About The Wagon: The “Spirit of 1776”
The suffrage campaign wagon used by Edna Buckman Kearns on Long Island and in New York City parades is an example of the extensive use of “visual rhetoric” used by the suffragists in addition to the written and spoken word. This wagon also tapped into the tradition of the American Revolution by the question posed whenever Edna spoke in public: “If taxation without representation was tyranny in 1776, why not in 1913?” The wagon’s name, the “Spirit of 1776,” also was a crowd pleaser. Other suffragists also used suffrage campaign wagons, such as Rosalie Jones in this 1913 article where the “Spirit of 1776” is also mentioned.
Edna Buckman Kearns used this campaign wagon in Votes for Women organizing campaigns on Long Island and in New York City parades. It’s part of the collection of the New York State Museum in Albany, New York. The wagon was featured in the state museum’s Legacy magazine where transportation curator Geoffrey Stein referred to the suffrage wagon as a prime artifact of the suffrage movement. The suffrage wagon was displayed at the New York State Museum during March and April of 2010 in an exhibit entitled “Women Who Rocked the Vote.” Check out an overview of the exhibit.
More information about the suffrage campaign wagon.