“Just show up,” say Votes for Women activists out in force at Mineola Fair

“Just show up.” That’s the advice for us today in all aspects of our lives. It was the motto of the suffragists who used community events such as the county fair to show up and use the occasion to advocate for human rights. Check out the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 22, 1915. What’s Edna Buckman…


Telling the story, one clipping at a time

I’ve been working through grandmother Edna’s archive of letters, news clippings, photos, and memorabilia of the New York State suffrage movement and have barely scratched the surface. The next step is to weave these snippets into an overall story that highlights what it took to win the vote on the local level. There’s a digital…


Suffrage protestor . . .

Suffrage leader Harriot Stanton Blatch cracks the whip and tells activists “no more pink teas.”


A bad reputation for tea parties . . .

Tea receptions had a distinct function during the suffrage movement –of bringing women together, to raise funds and rally for the cause. In March of 1915, Harriot Stanton Blatch and her Women’s Political Union called upon activists to end their suffrage frills: “No more pink teas,” Mrs. Blatch said. “But direct work with the men.” Mrs….


Citizen reporters and grassroots organizers have ancestors in the suffrage movement

The suffragists didn’t wait for the editors of big newspapers to recognize them. When it happened –great. But the suffs weren’t satisfied with sitting around and biting their nails. When the number of Long Island newspapers expanded at the turn of the 20th century, the women took advantage of it. Grandmother Edna Kearns was in…


Women are key in peace process

Many suffragists not only worked for civil rights, but they also took stands for peace –not an insignificant position during World War I. Votes for Women wasn’t a single issue for many women in the suffrage movement. They may have worked for their own civil rights, but they viewed the struggle in a broader context….


Skirts down and hair up . . . rules for marchers

Concerned in 1913 that they might be criticized for being unproper, the suffragists laid down  strict rules for marchers. See the article explaining how Mrs. James Lees Laidlaw didn’t like the looks of legs in a parade. “It looked very bad last year,” she explained, to see children’s long legs “bobbing” along. “This year we…


Carrier pigeons sent messages to the U.S. President

Even children were on the speaking circuit to win votes for women –something important to remember. After spending “Suffrage Day” in 1914 organizing an automobile parade and open-air meetings, Brooklyn suffragists sent a Votes for Women appeal to President Woodrow Wilson by carrier pigeon. The NY Times covered the pigeon release. Grandmother Edna was busy speaking…


Torchlight meetings, auto parades = wagons got out the word!

Picture a torchlight meeting, an automobile parade, and open-air meeting. Huntington, New York piled on the welcome when my grandmother Edna Kearns and the “Spirit of 1776” wagon hit town. Long Island activist Rosalie Jones drove her yellow suffrage campaign wagon in the parade as well. Horse-drawn wagons may seem quaint to us today, but…


Armful of weeds for the men supporting Votes for Women

It wasn’t easy being married to a suffragist. Take the article below, for example, where men were jeered from the parade sidelines and one joker handed the male marchers an armful of weeds. My grandfather Wilmer Kearns marched in that 1911 parade. And he probably had something to do with the 1915 book I found…