I am reading about women’s fight for the vote in Illinois in 1913 (Yes, I love Hillary Clinton’s suffrage-white outfits!) The photo is of Grace Wilbur Trout, wearing a suffrage hats. “The question,” Trout declared, “is not a women’s problem, nor a man’s problem, and the cry going up from women all over the world is not a new one, but an echo that sounded through all the ages the cry of the human soul for opportunity to express itself.” The nine stars on the pennant are for the nine equal suffrage states as of 1912: Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, Washington, California, Arizona, Kansas, Oregon.
The little handful of women of the past” were joined by a handful of men, who were denounced and ridiculed for their support of women’s rights. Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s first cousin, Gerrit Smith, was one of those stalwart men. Several years ago I spoke at the Gerrit Smith National Historic Landmark in Peterboro, NY, and photographed this marker honoring him. His daughter Elizabeth Smith Miller introduced the bloomer outfit to her cousin ECS. ESM and ECS were life-long close friends. During her extended visits to Peterboro, ECS later recalled that she experienced “an atmosphere of love and peace, of freedom and good cheer.” It was where she met “scholars, philosophers, philanthropists, judges, bishops, clergymen, statesmen, and members of the nearby Oneida Indian tribe.” She listened, learned, participated, and observed how people conducted themselves. Gerrit, she noted, was “cool and calm in debate.”
Doing research today, I read a newspaper article about a huge woman suffrage event “Celebration of Citizenship ” marking the enfranchisement of women in three states in 1912: Arizona, Kansas, and Oregon, and the return of NAWSA’s president, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, who had been campaigning for months, travelling 10,000 miles and speaking 6-7 times a day. At the event, held in Carnegie Hall, New York City, the women will sing two verses of “The Women’s Marseillaise”
“Arise, ye daughter of a land/that vaunts its liberty!/Make reckless rulers understand/That women must be free,/That women will be free/Hark! Hark! The trumpet’s calling!/who’d be a laggard in the fight?/With victory even now in sight,/And stubborn foeman backward falling.
To Freedom’s cause till death/We wear our fealty,/March on! March on!/Face to the dawn/The dawn of liberty./ Second verse:
Arise! Through pain or lose betide/Grudge naught of freedom’s toll,/For what they loved the martyrs died,/Are we of meaner soul? Are we of meaner soul?/Our comrades, greatly daring,/Through prison bars have led the way;/Who would not follow to the fray,/Their glorious struggle proudly sharing?”
If you’re thinking about women and politics, consider how hard the struggle had been. For example: A referendum to enfranchise women in Oregon was defeated five times: 1884, 1900, 1906, 1908, 1910! The picture is of Harrriet “Hattie” Redmond, president of the Colored Women Equal Suffrage League during the sixth campaign in 1912 when an amendment to the Oregon State Constitution enfranchising women was finally approved. A hundred years later, a headstone was placed on Harriet Redmond’s grave in Lone Fir Cemetery, Portland, OR, with the epitaph:
“Black American Suffragist.”
“The vote is the emblem of your equality . . .the guaranty of your liberty . . . Prize it!”
Taking a late night writing break to post this photo. One of our favorite walks is the mile-long path along the Hudson River from the Englewood Boat Basin to Ross Dock. Several days ago, we saw this stunning scene – the George Washington Bridge, New York City . . .the clouds, water, reflection, light – . . . I took the picture at about 5 o’clock.
Wrapping up a very long writing day but wanting to share this photo before I crash. This stand of magnificent cosmos is about half-a- block from my house. The flowers span the entire width of the front year. Year after year, a courtly gentleman tends to them. We don’t have a language in common, except, of course, big smiles, applause . . . I took the photo today when we went out for a we’ve-got-to-enjoy-this-beautiful-day, if only for 15 minutes. Some of the stems are close to six feet. It’s awesome to stand beside them, look up, feel the sun .
Which statue of a historic woman was dedicated today in 2002 In Florence, Massachusetts? One of my favorites: Sojourner Truth, who declared at a women’s rights convention in 1852: “If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down, all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again and now they is asking to do it – and the men, you better let them.”
I was just reading the letter Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance who was on a round-the-world trip, wrote in 1911 from Durban, South Africa. Her letter was read at the forty-third National American Woman Suffrage Association’s convention, meeting in Oct. 1911, in Louisville, Kentucky: “The rebellion fomented in that little Seneca Falls convention has overspread the wide earth and from the frigid lands above the North Polar Circle to the most southerly point of the Southern Temperate Zone, the mothers of our race are listening to the new call to duty which these new times are uttering.. . . . May wisdom guide us to do the right thing; may love unite us; may charity temper our differences and may we never forget the obligations we owe the blessed pathfinders of our movement who made the present position of our cause possible.”
I was just reading about Selina Solomons, president of the Votes for Women’s Club of San Francisco. During the 1911 woman suffrage campaign in California, Solomons reported that she had “numberless hand-to-hand encounters” with anti-suffragists who held “anti-diluvian arguments and theories . . . .the product of a certain wobbly structure of the brain cells, which neither logic nor fact could remedy.”