The question of improved chances for New York State celebrating its 2017 suffrage centennial was raised recently with the nomination of Kathy Hochul who has a spot as Lieutenant Governor for Andrew Cuomo’s reelection ticket. Of course NYS voters still must decide in November 2014, but there’s a possibility with Hochul’s focus on upstate economic development and tourism. Keep a sharp look at the prospects. If you’re a New Yorker, ask the hard question about 2017 of both candidates on the campaign trail.
While you’re at it, why fret over how you and your organization will celebrate an upcoming suffrage centennial? Start now before the rush and consider all options. Suff buffs in the UK are smack in the middle of production on a suffrage movement major motion picture to be released in January 2015. This will push the topic of the suffrage movement far out into the public domain. By comparison, suff sit-com “Up the Women” in the UK has been pleasing audiences over the past year. And what about your local community –your friends and associates who are itching to get started with the 2017 planning in NYS and everyone else who can put the national 2020 suffrage centennial on their “to do” list. Check out the Bloomsbury book on suffrage plays.
A theatrical production, “The Stone that Started the Ripple,” is a fascinating angle on the suffrage movement, as evidenced by the recent production by Patricia A. Nugent that features a modern-day reunion of suffrage activists: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojoufrner Turth and Lucretia Mott. It would be an excellent candidate for any upcoming centennial celebration. The one-act play has been performed to sold-out audiences on four occasions. The appeal, perhaps, is the way in which the four women comment on today’s political climate using their quotes from history. The play was underwritten by a grant from Soroptimist International of Saratoga County, and proceeds benefitted the League of Women Voters of Saratoga County in upstate New York.
SuffrageCentennials.com celebrates its first birthday in June 2014. We’ve been setting the table for the birthday celebration party the last few weeks. Check out the video and follow us on Twitter and email subscription. Video is posted on YouTube with about 40 educational videos highlighting the suffrage movement.
Suffrage Centennials is celebrating its first birthday in 2014. Check out the video and follow us on Twitter and email subscription. Video is posted on YouTube with about 40 educational videos highlighting the suffrage movement.
On May 25, 2014 it’s the centennial observance of the passing of the Government of Ireland Act that not only addressed the so-called “Irish Question,” but it also made women’s suffrage possible. The public record of women voting in Ireland can be traced back to the 1860s, and an article published in “Woman and her Sphere” by Elizabeth Crawford (researcher, writer, dealer in books and ephemera) is worth linking to directly because it’s a wonderful way to touch into everything you ever wanted to know and then some.
The article is lengthy and detailed, though it can be summed up in one of Crawford’s sentences: “The conflict between nationalism and suffragism haunted the Irish suffrage campaign.” But this sentence leaves out many fascinating facts. Did you know that Hanna Sheey Skeffington and others broke windows of government buildings in Dublin? I didn’t. Four received prison sentences and they went on a hunger strike. The story includes the background of how the English militant suffragettes spread their organizing efforts to Ireland. There are some hair-raising tales, including a hatchet with a suffrage message that one suffrage activist threw into the coach of the English prime minister on his visit to Ireland. Winning the vote in both Ireland and England required more than ladies’ tea receptions. It was uphill all the way, and a suffrage centennial is a perfect time to appreciate what may appear today to be a simple victory. Thank you, Elizabeth Crawford, for the persistence that’s involved in some of your history gems.
“In 1922, six years before women in Britain, Irish women over 21 were granted the vote, albeit reluctantly, by the Irish parliament. In the final stage of the Irish suffrage campaign it was most certainly the effort of Irishwomen, still led by Hanna Sheey Skeffington, that achieved the final victory.” Further reading: E. Crawford, The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain and Ireland: a regional survey, Routledge, 2008 (paperback).
Photo: Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, from Crawford’s article, a must read!
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The suffrage movement activists relied on tea parties and receptions to build their movement, both in the US, England and other parts of the world. With this in mind, it’s fascinating to find a tea company in India building a mass social movement using tea advertising and worthy causes. And women voters are the target audience. With ongoing suffrage centennials in two states (Montana and Nevada), the urge to plan an upcoming state centennial for New York in 2017 and the national suffrage centennial in 2020, it’s only common sense to start planning now.
Tea parties and receptions are perfect for suffrage celebrations in your own home and community. Ken Florey has a two-part series on the importance of tea parties and receptions in the suffrage movement. Take a look: Part #1.Part #2. Did you know that suffrage leader Alice Paul had a teahouse, the Grated Door, in Washington, DC.? Watch a video about picketing the White House and the importance of taking time at the Grated Door to unwind. Why all the focus on tea? Teas are still important fundraisers for women’s organizations and those organizations promoting women’s history today. And the internet has vintage cookbooks from the suffrage movement that are fascinating to use for reference. Join others who are gearing up to rock the “Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement on LetsRockTheCradle.com
Clues to an answer to the above question may be found in the release of the first administrative wrap up of the history of the Women’s Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, the key location for any celebration of 100 years of women voting in the United States. The 450-page publication, “‘All Men and Women are Created Equal’: An Administrative History of Women’s Rights National Historic Park” has been researched and written by Dr. Rebecca Conard, Professor of History and Director of the Public History Program at Middle Tennessee State University. The book cites interviews with park officials, park records and federal agency archives to document the beginnings and growth of the national park in Seneca Falls and Waterloo, N.Y. between 1976 and 2011. The book includes maps, photographs, charts and appendices. An electronic summary is available.
The report abstract noted: “
The report is a welcome contribution for those of us supporting and promoting the celebration of suffrage centennials. It should be noted, however, that New York State has not yet started planning its 2017 state suffrage centennial, and there is no official commitment (so far) to make it a priority. In addition, projects requiring Congressional funding have come to a standstill. They include the creation and funding of a Harriet Tubman national park and the “Votes for Women” federal heritage trail located in the Finger Lakes region, or what is also referred to as the “Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement.
Are you planning a suffrage centennial? This summer, the National Women’s History Project will begin expanding its website to make it a digital hub for information about women’s history. The goal is to leverage work around the nation and expand the impact of women’s history on an individual, local, state, and national level. If you’d like to be included in this digital hub, email your contact information along with a firty-word description of your work to email@example.com. The goal is to have the information online by the end of the summer of 2014. Network members will organize planning meetings throughout the country to develop plans for promoting women’s history. Contact the National Women’s History Project, 730 Second Street #469, Santa Rosa, CA 95402 http://www.nwhp.org (707) 636-2888.
Although statues and memorials can be expensive for suffrage centennials, it’s always possible to build a movement around the fundraising and all the associated stages up to and including the unveiling. Plenty of examples are out there. One excellent example is the statue of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass having tea, just down the street from the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, NY. A nearby plaque suggests the dynamic process that transformed this small park into a tourist destination.
The Montana suffrage centennial activists are taking every opportunity to blow their bugles to announce some of the fabulous Montana women who put their lives on the line for equality and freedom. You can subscribe to the postings and be introduced to some of these individuals. Ella Knowles, known as the “Portia of the People,” is featured, and what she faced as an attorney is an eyeopener. When she started out as an attorney, she couldn’t take the bar exam because Montana law prevented women from doing so. She pressed the point and won. About fifty women were licensed to practice law by 1890 across the nation. The Montana suffrage web site has Ella’s life and accomplishments summarized, in addition to considerably more information. Follow Montana. It’s determined to get out the word in its suffrage centennial subscription series, “Women’s History Matters.” The Montana Historical Society is a driving force in the 2014 suffrage centennial and the impact is being noticed. During Women’s History Month, for example, these stories of Montana women are been diverse and fascinating.
A few examples during March that views the state’s women’s in the context of an ongoing social revolution: “Nannie Alderson: Pioneer Ranchwoman”(March 4); “Feminism Personified: Judy Smith and the Women’s Movement” (March 6); “Julia Ereaux Schultz, Health Advocate and Cultural Champion” (March 11); “Elizabeth Clare Prophet, the Church Universal and Triumphant, and the Creation of Utopia in Montana’s Paradise Valley” (March 13); “Behind Every Man: Nancy Cooper Russell” (March 18); “Legalized Midwifery: Montana Leads the Way” (March 20); “Men Were My Friends, but Women Were My Cause”: The Career and Feminism of Frances Edge” (March 25); “A ‘Compassionate Heart’ and ‘Keen Mind’: The Life of Doctor Caroline McGill” (March 27).
Perplexed about how to celebrate Women’s History Month in March? The National Women’s History Project has items galore to decorate, educate, and lay the bases for having fun. It’s not necessary for it to be your suffrage centennial year. When Women’s History Month or week or day or whatever comes around, take advantage of it for a party or tea reception or fundraiser. The National Women’s History Project has kits; items can be purchased separately, such as the 2014 Gazette ($10 for 25 copies), plus balloons and pencils and books and games, and so on.
Caroline Severance’s name isn’t among the list of those remembered as suffrage pioneers, but this photo shows Caroline second to the right with Susan B. Anthony in Los Angeles in 1905, along with Charlotte Wills and Rebecca Spring. The image suggests that Severance traveled in high-powered circles. Caroline grew up in the heart of what’s considered today as the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the U.S. or the Finger Lakes region. Caroline Severance’s life and work are summarized in detail and featured in the “History of American Women” blog where we’re reminded that after moving to California her activist work there earned Caroline the distinction of being a key player in the movement for equality. Attention to suffrage history is increasing as the 2020 national suffrage centennial approaches. Here’s the link to the article about Caroline’s life. Read it and reflect on Caroline and scores of others like her who devoted their lives to freedom. PDF.
Attention to suffrage centennials doesn’t exist in isolation. Be on the cutting edge of those who are rocking the ‘Cradle” of the U.S. women’s rights movement. Visit LetsRockTheCradle.com