Tag Archives: Wilmer Kearns

Valentine’s Day Special: My grandmother Edna May Buckman loved Wilmer Kearns, but she didn’t want to get married!

Marguerite's Musings

Edna1914ArticleTennesseeby Marguerite Kearns

I’m not saying that my grandparents wore these particular coats shown below, but they certainly glanced at the winter styles and were, I suspect, influenced by the fashion.

The styles appear on the same page as an article about Grandmother Edna and her suffrage movement organizing and activities.

If I transpose my grandparents onto the couple in the newspaper, I imagine Edna thinking in 1915 that Wilmer turned out to be quite a supportive and loving husband.

BUT WHAT ABOUT EDNA’S DETERMINATION NOT TO MARRY?

In 1904 one of Edna’s letters to Wilmer Kearns (then working in NYC) described friends and family members’ puzzlement by the couple’s  infatuation with each other and they wondered if the relationship could be moving in the direction of becoming serious. After all, Edna had announced her intention not to marry early in her teenage years. And Wilmer and Edna came from very different backgrounds. Many young women, like Edna, preferred to be free and independent, unless, of course, they found the exceptional guy, which Wilmer turned out to be.

The conscious decision to remain single wasn’t all that unusual in the 19th and early 20th century. Edna’s childhood friend Bessie, for example, found support in other women, who like her, preferred to remain single. And this recent article from Massachusetts also documents the larger context. Edna’s friend Bessie at the turn of the 20th century was fascinated with the Cult of Single Blessedness, another variation of the same trend.

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Kearns Family Members Got Together over the Holidays: Marguerite’s Musings

Marguerite's Musings

It’s always fun to stumble on a family connection. It’s one thing to know that my Kearns relatives are still based in Beavertown, PA where my grandfather Wilmer Kearns was born. And it’s even more exciting to know the extent of their ties and how they spent the holidays visiting, either in the NYC area or Beavertown, PA

I found a social notice of Max and Peg Kearns (Wilmer’s brother and sister in law) visiting Wilmer and Edna Kearns in 1917 in the South Side Observer of Long Island, December 30, 1917. “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Maxwell Kearns, of Pennsylvania, are the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Wilmer Kearns for several weeks.”

I’m busy documenting how Wilmer Kearns served as treasurer of Kearns Motor Car Company, the family business,  when he and Edna lived in New York City. And Lulu Kearns, Wilmer’s sister, played an important part of suffrage organizing with my grandmother Edna Kearns in 1913.

A holiday video greeting.

Another opportunity to celebrate the holidays with the Suffrage Wagon on Vimeo.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Join the conversation by commenting on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

A happy holiday video card from the Kearns family!

Happy holidays from the Kearns family! on Vimeo. Edna, Wilmer and Serena Kearns were all involved in the suffrage movement and oh, what a time it was!

THE 2014 HOLIDAY CARD VIDEO from the Kearns family:

That’s right. We’re still celebrating Suffrage Wagon’s fifth birthday in December 2014.

Three very interesting articles I thought you’d find interesting include highlights of the book Remembering Inez. There are optimistic signs about planning in New York State for upcoming votes for women centennials. See summary. And there’s a 2015 wish list that includes a funded NYS suffrage planning commission for 2017 and 2020 suffrage centennials, as well as a suffragist memorial in Lorton, VA and a proposed statue of “real women” (Anthony and Stanton) in New York City’s Central Park.

Video about Suffrage Wagon’s fifth birthday.

.  “A happy birthday greeting” for Suffrage Wagon.
Birthdays are great fun. Martha Wright and Edna Kearns were both born on December 25th. See our previous coverage.

FacebookFollow Suffrage Wagon News Channel on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Join the conversation by commenting on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

100 Years Ago in Two Videos: Marguerite’s Musings

Marguerite's MusingsONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO:

A review of the suffrage “hike” or march to Albany, New York in January 1914,  a little over 100 years ago. My grandparents Edna Kearns, Wilmer Kearns, and my mother’s older sister Serena Kearns started out from New York City on January 1, 1914 with Rosalie Jones and a band of other brave souls. The first video version about the march or “hike” to Albany, NY highlights newspaper articles of the period. It’s followed by a feature where I had fun. Check out the second video version.

Here’s another version of the same event with images from the Library of Congress and several examples of memorabilia from the Suffrage Wagon News Channel collection.

A review of the complete “Playing Politics with the President” story series in the event you missed any of the episodes: Podcast #1. Podcast #2. Podcast #3. Podcast #4. Podcast #5. Podcast #6. Podcast #7, Podcast #8, Podcast #9 of the nine-audio podcast series about US President Woodrow Wilson and the impending showdown over the issue of women voting. This is the leadup to when things became sticky and led to the National Woman’s Party picketing the White House and prison time in 1917.

FacebookCOMING SOON: The fall issue of the quarterly newsletter. Follow Suffrage Wagon News Channel with email twice a week, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Quarterly newsletters just by signing up. Please join the conversation by commenting on the Suffrage Wagon blog. Stay up to date with audio podcasts and videos. Celebrate women’s freedom to vote.

Kearns archive at New York Botantical Garden for Echo Dale Gardens

Echo Dale GardensWhat 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.

Four videos introduce the Kearns family and the suffrage movement

Suffrage Wagon News NotesTake a trip through four videos to get to know the Kearns family and their relationship to the suffrage movement: Edna, Wilmer and little Serena:

(1.) “Women Picket the White House for Votes for Women.” This video highlights wife Edna and daughter Serena as they picket the White House in Washington, DC for the suffrage movement in 1917.

(2.) “Snapshots of Suffragist Edna Kearns” has images ranging from childhood through her suffrage activist days from the Kearns family archives. Not only did Edna make a mark in the world, but she took her family along, including daughter Serena and husband Wilmer.

(3.) “Highlights of the Life of Edna Buckman Kearns (1882-1934)” gives a personal spin on the lives of a family where everyone supported the cause of winning votes for woman, a very important social movement in the United States.

(4.) “Wilmer Kearns: Being the Husband of a Suffrage Activist” highlights Wilmer’s perspectives and involvement in the movement.

Follow Wilmer and Edna Kearns on Suffrage Wagon News Channel for the story that inspired a multi-media platform of news and stories about the suffrage movement.

Suffrage Wagon Film Festival: Wilmer Kearns recommends!

Suffrage Wagon Film FestivalWilmer Kearns recommends suffrage movement videos.

(1.) “Rocking the ‘Cradle’ of the Women’s Rights Movement.” This video features some of the locations visited in the 2013 “Let’s Rick the Cradle” blogging tour. It’s to introduce the Finger Lakes of upstate New York as a vacation destination for the entire family. There’s so much to choose from, especially the women’s rights historic sites, plus sporting destinations, wineries, and so much more.

(2.) “Let’s Rock the Cradle” is another video with images collected from the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in upstate New York during the blogging tour. Of course, any trip to the region should be well planned.

Consult the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network for ideas about your trip planning to the Finger Lakes. LetsRockTheCradle.com is a member.

These and other videos are featured on LetsRockTheCradle.com, a platform promoting the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States. Follow by way of email subscription and Twitter. You’ll be glad you did.