Edna Buckman Kearns was a grassroots suffrage organizer in New York City and Long Island, a Quaker writer and speaker best known for her “Spirit of 1776” suffrage campaign wagon, a symbol of the movement’s patriotic protest theme.
NEW PHOTO OF “SPIRIT OF 1776” SUFFRAGE WAGON UNCOVERED IN 2015: Special program on Suffrage Wagon Cafe.
The “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon will be on exhibit at the New York State Museum starting November 4, 2017 through May 13, 2018.
Overview of the life of suffragist Edna Buckman Kearns (1882-1934). PDF Marguerite Kearns, editor of Suffrage Wagon News Channel, is a journalist and the granddaughter of Edna Kearns.
Edna Kearns (1882-1934) was a grassroots suffrage organizer for votes for women in New York City and Long Island, a Quaker writer and speaker on equality and suffrage. She learned newspaper reporting and editing on the fly, wrote and edited suffrage news for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and other New York City metropolitan papers. Edna developed close relationships with news editors who published her many columns and reports. During the 1915 NYS suffrage referendum campaign, she submitted news to as many as 20 papers on Long Island and in New York City. Photo: from the 2015 book on suffrage postcards by Kenneth Florey (McFarland).
Edna Kearns is best known for her horse-drawn “Spirit of 1776” campaign wagon, a suffrage movement symbol of patriotic protest. Kearns hitched a horse to a suffrage campaign wagon called the “Spirit of 1776” and took off from Manhattan to Long Island in early July 1913. The wagon today is in the collection of the New York State Museum. From 1910 t0 1920, Kearns worked intensely as a speaker, as a press chair for local and state suffrage campaigns, and organizer on Long Island and in New York City. This web platform is dedicated to her work and legacy.
Check out videos highlighting the 1913 maiden voyage of the wagon and its trip from Manhattan to Long Island. Article from New York History blog: “Long Island’s Three Wagon Women: Rosalie Jones, Elisabeth Freeman, Edna Kearns. See more information about the wagon on this web site.
Edna Kearns, Wilmer Kearns and the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon after 1920 in Pennsylvania.
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“Choose it and Use it” is a video reminding us of how the past is linked to what we do today and its impact on the future.