Tag Archives: suffrage centennial

Episode 2 of “Suffrage Storytelling”: How Bess got in even more trouble!

Season 1 of “Suffrage Storytelling” reveals the lives of young women in 1903 from on Vimeo.

Whenever Edna Buckman could, she took the train to center city Philadelphia to meet her best friend Bess at the Market Street teahouse. Bess, the rebel, loved telling Edna stories after they took their seats and ordered from the menu. Edna especially liked hearing Bess talk about George Sand, the French woman novelist who wore men’s clothes and adored attention from her many lovers, both women and men.

When Bess strolled down Market Street, she showed Edna how she imagined George Sand walked with a cocky swagger. Bess insisted that Sand made fun of men on their high horses, right to their faces. Edna believed Sand felt entitled to do whatever she pleased because she traveled in aristocratic creative circles and could get away with being different.

“People like us can’t turn into George Sand. It will only come back to haunt us,” Edna said. “Who cares anyway?” Bess asked, throwing up her hands and glancing around at the other teahouse patrons who couldn’t hear or understand their conversation. Bess could be blunt when explaining her problems to her best friend.

MR. WEISS DIDN’T MINCE WORDS ABOUT HIS DAUGHTER’S BEHAVIOR

Mrs. Weiss had been horrified after daughter Bess delivered a tirade about women’s second-class roles at home at the Sunday dinner table in front of all the relatives. This is why Mrs. Weiss supported Philip in his plan to take Bess out of the pool of young single women by marrying her. Philip, an old friend of the Weiss family, had been like a distant cousin to Bess. She’d grown up seeing him at the homes of family and friends on special occasions. Of all the eligible young men in Germantown, Philip couldn’t be considered the best prospect for marriage, but he wasn’t the worst either.

“Philip’s nice, but I’d rather train to be a teacher than get married,” Bess said.

“Maybe there’s a special arrangement for a man and woman to agree on. Family, yes. And freedom too,” Edna suggested.

“Philip’s too much of a traditional man,” Bess responded as the two women ordered another round of oolong tea.

THE BOOK THAT GOT BESS IN TROUBLE AT HOME

The day of their meeting at the Market Street teahouse, concern about Bess and her parents took up most of the conversation. Not long before, Bess got in trouble after her mother found Mary Wollstonecraft’s controversial 1798 book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman under the bedroom mattress. Bess had borrowed the work from the city library and read it twice. Then she wrapped it in paper, tied it with string, and passed it around among her classmates at school. This was bad enough when her father found out. But when Bess didn’t show any interest in marrying Philip, her parents lowered the boom and confined Bess to her room after school and weekends for a month.

Mr. Weiss wasn’t supportive of his daughter’s plan to become a teacher. He believed higher education beyond high school would be wasted on a young woman. Mr. Weiss emphasized that he wouldn’t pay a cent for his daughter’s advanced education. He was furious that the school Bess attended with Edna, Friends Central in Philadelphia, had exposed Bess to unconventional ideas. In his opinion, women were created by God to be subordinate to men, and the Bible said so. Quakers like Edna’s family believed that boys and girls, men and women, were equal under the eyes of heaven, something Mr. Weiss didn’t know when he caved into pressure from his daughter that she get a high school education.

“WOMEN SHOULD STAY IN THEIR PLACE,” MR. WEISS SAID!

The Weiss family weren’t Quakers, but they lived in a Germantown neighborhood in Philadelphia with Quakers like the Buckman family, people they liked. When Bess decided she wanted to attend a Quaker secondary school with Edna, the idea didn’t seem so out of the ordinary to her father. Mrs. Weiss believed some education made young women better wives. Overall, Mrs. Weiss agreed with her husband’s position and lectured Bess about how men functioned best in their “sphere” of the larger world. Women’s special qualities of purity and morality qualified them for their own realm of responsibility back at home with the family, Mrs. Weiss added.

If Bess became argumentative, her father made his position clear: “Women should stay in their place.” Her mother called politics a “dirty business” because she believed women could be contaminated by too many thoughts about voting. Correcting the stain created by men in society could be addressed by women without a change in the law to extend voting rights. Mrs. Weiss called this “municipal housekeeping,” or community reform work, the highest form of work suitable for women’s attention.

BESS AND EDNA ARGUED ABOUT MARRIAGE

“Marriage is a bad deal for women,” Bess emphasized in her teahouse talk with Edna as they finished the last crumbs of the scones on their plates. “I’m holding out to meet the special man who will love and support me,” Edna responded.

Bess didn’t comment. Being an outsider who questioned the world as it was couldn’t have been easy for Bess when even her best friend Edna didn’t embrace all her ideas. Several school chums of Bess and Edna agreed with society’s prevailing view that politics were corrupt and women had enough to do caring for family affairs without adding more to their responsibilities.

With each passing year, however, ideas about women’s roles were changing as more Friends’ Central women graduates enrolled in the few colleges and universities open to them. Some of these young women believed that since patriarchy constituted the devil they knew, women voting could turn out to be they devil they didn’t know. If Bess and Edna examined these issues in their own lives, they weren’t alone in struggling with a fundamental issue facing their generation: To what extent would they put themselves on the line to be free? Bess represented a hard liner. Edna hoped to find a middle way.

EDNA BELIEVED LUCRETIA AND JAMES MOTT HAD WORKED OUT EQUAL PARTNERSHIP IN THEIR MARRIAGE

Bess identified with radically-minded women such as suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony who didn’t mind being called a “war horse,” “battleaxe,” and “unsexed.” Anthony believed that women’s freedom was more important than worrying about being called nasty names. Words like war horse and unsexed were used often by men like Mr. Weiss to label women who supported social equality and freedom. Bess described herself as a restless “New Woman,” a category of individuals who had no intention of finding self fulfillment within the limitations of “true womanhood” and marriage.

Only Lucretia Mott’s husband, James Mott, represented one of the few examples Edna found of an ideal Quaker man who could be himself and yet uphold his partner’s dignity and right to a full expression of power in the affairs of the material world. In Edna’s mind, the Motts had demonstrated the potential of equal partnership at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 when both participated fully in the landmark women’s rights convention. In 1903, Edna hadn’t met Wilmer Kearns yet. After she did, the couple met at the Market Street teahouse as they got to know each other better. Teahouses represented a refuge, not only for Edna, Bess and Wilmer, but for many young people of their generation.

STORY RESOURCES: GET OUT THE WIKIPEDIA:  George Sand. Germantown. Lucretia Mott. Friends’ Central. Quaker. Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. Mary Wollstonecraft. Susan B. Anthony. James Mott.

Suffrage Wagon CafeFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has a video platform on Vimeo

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.

No more goody-goody two shoes: Suffrage activists speak to us from the past!

Doris StevensECS-reporter2
Who are these two women? Left, Doris Stevens. Right, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Both weren’t shrinking violets although if you learned conventional history in school, they were overshadowed by men in the story of this nation. We’re in the midst of suffrage centennial fever that started with state centennial celebrations launched by the western states.

WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS ARE HITTING THE NATION BY STORM!

In recent years, the following states celebrated their centennials of women winning the vote prior to 1920: Wyoming (1890), Colorado (1893), Utah (1896), Idaho (1896), Washington (1910), California (1911), Arizona (1912), Kansas and Oregon (1912). Montana and Nevada observed one hundred years of women voting in 2014 with special events, projects and activities. New York’s centennial celebration is scheduled for 2017, with Michigan, Oklahoma and South Dakota to follow. And oh, yes. There’s the upcoming national suffrage centennial in 2020.

We aren’t going back far in time to hunt for feisty and amazing ancestors and family members. They’re speaking to us from the past NOW. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has been on the case, publishing since 2009, to bring you up to date. We’re not balanced and full and effective human beings without embracing those who came before us. That’s why we’re clearing the decks so that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Doris Stevens can speak their truth. Love them or hate them, we stand on their shoulders. Now’s the time to let them speak their minds.

THREE AUDIO PODCAST SERIES SHOW THE U.S. SUFFRAGE ACTIVISTS FOR THE COMPLEX AND PERSISTENT AND FESITY INDIVIDUALS THEY WERE:

(1.) “Trouble Brewing in Seneca Falls.” Podcast #1. Podcast #2. Podcast #3. Podcast #4. Podcast #5. Podcast #6. Podcast #7. The story of the women of Seneca Falls, NY who planned the 1848 women’s rights convention. These audio podcasts tell how these activists had to get out of their comfort zone to pull off a social revolt in mind and spirit that sent shock waves through the nation in 1848. These selections by Elizabeth Cady Stanton are from her memoir, Eighty Years and More. Audio by LibriVox. Production by Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

(2.) “Playing Politics with the President.” Podcast #1. Podcast #2. Podcast #3. Podcast #4. Podcast #5. Podcast #6. Podcast #7. Podcast #8. Podcast #9. This podcast series shows how from 1913 to 1917 that bolder tactics and strategies would become necessary if American women were to win the right to vote. Success came about as a result of everyone working together, especially the contributions of feisty devil-may-care types who worked alongside more traditional types of women. These podcasts are from Jailed For Freedom by Doris Stevens. Audio by LibriVox. Production by Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

(3.) “The Night of Terror.” Podcast #1. Podcast #2. Podcast #3. Podcast #4. Podcast #5. Podcast #6. Podcast #7. Podcast #8. The story of how militant women suffrage activists were beaten and terrorized one night in their prison cells near the nation’s capitol in 1917. This audio narrative series isn’t for the faint of heart. The stories told here don’t represent the sentiment of all of the suffrage activists, but rather a segment of them who didn’t mind stepping out of women’s traditional roles and putting their bodies on the line. All of the activists contributed to the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. These podcasts are from Jailed For Freedom by Doris Stevens. Audio by LibriVox. Production by Suffrage Wagon News Channel.

Suffrage Wagon Cafe has launched its storytelling series with the tale of how Bess, the best friend of Edna Kearns, got in trouble with her parents for a radical book circulating the rounds among young women of that generation. Stop by the Suffrage Wagon Cafe and meet Bess.

Suffrage Wagon CafeMeet your friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has a video platform on Vimeo

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.

Great news about national award for Suffrage Wagon music video, plus 9 suffrage storytelling videos!

WATCH THE VIDEO ON SUFFRAGE WAGON

Don’t be left behind! Head out to Votes for Women centennial celebrations in 2020 and 2017! on Vimeo.

GREAT NEWS:

The National Federation of Press Women has awarded the Suffrage Wagon music video, “The Spirit of 1776: A Suffragette Anthem,” second price in its category (32A) in the national media competition. “Spirit of 1776,” an anthem to sing along with, inspired by the horse-drawn wagon and used by activist Edna Kearns, is now in the collection of the New York State Museum. This award-winning music video by songwriter and performer Eighty Bug recognizes the vast grassroots network that became necessary to build support for women voting over a period of 72 years.

OTHER VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS FROM SUFFRAGE WAGON NEWS CHANNEL:

1. The video story of how “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon came to travel for the suffrage movement.  YouTube.  Vimeo.

2. What happened on July 1, 1913 when the “Spirit of 1776″ wagon hit the streets to organize for the suffrage movement is highlighted in numerous newspaper articles in the metropolitan New York City area. YouTube.  Vimeo.

3. Little Serena Kearns accompanied her mother Edna Kearns on the first journey of the “Spirit of 1776.” This video highlights the many ways in which Serena became a poster child for the women’s suffrage movement on Long Island and in NYC. YouTube. Vimeo.

4. The Kearns family (Edna, Wilmer and Serena) set out on the “hike” to Albany, NY with Rosalie Jones to see the Governor about women’s suffrage on January 1, 1914. This video highlights the march. Vimeo.

5. Edna Kearns worked closely with many women on Long Island to organize for the vote. This video focuses on Rosalie Jones and her highly-publicized marches and events.

6. Edna’s husband, Wilmer R. Kearns, not only supported his wife and daughter in suffrage movement activities, but he participated as well.

7. Photos from the life of suffragist Edna Kearns. The family photo album snapshots.

8. Edna Kearns and Serena Kearns picketed the White House in 1917.

9. The “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon played an important part in the 1913 organizing campaign on Long Island. The wagon was also used for speakers’ platforms, for exhibits and suffrage parades in New York City.


Film Crash Course on Suffrage WagonFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platforms on Vimeo and YouTube.

Women’s suffrage movement news: Features, events, and programs!

Women’s suffrage news notes wrap up on Vimeo.

NEWS NOTES: WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE MOVEMENT EVENTS AND PROGRAMS:

If you know a woman — current or historic– whose life demonstrates the 2016 theme, “Working to Make a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government,” visit the National Women’s History Project for a nomination application form. Women’s suffrage movement history will be highlighted by the organizations and individuals participating in the NYS Path Through History annual observance this year, June 20-21, 2015. The weekend includes a new exhibit at the 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse in Farmington, NY on June 20, 2015, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In a conversational presentation at Woodstock Town Hall, Woodstock, NY on Sunday, June 21 at 2 p.m., Olivia Twine will confront her youthful illusions about slavery in the North in order to reconcile with what she has learned by studying abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth’s path through Ulster County. Olivia tells her story and invites others to do the same in this free NYS Path Through History weekend event. Call 845-706-0540 for more information.

The New York State Museum has presented a master plan for the renovation of the state museum’s galleries to the state Board of Regents. The state museum in Albany, NY is already committed to present a women’s suffrage movement centennial exhibit in the fall of 2017. There hasn’t been a major renovation of the museum’s galleries since 1976.

Sally Roesch Wagner offers a 35-minute monologue as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, followed by audience interaction featuring the 19th-century feminist’s bold wit and brilliant logic. Wagner says: “Having performed as Elizabeth Cady Stanton for 26 years, I have grown old with her. I am drawing on my 40 years of Stanton research to offer a celebratory gift – the seasoned Stanton at her witty, brilliant, and iconoclastic best.” The program is limited to 12 performances. To schedule, contact barb@sallyroeschwagner.com.

Both the NYS Senate and Assembly have approved a women’s suffrage centennial planning commission for 2017.The bill is on its way to Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing. Follow news of suffrage centennial celebrations at our sister site, SuffrageCentennials.com
Film Crash Course on Suffrage WagonFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platforms on Vimeo and YouTube.

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.

A women’s suffrage myth & a great free book with the inside story! Marguerite’s Musings.

“Jailed for Freedom” by Doris Stevens is featured book on Suffrage Bookshelf on Vimeo.

You can listen to the “Jailed for Freedom” book read free on Librivox.
Suffrage Movement Myth

by Marguerite Kearns

Have you heard the perspective referred to above that has been getting spread around lately? It compares the English and American suffrage movements and concludes that the English suffragette movement was exciting and creative while the American suffrage activists were boring and trite. So sad that these sister movements are being pitted against each other. If there’s anything positive about this old myth being trotted out into public, it’s to give these faulty assumptions an airing.

THE MYTH COMPARING ENGISH AND AMERICAN ACTIVISTS

The myth of exciting versus boring relies on the assumption that the English suffragists’ use of property damage, that is, a degree of violence, placed the English suffrage movement in a position of being considered more interesting than the American women who were “polite.” Translate that to “nonviolent.”

Sweeping generalizations underlie this myth. In fact, the women’s rights movements in England and the United States were committed to nonviolence. And later on, the English tactics that included property damage were controversial in their time and did not represent the sentiments of all English women engaged in the movement. Suffrage activists on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean argued vehemently about the best tactics and strategies necessary to reach their goals. And while they disagreed about tactics, they remained committed to the goal of freedom.

"Marguerite's Musings" on Suffrage Wagon News ChannelTHROWING ROCKS AND BLOWING UP MAILBOXES

Sadly, the perspective comparing the Americans and the English relies on a misunderstanding. Nonviolent tactics and strategies are considerably more difficult and challenging to implement than a decision to resort to violence. Throwing rocks definitely has more juice for the purpose of a mainstream film. A commitment to nonviolent social change isn’t as visual and tension producing as deciding to blow up a mailbox.

In fact, the ties between American and English activists were close. And both movements, for all their differences, can be plotted on the same path of working within a rigid political and social structure to accomplish similar goals while facing considerable resistance from government to win voting rights. While the American suffrage activists remained committed to nonviolent strategies, there’s no doubt that violence was used against them, especially those who picketed the White House in 1917 and were imprisoned and assaulted by authorities.

THE SIMILARITIES ARE IMPORTANT TO APPRECIATE

Both the suffrage activists in England and the U.S. went up against hard-core resistance. The picketing of the White House in 1917 heightened awareness of the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. And if these activists hadn’t been successful in impacting national policy, it’s difficult to predict now, in retrospect, if U.S. women would have won the right to vote at all in 1920.

This old tired myth comparing the two movements will hopefully lose its power once the public is better informed about the spirit and determination and dedication that kept American suffrage activists with their eye on the prize. Check out Doris Stevens’ work, “Jailed for Freedom.” These free audio files from Librivox fill in more of what it took for American women to win voting rights.

As more research on the women’s suffrage movement is completed, books are published, and the constituency interested in this part of history grows stronger, we’ll join hands across the Atlantic. I envision a grand parade or awards banquet where English and American women honor our suffrage activist ancestors and properly celebrate this extraordinary accomplishment of winning voting rights together.

Onward to the 2020 suffrage centennial celebration!

WATCH THE VIDEO ON SUFFRAGE WAGON

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

Comment on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Meet your friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Follow SuffrageCentennials.com for news and views about upcoming women’s suffrage centennial events and celebrations. 

“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.

 

Prepare yourself for “Suffragette” film from the UK with video of “Shoulder to Shoulder” BBC miniseries

Marguerite Kearns at Suffrage Wagon News ChannelIf you do a little homework before the release of the major motion picture, “Suffragette” in October 2015, you’ll be glad you did. Episode 1 is called “The Pankhursts” 

This BBC special introduced the Pankhurst family of English suffrage activists. And subsequent programs developed the story of the English women’s suffrage movement. Meryl Streep is in a perfect position to bring this period of history to the public as she’s starring as Emmeline Pankhurst in the “Suffragette” film from the U.K. Hopefully she’ll use the opportunity to steer the public’s attention in the direction of the U.S. suffrage movement. Although a great deal is made about the differences between the American and English movements, suffrage movement activists on both sides of the Atlantic had close ties because they both faced tough resistance to the radical idea of women voting.

WHY NO DVDs OF THE TERRIFIC “SHOULDER TO SHOULDER” SERIES ON BBC?

Forty years have passed since the “Shoulder to Shoulder” series. That’s why this YouTube video, Episode #1 of the 1974 BBC miniseries, “Shoulder to Shoulder,” is such a treasure. Sadly, the series hasn’t been rerun on BBC. And no DVD has been released although anyone interested in this time in history still has an opportunity to dredge it out of the archives. See key article in British Politics and Policy.

On this side of the Atlantic, the HBO special from the 2004 “Iron Jawed Angels” about Alice Paul and the National Woman’s Party continues to inspire grassroots and community organizations who use the production for fundraisers and special events. “Iron Jawed Angels” isn’t as obscure as “Shoulder to Shoulder,” however. Throughout the U.S., “Iron Jawed Angels” continues to be a favorite during March, Women’s History Month, for private and public gatherings.

ON THIS SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC. . .

The 30th anniversary of the Alice Paul Institute in 2015 is a reminder of how women’s history advocates have been plugging along in the wings of the mainstream culture. There are more blogs and related media about this time in our history, especially as the 2016 U.S. presidential election draws near. In March of 2015, the National Women’s History Project celebrated its 35th year, another example of a loyal and persistent constituency that’s keeping women’s history alive.

Plan to see the “Suffragette” film from the UK when it opens in September 2015, but keep in mind some advance preparation will be necessary. But it’s enjoyable homework! All this effort and enjoyment is training for the 2017 suffrage centennial in New York State and the 2020 Votes for Women national centennial in the U.S.

IN OTHER NEWS: Video about suffrage history and 2016 election. Recently-published book about English suffragette, Princess Sophia continues to get good reviews. October 2015 set for release of “Suffragette” film from the UK.

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. 

Women’s suffrage news update & two videos!

WATCH THE VIDEO ON SUFFRAGE WAGONWomen’s suffrage news from Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Vimeo.

 

It’s that time of the month for the news highlights from Suffrage Wagon News Channel. There wasn’t time to add the update about the NYS Senate passing the state suffrage centennial planning commission for 2017. But there’s plenty to say about the matter. See coverage on SuffrageCentennials.com. If you’re a New Yorker, contact your representative in the NYS Assembly and support appropriations for the state commission whose work will extend from 2017, the state suffrage centennial, to 2020, the suffrage centennial for the United States.

VIDEO: Answer the Clarion Call to Celebrate New York State’s 2017 Suffrage Centennial on Vimeo.

suffrageFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Suffrage Wagon News Channel has video platforms on Vimeo and YouTube.

Comment on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Meet your friends at the Suffrage Wagon Cafe. Follow SuffrageCentennials.com for news and views about upcoming women’s suffrage centennial events and celebrations. 

“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.