UK Suffrage Centennial: Plus centennial news & the honoring of suffrage martyr Inez Milholland

Follow the news in the centennial blog still ongoing that features news and views about Inez Milholland, the U.S. suffrage martyr. See also the Twitter feed for Inez: publishes by way of email, Twitter, and Facebook.

SUFFRAGE NEWS: “First Women UK” will exhibit 100 portraits of first women in the UK in a striking and immersive exhibition at the Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art in London starting on July 20 2018 and continuing through August 22 to mark the anniversary of the centenary of women’s right to vote. Photographer Anita Corbin has officially unveiled her 10 year project documenting 100 pioneering 21st century women who have achieved the landmark title ‘First Woman’ across a range of disciplines including sport, media, military, faith, business, arts, music and politics. 

The National Portrait Gallery has purchased eight of the portraits for the UK archive and a book of the entire First Women UK collection is scheduled for a 2018 publication. The exhibition: Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art, Riverside, 1 Hester Road London SW11 4AN.

Stay in touch with the National Women’s History Project that has been working to write women into US history for more than 40 years. A special luncheon and program in California will recognize the History Project’s Honorees on August 18, 2018. Information on the NWHP website.

Visit suffrage-friendly web platforms: and

Centennial news, PLUS Olivia Twine review of book on Isabella Beecher Hooker!

IN SUFFRAGE CENTENNIAL NEWS: A graveyard tour where some former suffrage activists are resting. On Saturday, July 21, 2018, at 9 a.m. there will be a program, “Wild Women of Oakwood,” where the Renesselaer County and Troy, NY city historian Kathy Sheehan will highlight women “movers and shakers” in Troy’s county history. It’s a fundraising tour for Friends of Oakwood Cemetery. Call 518-328-0090 to register.

Isabella Hooker

The following article by Olivia Twine is a journey into the past to meet Isabella Beecher Hooker, the half sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Our correspondent Olivia Twine introduces us to Isabella Beecher Hooker by highlighting Susan Campbell’s book, Tempest-Tossed, The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker (Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, CT, 2014).

Isabella Beecher Hookerby Olivia Twine

Many of us heard in school about Harriet Beecher Stowe, but most likely little or nothing about Harriet’s sister, Isabella. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Susan Campbell has opened the door to an extraordinary story in her book, Tempest-Tossed, The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker. This work focuses on the most radical, enigmatic, and unappreciated member of the Beecher family, Isabella.

Campbell engaged a spiritualist medium to contact her subject, who believed in communication with the dead and practiced it regularly. The author shines a light on Isabella’s complicated character, however, without any discernible help from beyond the grave.

The ninth child of the controversial minister Lyman Beecher, Isabella grew up in a household where freewheeling political debate took place at the kitchen table. Although her mother was bedridden and died young, Isabella learned how to present strong views. This was in spite of numerous disagreements with her older half-siblings, who included the later novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe, education advocate Catherine Beecher, and the renowned minister Henry Ward Beecher.

Isabella ran counter to Beecher family sentiment regarding the “scandal of the 19th century” involving Henry Ward Beecher, the popular preacher at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn. Free-love advocate Victoria Woodhull accused Henry Ward Beecher of having an affair with the wife of a parishioner. Woodhull was infuriated by what she viewed as the hypocrisy of Henry’s pious sermons against her own free love position.


Henry Ward BeecherIsabella believed her brother Henry Ward Beecher was guilty and said so publicly. She urged Henry to admit his wrongdoing. Her advice was imparted with love, but it wasn’t appreciated by Harriet, Catherine, nor sister Mary Beecher Perkins, all of whom denied Henry’s guilt and regarded Isabella as traitorous. The case went to trial and ended in a hung jury, nine to three in Henry’s favor.

Henry Ward Beecher’s charm was legendary. President Lincoln described him a great orator. Even divorce proponent Elizabeth Cady Stanton retreated from Isabella when she maintained her allegiance to Woodhull. It wasn’t because Stanton disagreed with Woodhull, but because she believed the controversy would hurt the suffrage movement cause. Isabella wouldn’t back away from the ever-controversial Woodhull and her unconventional views, including Spiritualism.

Isabella married John Hooker, a lawyer, in 1841. At home, the couple read law books aloud and discussed politics. The laws that kept married women from controlling their own money and property were unfair, Isabella insisted, and must be changed. John supported her activism. Later in life, after the death of their daughter Mary, John joined her in the practice of Spiritualism.

Isabella believed wholeheartedly in abolition and universal suffrage, and she fought for both by taking a leading role in the National Woman Suffrage Association spearheaded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Isabella founded the Connecticut Woman’s Suffrage Association and organized the first woman’s rights convention in Connecticut. She was a prolific public speaker and lobbied for the Married Woman’s Property Bill that she introduced to the Connecticut state legislature. It passed in 1877. She also addressed the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the subject of women’s suffrage.


Nevertheless, Isabella felt insignificant next to her sister Harriet. The author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was certainly sympathetic to the plight of those in bondage, but the ending of her novel indicated that former slaves should be sent to Africa, a place where most had never been. Isabella disagreed. Her sister Catherine was unmarried but lectured that a woman’s place was to “rule the world by ruling the household.” Isabella loved her own children but admitted that caring for them proved to be exhausting. Between speaking engagements, she took frequent water cures at distant resorts and worried about her parenting skills.

Spiritualism was popular during and after the Civil War when so many young men died in combat. Campbell relates Mark Twain’s description of a holiday party at the Hookers when a séance was underway upstairs. Isabella emerged brandishing an ax and charged downstairs in such a threatening manner that family members questioned her sanity and carved out a distance from Isabella. Despite her family’s opprobrium, Isabella continued to work with the Connecticut Woman’s Suffrage Association. She died January 25, 1907, two weeks after suffering a stroke.

Susan Campbell paints a revealing picture of the Beecher family that she says represented a fascinating journey during her eleven-year journey as a researcher. The Beechers were prolific writers and once the code of their handwriting was cracked, Campbell says an amazing world opened up to her.

Isabella caused quite a commotion in her own family which sadly led to her marginalization. Campbell points out how other early activists, like Isabella, have also been overlooked in the waves that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony created. Susan Campbell does us an enormous service of not only bringing Isabella to our attention, but also filling in our understanding about the deeds and misdeeds of yet another early suffrage activist whose tireless dedication and persistence led to the opening up of opportunities for women today.

Suffrage CentennialsFollow us here at Suffrage Centennials on FacebookTwitter, email subscription, and the Quarterly Newsletter. Sign up for email on this web page. Stay up to date with postings, audio podcasts, and videos. Plan for your suffrage centennial event on August 26th.

“Trouble Brewing in Seneca Falls, NY”: Plus suffrage centennial news!

“Trouble in Seneca Falls, New York” is an audio podcast series on Vimeo.

IN OTHER NEWS: There will be a Statue Fund press conference to announce the winning sculptor of the design competition for the Stanton/Anthony Woman Suffrage Monument on Thursday, July 19, 2018 at the New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, at 10 a.m. For more information, 347-224-8976.

The National Park Service women’s equality site will be participating in Convention Days in Seneca Falls, NY from July 20-22, 2018. On Saturday, July 21, 2018 there will be a book signing for “W is for Waterfall,” a book for children highlighting women’s history by Aileen Easter. From 2:45 to 4 p.m the same day a program called “The Role of Women in the Promotion of Peace: From Lucretia Mott and the Universal Peace Union…” with content up to the present day. Starting on Convention Days and running through August 1, 2018, the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY has put out a call to storytellers and artists to imagine and create their own versions of the famous conversation between Amelia Bloomer, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton on May 12, 1851. Link to the NWHF web site for more information.

50-50 in 2020 is a nonpartisan organization based in Iowa whose goal is to recruit, train and mentor women political candidates in sufficient numbers that by the year 2020, the centennial of women’s suffrage, women will hold 50 percent of the seats in the Iowa Legislature, 50 percent of the Iowa congressional delegation, and the governor’s office.

The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial has announced that it will open the national suffrage memorial in Lorton, VA on August 26, 2020. That day will have more than its share of attention. Make sure that the memorial meets its funding deadline by contributing NOW. And become a member so that you’ll receive updates and special notices.

We’ve made a contribution to Turning Point. What about you? The Votes for Women activists had us in mind when they took action from 1848 to 1920. Let’s be there for them today. If you’re an Inez Milholland supporter (our national suffrage martyr), Inez will be featured on station 8 of the suffragist memorial, along with a broad arc of honoring a wide range of those who stood up to be heard. We’re all needed now!

Nonprofit Vote has trainings and resources for non profits offering election training.


FIND OUT ABOUT—August retreat in Rochester, NY and 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative. Plus new light on Edna Kearns’ suffrage archive!

For more information about the August 23-26, 2018 women’s conference in Rochester, NY, contact Sharon Nelson at


As the 2020 suffrage centennial approaches, there are an increasing number of excellent books being published that shed more light than ever on the history of first wave women’s rights activism and the numerous attempts to make the most of what’s out there.

One example is “Women Will Vote” (2017, Cornell University Press) by Susan Goodier and Karen Pastorello that delves into the loose association of organizations and individuals that collectively and separately contributed to New York women winning the vote in 1917, a turning point in the national movement.”

“Aside from suffrage leaders, very few workers left detailed records of their activities behind,” the authors noted in their text (p. 174, hardbound edition). This suggests that archival Votes for Women collections like the one assembled by Edna Kearns are especially valuable from the perspective of the organizer or field representative on the ground.


Make sure you are linked to the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative’s (WVCI) website,, that serves as an organizing and information-sharing entity for programs, projects, and activities commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and a way to stimulate dialogue to address the ongoing initiative for women’s rights.

WVCI is a collaborative network of women centered institutions, organizations, and individuals from across the US. The cooperative effort is to ensure that the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment is honored throughout the United States in ways that: 1) include the influence and stories of the various components of the suffrage movement in ways that reflect the accuracy of the historical record; 2) recognize the legal and social advances resulting from the 19th Amendment; 3) acknowledge the inadequacies of the Amendment’s implementation; 4) describe its continuing relevance to the ongoing struggle for equal rights; 5) encourage involvement in large and small activities at all levels by diverse public, nonprofit, and private organizations and individuals. For more information and resources about the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative, visit

Twitter: @2020centennial
Instagram: @2020centennial
Facebook: 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative





A suffrage postal stamp? Convention Days in July? And suffrage news from the US and UK!

Get ready for 2020—a special message from Marguerite Kearns on Vimeo



Amnesty International has published a “Suffragette Spirit Map” as part of the 2018 suffrage commemoration in the United Kingdom. The organization noted in a release: “The incredible work of the suffragettes – ordinary women who stopped at nothing to get their voices heard – paved the way for a century of women’s rights work in the UK. The suffragette spirit is alive and well in the UK today. Women across the UK are still fighting for their rights. ”


The likelihood of suffrage centennial stamps being distributed is up in the air. Several organizations and interested individuals are asking about their prior letters to the US Postal Service recommending Inez Milholland and other high-profile Votes for Women activists. But it isn’t certain if these suggestions were received or if they will  be acted on during 2020. If you have a minute, send a letter of inquiry to: Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300, Washington, DC 20260-3501, and consult their website. The Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee is appointed by the Postmaster General.


The National Woman’s Party’s suffrage headquarters at 144 Constitution Ave NE In Washington, DC is operating as part of the National Park Service (now the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument). Its programs are noteworthy. On Tuesday, July 17, 2018 there’s an Equality Salon from 6-8 p.m. entitled “Women’s Equality in the Age of #MeToo.” On Thursday, July 26, 2018 there will be a centennial book talk with Rebecca Roberts about her new published work, “Suffragists In Washington,DC: The 1913 Parade and the Fight for the Vote” at the East City Bookshop in Washington, DC.


The deadline is July 15, 2018 to give to the Alice Paul Institute’s matching funds campaign to raise money for its ongoing campaign. Donors have contributed $8,000 of the goal of $10,000 that can sustain the current level of leadership programs. It can take 40 girls to participate in the International Day of the Girl at the United Nations. It can take 10 girls to the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference in DC in March 2019. It can offer 3 weeks of dynamic leadership programs for middle and high school students. With $20,000 those goals can be doubled. Visit the Alice Paul Institute: has been publishing since 2013.

“Spirit of 1776”: 105 years ago suffrage wagon left NYC for grassroots organizing!

Morning news and updates about women’s suffrage and voting rights!! from on Vimeo.

The “Spirit of 1776” wagon reached Long Beach, NY on July 4,1913. Photo from the collection of Rose Gschwendtner, with thanks.

A 4th of July Tale: Suffrage movement related!

Do you know the story of five co-conspirators who crashed a national Fourth of July centennial celebration?

If not, you’re not alone.

Picture the scene: July 4, 1876. Philadelphia, PA.

A national celebration with visitors from all over the world.

The platform’s filled with dignitaries, but the co-conspirators wait until after the reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Susan B. Anthony’s ready to make a move along with: Matilda Joslyn Gage, Sara Andrews Spencer, Lillie Devereau Blake, Phoebe W. Couzins.

Anthony marches up to the platform filled with officials. She formally presents the Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States, an update on the declaration from back in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.

THE MESSAGE: that the nation must not turn its back on the Unfinished American Revolution by denying women equality and the right to vote. Actual text.

After delivering the proclamation, Anthony and others distribute copies to the crowd and leave the centennial hall.

THE RESULT: Pandemonium. General Howley, chairman, shouts for order to be restored.

THE OUTCOME: Suffrage activists hold their own independence celebration in Philadelphia.

I’m sending this update to you because I know you’re interested in finding out more about our nation’s social movements in support of freedom.

AUDIO ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAPPENED on July 4, 1876 at the Fourth of July national centennial, as told by Elizabeth Cady Stanton in her memoir, Eighty Years and More. Read by Amelia Bowen.

Share this story with others.


and have some fun!



      A platform with writings about my family, suffrage history and news

      An opportunity to find out about visiting the “Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement

      Where information is available about the Big Picture of suffrage observances, features, and celebrations

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Dear Friends,

In 2020, US women will have been voting for 100 years. You may be descended from the first wave of American voting rights activists. Don’t pass this off lightly. Many families didn’t mention this association and interest to their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and other descendants.

Even if you can’t make a direct family connection, the first wave of the women’s rights movement in the United States is an important part of our national legacy and history…whether you’re a young person, woman, man, or wherever you find yourself on the gender continuum.

The chances are excellent that you are descended, either directly or by interest, to the tens of thousands of voting rights activists and their allies who worked and sweated for decades to win the right to vote. If you aren’t directly related, you may be a descendent in some other way—spiritual or because of your level of interest.

Our strong history will be celebrated during 2020, and we want to make sure you’re part of this turning point in time.

Sign up to receive the Suffrage Centennials quarterly newsletter. You can also choose to receive weekly posts by signing up on the form on the web page.

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National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY raising money for expansion!!

Suffrage Centennial celebrations are out in the open like never before! on Vimeo.

The National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York ( is planning to make its new headquarters fully available to the public during 2020 at the former Seneca Knitting Mill in Seneca Falls. The new facility will have exhibits, a conference room, office spaces, a reception area, gardens, and more. The fundraising campaign is ongoing. The NWHF will announce its new inductees into the women’s national hall of fame sometime next year.

Other organizations have put 2020 on their schedules to meet the national centennial deadline. This includes numerous groups and associations on the state level, including the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative (, the national clearinghouse, that will be publishing a calendar of events and celebrations for 2020 when US women will have been voting for 100 years.

The statue of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony proposed for Central park in NYC is expected to be unveiled during 2020 as part of the national centennial celebration. Turning Point Suffragist Memorial is also expected to open its doors during 2020.

The New York State suffrage centennial in 2017 really demonstrated what can be done with focus, funding, and determination. New York passed legislation establishing a suffrage centennial commission that will be in operation through 2020. The centennial observance of U.S. suffrage martyr, Inez Milholland, in 2016 is still ongoing. There are videos galore on a wide range of suffrage-related topics and a growing awareness by many that 2020, when American women will have voted for 100 years, will have an impact far behind what we could have imagined.

Are you planning to celebrate August 26, 2018— Women’s Equality Day? What plans are underway for you during 2020, our national suffrage centennial? has been publishing since 2013.

Rock the Cradle and plan for August 26th, Women’s Equality Day! Find out how…

NEWS UPDATES: The National Women’s History Museum is planning a traveling multi-media exhibit to showcase women’s achievements that will hopefully launch in August of 2019 and travel through August 2021 to celebrate the 2020 national suffrage centennial when American women will have been voting for 100 years. Watch for the “One Woman, One Vote” film festival to celebrate the 2020 suffrage centennial.

Let’s rock the cradle! How? Watch! on Vimeo.

Let’s make August 26th—Women’s Equality Day—a national holiday. The current issue of “How Women Won the Vote” is chock full of resources, information, updates and recommendations about the importance of planning for 2020, the national suffrage centennial in the US. It is published by the National Womens History Project. has been publishing since 2013.