Article by Robert Hughes, Huntington, NY town historian writes about controversy over the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon.
The “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon is representative of the wide variety of ways in which Votes for Women activists made the news with various stunts and performance art. Activists—including Edna Kearns, Rosalie Jones, Elisabeth Freeman, Irene Davison, and others— used horse-drawn wagons. The activists also used decorated autos. They painted hub caps, used automobiles for speakers’ platforms, rural grassroots organizing, auto tours, outdoor meetings, suffrage taxi services, pageants, and parades—wherever and whenever they could get attention in the public arena. They gave speeches on city streets, on horseback, at opera houses, and private homes.
A great deal has gone into the preservation of the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon. See preservation report,”Inside the Conservator’s Studio,” March 27, 2018.
March 2017. “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon went on exhibit at the NYS Capitol in Albany, NY. to commemorate 100 years of women voting. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul invited New Yorkers and visitors from here and abroad to events, exhibits, and celebrations featuring the state as the cradle of the women’s rights movement in the U.S.
This article is from “New York Archives” magazine, Fall 2013. It is reprinted with permission in a publication that’s a member benefit of the Archives Partnership Trust (nysarchivestrust.org)
Woodstock Times article, March 2, 2017. “Wagon Women have Woodstock Ties.”
We support the New York State Museum in putting the “Spirit of 1776” wagon on permanent exhibit for now and future generations!
This web site is inspired by the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage campaign wagon used by suffrage activist Edna Kearns that is now in the collection of the New York State Museum.
The award-winning music video, the “Spirit of 1776” teaches suffrage history. For overview of the music video on the “New York History Blog.” Patriotic protest is well illustrated in the “Spirit of 1776” music video.
Highlights of media coverage of resolution passed by both houses of the New York State Legislature designating July 1, 2013 the “Spirit of 1776” Wagon Day in New York. Transcript of June 18, 2013 of the New York State Senate introduction of the Wagon Day (July 1, 2013) resolution.#2.
Audio podcasts below. Check out links to newspaper articles highlighting the first voyage of the “Spirit of 1776” in 1913. Video highlights newspaper coverage in 1913. The presentation of the “Spirit of 1776” to the New York State Woman Suffrage Association was well documented in New York City and area publications.
Below: This two-minute audio is an article from an unknown Brooklyn paper on July 1, 1913.
Other articles about the wagon presentation and the 1913 Long Island suffrage organizing campaign:
Long Island suffrage stories from Suffrage Wagon.
A great photo from the book about the Long Island suffrage movement written by Antonia Petrash and published by The History Press in 2013. One featured photo is of the “Spirit of 1776” suffrage wagon when on exhibit at the New York State Capitol in 2012, as part of the Governor’s history exhibit, “From Seneca Falls to the Supreme Court: New York’s Women Leading the Way.”
How and why the “Spirit of 1776” was donated to the New York State suffrage movement. The president of the NYS Woman Suffrage Association, Harriet May Mills, saw the “Spirit of 1776” off from Manhattan on its voyage to Long Island for a month of organizing.
Bibliography and resources for Edna Kearns and “Spirit of 1776” wagon.
“TURN: Washington’s Spies” foreshadows what happened 100+ years later with suffrage wagon in Huntington, NY
Important resources about suffrage wagons and automobiles. Not many survive, but this coverage gives an overview. See special videos, plus articles by Ken Florey about how wagons and automobiles were used in the Votes for Women or suffrage movement. Twelve reasons why the “Spirit of 1776” is a NYS Treasure. 2018 Publicity about historic road marker featuring 1776 wagon in Huntington, NY.
Drawing above by Peter Sinclair.
Announcement of New York State Museum’s 2017-2018 show.
The wagon was highlighted in the 2017-2018 exhibition catalog for the “Votes for Women” exhibition published by State University of New York Press in Albany, NY and written by Jennifer A. Lemak and Ashley Hopkins-Benton.
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