About Edna Kearns

Activists hit the ground running in 1915: A suffrage centennial celebration on Vimeo.

Overview of the life of Edna Buckman Kearns (1882-1934).  PDF

Edna Kearns (1882-1934) was a grassroots suffrage organizer in New York City and Long Island, a Quaker writer and speaker on equality and Votes for Women. 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.

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.

Video about Wilmer Kearns, Edna’s husband. About Serena Kearns, Wilmer and Edna’s first child born 1905. About Marguerite Kearns, manager of Edna Buckman Kearns Suffrage Collection.

Edna Kearns, Wilmer Kearns and the “Spirit of 1776″ suffrage wagon after 1920 in Pennsylvania.

Bibliography and resources for Edna Kearns and “Spirit of 1776″ wagon. Edna Kearns nominee for 2014 National Women’s History Project, Women of Character, Courage and Commitment.

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