Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement

Home to the Long Island Woman Suffrage Association, Antonia Petrash, Editor

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March 22nd, 2014 by burton33

Rosalie Gardiner Jones – Film Clip shows her March to Washington, DC

Thanks to my friend, Natalie Naylor for telling me about this site where you can see a wonderful film clip of Rosalie Gardiner Jones leading a contingent of suffragists on a march to Washington DC, in late February of 1913. This march followed soon after the group’s march to Albany, which had taken them over 170 miles in 13 days, and had just been completed in December, 1912.  The New York group was marching to Washington to join with other suffragists, including Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, to call attention to the suffragists’ cause.

The DC march was scheduled for March 3, 1913, the day before President Wilson’s inauguration*, and was attended by an estimated five thousand marchers, and hundreds of thousands of spectators. Unfortunately, it was also marked by violence and abuse of the suffragists, with the silver lining of increased press attention.

Chapter 6 in my book tells the whole story. In the meantime, check out this site:

http://www.filmpreservation.org/dvds-and-books/clips/on-to-washington-1913

 

*At that time Presidential elections were held in March.

February 13th, 2014 by burton33

February 15th – Happy Birthday Susan B. Anthony

While researching my book, Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement, I came across the memoirs of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eighty Years and More, and, much to my surprise I discovered that both she and Susan B. Anthony had vacationed quite often in my home town, about one mile from my home. She tells of delightful vacations when she visited the home of Charles Dana, publisher of the Sun newspaper at his “beautiful island near Glen Cove,”  which is literally in my neighborhood. She wrote:

“Miss Anthony spent a week with us in Glen Cove. She came to stir me up to write papers for every Congress at the Exposition, which I did, and she read them in the different Congresses, adding her own strong words at the close.”

As we celebrate “Miss Anthony’s” 194 birthday, I like to feel her spirit still hovers over Glen Cove, perhaps even inspiring my passionate interest in the suffrage cause.

Happy Birthday, Susan, and if you are nearby, do drop in anytime for tea.

 

February 13th, 2014 by burton33

February 15th – Anniversary of Suffragist Monument, depicting Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott, sculpted by Adelaide Johnson, is dedicated at the U.S. Capitol

 

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This group portrait monument to the pioneers of the woman suffrage movement was sculpted by Adelaide Johnson (1859-1955) from an 8-ton block of marble in Carrara, Italy. Commissioned by Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, the monument features portrait busts of three leaders of the woman suffrage movement: Elizabeth Cady Stanton (left), Susan B. Anthony (rear, right), and Lucretia Coffin Mott (front).

After its original donation on February 15, 1921 the monument was exhibited in the Rotunda Hall of the Capitol for one day and then moved to the basement, where it languished for seventy-six years.

After raising the needed $75,000, the sculpture was again moved to the Capitol Rotunda in May of 1997, where it can be seen today. I had the privilege of visiting a few years ago, and it is a moving sight, to see those three stalwart pioneers rising from a block of creamy marble, finally taking their rightful place in that hall of heroes.

 

September 15th, 2013 by burton33

Theodore Roosevelt Changes His Mind About Suffrage

September 8th marked the 96th anniversary of the historic day that Theodore Roosevelt invited suffrage leaders to his home at Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay to reiterate his whole-hearted support for the woman suffrage movement. New York women had lost their bid for the vote in 1915, and were 1912harpertoon5gearing up to work for passage of an amendment to the State’s Constitution in 1917. So an invitation by Roosevelt and his wife Edith to visit Sagamore Hill was much appreciated.

The 26th President was not always so inclined. In 1898 he told Susan B. Anthony that woman suffrage was “not that important,” and when, in 1904 he and First Lady Edith held a reception for 400 suffrage leaders at the White House, it was still not clear that either of them supported granting women the vote. Edith was definitely noncommittal, and Theodore was probably concerned with offending his male constituency. When Sands Point resident Harriet Burton Laidlaw visited him in 1907 he still refused to back the movement. But by 1912 when he ran for President again on the Bull Moose ticket his stance was softening; by 1915 he had changed to whole-hearted support, and never wavered. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the Federal Amendment passed; he died January 6, 1919.

For the full story of Theodore Roosevelt and the woman suffrage movement, plus some delightful images, check out Chapter 10 in my book.

August 12th, 2013 by burton33

1909 Gala Suffrage Gathering at Newport Rhode Island

August 23 marks the 104th anniversary of the gala open-house held at Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island, home of prominent and wealthy suffragist, Alva Vanderbilt Belmont. (photo below). It was one of the first open-air meetings promoting suffrage to be held in the staid, conservative community. The New York TiAlvames reported that the featured speaker would be Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, and it was rumored that Alva Belmont would make a speech as well.

To listen to the lectures and visit the gardens cost a modest one-dollar, but those who wanted to tour the majestic Beaux-Arts mansion, and view the impressive yellow marble staircase had to pay $5, no small change in 1909. It seems the fee didn’t seem to inhibit many, however, as over six hundred (mostly) women descended on Alva’s grand estate the next day, listened to the pro-suffrage speakers, and peeked into the world of privilege and luxury that surrounded one of the woman suffrage movement’s most ardent supporters.

Of course, some of the older, more conservative residents of Newport thought such gatherings a bit gauche – especially when engineered by one of their most prominent residents. Alva continued to exasperate them with her demands for support for the woman suffrage movement, and had obviously crossed the line with this strident, openly political demonstration held right in their own backyards. Still, they bought their tickets and stood in line, modestly turning their heads when the newspaper photographers snapped photos, thus insuring that their hypocrisy would not be spread across the next day’s morning newspaper.vanderbiltmarblehouse

Today, long after the battle for woman suffrage has been won, and the fluttering blue suffrage flag with its four white stars has disappeared from its front façade, Marble House is still celebrated as one of Newport’s most beautiful and fascinating mansions. Look for Alva Belmont’s intriguing story in Chapter One of my book, Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement, and learn more about the house and its famous occupant at www.newportmansions.org/explore/marblehouse.

Alva Belmont photo courtesy of the Library of Congress. 

 

 

 

August 4th, 2013 by burton33

Happy Birthday Inez Milholland Boissevain

 

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Today, August 6 marks the 132nd birthday of the courageous suffragist, Inez Milholland Bosssevain, whose early death while campaigning for suffrage  resulted in her being hailed as a “martyr” for the cause. Inez was born August 6, 1886 to a wealthy, progressive family in Brooklyn, New York. Her family spent much of their time in London, where she attended the Kensington High School for Girls. She attended Vassar College, graduated in 1909, and went on to receive a law degree from New York University in 1912.

From her early years Inez was drawn to work for social causes, demonstrating for the disenfranchised, the poor and those unable to help themselves. While at Vassar she joined Harriot Stanton Blatch’s Equality League of Self-Supporting Women (later the Women’s Political Union), despite the fact the Vassar President, James Monroe Taylor refused to allow Vassar students any discussion of the suffrage movement. She continued to demonstrate and rally for suffrage, and in 1913 worked for the WPU in Washington, DC, headed by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns.

March 3, 1913 Inez led the famous suffrage parade in Washington, DC, parading down Pennsylvania Avenue on a majestic white horse. In May of that year she reprised that role, leading a massive parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City. Inez became the symbol of the “new women” whose beauty, brains and brave spirit rallied thousands of women to work for suffrage.

In 1916 Alice Paul convinced Inez to undertake a tour of the western states in an effort to gain backing for the movement from women in states that had already granted women suffrage. But Inez  had been in poor health for some time, and the arduous trip proved too much for her. On October 19, 1916, while giving a speech in Los Angeles she  suddenly collapsed, and died ten weeks later from pernicious anemia. An article in the Philadelphia Public Lodger at the time of her death described her as epitomizing the “determination of modern women to live a full free life, unhampered by tradition.”

The woman suffrage movement claimed her as the first martyr to the cause, and her work for suffrage is regarded as some of the most important and influential. Unfortunately, she died before the battle was won, but will always be remembered for her unstinting devotion to the cause of freedom everywhere. Her funeral service was held in Statuary Hall under the dome of the  Capitol, the first woman to be so honored.

The poster featured below of her on her white horse became a potent symbol of the cause.

 

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July 1st, 2013 by burton33

The Suffrage Movement on the East End of Long Island

Some of the most devoted suffragists were located on the East End of Long Island, both on the north and south forks, and much of the work of these remarkable women has been documented by Arlene Hinkemeyer of East Hampton.  Arlene has been gathering information and facts about the East End suffragists for some time, and just this past March gave a wonderful presentation on the local activity which was covered by the Sag Harbor Express newspaper. Follow the link to the Sag Harbor Express to read this exciting account of Arlene’s presentation.(http://sagharboronline.com/sagharborexpress/page-1/exploring-the-roots-of-the-east-end-suffrage-movement-225390)

Arlene also reminded us that the Anti-suffrage movement was alive and well in the Hampton area. Between 1910 and 1920 the Sag Harbor Express was filled with letters and articles by proponents of the Anti-suffrage forces who tried valiantly to squelch the Woman Suffrage Movement. Many were encouraged by the liquor lobby, who feared that is women were granted suffrage they would vote to outlaw alcohol. Ironically, the 18th Amendment which made Prohibition the law of the land was passed in 1918 when most women still could not vote.

More information about the East End suffragists can be found in the 13th chapter of my book, “Others Who Dared.”

 

June 23rd, 2013 by burton33

Happy 100th Birthday to the Suffrage Wagon!

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Today, July 1, 2013, is the hundredth birthday of the famous Suffrage Wagon, the Spirit of 1776,  that carried Edna and Serena Kearns and other suffragists all over Long Island. By proclamation of the Governor, July 1 was named Suffrage Wagon Day in New York. For all the wonderful details, log onto the Suffrage Wagon News Channel link to the right.