WILMER KEARNS A PIVOTAL CHARACTER
Wilmer Kearns. Quaker suffrage activist. (1881-1972). Wilmer Kearns, the grandfather of Marguerite Kearns, plays an important part in this story as he told his granddaughter as a child the stories of the first wave of the women’s rights movement as he remembered it.
KEY ROLE FOR WILMER KEARNS
An introduction to Wilmer Kearns, husband of Edna Buckman Kearns, NYS suffrage activist. Grandfather to Marguerite Kearns who told her stories about her late grandmother Edna and got her started on learning about the first wave of women’s rights activism during the early 20th century.
Wilmer Kearns worked as an accountant in Manhattan. He served as treasurer of the Kearns Motor Car Company and maintained a New York City office. Today he would be described as a “suffragent,” or a male ally of the women’s suffrage movement. At the formation of the men’s movement, however, the Men’s League for Women Suffrage at its chartering consisted of “name” or publicly prominent individuals. Within a few years, supporters like Wilmer Kearns joined the ranks and made important contributions.
BOOK ON SUFFRAGENTS, THE MEN ALLIES OF THE FIRST WAVE
The book, The Suffragents: How Women Used Men to get the Vote by Brooke Kroeger (SUNY Press, 2017) is part of new information becoming available about men in the movement. This work and others represent an uncovering of material now added to our knowledge of the women’s suffrage campaigning during the first wave of the women’s rights movement.
After moving from Rockville Centre, Long Island to the Philadelphia area in Pennsylvania during 1920, Edna and Wilmer Kearns founded, owned and operated Echo Dale Gardens near Norristown. Wilmer continued operating the nursery outside of Philadelphia after Edna’s death in 1934.