Marguerite Kearns March 23, 2012

Hazel MacKaye (shown here) was riding high in 1914 when her pageant, “The American Woman: Six Periods of American Life” was performed at the Seventy-first Regimental Armory (sponsored by the New York City Men’s League for Equal Suffrage). This cutting-edge production milked the potential when combining drama and social commentary. Grandmother Edna Kearns was involved, not only in the event’s organization, but also the performance. Alice Paul was well aware of the power of the pageant. Historians now note that women’s pageants shifted to beauty contents in the years following the suffrage movement. In their time, though, suffrage pageants were less confrontational than parades and demonstrations. And they were an emotional and strategic training ground for later forms of protest, such as picketing the White House.

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