Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement

Home to the Long Island Woman Suffrage Association, Antonia Petrash, Editor
May 19th, 2022 by burton33

Woman of the Month – May, 2022

Amelia Jenks Bloomer, 1818 – 1894

 Amelia Jenks Bloomer is one of my favorite suffragists, not just because she introduced Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony, thus providing us with a wonderful team who worked tirelessly together for suffrage for over 50 years, but because of her courage. She first let her voice be heard campaigning against the evils of alcohol, later turned her considerable attention to working for suffrage, and even dared to challenge the cruel laws of women’s fashion.

Amelia is best remembered for the Bloomer costume, a daring new style that set the world of fashion buzzing. In 1852 the average American woman wore long, dark skirts over four to six petticoats, sometimes heavily starched or lined with horsehair. Under those petticoats were worn lace-trimmed drawers, a camisole, and a corset laced with whalebone – an outfit that weighed an average of fifteen pounds. Skirts trailed the ground, gathering dirt, dust and debris from the streets

Amelia is best remembered for the Bloomer costume, a daring new style that set the world of fashion buzzing. In 1852 the average American woman wore long, dark skirts over four to six petticoats, sometimes heavily starched or lined with horsehair. Under those petticoats were worn lace-trimmed drawers, a camisole, and a corset laced with whalebone – an outfit that weighed an average of fifteen pounds. Skirts trailed the ground, gathering dirt, dust and debris from the streets

 When Amelia’s cousin Elizabeth Smith Miller introduced her to her new, comfortable fashion invention, Amelia embraced it at once. Instead of the skirts and petticoats, Elizabeth had designed a costume that consisted of trousers worn over a shorter skirt, and no stays or corsets. Thrilled by its comfort, Amelia wore it everywhere – on the streets of her hometown of Seneca Falls, to meetings and gatherings, and to work at her job as editor of her newspaper, The Lily. She convinced many of her friends to wear it; both she and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were wearing it when she introduced Elizabeth to Susan B. Anthony on a corner in Seneca Falls in 1851. (Photo, top. Anthony: left; Amelia: center; Elizabeth: right.) Since she was a more public person that her cousin, (and braver!) Elizabeth Smith Miller named it for her.

Reaction was swift and condemning. Women were accused of trying to usurp male roles, “wear the pants in the family,” and relegate men to more secondary roles. Amelia knew these to be ridiculous arguments, but eventually gave up wearing the Bloomer costume, not because it was uncomfortable, but because it drew attention away from causes that were more important to her – temperance and suffrage. It experienced a resurgence later in the century when women adopted the bicycle, but most women didn’t wear pants or trousers again until well into the 20th century

 It is a shame in a way that we remember Amelia more for her clothing than for her brave spirit. She believed woman’s greatest power lay in her strength of character and intelligence, and that those strengths could help her overcome any restrictions society might impose upon her. Only when a woman could dress as she pleased, own property in her own name, support her children and let her feelings be known through the ballot box could she participate fully in the life around her, sentiments that are just as valid today as they were then.

April 15th, 2022 by burton33

THE “SUFFS” COME TO OFF-BROADWAY!

Suffs

The story of the heroic work of Alice Paul and her fellow suffragists comes to life in an ambitious new musical created by Shaina Taub, who wrote the music, lyrics and book, and also stars as Alice Paul herself. Taub’s musical at the Public Newman Theater tells the story of the woman suffrage movement in the years leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment, beginning in 1913 with the planning of the famous Washington DC march to raise public awareness of women’s demands for the vote, and ending with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Along the way we meet a host of characters, from Carrie Chapman Catt to Ida B. Wells-Barnett to the indomitable Lucy Burns.

“Suffs” will be at the Public Newman Theater, 425 Lafayette Street, NYC until May 29, 2022 (212-967-7555). For the whole story check out the website: https://www.newyorktheatreguide.com/show/suffs

March 5th, 2022 by burton33

Port Jefferson Women’s History Month Exhibit

In celebration of Women’s History Month the Village of Port Jefferson is currently running a show through March at the Village Center celebrating Woman Suffrage..

The exhibit also celebrates the work of costume specialist Nan Guzzetta, who shall always be remembered for her devotion to helping historians bring the people of the past to life through the clothing they wore.

Check it out! Follow the link: https://portjeff.com/gallery/

February 1st, 2022 by burton33

Remarkable Woman of the Month, February 2022

Katherine Houghton Hepburn, 1878 – 1951

The name Katherine Hepburn usually calls to mind the famous red-headed actress, star of stage and screen, who defied contemporary mores and lived life on her own terms. But before her there was another head-strong, fiery-tempered Katherine Hepburn whose passion for equality improved the lives of, not just her actress-daughter, but countless other women as well.

Katherine Houghton, eldest of three daughters, was born February 2, 1878 into a life of comfort and financial stability. Her father, Alfred, was the son of the founder of Corning Glass Works in Corning, NY. Her mother Caroline Garlinghouse was a firm believer in equal education for both boys and girls and was determined her three daughters would go to college. But Katherine’s life of ease and privilege was short lived – her father died when she was fourteen, and her mother soon after, leaving the orphaned girls in the charge of their uncle Amory. Amory Houghton did not believe in advanced education for women, and in fact told the girls that such education could actually be harmful. Women’s brains were not strong enough to absorb complicated subjects, he explained. Advanced studies might even induce sterility and make them unmarriageable.

Katherine was determined to follow her own path. Her longing for education and independence caused frequent clashes with her disapproving Uncle, but fortunately her mother had made provisions before she died for all three girls to attend college. Over Uncle Amory’s objections she attended Bryn Mawr, graduation in 1900 with a degree in chemistry; she later attended graduate school at Radcliff. In 1904 she married physician Tom Hepburn and settled in Hartford, Connecticut to begin a family that would eventually welcome six children. But while she was devoted to her husband and children, she found family life stifling. Her longings for independence and personal fulfillment returned to haunt her.

When British suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst held a rally in Hartford in 1909 Tom Hepburn, sensing his wife’s restlessness, encouraged her to attend. Katherine and over 200 other women listened to the famous suffragette tell of her struggles, and exhort them to fight for the most powerful political weapon of all – the right to vote. Pankhurst voiced some of Katherine’s strongest beliefs – that political equality and personal fulfillment were everyone’s right. Katherine’s life was changed forever. She and a friend organized the Hartford Equal Franchise League, and joined with other like-minded young women who believed the time for votes for women had finally come.

Hepburn Family

Her decision to fight for suffrage engendered controversy. The family was ostracized by friends and neighbors, warned that they would no longer be accepted in “polite society.” Tom’s career was threatened. But both Hepburns believed in standing up for what they believed, and raised their children to feel the same. As the children grew, Katherine brought them to rallies, marched with them in parades, and gave them the job of handing out balloons with the message “Votes for Women.” Katherine served as president of the Connecticut Women’s Suffrage Association for four years; under her leadership the group grew to over 30,000 members. In 1917, frustrated by what she considered to be the lethargy of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, (NAWSA), she resigned to join the more militant National Woman’s Party, organized by Alice Paul.

After suffrage was finally achieved in 1920 Katherine began to work with Margaret Sanger for reproductive freedom. The irony of having a large family and espousing birth control was not lost on her. Katherine loved children. But she believed that every child should be a wanted child and every woman, rich or poor, should have the information and materials she needed to protect her family’s well-being. She worked to repeal stringent anti-birth control laws until her sudden death in 1951 while helping her daughter prepare for a play.

Katherine Houghton Hepburn, like many wealthy women, could have lived a life of luxury and ease. She chose instead to devote her life to helping others achieve equality and freedom. The actress Katherine Hepburn often credited her parents with her own courage to try new roles and break new ground as an actress. “We felt our parents were the best two people in the world,” she once told an interviewer, “and we were wildly lucky to be their children.”

Happy Birthday, Katherine Houghton Hepburn!

January 9th, 2022 by burton33

Happy Birthday, Carrie Chapman Catt

On a cold November morning in 1872, in a farmhouse outside Charles City, Iowa, a drama unfolded that would change the course of history.  Thirteen-year-old Carrie Lane was breakfasting with her family when her father and their hired hand rose from the table and reached for their coats. They were going into the city to cast their votes in the 1872 Presidential election, Horace Greely versus Ulysses S. Grant. Carrie noticed her mother didn’t join them. “Why isn’t Mother going to vote?” she asked. Her parents laughed. “Women can’t vote,” her mother explained, to which Carrie asked? “Why?” Why, indeed?

            That question would confound Carrie Lane for most of her adult life, through college, a teaching career, and decades of activism that would ultimately transform her into the formidable suffragist leader Carrie Chapman Catt.  Why can’t women vote? Weren’t they as intelligent as men? Didn’t they care as much about their nation and its future?

  When Catt became an active suffragist in 1889 the 1848 Seneca Falls Conference was a distant memory. Considered the first formal demand for political equality for women, its influence had faded and the movement was mired in its own self-proclaimed “doldrums.” Initial leaders, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were aging, and while new leadership still worked raising funds, organizing conventions, circulating petitions – they hadn’t achieved much success. By 1900 women could claim full suffrage in only four states.

            There were no women in Congress to help. The first, Jeanette Rankin, would not be elected to the US House of Representatives until 1917. The woman suffrage amendment had been defeated in the Senate in 1887 and wouldn’t be proposed (and defeated) again until 1914.

            There was fierce disagreement over methodology – one faction saw success progressing state by state, while another favored seeking a constitutional amendment granting women the vote nationwide.  Catt developed a “Winning Plan” that would follow both paths. She was elected President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) not once, but twice, the last in 1915, in the midst of the battle for woman suffrage in New York.  A victory in New York could mean its 44 Congressional Representatives might tip the balance in favor of a federal amendment. The New York victory in 1917 was sweet, and carried them into the home stretch.

            When the 19th Amendment finally won approval by the House in 1918 (and again in 1919) and the Senate in 1919 it faced formidable odds for ratification by ¾ of the states. The final battle centered on Tennessee, the thirty-sixth state needed to ratify. The voting was intense, with skullduggery by anti-suffragists, last-minute vote changes and then – the result of decades of battle finally realized.

            Catt did not attend the tally of votes in the statehouse in Nashville, choosing instead to pace by the open window in her hotel room nearby. After years of defeat she could not bear to watch if the amendment failed again. When the final votes were announced the roar from the Capitol told her all she needed to know. The Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920 and formally adopted into the US Constitution on August 26, 1920.

            The ratification of the 19th Amendment might be viewed as a beginning, rather than an end. Challenges arose almost immediately, especially for African-American women who faced formidable obstacles to both registering and voting. And one wonders what Catt would think of the continuing problem of voter apathy; in 2018 only 55% of eligible women voters exercised the right that she had fought so hard for.

            But 1920 those struggles were in the future. Carrie Chapman Catt’s single-minded determination, along with thousands of others finally won the day, and the farm girl from Iowa saw her long-ago query “Why can’t women vote?” rendered resoundingly obsolete.

Antonia Petrash, Originally published in Newsday.

October 13th, 2021 by burton33

Remarkable Woman of the Month – October 2021

Belva Lockwood2
Belva Lockwood

Belva Ann Lockwood

1830 – 1917

Today, in October of 2021, with four women sitting on the Supreme Court it seems unbelievable that until 1879 women attorneys (of which there were few) were not even permitted to present cases before the Supreme Court. Women were discouraged from becoming attorneys, since most law schools would not accept them.

But the most determined among us will always find a way. Belva Ann Lockwood was born in Royalton, NY, October 24, 1830, second of five children of Hannah and Lewis J. Bennett. She was married at 18 and widowed at 23, left with a young daughter to support. Determined to secure an education, she attended Genesee College, graduating in 1857. After college she followed the prescribed path for young women, becoming a teacher in upstate New York; she then moved to Washington DC where she opened her own school. She married Ezekiel Lockwood in 1868.

In 1871 she decided to study law, a laudable goal that was easier said than done when she discovered that no law school would admit her. She finally entered the New National University law school, graduated in 1873 and began her career as one of the first women attorneys in the nation. Belva used her newly-minted law degree to lobby Congress for legislation that favored equality for women, drafting a bill for equal pay for equal work for women in government positions, and becoming the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court.

In 1884 she was nominated to run for President under the National Equal Rights Party, despite the fact that she herself could not vote. Belva hoped that her presidential campaign would bring attention to the suffrage cause, and show that women could succeed in the “man’s world” of politics. She ran again in 1888, losing both times but running dignified campaigns that won the grudging respect of her male opponents.

Belva Lockwood strongly believed in educating girls and women, for only through education could they make their own way in the world and be self-supporting. She devoted her life to working for equality for women, including suffrage, serving in many suffrage associations. She died May 19, 1917, three years before the 19th amendment was passed, but not before she had made her mark battling for a woman’s right to enter any profession and follow any path she chose.

August 26th, 2021 by burton33

HAPPY WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY!

Today, August 26th, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day, the day the 19th Amendment granting all women in the United States the right to vote was finally made part of the US Constitution. The designation of August 26th as Women’s Equality Day was proposed in 1971 by Bella Abzug, representative from the 19th Congressional District in Manhattan. After seventy-two years of seemingly endless marches, petitions, speeches, and writings, the 19th Amendment was finally ratified on August 18th by the 36th state, which happened to be Tennessee. Thanks to a last minute change of heart by a young Representative, Harry Burn, the Amendment was ratified and sent by Governor Roberts of Tennessee to US Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby, whose job it was to sign the Proclamation and declare the 19th Amendment to be part of the United States Constitution.

The signing of the proclamation took place without any ceremony of any kind, and its issuance was unaccompanied by the taking of movies or other pictures, despite the fact that the National Woman’s Party and the National American Woman Suffrage Association had both been anxious to be present and to have the historic event recorded. After the tumultuous fight for ratification in the Tennessee statehouse Colby probably wanted to avoid any further obstructions or disturbances. He was later gracious in his congratulations of the suffragists’ “efforts in the face of discouragement,” but when he was asked to recreate the ceremony in the presence of movie cameras he again refused, stating that “the proclamation of the ratification…was more important than feeding the movie cameras.”

And when a woman suffrage delegation led by Carrie Chapman Catt, President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, was received and congratulated by President and Mrs. Wilson later that day, Alice Paul and members of the National Woman’s Party were not invited, despite the fact that their valiant efforts had played a significant role in getting the President to change his stance and advocate for their cause.

Still, there was much to celebrate. Carrie Chapman Catt proclaimed: “This is a glorious and wonderful day. Now that we have the vote let us remember we are no longer petitioners…but free and equal citizens. Let us do our part to keep it a true and triumphant democracy.”

Happy Women’s Equality Day!

June 22nd, 2021 by burton33

An Unfinished Revolution Released!

We are pleased to announce the release of an exciting new family memoir by author Marguerite Kearns, An Unfinished Revolution: Edna Buckman Kearns And the Struggle for Women’s Rights

As granddaughter of noted suffragist Edna Buckman Kearns, (of Rockville Center) Ms. Kearns fills an enormous gap about how voting rights activism on the local, state and national level impacted suffrage and peace activists in her family for four generations. Ms. Kearns began asking about her grandmother’s activism when she was ten years old, and never stopped researching, recording and celebrating her ancestor’s life’s work. This book is a culmination of a lifetime of those efforts, and details a story of a real family, their secrets, scandals and activism. It also illustrates once again how the efforts of Long Islanders had a disproportionate influence on the woman suffrage movement throughout the nation.

Available from Amazon and sunypress.com

June 8th, 2021 by burton33

Historic Marker Honoring Suffragist Unveiled!

An historic marker honoring suffragist Edna Buckman Kearns of Rockville Centre was unveiled today on the boardwalk in Long Beach where she had demonstrated for women’s right to vote over one hundred years ago.

The installation of the marker represented years of effort by several groups, including the Long Island Woman Suffrage Association. Her granddaughter, Marguerite Kearns had waged a long-term battle to honor her grandmother’s work for the woman suffrage movement. Edna had campaigned on the beach at Long Beach, driving her horse-drawn Spirit of 1776 suffrage wagon up and down the beach, distributing leaflets to bathers. She also communicated with what she called her “speechless speech,” where she silently exhibited placards with the message “Votes for Women,” letting the placards give the message.

We are pleased to add another marker to the Women’s History Trail, established to honor those who have labored to secure political equality for all women throughout the nation. The ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 giving women the right to vote was an important first step. There is more work to be done, but today was a day to celebrate.

Thanks go to the City of Long Beach for their hard work.

May 27th, 2021 by burton33

Remarkable New York Women

Betty Gillies, 1908 – 1998

As Memorial Day approaches our thoughts turn to honoring those who have sacrificed to protect our American way of life, and no group illustrates this more perfectly than the Woman Airforce Service Pilots, known as the WASP.

The WASP was an elite cadre of experienced women pilots recruited by the US Army during World War II. WASP ferried aircraft from base to base, and took delivery of new aircraft right off the production line, (thus being the first to test them), with the express purpose of freeing male pilots for combat duty overseas. They flew almost every type of military aircraft employed by the Army Airforce, from the P-38 to the massive B-17E “Flying Fortress” heavy bomber, logging over sixty million miles of air travel. Of the 1,074 who received their wings thirty-eight died in service. Despite their bravery and patriotism they enjoyed no military status, no equal pay with male pilots and no military honors at their funerals. Their families even had to pay to have their bodies shipped home. Yet, they gratefully volunteered to serve their country.

Long Island was aptly represented in this select group by Syosset resident Betty Huyler Gillies. Betty was a young student nurse when she was inspired to become a pilot after reading an article written by Amelia Earhart encouraging young women to learn to fly. After earning her pilot’s license at Roosevelt Field she took a job at with the Curtis Wright Aviation Center, where she continued to log air hours and hone her skills. By 1929 she had logged over 1,000 hours in the cockpit. After her marriage to aviator Bud Gillies in 1930 the two worked for Grumman Aircraft in Bethpage, Bud as a test pilot and Betty as a “utility pilot,” and she kept up her skills while raising a family. In 1942, with World War II raging, Nancy Harkness Love invited Betty to help her form a women’s pilot ferrying squadron to free up the male pilots for overseas combat. A few days later Betty flew her own twin-engine amphibian plane from Long Island to Maryland and became the first woman to be inducted into the WAFS (Woman’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron).

The women pilots were housed on the Maryland base in spare wooden barracks. Although technically civilians, they adhered to strict military discipline, mustering for 8am roll call and wearing uniforms they paid for themselves. At the same time another group, under the direction of well-known pilot Jacqueline Cochran began training in Sweetwater Texas, and the two groups eventually merged to form the WASP. Betty spent most of her service time in Maryland where she served as squadron leader.

The women were from varied walks of life, and like Betty, had left families and small children to answer the call to help their country. As they graduated from their demanding training programs – flight training in various aircraft, navigational instruction – they were assigned to bases around the nation. The work was dangerous; they flew tracking missions, towed gunnery targets and delivered weapons and cargo from base to base. They also tested aircraft that had been returned to base by male pilots who had complained of problems, thus assuming a risky duty no-one else wanted, sometimes called “dishwashing jobs.”

Dependence on the WASP grew. Betty Gillies and her fellow pilots flew missions at over seventy air bases around the country piloting everything the aircraft manufacturers built. In 1944 Ann Baumgartner became one of the nation’s first jet test pilots, flying the YP-59. But the women pilots were not always well received by their male counterparts. Betty later recalled that rumors of sabotage were not infrequent. Some male pilots were resentful that women were flying the same planes as they, often with better safety records and fewer complaints.

In 1944 with the war winding down the WASP program was abruptly ended. The need for combat pilots was declining, and like thousands of women employed during the war the WASP saw their jobs turned over to men. “I was terribly disappointed when we were deactivated,” Betty recalled, as she returned home to her family, “We had been busy flying up to the last moment.” Despite their dismissal the WASP received high praise from Army Chief of Staff Hap Arnold, who had originally voiced skepticism of the program:

Frankly, I didn’t know in 1941 whether a slip of a girl could fight the controls of a B-17 bomber…but you have shown you can fly wing tip to wing tip with your brother. If ever there was a doubt in anyone’s mind that women can become skilled pilots the WASP have dispelled that doubt.

Many, including Betty continued to fly, and in 1961 she was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to the first Federal Aviation Administration Women’s Advisory Committee. It was not until 1977 that former WASP were granted veteran status and benefits.

On March 10, 2010 The US Government finally recognized their outstanding contributions to WWII by awarding them the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award the nation can bestow. Unfortunately, by then many of them had died, including Betty Gillies, who died in 1998, after a lifetime of looking to the skies. She would say about her time in the WASP “I never felt that I was contributing more to the world than I was then. It was a very satisfying experience.”

For a wonderful and informative exhibit of WASP information and memorabilia by curator Julia Lauria-Blum visit the American Airpower Museum in East Farmingdale, (631-293-6398) americanairpowermuseum.com

For further information about the WASP contact the National WASP World War II Museum, Sweetwater Texas, (325-235-0099) waspmuseum.org

And don’t forget to check out your local public library for the many informative books that tell the WASP story.

April 6th, 2021 by burton33

An Inside Look at the Real Woman Suffrage Movement

We look forward to the release of an exciting new family memoir by author Marguerite Kearns, An Unfinished Revolution: Edna Buckman Kearns and the Struggle for Women’s Rights.

As granddaughter of noted suffragist Edna Buckman Kearns, (of Rockville Center) Ms. Kearns fills in an enormous gap about how voting rights activism on the local, state and national level impacted suffrage and peace activists in her family for four generations. Ms. Kearns began asking about her grandmother’s activism when she was ten years old, and never stopped researching, recording and celebrating her ancestor’s life’s work. This book is a culmination of a lifetime of those efforts, and details a story of a real family, their secrets, scandals and activism. It also illustrates once again how the efforts of Long Islanders had a disproportionate influence on the woman suffrage movement throughout the nation.

Coming June 1, 2021, from SUNY Press – more information to follow.

March 14th, 2021 by burton33

NEWSDAY HONORS DR. NATALIE NAYLOR!

Newsday readers have a treat in Sunday’s paper – an article honoring my good friend Dr. Natalie Naylor. Dr. Naylor taught at Hofstra University for 32 years, and is the author of several books and many articles about remarkable women in Long Island’s history. Her latest book, Women In Long Island’s Past features information about such amazing women as Nobel prize winner and scientist Dr. Barbara McClintock, pioneer aviator Elinor Smith, and noted suffragist Rosalie Gardiner Jones.

Dr. Naylor has always unstintingly offered counsel to other lecturers and historians, and has generously shared her knowledge of Long Island women through hundreds of lectures and speeches. No celebration of Women’s History month on Long Island would be complete without honoring her accomplishments as well.

Congratulations, Dr. Natalie Naylor!

Dr. Naylor in front of the Nassau County Courthouse.
March 4th, 2021 by burton33

March is Women’s History Month!

Hopefully we will soon reach the day when the celebration of women’s history is not limited to one month, but is celebrated throughout the entire year, marking no difference from men’s – “People’s history” it might be called. But until then we can’t resist this opportunity to use this month to celebrate the special women who helped make our world a better place.

Suffragist of the Month, March 2021

Kate Malcolm Sheppard,  1847 –  1934

American women certainly had no exclusive claim to the quest for woman suffrage. Women around the world worked tirelessly for political equality, experiencing much the same frustrations and, ultimately successes as our suffragists did.

Catherine (Kate) Malcolm was born around March 10, 1847 in Liverpool, England. After her father’s death her mother moved the family to New Zealand in the late 1860s, where Kate married  Walter Allen Sheppard in 1871. Far ahead of her time, Kate believed firmly in full equality for women in all aspects of society, including political equality. She also worked for dress reform, advocating freeing women from restrictive corsets, and encouraging them to exercise and be physically active.

In 1885 she became a founding member of the New Zealand branch of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. But it became obvious to her that women could not achieve needed societal reforms without the power of the vote. Two years later she began to work for woman suffrage. 

A fervent advocate, she wrote pamphlets, organized countless meetings and lectures, and traveled throughout New Zealand, encouraging women to sign petitions lobbying for the vote. She presented a series of these petitions to Parliament, including one with over 30,000 signatures. New Zealand finally granted women the right to vote in 1893, becoming the first nation to grant universal suffrage.

Sheppard was later active in woman suffrage movements in other countries, including the United States, where she traveled and worked with Carrie Chapman Catt. Her likeness is now on the New Zealand $10 note, as well as a commemorative stamp. She died in 1934.

Sheppard was later active in woman suffrage movements in other countries, including the United States, where she traveled and worked with Carrie Chapman Catt. Her likeness is now on the New Zealand $10 note, as well as a commemorative stamp. She died in 1934.

Happy Birthday, Kate Malcolm Sheppard!

December 22nd, 2020 by burton33

Celebration – 2020 Style

The 2020 we anticipated was not the 2020 we got. We anticipated that the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment would bring celebratory gatherings, rallies and parades. We worked for years – writing articles, publishing books, marching in parades, waving our placards and raising our voices. Instead, 2020 brought us isolation, fear and loss. Celebration of the milestone was far from the first thing on most people’s minds, nor should it have been. Priorities shift; change comes unbidden; life has its way.

But, amazingly, celebration of the 19th Amendment came in a different form – in the form of the largest voter turnout in our nation’s history.  Whether the results of the election brought you joy or disappointment, we can all share in a success of a different kind. The problem of voter apathy that we usually complain about after an election was nowhere to be found. Both men and women waited in long lines, sometimes in the cold and rain to have their voices heard. The work of our foremothers – the marches, writings, speeches and suffering of their time – was not in vain. Since 1980 women have voted in greater numbers than men, and their voices are undoubtedly being heard.  And while there are still conflicts to resolve we are imbued by this success with a cautious optimism that resolutions can be found if everyone plays his or her part.

We discovered we don’t really need rallies and pageants to celebrate the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The line of men and women at the polls was the best parade we could have ever had.

October 29th, 2020 by burton33

More Good Reads for Tough Times

The centennial celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment might have passed, but there is still plenty to learn about this fascinating civil rights movement that enfranchised millions of Americans.

Women Win the Vote: 19 for the 19th Amendment, by Nancy B. Kennedy.

An attractive young adult offering that maps the lives of 19 women who fought for woman suffrage. Ms. Kennedy offers an overview of the movement through profiles of iconic figures such as Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt, and lesser-known heroines, such as Mary Ann Shad Cary. Colorful illustrations by Katy Dockrill add just the right mix to attract the hard-to-reach young adult market. Sidebars offer additional information. Published by W.W. Norton. 2020.

Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote, by Susan Ware.

Ware also focuses on the lives of nineteen women, most of whom have been overlooked by history, including Rose Schneiderman, who worked as a labor activist and suffragist to win better working conditions through the vote, and African-American Mary Church Terrell. The accomplishments of these little-known heroines bring a fresh perspective to what could be an old story. Ware also worked as a commentator on the PBS special The Vote. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 2019.

Suffrage and the City: New York Women Battle for the Ballot, by Lauren C. Santangelo.

Santangelo focuses on the battle in New York State that succeeded three years before the ratification of the national Amendment, a triumph that ultimately fulfilled the hope that success in New York would “tip the balance” in the amendment’s favor. Information about less famous suffragists such as Lillie Devereux Blake and Mariana Chapman enlivens the story. Oxford University Press. 2019.