Marguerite Kearns April 17, 2018

The suffrage campaign wagon used by Edna Buckman Kearns and others 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 Kearns and other campaigners spoke in public: “If taxation without representation was tyranny in 1776, why not in 1913?”

The wagon’s name, the “Spirit of 1776,” 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.

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.

After a Brooklyn-based wagon company donated the vehicle to the state woman’s suffrage movement in 1913, The New York Times ran this article:

Article about suffrage campaign wagon in New York State museum magazine, Legacy

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