Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement

Home to the Long Island Woman Suffrage Association, Antonia Petrash, Editor
December 20th, 2019 by burton33

Suffrage Comes to the Rose Parade!

On Wednesday, January 1, 2020 a woman suffrage float, bedecked with thousands of vials of yellow roses will lead the historic Rose Parade in Pasadena, California to celebrate the ratification in 2020 of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution granting all women throughout the United States the right to vote.  The theme of this year’s Rose Parade is The Power of Hope.

The float is sponsored by a wide variety of women’s groups, including the League of Women Voters, the National Women’s History Alliance and the National Federation of Business and Professional women, and will feature a 30 foot replica of the Statue of Liberty, holding a tablet inscribed with the 19th Amendment. Riders will include descendants of prominent suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Ida B. Wells. Behind the float, dressed in white and wearing suffrage sashes will be 100 “out-walkers,” representing each state.

More than half of the $360,000 cost of the float was funded by grass-root efforts and sales of vials of yellow roses decorating the float from individuals who believe in paying tribute to this historic battle for political equality.

For further information visit https://pasadenacelebrates2020.org and don’t forget to tune in on New Year’s Day!

December 12th, 2019 by burton33

Suffrage Holiday Shopping!

As we approach the gift giving season you might want to treat your favorite suffragist to a gift that will help them celebrate the ratification of the 19th Amendment next year while having a bit of fun.

Books for Adults:

The Woman’s Hour: the Great Fight to Win the Vote, by Elaine Weiss. One of my favorites – it tells in fascinating detail the story of the last days of the suffrage battle, centered on the pivotal state of Tennessee.

The Suffragents: How Women Used Men to Get the Vote, by Brooke Kroeger. Another favorite that offers a different perspective on the suffrage battle and a detailed account of the work of some surprising allies.

Remember the Ladies: Celebrating those who Fought for Freedom at the Ballot Box. Angela P. Dodson. A well-rounded account, especially recommended for those new to the subject.

And Yet They Persisted: How American Women Won the Right to Vote, by Johanna Neuman. A new release that recounts women’s struggle for equality dating back to before the iconic Seneca Falls Conference in 1848

Books For Children:

Marching With Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and The Fight for Woman Suffrage. By Claire Rudolph Murphy, illustrated by Stacey Schuett. Based on the true story of a young girl who is convinced by Susan B. Anthony to devote herself to fighting for women’s rights.

Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, A Kitten and 10,000 Miles. By Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Hadley Hooper. The true story of two brave young suffragists and their daring-cross country adventure in a small yellow car, complete with an equally brave kitten.

Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909. By Michelle Markel, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. The exciting tale of a young immigrant who fought for suffrage as well as the rights of young factory workers to better pay and working conditions.

Bold and Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the right to Vote, by Kirsten Gillibrand, art by Maiara Kalman. Ten women who fought to make their voices heard and their choices count.

And in the “Just for Fun” category:

Votes for Women Puzzle, 500 piece colorful puzzle that celebrates a century of struggle. Uncommongoods.com/ 888-365-0056. ($22.00)

Votes for Women Charm Bracelet. 7 inch bracelet with charms honoring suffragists. Victoriantradingco.com/800-800-6647. ($24.95).

NewportStyle.net. A website offering a variety of Votes for Women items, including china, pins and suffrage Christmas ornaments.

Happy Shopping!

November 10th, 2019 by burton33

Suffragist of the Month- November, 2019

Rheta Childe Dorr, 1868 – 1948

Rheta Childe was born in Lincoln, Nebraska November 2, 1868. Her father Edward Childe, was a druggist and a probate judge; her mother, Lucie Mitchell a homemaker. Both parents held the conservative belief that women should cleave to traditional roles of wife and mother, a belief that Rheta chafed against from an early age.

When she was twelve years old she sneaked out of her home to attend a suffrage rally featuring Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, using her only prized silver dollar to join the National Woman Suffrage Association. Listening to the speeches of these pioneering suffragists only solidified her belief that a woman should work towards financial and social independence, and should depend only on herself. A brief marriage to John Pixley Dorr in 1890 ended in divorce when her husband did not share her views; Rheta moved with her son to New York to begin a career as a free-lance writer.

While she enjoyed some success – writing for the New York Evening Post, and Everybody’s Magazine – she was continually frustrated by the discrimination imposed on women by conservative editors, whom she discovered often gave credit for her writing to men.  She then joined the staff at Hampton’s magazine where her ideas of outlawing child labor and increasing wages for women were better received. In 1910 she wrote her signature work, What Eight Million Women Want, detailing the work of suffrage clubs, trade unions and consumer leagues towards equality for women. She argued: “Women are not better than men. The mantle of moral superiority forced upon them as a substitute for intellectual equality they accepted because they could not help themselves. They dropped it as soon as the substitute was no longer necessary.”

Dorr’s belief in woman’s independence led her quite naturally to work for suffrage. In 1912 she had travelled to England to interview suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst. The British suffrage movement was more militant than the American, and Dorr’s time in England had convinced her that the American movement could learn from the British. In 1913 Alice Paul, founder of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, convinced Dorr to become the editor of the fledgling organization’s newspaper, The Suffragist. Although Dorr stayed on as editor for only a year she helped to make the publication financially self-sufficient, as well as prominent in the public eye.

After suffrage Dorr continued to espouse her then-radical beliefs of equality for women, both in marriage and in the workplace, also working as a war correspondent and journalist. She died in 1948.

Happy Birthday, Rheta Childe Dorr!

October 17th, 2019 by burton33

We Love A Parade!

What a wonderful time we had marching in the Columbus Day parade in Huntington NY last Sunday! A crisp fall day, flags waving, bands playing, and thousands gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of one of our most important historical figures, Christopher Columbus.

The theme of the parade was the “Year of the Woman,” and to emphasize that The Long Island Woman Suffrage Association was joined by its partner, the Ronkonkoma Equal Suffrage Association, led by Ellyn Okvist in her cheerful, flower-strewn truck. The one-mile parade route didn’t seem long enough for all of us to fully enjoy the celebration and was over far too soon!

Thanks to all who came and marched, and thanks to Bruce Levy for the great photos!

Keep watching this site for more centennial celebrations.


October 8th, 2019 by burton33

We Love a Parade!

Just a reminder that we are marching in the Columbus Day parade on Sunday, October 13, 2019 in Huntington, beginning at 11am. Join us as we celebrate the hard-working suffragists and the upcoming centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Email me at lisuffrage@gmail.com for details.

See you at the parade!

September 26th, 2019 by burton33

Suffragist of the Month – September, 2019

Anne Henrietta Martin, 1875 – 1951

Anne Henrietta Martin was born September 30, 1875 in Empire City, Nevada, the daughter of William O’Hara Martin and Lousie Stadtmuller. Unlike many parents of the day, Anne’s parents believed in educating their daughters; Anne and her sisters attended Whitaker’s School for girls, and Anne graduated from the University of Nevada in 1894. Over the next few years she studied at various universities, including Stanford where she earned a BA in 1896 and an MA in history in 1897. She served as the head of the history department at Stanford for two years.

Anne’s education was further developed when she began travelling, studying in the Orient and Europe, and finally finding herself in England in 1910 as a disciple of Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragette who founded the WSPU, the Woman’s Social and Political Union that was advocating for the vote for women in England. After demonstrating, being arrested and imprisoned,  Anne’s spirit as a suffragist was born. She returned to Nevada and became President of the Nevada Equal Franchise Society.

In 1914 Mabel Vernon, Alice Paul’s most trusted organizer, came to Nevada to help Anne with the suffrage campaign. Nevada’s population was only 80,000 people at the time, but it was spread over 112,000 square miles. The two women crisscrossed the state, visiting every Nevada County, making speeches, convincing voters of the need for the franchise for women. Their campaign was successful – women in Nevada won the vote on November 5, 1914, becoming one of only eleven states that had thus far granted women full suffrage.

Anne continued to work for the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), and in 1918 became the first American woman to run for the US Senate. With Mabel Vernon again coming to her aid, she campaigned across the state, using contacts and techniques she had developed during the suffrage campaign. When she was defeated she ran again in 1920, and after that defeat again turned her attention to women’s rights. With Mabel Vernon she was active in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, wrote numerous articles for leading magazines and journals, and spent the rest of her life as a spokeswoman for feminist goals.

Anne Henrietta Martin came from a comfortable family and could have enjoyed a life of peace and leisure. Instead she chose to work for equal rights for women, as well as international world peace. She died in 1951.

Happy Birthday, Anne Henrietta Martin!



August 26th, 2019 by burton33

Happy Women’s Equality Day – August 26th!

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 in 1920. 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 18, 1920 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. Colby 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 refused, stating that “the proclamation of the ratification…was more important than feeding the movie cameras.”

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.”

This year is a bit different from other years, as we are gearing up to celebrate the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment next year in 2020. Celebrations, rallies, parades and exhibits have already begun, and many are planned. We will try to list as many as possible on our “What’s Happening?” page –  refer back to it now and again to keep abreast of planned activities.

Happy Women’s Equality Day!



August 17th, 2019 by burton33

Suffrage Centennial News:

The number of exhibits and celebrations planned to celebrate the 2020 ratification of the19th Amendment is growing. These are just a few planned for Washington DC; we trust there will be more to come, both throughout the region and the nation.

At the Library of Congress:

Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote. Memorabilia of suffrage leaders, from Carrie Chapman Catt’s notebook in which she tracked the amendment’s ratification state-by-state to pins, buttons, fans and even song books. Also look for the stories of the African-American suffragists that were so often hidden from view. Through September 2020. 101 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington DC. 20540. 202-707-5000. 

At the National Portrait Gallery:

Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence. Portraits of almost 60 women’s rights activists, a third of which are women of color. Through January 6, 2020. 8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC 20001.202-633-8300.

At the National Archives:

Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote.  Displays, among other artifacts, a voting booth with entrances for men and women. Such booths were used in states where women had limited voting rights and guaranteed they could only vote in certain contests. Through January 3, 2021. 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC, 20408. 202-357-5946.

For more information log onto: “Nevertheless They Persisted,” NY Times, Friday, 8/16/19.

August 6th, 2019 by burton33

Suffragist of the Month – August 2019

Inez Milholland Boissevain

1886 – 1916

“Martyr for the Cause”

Inez Milholland 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 then attended Vassar College, graduated in 1909, and, in an unusual move for a woman at that time, went on to work for a law degree from New York University, which she was awarded in 1912.

From her early years Inez was drawn to work for progressive and social causes, always demonstrating for the disenfranchised, the poor and those unable to help themselves. She represented shirtwaist and laundry factory workers in New York City when they struck for higher wages and better working conditions, and worked for fair child labor laws.

While at Vassar Inez had 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. In 1913 she married Eugen Jan Boissevain, a Dutch coffee importer.

On March 3, 1913 in a daring publicity stunt designed to embarrass the new president, Inez led a massive parade in Washington DC that was scheduled for the day before President Wilson’s inauguration. Riding a majestic white horse, she led thousands of marchers down Pennsylvania Avenue, thus becoming a symbol of the brave, daring women working for suffrage. In May of that year she reprised that role, leading a massive parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City, becoming 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 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.

Happy Birthday, Inez Mulholland Boissevain!

Filmaker Martha Wheelock, in collaboration with Wild West Women, Inc., has created a short DVD of Inez’s life, Forward Into Light. To learn more about this inspirational story, and to order the DVD log onto: http://inezmilholland.org

July 26th, 2019 by burton33

Suffrage Centennial News!

Celebration of the 2020 centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment is gearing up!

A century after the 19th Amendment was passed, Susan B. Anthony is being honored by having her name adorn a 130-passenger NY Waterway vessel that will ply the Hudson each day, alongside sister ferries Molly PitcherBetsy Ross, and more than 30 other boats named by NY Waterway for key figures in American history, mainly men.

The Susan B. Anthony was built in 2002 by Yank Marine, a New Jersey-based ferry company. On June 4, 2019 local officials, maritime officers, a color guard from the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, and NY Waterway reps turned out to watch New Jersey’s Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver give the vessel the proper sendoff with a traditional crack of a champagne bottle across the bow.

For more information log onto the Hudson Reporter web site: http://hudsonreporter.com, Search: Susan B. Anthony

July 10th, 2019 by burton33

Suffragist of the Month – July, 2019

Gertrude Bustill Mossell – 1855 – 1948

Quite often the work of African-American suffragists went unrecognized, hidden in plain view by the work of others, but the contributions they made to the movement were no less meaningful or important. In addition to being an avid suffragist, Gertrude Bustill Mossell held the rare position of an influential journalist, and was able to use her position as a writer for a prominent African-American newspaper to give voice to the ideas of other Black women who advocated for suffrage.

Gertrude Bustill was born July 3, 1855 to a prominent family in Philadelphia and attended public schools. After graduation she taught in the public school districts in Philadelphia and New Jersey, while at the same time beginning her career as a journalist, contributing to several newspapers in Philadelphia, giving the Black woman’s point of view of the important issues of the day. In 1883 she married Nathan Mossell, the first African-American to receive a medical license from the University of Pennsylvania. The couple had two children.

In 1885 Gertrude became the woman’s editor of the New York Age, a prominent African-American newspaper, and continued to report on issues of interest to her contemporaries; in that same year she began writing a woman’s column for T. Thomas Fortune’s Black newspaper, The New York Freeman. Her first article for the Freeman was entitled “Woman Suffrage,” where she encouraged African-American women to familiarize themselves with the movement, and to get involved in working for its success. Mossell favored the Constitutional amendment route favored by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton over the state-by-state method favored by Lucy Stone. She also encouraged women to become journalists themselves, to write and submit articles to various publications, expressing their own views about current events, including suffrage.

Mossell and her husband also supported philanthropic causes; in 1895, they establishing Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital, the second private Black hospital in the nation. Her articles inspired her most successful publication, The Work of the Afro-American Woman, in 1894, a survey of the century’s Black female leaders, from poet Francis Harper to scholar Anna Cooper.

Gertrude Bustill Mossell came from a comfortable family, and could have spent her days in leisure. Instead she chose to give voice to the often-ignored African-American woman suffragist, and in so doing helped to have her influential voice heard as well.

Happy Birthday Gertrude Bustill Mossell!








June 18th, 2019 by burton33

Suffrage Biographies On Line

If our Suffragist of the Month feature leaves you wishing for more suffrage biographies, check out this on-line biographical dictionary, with over 950 listed biographies so far. http://documents.alexanderstreet.com/votesforwomen.

Their plan is to eventually list stories about over 3000 suffragists.

PS – Check out the story of Kitty Marion with a familiar author.

June 16th, 2019 by burton33

100 Years Ago today – New York Ratifies the 19th Amendment

On June 16, 1919 New York State was one of the first states to ratify the 19th Amendment to the Constitution giving all women throughout the nation the right to vote.

The battle for the vote represented over seventy years of an intense campaign – writing, marching, speaking, publishing newspapers, begging for funds, circulating petitions – and all those efforts seemed finally to be coming to a successful end. On May 19, 1919 the House of Representatives passed the measure (for the second time) and finally, on June 4, 1919 the Senate followed. Now the amendment had to be ratified by thirty-six states to become law.

Although New York had already granted women the right to vote in 1917 it was extremely important for them to help their sisters throughout the nation also secure that right. Finally, on August 18, 1920 it passed the Tennessee legislature, (the 36th state) and became law of the land on August 26, 1920 when US Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby officially entered it into the US Constitution. New York State had led the way, and could be justly proud of its contribution to political equality for all.

June 11th, 2019 by burton33

Suffragist of the Month- June, 2019

Catherine Waugh McCulloch, 1862 – 1945

Catherine Waugh was born June 4, 1862 in Ransomville, New York, the only daughter of Susan Gougher and Abraham Waugh. When she was five years old her family moved to New Milford, Illinois. Catherine was fortunate  –  her parents believed in educating both girls and boys. She graduated from the Rockford Female Seminary in 1882, and in 1885 enrolled in The Union College of Law in Chicago. Upon graduation she was admitted to the Illinois Bar, a very unusual triumph for a young woman at that time. She continued her education at Rockford Seminary, and in 1888 was awarded both a B.A. and an M.A.

Catherine was also fortunate in her marriage. In 1890 she married Frank H. McCulloch, a fellow law student, and the two founded the law firm of McCulloch and McCulloch, another unusual arrangement for the time. The couple had four children.

Using her unique position as a female attorney Catherine was able to fight for women’s rights through the legal system, defending women in cases of abuse, wage discrimination and divorce. In 1901 one of her first legislative triumphs was passage of legislation that granted women guardianship of their own children. She also was responsible for a law raising the legal age of consent for women from fourteen to sixteen. But her strongest and most fervent devotion was reserved for the woman suffrage movement. In 1913 she was instrumental in passing legislation that allowed women in Illinois to vote in presidential and local elections not constitutionally limited to male voters. She served as both legal advisor and first vice president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Illinois, and worked closely with other suffragists, including Jane Addams, who founded Hull House settlement house in Chicago.

Catherine also offered a supportive voice to African-American suffragists, including Ida Wells-Barnett who had been discouraged from marching in the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington DC because of the prejudice of southern women. As a woman lawyer Catherine was no stranger to prejudice, and her unqualified support forged a strong friendship between the two suffragists. “It (success) only requires,” she wrote to Wells-Barnett, “that our women should be as firm in standing up for their principles as the Southern women are for their prejudices.”

Her law career continued to flourish; she was the first woman to be elected Justice of the Peace in Evanston, Illinois, and in 1917 won an appointment as a master in chancery of the Cook County Superior Court in Chicago. She continued working for equal rights for women until her death in 1945.

Catherine McCulloch enjoyed the good fortune of supportive parents and husband. She could have led a life of leisure and ease, but she chose instead to study the law and use her legal expertise to better the lives of all women, including securing for them the right to exercise their voice through the vote.

Happy Birthday, Catherine Waugh McCulloch!

June 2nd, 2019 by burton33

We Love a Parade!


A small but dedicated group marched behind the Long Island Woman Suffrage Association banner last Monday at the Glen Cove Memorial Day parade. We were pleased to march to honor those who served our country in the armed forces, as well as those who worked to secure political equality for all.

Next year marks the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting all US women the right to vote, and we hope many more will join us to celebrate this milestone while honoring those who served. See you at the parade!