What happened to Wilmer and Edna Kearns and the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon after the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920? They moved from Rockville Centre, NY with daughter Serena Kearns back to Pennsylvania where their second child, Wilma, was born in November 1920.
The New York Botanical Garden (the LuEsther T. Mertz Library) has archival materials in its collection from the business Edna and Wilmer founded, Echo Dale Gardens, located in the Philadelphia area. More items have been added recently. The Mertz Library maintains a wide scope of materials related to the nursery industry in the United States, including correspondence between nursery owners and their customers, invoices, plant inventories, sales brochures, catalogs, newspaper and magazine articles.
Edna B. Kearns and Wilmer R. Kearns’ love of plants and nature led to the establishment of Echo Dale Gardens, the nursery they owned and operated together after 1920. Wilmer and Edna were active in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, and their prize-winning flowers and plants were displayed each year at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Local newspapers document Edna’s public speaking about gardening in the Philadelphia area. The “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage campaign wagon was on display at the nursery for many years for the purpose of educating the public about how American women won the vote.
Their second child Wilma dressed as the little Dutch girl, the trademark for Echo Dale Gardens for special events and at the Philadelphia Flower Show. After Edna’s death in 1934, Wilmer continued operating the nursery at Echo Dale until World War II. In retirement he reopened the nursery in Ambler, PA. The overall collections at the New York Botanical Garden library also include plant information guides, nursery catalogs, exhibition guides, and other materials.
Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the movement, as well as the life and times of Edna Kearns, Wilmer Kearns, and the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon.
Have you ever heard the Joint Resolution of Congress that in 1971 designated August 26th as Women’s Equality Day?
The first audio podcast read by Amelia Bowen spells out the directive.
And the second podcast celebrates August 26th in song.
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New video featuring the highlights of Seneca Falls, New York –the birthplace of the women’s rights movement in the United States.
BELOW: Video highlighting the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments read at the first women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, New York.
Follow the Suffrage Wagon that from now through July 20th will highlight Seneca Falls, New York and the annual events there commemorating this important occasion in American history.
Plays and dressups aren’t the big activity these days that they might have been in years past before film and TV took over the lion’s share of entertainment.
I remember how much fun it was to write a script for a play, cast the performers (usually my sister and brothers), and invite my parents to the grand production. The excitement is still there thought, all these years later, and the result is more of a flash in the pan production of Susan B. Anthony’s 1873 trial at the Ontario County Courthouse.
Years ago I wasn’t so conscious of people’s short attention spans, so now the skit about Susan B. Anthony’s speech to the judge and her refusal to sit down in the courtroom is more about drama, principle and spirit than recreating the trial intact with vintage costumes. The key is to keep the production short and fun, yet make the point of the event’s significance.
Follow LetsRockTheCradle.com to find out about the Ontario County courthouse located in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement.
No one’s openly planning for New York’s 2017 suffrage centennial. Centennial awareness is out there, however, bubbling under the surface. What are the signs? How about a groundbreaking in Seneca Falls, New York for the National Women’s Hall of Fame that’s taking over the old Seneca Mill along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, a historical location in its own right. Abolitionists and reformers Charles Hoskins and Jacob Chamberlain, the mill founders, signed the Declaration of Sentiments in 1848. Good news. . . because it sets the stage for what’s to come in New York in 2017 and then across the nation in 2020.
The National Women’s History Project is in the process of bringing together a wide coalition of people in support of strengthening public interest in Votes for Women history and the various advantages it will bring to old and young, communities and the nation in terms of education and economic development. The network is expected to be on the ground, up and running by this coming summer.
LetsRockTheCradle.com is putting New York under the microscope in terms of featured events, action campaigns, and featured suffrage activists. You can rock the cradle by following on Twitter or with an email subscription.
The web site SuffrageCentennials.com is gearing up for a birthday party –its first.
And here’s a video for a quick reminder. Watch the app on LetsRockTheCradle that keeps track of the number of days until NYS’s women’s suffrage centennial: 965 days. Put that on your “to do” list.
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When I was young, I was confused often when hearing jokes about women drivers. I wasn’t exactly sure why so much attention was showered on women who drove, though subconsciously it must have made an impact because I didn’t learn to drive myself until my early 20s. Perhaps it had to do with a subconscious desire not to look foolish.
I haven’t heard any woman driver jokes for decades, though I’m certain they’re out there –like in Saudi Arabia, for example, where women aren’t allowed to drive. Saudi women drivers protesting the ban have caused a stir with petitions and women themselves posting their driving protests online. One cleric warned that women drivers could cause damage to their ovaries by operating a motor vehicle. Have you checked the health of your ovaries recently? Find out more. #1. #2.
There’s more information than ever coming down the pike about violence against women and girls, in particular the recent kidnapping of Nigerian students. In the United States suffrage leaders and women’s history is being politicized, no doubt a foreshadowing of what’s to come in the 2016 presidential election where a woman may run for the nation’s highest office. Who would have thought our marginalized suffrage history would come under attack? It’s all predictable. Tighten your seat belt for what’s to come!
Marguerite’s Musings (from Marguerite Kearns) are a regular feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel. Visit our feature platform for new updates on videos and other special postings you might not see on the email platform. We also have Vimeo and YouTube channels.
The filming’s continuing for “Suffragette,” the UK film and already there’s speculation about whether or not Merly Streep will win an Oscar for her role as Mrs. Pankhurst in the production. Not only that, but there’s a powerful media machine handing the film’s photos and press releases. More than 30 photos have been released to whet the public’s appetite for what’s to come. And don’t you just love those period costumes?
This is good for the suffrage movement and the public’s awareness of it as an important time in our history, though I suspect it will take some time for these influences to manifest. Ask people on the street about what they know about the suffrage movement. They’re either never heard of it, or their eyes glaze over. What? They’ll probably tell you that women’s history wasn’t covered back in their school days of old. The times, they are a’changing with an increasing number of suffrage history fans. The growing interest hasn’t yet reached the awareness of the mainstream of women voters.
Some politicians realize they need women voters to win elections, but they may not be so enthusiastic about women voters becoming excited by learning about their history. If so, they might be more inclined to vote for women political candidates and not for the men who claim to be standing up for women. This would be a switch, wouldn’t it? So meanwhile there’s plenty of lip service about women’s issues, but God forbid that women voters start getting the point that it took 72 years from 1848 to 1920 for American women to win the vote, including the fact that the U.S. had one woman, a New Yorker, (Inez Milholland) die for the right to cast one’s vote.
More events and articles are posted on the internet about the suffrage movement than there’s time to read and stay current. So, the “Suffragette” film from the UK is expected to place suffrage subject matter square in the faces of the American public starting in January 2015 when the film’s scheduled for release. Try a few links, including an interview with Carey Mulligan. And another piece featuring Carey Mulligan and her role in suff film. The media machine has been sending out great photos of the period production.
Follow the Suffrage Wagon for news and views of the suffrage movement. Stay current on the progress of the “Suffragette” film in production and remember that you read about it on Suffrage Wagon News Channel.