Tag Archives: “Spirit of 1776”

Birthday celebration on December 25th: Edna Kearns & Martha Wright!

WATCH THE VIDEO ON SUFFRAGE WAGON

Happy Birthday, Edna Buckman Kearns, suffrage activist! on Vimeo.

December 25th birthdaysHappy birthday Edna Kearns and Martha Wright on December 25th.

Tara Bloyd, Edna’s great granddaughter, signed in support of funding for the New York State women’s suffrage centennial commission. See letter sent to NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo to urge inclusion of the suffrage centennial commission in the upcoming state budget. The “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon used by Edna Kearns in the New York State suffrage organizing campaign is part of our 2015 “Ask Santa” effort.

NYS state suffrage centennial 2017

Happy New yearFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platform on VimeoIn your free time, meet friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

SuffrageCentennials.com for trends, news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. 

Happy December from Marguerite Kearns & Suffrage Wagon News Channel

Support Suffrage Storytelling during Season I: Drama, action, and fun! on Vimeo.

Happy holidays from “Spirit of 1776” suffrage storytelling. Season I continues with Bess, Wilmer and Edna. Meet Jonathan Geffner, ventriloquist, a special guest on Suffrage Storytelling. We’re up to Episode #9. Watch the videos and catch up with past episodes.

Did you see the Suffrage Wagon News Channel news notes for November? Catch up now!

Women’s Suffrage Holiday News Notes on Vimeo.

COMING SOON: Marguerite Kearns interviews the director and producer of the new film, “10 Days in a Madhouse.” A new program at Suffrage Wagon Cafe on December 8, 2015. A December 25, 2015 birthday celebration for Edna May Buckman. Celebrating the grandmothers at Suffrage Wagon Cooking School.

At Suffrage Wagon Cooking School we’ll be cooking for the holidays. Check out the cooking school programs for 2015.

Suffrage Wagon Cooking SchoolFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has a video platform on VimeoIn your free time, meet friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

SuffrageCentennials.com features trends, news and views about suffrage centennials. “Choose it and Use it” is a video reminding us of how the past is linked to what we do today, as well as its impact on the future. We’re celebrating voting rights and women’s freedom to vote! Join us.

Episode #7: Edna responds to Wilmer’s love of writings by Henry David Thoreau!

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Episode #7: Wilmer Kearns courts Edna Buckman with his storytelling on Vimeo.

We’re moving toward the day when Edna, Wilmer and Bess (Edna’s best friend) are active in the women’s suffrage movement. But long before that, we meet them in 1903 when they’re young. Their direction in life is still in formation.

MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT INTERESTED THE YOUNG WOMEN

In previous posts, Bess got in trouble after her parents discovered copies of Mary Wollstonecraft’s books hidden in her bedroom. Edna also read Mary Wollstonecraft. Then Wilmer entered the scene and he loved talking about his favorite author, Henry David Thoreau. The writer understood the art of walking and how he considered every walk a “crusade.” Edna listened carefully.

HENRY DAVID THOREAU INTERESTED WILMER KEARNS!

Wilmer agreed with how Henry David Thoreau needed leisure, freedom, and independence. For Thoreau, walking represented more than exercise. It turned into an adventure, an occasion that brought air and sunshine to his thoughts.

Thoreau loved climbing a tree, studying the landscape, and discovering new horizons during his walks. He listened to the quiet that wasn’t really soundless at all. While walking he contemplated the known and the unknowable. He studied the moon and buildings in varying shades of light and darkness. Thoreau said he ventured out into the world for a walk with no idea of direction. But he found a new way of traveling and being. Then he added: “In short, all good things are wild and free.”

Wilmer’s in the process of wearing down Edna’s reservations about relationships. But will he be successful in winning Edna’s heart? Stay tuned!

Wilmer KearnsRelax this fall by following Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platform on VimeoIn your free time, meet friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

SuffrageCentennials.com for trends, news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. “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. We’re celebrating voting rights and women’s freedom to vote! Join us.

Wilmer Kearns out to win Edna in Episode #6, a program at Suffrage Wagon Cafe

Wilmer Kearns, Storyteller
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Episode #6: Wilmer Kearns tries to win over Edna with his storytelling. “Spirit of 1776.” on Vimeo.

By Marguerite Kearns

Welcome to Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Wilmer Kearns (my grandftaher) is complicating the story, as Edna’s best friend Bess points out. Wilmer’s determined to wear down Edna’s resolve not to marry because of the few rights young women possess at the turn of the 20th century. Bess has been reading Mary Wollstonecraft and other controversial women writers. She’s even paid a price for doing this after her parents found the Mary Wollstonecraft books hidden under her mattress in her bedroom at home.

A SUMMARY OF THE “SPIRIT OF 1776” STORYTELLING SO FAR!

Wilmer Kearns is a fresh upstart from Beavertown, PA where he grew up playing musical instruments with his family. Enjoy these images of Wilmer as a young man from the Kearns family photo collection. Episode #6 highlights one of Wilmer’s tactics. His determination to wear down Edna’s resolve to avoid marriage is fueled by his storytelling. This has worked so far while they’ve been meeting in secret at the Market Street teahouse. But the narrative becomes even more complicated after Edna’s parents find out about the couple seeing each other weeks after their first meeting at the Pompeii restoration exhibit.

THE PLOT IS NOW EVEN MORE COMPLICATED.

Wilmer Kearns left his hometown at age 16 and moved to Philadelphia where he enrolled in business college. That’s when he met Edna at the Pompeii exhibit in 1903. Bess warned Edna to be careful about falling in love. Bess is committed to remaining single, and she wastes no time in sharing books with radical ideas about equality with all her friends. Edna seeks a middle ground, but it’s not clear yet if Wilmer Kearns has what it takes to win Edna’s heart.

Edna and Wilmer meetEpisode #1. Bess gets in trouble.

Episode #2. Now Bess is in even more trouble.

Episode #3. Wilmer Kearns enters the story.

Episode #4: Mary Wollstonecraft’s books gets Bess in more hot water.

Episode #5: Bess and Edna argue about decisions they must make.

Episode #6: Our special feature here at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

Relax by following Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platform on Vimeo. “Spirit of 1776” film posters by Corinna Canek.

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

COMING SOON: New program at Suffrage Wagon Cafe on suffrage movement storytelling!

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New program coming soon at Suffrage Wagon Cafe: Women’s history as you like it! on Vimeo.

The program on October 8, 2015 at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe features storytelling with the unveiling of Episode #6 when we get to know Wilmer Kearns and why Edna meets him secretly at the Market Street teahouse. Suffrage Wagon has teaching and learning resources for home and school use. And our sister site, SuffrageCentennials.com delivers trends and news about upcoming events and celebrations. For example, 2016 has two featured centennial celebrations: Canada and the centennial observance of the death of Inez Milholland, America’s suffrage martyr.

Suffrage Wagon News Channel offers three audio programs about women’s suffrage history: “Trouble Brewing in Seneca Falls.” “Playing Politics with the President.” “The Night of Terror.” These stories are edited into short segments that make learning American history easy. So let’s meet at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe on October 8, 2015. Follow the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage storytelling.

Suffrage Wagon Cafe is openRelax this fall by following Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platform on Vimeo.

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

Episode #4: The book that got Bess in trouble with her parents at home

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Episode #4: How Bess got in trouble for reading Mary Wollstonecraft! on Vimeo.

The problems for Bess started when her parents discovered a forbidden book under her bedroom mattress. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (1792) started Bess on the path of finding other books that presented the idea that women and men could be equal. But to find support, Bess had to raid the school and public library. Before long, Bess had shared Mary Wollstonecraft with all her friends.

Mary Wollstonecraft

Edna’s friend, Bess, had been the little girl who got her dress dirty climbing an apple tree to pick fruit for Edna back when they were young and spent hours playing with a rose china tea set and pretending to be mothers of their dolls.

Bessie and Edna shared oolong tea, served with scones and lemon marmalade, while practicing how to hold dainty teacups and make polite conversation. Bessie’s lilting musical voice and a clear complexion summed up Bess and her childhood joyful innocence. Abolitionist and women’s rights activist Lucretia Mott’s made it known that oolong was her favorite tea. Bess and Edna wouldn’t drink anything else.

BESS TRIED TO BE LIKE THE OTHER GIRLS BUT THAT CHANGED AFTER READING A NOVEL BY MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT

The story of Bess and several other young girls on Rubicam Avenue in Germantown appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1897 after they’d raised money for city children to leave crowded neighborhoods for summer excursions. The total of $200 collected for the Children’s Country Week Association wasn’t as important as having the names of Bess and her girlfriends mentioned in the society column. Edna’s mother, May Begley Buckman, wasn’t impressed. She said it wouldn’t be long before Bess and her friends would be raising money for hospitals after they’d landed husbands and waited for the birth of their first child. “Bess isn’t that way,” Edna insisted, but she didn’t tell her mother why she could be so certain.

Mary WollstonecraftEdna’s commitment to avoid marriage solidified after reading the 1788 novel by writer Mary Wollstonecraft: Mary: A Fiction. Bessie had wrapped the controversial book in newspaper and slipped it to Edna at Friends’ Central school and then returned it to the public library after Edna read it from cover to cover. Unlike Jane Eyre in the Brontë novel who delayed marriage and then later found happiness with Mr. Rochester, the fictional Mary in the Wollstonecraft novel had romantic attractions to both a man and a woman.

WHAT IT MEANT TO BE A “NEW WOMAN” IN 1900

Mary Wollstonecrafts’s character of Mary in her novel represented a New Woman who thought for herself. She didn’t ground her future in marriage and viewed the institution as guaranteed to ruin the spirit and independence of every young woman seeking her rightful place in the world. Edna had been convinced that no young man could change her mind about marriage, that is, until she met Wilmer Kearns.

Follow the entire “Spirit of 1776” suffrage storytelling series.

TeaParty2Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has a video platform on VimeoMeet your friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Follow SuffrageCentennials.com for news and views about upcoming suffrage centennials. “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.

A surprise in Kenneth Florey’s book on woman suffrage postcards. A special program at Suffrage Wagon Cafe!

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“American Woman Suffrage Postcards” by Kenneth Florey from Vimeo.

DISCOVERY OF HISTORIC ARTIFACT IMAGE IN NEW BOOK

by Marguerite Kearns

As I held Kenneth Florey’s book in my hands recently, I felt a surge of delight in flipping the pages for an overview of the postcard images that our grandmothers, great grandmothers and other family members may have viewed that illustrated their interest in, and in many cases, their involvement in this important American civil rights movement.

American Woman Suffrage PostcardsHundreds of these postcard images with scholarly commentary are now available in Florey’s 2015 book American Woman Suffrage Postcards: A Study and Catalog  (McFarland, a leading publisher of academic and nonfiction books). Kenneth Florey, professor emeritus at Southern Connecticut State University, is a long-time specialist in woman suffrage memorabilia. He has lectured on the subject in the U.S. and abroad, appeared on television, and written articles for a variety of publications.

Imagine my surprise when an unidentified postcard jumped off the page that only my eagle eye could have caught –that of the “Spirit of 1776,” the suffrage campaign wagon that inspired this web site.

WHY THE WAGON IMAGE DISCOVERY WAS SO EXCITING!

This postcard photo (shown here) is the first time the public is able to see the “Spirit of 1776” horse-drawn wagon used for suffrage movement grassroots organizing in the full context of the oceanside setting in Long Beach, NY in July 1913. That’s only one of special treats available when making American W1913 Spirit of 1776 wagon, 1913, Long Beachoman Suffrage Postcards part of your library.

If any of us were to try and imagine what it was like for our family members to be activists during the suffrage movement (1848 to 1920), we’d do ourselves a favor by spending quality time relaxing with this work. Over the past year I’ve witnessed several women’s suffrage postcards go viral, but these sharings, though informative, didn’t give a complete picture of the wide range of subject matter that’s expressed in the 700+ examples in what Kenneth Florey calls a “study and a catalog.” These postcards represent a wide variety of types of cards used for different purposes as “visual rhetoric.”

THE POPULARITY OF MOVEMENT POSTCARDS AS VISUAL RHETORIC

Activists collected the postcards, exchanged them, used them for fundraisers and souvenirs, as well as for sending messages to friends. They cover a wide range of topics, including anti-suffrage messages, the promotion of real events and programs, including actual arguments pro and con of women voting.

The book production staff at McFarland shared my excitement in being able to identify the details of July 1913 not long after Edna Kearns, Serena Kearns, Irene Davison and others left Manhattan for a month of votes for women organizing on Long Island. Though the newspaper coverage of the campaign at the time was ample and other images exist of the wagon, the “Spirit of 1776” postcard in this new book from McFarland shows for the first time the horse attached to the wagon and its various patriotic protest messages.

WHO’S IN THE POSTCARD PHOTO?

There’s my grandmother Edna Kearns sitting in the far left of the wagon on the beach, wearing her colonial costume. Little Serena Kearns is to the far right of the wagon, at age eight. And the woman in the middle, holding the umbrella, is unidentified. Perhaps there’s someone out there with an eagle eye like mine who could identify other features and add to the fascinating detail of this picture.

Here’s what McFarland’s web site had to say about the “Spirit of 1776” postcard discovery.

SuffrageWagonCafeThanks for stopping by to join us at Suffrage Wagon Cafe.

Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has videos platforms on Vimeo.

Meet your friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Follow SuffrageCentennials.com for news and views about upcoming women’s suffrage centennial events and celebrations. Follow the 2016 Inez Milholland centennial during 2016. “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.