Tuesday, October 29, 2019

October Birthday Wishes

It's almost the end of October and we want to be sure to celebrate suffragists who were born this month!

October 9

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Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893)
October 9 was Mary Ann Shadd Cary's birthday. The first African-American woman publisher in the United States and Canada, Mary Ann was an abolitionist and later a suffragist.  Her newspaper, The Provincial Freeman, was published in Canada but circulated in the United States as well.

During the Civil War, Mary Ann helped recruit African Americans to enlist in the Union Army.  In 1883, at the age of 60, she earned a law degree and became the second African American woman to become a lawyer.  Mary Ann fought in the courts for her right to enfranchisement and eventually, became the first African American to vote in a federal election.  She was a member of the National Woman Suffrage Association and her home in Washington D.C. is a national historic landmark

October 13
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Mary Barr Clay (1839-1924)

Mary Barr Clay joined the ranks of suffragist after her parent's divorce in 1878.  Her mother was left homeless after a 45 year marriage and soon afterward Mary attended her first suffrage meeting.  She was the first woman from Kentucky to give a speech on suffrage and the first Kentuckian to become president of a national woman's suffrage group (the American Woman Suffrage Group).  Her sister Laura Clay joined and was also a prominent suffragist.

October 17

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Mary Newbury Adams (1837-1901)

Mary Newbury Adams founded the Northern Iowa Suffrage Association and was an active supporter of women.  She joined the movement in 1869 after hearing a speech by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  She was inducted into the Iowa Hall of Fame in 1981!

October 27

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Happy Birthday Mr. President
Teddy Roosevelt (1858-1919)

Teddy Roosevelt included women's suffrage in his 1912 campaign to become President.  Although he did not win, he continued to advocate for women's suffrage He supported the suffrage campaign in New York state which finally passed in 1917.  

The above cartoon depicts the presidential race from the perspective of suffragists.  Howard Taft is the left and appears bewildered by the concept, Woodrow Wilson (who would win the election) is depicted as considering suffrage idealism below him.  Only Teddy is offering a plank and assistance to the women.

In 1880--only two years after Mary Barr Clay's mother was left homeless because of her divorce--Roosevelt wrote this: 

"Viewed purely in the abstract, I think there can be no question that women should have equal rights with men...In the very large class of work which is purely mental, it is doubtful if women are inferior to men.  Individually many women are superior to the general run of men.  If we could once thoroughly get rid of the feeling that an old maid is more to be looked down upon than an old bachelor, or that woman's work, though equally good, should not be paid as well as man's, we should have taken a long stride in advance...

I contend that, even as the world now is, it is not only feasible but advisable to make women equal to men before the law...Especially as regards the laws relating to marriage there should the most absolute equality preserved between the two sexes.  I do not think that woman should assume the man's name.  The man should have no more right over the person or property of his wife than she has over the person or property of her husband.  I would have the word "obey" used no more by the wife than by the husband."

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Suffrage and Animals: A Giveaway!

Image result for  suffrage trade card animals
Suffragists liked animals and often our furry and feathered friends were used as part of suffrage publicity campaigns.  New York suffragists held a hike in 1912 which lasted 13 days;  the pilgrimage started in the Bronx and ended in Albany.  For those of you familiar with New York cold weather, let me tell you the hike began in December (it's mighty cold by then).  One of the participants was a dog named Honorable Elizabeth.  Just as an aside, it wasn't unusual for suffragists to use military positions to designate leadership (like Rosalie Jones).

By the time the pilgrims reached Yonkers, it was decided that Honorable Elizabeth wasn't up to the rest of the hike and the suffragists kindly granted her an early--but honorable discharge.

Saxon the cat accompanied Nell Richardson and Alice Burke on their five month, cross country speaking tour in 1916.  Saxon was just a kitten and newspapers reported the growth of the cat while they toured.

Part of the Massachusetts campaign in 1915 was "Suffrage Blue Bird Day" and tin signs were hung throughout the state:
Image result for suffrage bluebird day
Birding was another area of interest for suffragists.  The Audubon website states this:

Like most matters of importance, women have been integral to birding from the get-go.  Female ornithologists drew attention to avifauna in the late 1800s, and suffragists helped the movement take off in the early 1900s.

Rosalie Edge was a remarkable woman, a conservationist and yes, a suffragist.

In 1915, Rosalie joined the New York suffrage league and distributed pamphlets and gave speeches.  In the 1920s she became an avid bird watcher and environmentalist; in 1929 she founded the Emergency Conservation Corps.  The ECC mission was to protect endangered species and in 1934, she took on the conservation of hawks and eagles by buying what is now The Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, PA.  Most people in our region have hiked there.  When I was a child, hawks were so rare that we were in awe when saw the birds at that sanctuary.  Now we have a healthy population of hawks and eagles in our city.

Animals were also featured in a variety of postcards like the much beloved suffrage cats.  I suspect these images originated in the U.K.
Image result for suffrage cat postcardsImage result for suffrage cat postcards

There were some dog postcards as well but I can't find a clear rendition to show you.

Quilt Notes:  
Animals have long been a favorite feature on quilts.  Perhaps you are an animal lover and would like to use animals for your Suffrage Centennial Quilt!  To help you, Beth and I are offering a nice charm pack called "Woof Woof Meow" printed by Moda and It's Quilting Cats and Dogs book by Lynette Anderson.  Leave a comment and a random winner will be chosen on Friday, November 1, 2019!

Good luck and have a great day!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Suffrage 101

Yesterday I was happy to speak about suffrage and quilting to a small class at Cedar Crest College.  I worked there as an administrator before I retired.
The women in the class were amazing and I really enjoyed my visit with them!  Thank you so much for the warm welcome!

In 1913, the Congressional Union (later to become the National Woman's Party), under the leadership of Alice Paul and Lucy Brown, introduced an ingenious idea:  The Suffrage School.  A lengthy article was run in a D.C. newspaper about it:

"Do you want to be a woman's suffragist?  Do you yearn to accomplish something to help along the cause of votes for women?  But do you find yourself at a loss to know how and where to begin?" 

The article was quick to point out that this was a more benign approach to suffrage; Americans had been reading about the radical tactics of British suffragettes:

Subjects like Parliamentary Law, street speaking, and other subjects were taught.  The idea of the suffrage school quickly spread.  In 1914, a similar school opened and the"Suffrage School of Methods" was offered in Des Moines, Iowa.

In 1916, the school in Baltimore had some heavy hitter suffrage leaders teaching:

Buffalo and Binghamton, New York both had schools and in 1917, when a school in Raleigh, North Carolina opened, this blurb was printed in the papers:

Arkansas allowed women to vote in primaries in 1917; it was limited suffrage but it was a step in the right direction and made Arkansas "the first non-suffrage state in the south to allow women to vote in primaries."  Suffragists credited the Arkansas suffrage school that had opened early in 1917--"The suffrage school here," said Mrs. Halsey Wilson of NJ, "has been one of the most successful in the series given by the national association."
LAC pattern

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Trade Card

Apologies for not posting as much the last few weeks but we've been on the road sharing our By The Chimney No More program at guilds.  Thanks to all who have given us such wonderful welcomes!

Today's post is again brief because I'm preparing to speak over at Cedar Crest College today.  This is a trade card I've had in my collection for a while.  Trade cards were used in the late 19th century and early 20th century for advertising.  The cards must have been popular; I often see scrapbooks full of these kinds ofimages.

This one is for a different kind of product:
The card is advertising Woman's Suffrage Stove Polish.  It really had nothing to do with women's struggle to achieve the vote.  What it does relay is that the concept of suffrage was getting popular enough that companies co-opted the word to sell products to women.

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Suffrage Quilts #1

If you google "antique suffrage quilts" you'll find two images that appear frequently:

The first is is a crazy quilt housed at the American Folk Museum.  You can read about it here.

The second one was a signature fund raising quilt, this one is part of the collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.  This one includes Susan B. Anthony's name.  Read here.

But while doing research, I found that a number of suffragists made quilts for a variety of reason.  Frequently the quilts were made as fundraisers or as gifts or donations.  I thought it would be fun to share some of the research I've found--even if I don't have a photograph.  I call them "Wish Quilts" as in "I wish we could see the actual quilts."

The Kansas Equal Suffrage Association Sunflower Quilt

Somewhere near Smith Center, Kansas, a "Sunflower Supper" was given in the late 19th century as a suffrage fundraiser.  The program consisted of songs, recitations, tableaux and sale of a suffrage  quilt.  The newspaper doesn't elaborate on the pattern of the quilt but the evening was considered a financial success.  However, 29 miles away, in Phillipsburg, Kansas, a report of a similar (if not same) event was reported.

"Our district equal suffrage association president writes from Cedarville her home, that their club gave a sunflower supper on May 4th that was very successful socially and financially, enabling the club to redeem their $25 pledge to the state fund.  A splendid program was carried out, consisting of recitation, songs, and a tableaux.  They also drew numbers for a sunflower or suffrage quilt.  There is a good suggestion in this for other clubs."

Although we don't know the quilt pattern they are describing, this is an early sunflower pattern published in the Ladies Art Company catalog:

I occasionally find quilts of this pattern at online auctions:

While researching the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association, I stumbled upon another quilt which was owned by Lucy Brown Johnston and her husband William Agnew Johnston.  They were both involved in the suffrage cause.  Take a look at the crazy quilt they owned here.  It wasn't a suffrage quilt but it is sure nice to study!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Suffrage Tea #1

One of the suggestions we've made for our By the Chimney No More program is that it is a perfect program for a tea party.  This past Monday, we gave our program to the Pennsylania Quilters in Wilkes-Barre and they surprised us by doing just that! 

Each of the ladies brought a tea cup for the program and we were just delighted!

Suffrage teas were an integral tool in spreading the message during the late 19th and early 20th century.  Newspapers became more supportive of the cause as more and more socialites became suffragists.  The teas allowed women to learn more about enfranchisment and also were integral to fund raising.  They were also popular; in Pittsburgh, PA, one could find more than one tea to attend:

 They were also valuable fund raisers!

 We've been having a lovely time with all the audiences we've met during this program.  Thanks Pennsylvania Quilters for your warm welcome!

Friday, October 4, 2019

It's About the Children...

One of the most profound moments in our program, By the Chimney No More, is when we talk about the welfare of children in the late 19th century.  During the Victorian era, women were considered to be morally superior over men and their realm was home and family.  For most suffrage and temperance groups the protection of children was preeminent in their cause. The impact on suffragists regarding children was discussed frequently in the early 20th century.  In Colorado where women had been granted the vote as early as 1893, Judge Lindsey of the Denver Juvenile Court wrote in the early 20th century:

“We have in Colorado, the most advanced laws of any state in the Union for the care and protection of the home and the children.  These laws, in my opinion, would not exist at this time without the powerful influence of woman suffrage.”

In 1917,  Annie G. Porritt published a study in a book entitled Laws Affecting Women and Children in the Suffrage and Non-Suffrage States.  You can actually read it via Google Books.  She had some pretty interesting insights like this chart:
Please note that the white (good) legislation generally occurred in western states where women already had the right to vote.

In 1905, Florence Kelley wrote a stirring piece on child labor:

We have, in this country, two million children under the age of sixteen years who are earning their bread. They vary in age from six and seven years (in the cotton mills of Georgia) and eight, nine and ten years (in the coal-breakers of Pennsylvania), to fourteen, fifteen and sixteen years in more enlightened states.

No other portion of the wage earning class increased so rapidly from decade to decade as the young girls from fourteen to twenty years. Men increase, women increase, youth increase, boys increase in the ranks of the breadwinners; but no contingent so doubles from census period to census period (both by percent and by count of heads), as does the contingent of girls between twelve and twenty years of age. They are in commerce, in offices, in manufacturing.
Tonight while we sleep, several thousand little girls will be working in textile mills, all the night through, in the deafening noise of the spindles and the looms spinning and weaving cotton and wool, silks and ribbons for us to buy.  

My Nana about the time of the study.

Although some gains were made to regulate child labor during the Progressive Era, it wasn't until 1938 and Fair Labor Standards Act that real mandates ensured the safety of children.

Turn of the century crib quilt from my collection.  Note the angels quilted on the piece.

Women's empowerment and the status of children have long been studied as being co-related.  In more recent times, a 2011 study found that children's mortality declined by 8-15% (that's about 20,000 kids a year) after women got the vote.  The reason appears to be that immediately after women's suffrage was passed, there was legislation was enacted that improved public health care and benefited children.  The bill was called the Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921.  The study I read cited this:

Richard Meckel (1990) observes that “fear of being punished at the polls by American women, not conviction of the bill’s necessity, seems to have motivated Congress to vote for it. As one senator admitted to a reporter from the Ladies Home Journal, ‘if the members of Congress could have voted on the measure in their cloak rooms, it would have been killed as emphatically as it was finally passed out in the open’” (Selden 1922). Growth in public health spending, in turn, was critical for scaling-up intensive door-to-door hygiene campaigns. Child mortality declined by 8-15% with the enactment of suffrage laws, and causes of death that responded were exclusively infectious killers of children sensitive to hygienic conditions (diarrheal diseases, diphtheria, and meningitis).

You can read the study here.

Lastly, I want to point out that many of the themes I'm discussing in suffrage continue to play an important role in the voting patterns of women.  More and more political pundits are pointing out that women voters are assessing the treatment of children, examples of politicians, and the lack of protection of children as they decide about their vote.  Women will play a key role in the upcoming elections.
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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Jack and Jill

An early 20th century ditty:

Jack and Jill have equal will
And equal strength and mind.
But when it comes to equal rights,
Poor Jill trails far behind.