Friday, September 27, 2019

Giveaway Winner and Quilt Idea

Happy to report that Collette won this week's giveaway!  Collette please email me your address at!!!

Some of the emails you've been sending me have indicated that you are unsure of what to create on your suffrage quilt.  Today's post is about umbrellas!

I often see umbrella quilts at online shops.  Here is one you can look at on etsy (here).  Although I've made a few suffrage themed quilts for our program, I'm still working on a few more as I find the subject so fascinating.  With that in mind, I made a suffrage umbrella block for one of my upcoming quilts (apologies precede photo:  I'm a good historian, not a great applique artist--that is Beth's specialty):

For this piece, I chose to incorporate Barbara Brackman's suffrage fabric (found at Spoonflower) but I embroidered the outlines of the umbrellas.  If it isn't running away at 15 mph, I'll embroider just about anything!

Suffrage umbrellas were sold by suffragists and often used in parades, probably not only to create a uniform look but also to shade the ladies as they walked the parade route.

Umbrellas could also be used metaphorically like at the Democratic National Convention in 1916.  Several suffragists climbed the platform and held a suffrage umbrella over the head of Representative James Heflin of Alabama, a staunch opponent of women's suffrage.  The crowd at the convention roared in delight at the antics of the women and newspapers reported that the Congressman "appeared to enjoy the situation."

Another campaign happened in the rainy month of April.  Suffragists were asked to tie "Votes for Women" ribbons to their umbrellas.  You could use your scrap fabrics to make an umbrella quilt of all colors and just attach a yellow ribbon to the pole of your umbrellas.  It would also make a nice quilt to hang at baby showers!

Meanwhile, we'll continue to publish posts that may give you other ideas for your suffrage quilt.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Happy Birthday Mary Church Terrell!

Today we celebrate the birthday of Mary Church Terrell!
Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954)

The most courageous suffragists in this country were African American women.  Unlike their white sisters, they faced more dangers such as lynchings and other abuses.  With little or no support from white suffrage groups, they forged ahead and took heroic measures to make the world a better place for themselves and their community.

In July of 1896, the National Federation of Colored Women's club and the Colored Women's League (which Terrell had founded) merged to become the National Association of Colored Women's Club.  This group became the leading African American suffrage group and worked valiantly to achieve better education, social services for children and seniors, and took stands against Jim Crow laws and lynching.  Mary Church Terrell was elected as the first President of the club.  By `1918, membership was over 300,000.  The organization continues today.

The daughter of freed slaves, Mary Church Terrell was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree.  She taught at universities, was fluent in a number of languages and a pioneer for women's suffrage.  By the late 19th century, most suffrage groups focused on the rights of white women.  Terrell, who had befriended Susan B. Anthony, was one of the few African American women to attend and speak at National American Woman Suffrage Association meetings.  As early as 1898, she spoke to the group urging them to include African Americans in their suffrage fight and to be involved in protection of African American women.  Unfortunately, this did not occur.

A founding member of the NAACP, she also worked hard to end segregation.  Her accomplishments were so great that her home in Washington, D.C. is a National Landmark.  In 1940 her memoir, A Colored Woman In a White World was published and it is still available for purchase.

Like all African American women, she was aware that she could be victimized by the terrorism that all African Americans faced.  Recent scholarship has been done on the lynchings of women and I recommend you read this article.  I have yet to find statistics on the number of children that were lynched.  

In my approach to history, I like to look at not only the facts but also popular culture.  It gives me a better insight as to what was considered culturally acceptable.  For suffragists, we see more pro-suffrage postcards available in the early 20th century, a signal of greater acceptance of women's right to vote.  During the same period, postcards were sold that provided photographs of lynching victims like Laura Nelson and her 14 year old son.

Today we celebrate not only Mary Church Terrell's great contributions to suffrage but all African American women.  Thank you Mary.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Suffrage Jewelry and a Giveaway

In our program, Money, Myth, and Madder:  Women and Quilting During the Civil War, we often discuss the myth of the underground Railroad Quilt Code (yes, it's a myth).  Myths permeate other craft areas as well.  Case in point:  Suffrage Jewelry.  I've seen lots of so called examples at online auction websites.  

This particular myth is actually grounded in some reality.  In England, Mappin and Webb jewelers capitalized on the suffrage movement and offered a Christmas catalog of "Suffragette Jewelry" predominately with stones in the colors of the Women's Social and Political Union: purple, green, and white.  The catalog was offered in 1908 or 1909 (depending on the source).  No actual known catalog has been found. 

In the world of antiques we need proof or provenance.  Deanna at Inherited Values has written a great article about about the myths of this kind of jewelry.  She challenges the "secret code" some speculate was in the pieces.  Read the article here.

In the United States I read that in the same era, some jewelers also offered suffrage jewelry but it is difficult to find images of the actual pieces my sources cited.  Then I found this in an archived magazine:
Sorry the image is so unclear!

A suffrage bazaar advertised in Chicago indicated suffrage jewelry for sale but it is unlikely that it was expensive jewelry (think craft fairs):

The National Woman's Party--like their British counterpart the WSPU--designed special jewelry for participants in the movement.  For the Silent Sentinels who picketed there was this piece:
Image result for without extinction is liberty pin nwp
In the U.K. there was a special pin for women who had endured forcible feedings.  It was recently featured in an episode of Call the Midwives.

In the United States, those that had been incarcerated received a special pin designed by Alice Paul:
Copies of the prison pin are available on Etsy.  I bought one for a miniquilt I made to celebrate the Pennsylvania Silent Sentinels that were imprisoned:

One woman was interested in suffrage jewelry:

Most suffrage pieces were buttons and ribbons like these:

One of the most important aspects of jewelry and suffrage is unrelated to retail.  Women frequently donated their jewelry to help support the suffrage cause.

Today I am donating some bling to you!  Our giveaway today is two charm packs of Michael Miller's Fairy Frost fabric.  There is a nice sheen to the fabric without heavy glitter.  
Leave a comment to compete in the random drawing which will picked on Thursday.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

No Taxation Without Representation!

"No Taxation Without Representation" was a common slogan among  suffragists.  By 1900, about 18% of all women worked outside the home; this percentage would increase to over 20% by 1910.  

Your income is taxed as you try to support yourself and your family and yet, you have no say in government.  Suffragists borrowed our famous revolutionary slogan to express the frustration they felt about the lack of a voice in government.

If this image seems familiar to you, it's because it was drawn by the great illustrator Grace Drayton. She created the Campbell Kids images we all know and yes, she believed in women's suffrage.

Today we celebrate two women who rebelled against taxation.  Both were Massachusetts suffragists and both refused to pay their taxes in 1858. 
Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was the first woman to earn a college degree in Massachusetts.  Although there was at least one known time she was mobbed by a crowd, she was a popular orator of the Abolitionist and Suffrage Movements.

Image result for lucy stone orator poster
Brilliant and wonderfully defiant, when she married Henry (H. B.) Blackwell, she maintained her maiden name and excluded the concept of a woman's obedience in their marriage vows (an action that would be celebrated 28 years after her death with The Lucy Stone League, however the government wouldn't acknowledge that women didn't have to take their husband's name until the 1970s).  

While Lucy and Henry were living in Orange, New Jersey in 1858, she refused to pay her taxes.  In response, the city responded by selling some of her household goods in order to pay the debt.  Still her example inspired many women throughout the United States.  A wonderful book on her life is An Unapologetic Life by Sally G. McMillen.

Sarah E. Wall (1825- 1907) was another suffragist who withheld payment of her tax.  In 1858, she refused to pay her taxes and was taken to court.  Despite the fact that she lost, the tax collector finally gave up pursuing her. Susan B. Anthony referred to this in a speech in 1873:

Miss Sarah E. Wall, of Worcester, Mass., twenty years ago, took this position.  For several years the officers of the law distrained her property and sold it to meet the necessary amount; still she persisted, and would not yield an iota, though every foot her lands should be struck off under the hammer.  And now, for several years, the assessor has left her name off  the tax list, and the collectors pass her by without a call.

The British suffragists began the Women's Tax Resistance League in 1909.

Would you agree to pay taxes if you had no say in government?
Sarah's birthday is September 18--Happy Birthday Sarah!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Founding Mother

Last week I told you about the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848.  Seventy-two years passed before the 19th Amendment was signed into law.  Only one woman who attended the convention lived to see the passing of the law.  Her name was Charlotte Woodward Pierce.
Charlotte with her knitting.

Charlotte was 90 years old when in 1920.  She was the only a teenager when she attended the convention and signed the Declaration of Sentiments.  At fifteen, she was working as a school teacher and then worked as a seamstress making leather gloves (yes before sewing machines).  One source credited the fact that while she was a seamstress, she began to think about the inequity of her status as a woman because the only salary she earned was her room and board.  She told one reporter:  "I was only a girl of eighteen when the Seneca Falls Convention was held--and I am proud I too am a native of New York state."  After her marriage, she and her husband settled in Philadelphia where she lived the rest of her life.

The sad part is that Charlotte was too ill to cast a vote in 1920.  She passed away in 1921 and it is not thought that she was ever well enough to exercise her true right as a citizen at the ballot box.

You can read more about Charlotte here.  

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Thank you!

I'm interrupting our regularly scheduled blogging to thank the many readers of Pennsylvania Piecemaker.  Very few of you leave comments but instead I'm often receiving wonderful emails from you!

Lisa emailed me that if you enjoy cross stitch, you might appreciate the suffrage inspired pattern or kit available at Little House Needleworks.  You can see it here.

Close-up of a Moravian Quilt
Betsy shared with me that the Moravian Village in Bethlehem is sponsoring a number of special events celebrating women.  In case you are unfamiliar with the Moravians, they believed in educating women very early in our country's history.  The settlement in downtown Bethlehem has been preserved and you might enjoy some of the events which you can read about here.  Come visit our lovely city!

I really appreciate the questions you have been asking and your comments as well!

Tonight Beth and I will be presenting By the Chimney No More at the Pocono Mountain Quilters Guild.  If you are in the area, why not attend?  We will be speaking at the Eastern Monroe Public Library at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Happy Birthday Edith Ainge!

Beth and I both feel it's important for you to not only know about some of the general aspects of the suffrage movement but the women who participated--and often were persecuted for their work in the suffrage movement.  Enter Edith Ainge from the state of New York:
Image result for edith ainge
Happy Birthday Edith Ainge!

Edith Ainge (1878-1947) was one of the Silent Sentinels who picketed the White House by holding banners of protest outside the White House.  She was among the first women arrested for this action and in all, was imprisoned five times during the last few years of the suffrage struggle.

I honestly don't know how the women endured the conditions of the Occoquan Workhouse where the women were imprisoned.  Imagine rodent infested cells and your food full of mealy worms.  Perhaps worse of all, you had to drink water from one cup shared by all the inmates, including those with tuberculosis--one of the most deadly and contagious diseases of that time period.
Image result for edith ainge
If all this wasn't enough, Ainge was among the women who were beaten and tortured during the Night of Terror in November of 1917.  

What amazes me is that women like Edith continued to fight for their rights and ours.  Thank you Edith!

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Seneca Falls Convention and Birthday Wishes!

One aspect of suffrage history that we should all be aware of is the Seneca Falls Convention.  Five women met for tea on July 9, 1848 and the meeting would change the course of American history and birth the women's suffrage movement.  Lucretia Mott, her sister Marth Wright, May Ann McClintock and Ellizabeth Cady Stanton met at Jane Hunt's house in New York for tea and discussion of women's rights.

Image result for martha wright seneca falls

Mott and Stanton had met earlier in London where they both had attended an abolitionist convention.  Both had been barred from the convention floor because they were women.  The two women met up again when they attended tea at Jane Hunt's house.  After much discussion, they decided to hold a "Woman's Rights Convention" and ten days later not only was the event held but it attracted about 300 people.  Later referred to as the Seneca Falls Convention, the event launched the women's suffrage movement.

A "Declaration of Sentiments" was debated and published, signed by 100 of the participants.  Among the 11 resolutions:

He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.

He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice. 

He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.

He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.

He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce; in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of women—the law, in all cases, going upon the false supposition of the supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands. 
Translation:  Men are automatically granted full custody of children in the event of a divorce.

 After depriving her of all rights as a married woman, if single and the owner of property, he has taxed her to support a government which recognizes her only when her property can be made profitable to it.
He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education—all colleges being closed against her.

Many of their grievances (and others) we relate (in quilt form) in our program, By the Chimney No More.

You can read the Declaration of Sentiments here.

Just as an aside, who wasn't at the Seneca Falls Convention? 

 Image result for susan b. anthony
Susan B. Anthony

That's right, "Aunt Susan" as she was affectionately called did not attend the convention.  I noticed that some websites not only have her attending but reading the Declaration of Sentiments.  Susan B. Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1851, together they would galvanize the movement and lead it into the 20th century.  Neither woman lived to see the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

Today is a Two-fer post.  Happy Birthday Jane Addams!
Image result for jane addams
Jane Addams 1860-1935

One of the most remarkable women of the 19th and 20th centuries, Addams was a social reformer, a suffragist, and believed in the dignity of all human beings.  She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in 1931.

I love reading anything by Addams but suggest you read her essay, "Why Women Should Vote" published in the Ladies Home Journal in 1910.  You can read it here.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Happy Labor Day 2019!

It's raining here in eastern Pennsylvania which means a perfect day to sew!  Today we celebrate a real labor pioneer, Sarah G. Bagley!  She was memorialized in a thread holder sold in the beginning of the 20th century; I've read these thread holders were sold in 1915 as suffrage fundraisers.

Decades before labor unions were formed, before the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, Sarah was a true leader of suffrage and women's rights.  She had worked in the textile mills in Lowell Massachusetts. 
Sarah J. Bagley Durno

 She perceived that women were not getting a fair shake in the mills.  She is honored at the Lowell National Historical Park and I hope you will take a moment or two to read about her here.