phoebe W. Couzins, Sara Andrews Spencer, and Lillie Devereux Blake. There’s even an audio podcast where the event’s described by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement.


New initiatives to link the past with the present: Seneca Falls and the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation

NewsNotesSWNC Two important announcements from the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement of the United States (upstate NY) represent a trend of bringing the past out of isolation and linking a rich cultural heritage to social issues relevant for our times. These initiatives include the Girl Ambassador program of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation in Fayetteville, NY, the appointment of a new Gage historic site manager and director, and the upcoming Convention Days 2014 celebration in Seneca Falls, NY from July 18 to 20.

After a period of reorganization,  last week  the Gage Center announced a new director and site manager, Sarah Flick, and an expansion of the focus to carry on the work of social activist and writer Matilda Joslyn Gage (who inspired the center) in order to make her life and work relevant for the present day. The Gage Center web site describes the changes as a “new chapter”. The Gage Center’s programs are ongoing at the Fayetteville historic site.

Convention Days in Seneca Falls, NY from July 18 to 20 will  feature much more than period costumes, processions and speeches in 2014. This year’s program will include a declaration of the rights of Muslim women, an initiative that has already caused a stir. “Diversity and Equality –Local, State, National and Global” involves the town of Seneca Falls in its commemoration of the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention. A full schedule of events for Convention Days, recently released, highlights a wide variety of events that’s expected to attract visitors, tourists, and women’s rights enthusiasts from across the nation and abroad. The National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls , NY recently announced its acquisition of the old mill property that represents a major move to showcase the organization’s offerings.

For an ongoing update on these and other initiatives, follow the Suffrage Wagon as well as LetsRockTheCradle.com  Submit event listings to the LetsRockTheCradle calendar at LetsRockTheCradle at gmail dot com

Suffrage News Notes: March 2013

NewsNotesMarchWomen’s History Month means that it has been a busy and active month for suffrage buffs. Also, the suffrage centennial parade march and events the first week in March has had the digital circuits buzzing. Start with the suffrage parade in Washington, DC. Link #1. Link #2. The 1913 march that made history. Link #1. Link #2. Ms. Magazine coverage of suffrage parade. Link #1. Link #2. “Brimstone, Booze, and the Ballot” is launched by Susan B. Anthony House, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation, and Votes for Women 2020: Link #1. Link #2.

Tribute to Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Alice Stevens. LINK. Alice Paul given her due. Link #1. Link #2. A Congressional Medal for Alice Paul? Link #1. Link #2. Fashions at the time of the suffrage movement. Link #1. Link #2. Women and anti-lynching campaigns. Link #1. Link #2.  Women’s e-news. Link #1. Link #2. Suffrage Map. Link #1. Link #2. Vision 2020. Link #1. Link #2.  Black women’s history. Link #1. Link #2.  Will there ever be an end to Women’s History Month? Link #1. Link #2. Smithsonian document dive. Link #1. Link #2. Birthdays and special dates from women’s history from the National Women’s History Project. LINK. Votes for Women 2020’s web site and blog. Link #1. Link #2.

Masterpiece Theatre fans of “Downton Abbey” might like the suffrage angle on the “Mr. Selfridge” TV series that starts March 31st. Link #1. Link #2. Kudos for Inez Mulholland. Link #1. Link #2. Oxfam’s reports on top corporations’ record on women. LINK. Photos from Anthony luncheon. Link #1. Link #2. Women underrepresented in politics. Link #1. Link #2.  Safiya Bandele’s new multi-media presentation on suffragist and activist Ida B. Wells. LINK.

The quilt project representing women’s rights. Link #1. Link #2. The Constitution Center during Women’s History Month. Link #1.  Point of view on Presidential Proclamation for Women’s History Month. Link #1. Concern about problem of sexual slavery. Link #1. Link #2.  Reproductive freedom. Link #1. Link #2.

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Performance highlights why one suffrage leader was written out of history


Provocative program explores why one suffrage leader was written out of history 

Women voters and lovers of American history will discover the inside story of two of the suffrage movement’s founders during Women’s History Month when the background struggle between suffrage leaders Susan B. Anthony and Matilda Joslyn Gage is revealed on stage.

The dialogue performance will be at the Rosendale Theater in Rosendale, NY on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 7:30 p.m.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are celebrated as two of the founding mothers of the women’s suffrage movement. But who was Matilda Joslyn Gage? In her time she was considered a “founding mother” along with Anthony and Stanton. However, Gage was written out of history.

The background drama will be explored by Sally Roesch Wagner, executive director of the Gage Center in Fayetteville, NY, and Deborah Hughes, president & CEO of the Anthony House in Rochester NY, who will present a compelling dialogue that explores the split between two of the three suffrage movement founders. The event is a joint presentation of the Susan B. Anthony House, The Matilda Joslyn Gage Center, and Votes For Women 2020.

Matlda Joslyn Gage

The rupture between Anthony and Gage will be revealed by the reading of correspondence between them. In a unique juxtaposition, Sally Roesch Wagner (Gage director) will read Susan B. Anthony’s letters while Deborah Hughes (Anthony House director) will bring Gage’s correspondence to light.

After the performance, the audience is invited and encouraged to join the dialogue.

Deborah L. Hughes is a strong advocate for human rights and equal opportunity for all, especially those who suffer discrimination based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or economic circumstance. As an ordained minister and theologian, she brings a depth of knowledge and breadth of experience to this dialogue and special program.

Dr. Sally Roesch Wagner is one of the first women to receive a doctorate in the US for work in women’s studies and is a founder of one of the country’s first women’s studies programs. An author and lecturer, Dr. Wagner appeared in the Ken Burn’s PBS documentary “Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony for which she wrote the accompanying faculty guide.

Tickets are priced at $20.20 (tax-deductible) and are available at www.rosendaletheater.org or the box office.

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Grand Opening of Matilda Joslyn Gage Center

The grand opening of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Center in Fayetteville, New York is scheduled for the weekend of October 8-10, 2010. This is an incredible opportunity to find out more about a key suffragist in the movement, Matilda Joslyn Gage. There’s a very full weekend of activities –both educational and entertaining. Visit the newly-restored Susan B. Anthony house in Rochester, NY on a bus tour. Be part of the open house at the Gage home with special exhibits and features. Enjoy an evening of music and the special opening ceremony. For more information.