If there’s a book that’s rocking the cradle of the women’s rights movement in NYS, it’s Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement by Antonia Petrash. The History Press recently published the work, and it adds volumes to what has been revealed about the island.
Long Island historian Natalie Naylor has also covered considerable ground going back to the earliest accounts of Long Island women; she touches on the suffrage movement, especially with her ongoing excellent research of suffrage activist Rosalie Gardnier Jones. Antonia Petrash picks up on this and takes off with exclusive coverage of Long Island’s suffrage movement. An entire book featuring individual suffragists is an important contribution. Antonia approaches the subject as a journalist and storyteller, and she’s really good at what she does.
Of the 12 chapters featuring individual women in Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement, human interest abounds. The author hooks the reader on the individual activist and a particular tale –usually something with conflict and drama– before backtracking to telling about her birth and early years leading to contributions to the Votes for Women movement. Long Island claims some feisty and notable suffrage activists, including Alma Vanderbilt Belmont, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Lucy Burns, Elisabeth Freeman, Louisine Havemeyer, Rosalie Gardiner Jones, Edna Buckman Kearns, Harriet Burton Laidlaw, Katherine Duer Mackay, Theodore Roosevelt, Ida Bunce Sammis, Elizabeth Oakes Smith, and others.
There’s a range of individuals from working women and grassroots activists, to wealthy women and high government officials who put themselves on the line. Antonia doesn’t claim that she has delivered a definitive survey of the Long Island suffrage movement. There’s much more to say, Antonia points out, and this book is a welcome contribution, as well a delight and something worth adding to everyone’s Votes for Women library.
Antonia has her own blog about the Long Island movement. Check it out. She’s passionate about the Long Island women. I captured some of her enthusiasm last year when I visited Antonia in Glen Cove, NY and documented some of her thoughts and comments about her work. Listen to her remarks from last year before the book’s publication. You’ll see what I mean.
Antonia’s book about Long Island suffrage movement (45 seconds). Highlights of work about Long Island suffragists (32 seconds). Edna Kearns’ contribution to suffrage movement on Long Island ( 44 seconds). The importance of New York’s suffrage movement (35 seconds). Why the suffrage movement story has been buried (39 seconds). The influential role of Long Island (NY) women (40 seconds). Celebrating the New York State suffrage centennial (42 seconds). How Antonia became interested in the subjects of equal rights and suffrage (59 seconds). Two books Antonia wrote previously about extraordinary women in New York and Connecticut (56 seconds). Why the suffrage movement is inspiring. (60 seconds).
“Marguerite’s Musings” are a regular feature of Suffrage Wagon News Channel.