Friday, October 27, 2017

1900 NYWSA Convention Reenactment: The Location & the Food

As you may have heard, 2017 is NY state's Suffrage Centennial year. On November 6, 1917, the majority of male voters cast ballots in favor of granting women the right to vote!

Seventeen years prior, the small village of Glens Falls hosted a statewide convention for three days in the fall of 1900 for the New York Woman Suffrage Association. Held at Ordway Hall & Rockwell House, delegates came from all over the state: Counties represented were Cayuga, Chatauqua, Erie, Kings, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Onondoga, Queens, Warren, and Washington.  

Yellow flags represent delegates from 1900. Purple pins show attendees in 2017.

What the Glens Falls Area Suffrage Centennial Committee wanted to do was to come up with a way to celebrate the spirit of that convention in just two hours. It was a daunting task that required lots of meetings, collaboration, & and action grant from HumanitiesNY. What we put together was very well received!

NYWSA 32nd Convention, Glens Falls, NY 1900

& I will share with you what we did...

Ordway Hall, Glens Falls, NY c 1900

Since Ordway Hall (currently a Spot Coffee) & Rockwell House (destroyed by fire) were not available, we looked to the site of a successful regional suffrage convention in 1894, First Baptist Church of Glens Falls. The folks there were thrilled to learn of their church's suffrage history as they are trying to get the church on the National Registry for historic landmarks. 

Rockwell House, Glens Falls, NY c1900

Once we had our location & date secured, we set to research & funding. Luckily HumanitiesNY awarded us an action grant so that we could pay performers, a photographer & videographer, & advertise.

One of the things I was able to do was convince people to make food from the Suffrage Cookbooks for refreshments during intermission. My friend Lillian Lasher tackled the appetizers. A few of us baked.

Suffrage Cookbooks on display at the food table

The appetizers Lillian made were featured in the 1915 Suffrage Cookbook compiled by LO Kleber. The recipes she chose were Chicken Croquettes, Spitine, & Savories. They were quite tasty & surprisingly well received by those in attendance. I have listed the recipes below.

Chicken Croquettes (1915, p. 63)
1 pound of chicken
3 teaspoons chopped parsley
1½ cups cream
1 small onion
¼ pound butter
¼ pound bread crumbs
season to taste
1 pinch of paprika 
Grind meat twice. Boil the onion with the cream and strain the onion out. Let cool and pour over crumbs. Add parsley and butter, and make a stiff mixture. Now add seasoning.Mix all together by beating in the meat. If too thick add a little milk and form into croquettes, and put in ice box.When cool dip in beaten egg and then in crackers or bread crumbs. Fry in deep fat.

Spitine (1915, p. 50) 
Cut from raw roast beef very thin slices. Spread with a dressing made of grated bread crumbs, a beaten egg and seasoned to taste. Roll up and put all on a long skewer and brown in a little hot butter.

SAVORIES (1915, p.95-99) 
Hot savory and cold salad are always to be recommended—some suggestions that are worth remembering.A hot savory and a cold salad make a good combination for the summer luncheon, and the savory is a useful dish for the dispositon of left-over scraps of meat, fish, etc.The foundation of a savory is usually a triangle on a finger of buttered brown bread toast, or fried bread, pastry or biscuit. The filling may be varied indefinitely, and its arrangement depends upon available materials.Here are a few suggestions for the use of materials common to all households. 

Tomato Toast 
Half an ounce of butter, two ounces of grated cheese, one tablespoon of tomato; paprika. Melt the butter and add the tomato (either canned or fresh stewed), then the grated cheese; sprinkle with paprika and heat on the stove. Cut bread into rounds or small squares, fry and pour over each slice the hot tomato mixture.

Ham Toast 
Mince a little left-over boiled ham very finely. Warm it in a pan with a piece of butter. Add a little pepper and paprika. When very hot pile on hot buttered toast. Any left-over scraps of fish or meat may be used up in a similar way, and make an excellent savory to serve with a green salad.

Cheese Savories 
Butter slices of bread and sprinkle over them a mixture of grated cheese and paprika. Set them in a pan and place the pan in the oven, leaving it there until the bread is colored, and the cheese set. Serve very hot.

For baked goods we served molasses crinkles, gingersnaps, gingerbread, & "cocoanut cookies" I made using a recipe from the 1886 Suffrage Cookbook. This recipe was submitted by a Mrs. H. R. Shattuck.

Cocoanut Cookies. (1886, p. 81)
Into two and one-half cupfuls of pastry flour, rub with the hands one-half cupful of butter. Add one cupful of sugar, one and three-fourths cupfuls of grated cocoanut (that which comes by the pound is best) and two saltspoonfuls of cream of tartar. Beat one egg and stir in; dissolve one saltspoonful of soda in boiling water and add, moulding the mixture well together with the hands. If it is not wet enough, add a very little milk or water. The danger is in getting it too wet to roll out well, and probably no moisture will be needed. Roll thin, cut with a doughnut cutter and bake quickly.

saltspoon= 1/4 teaspoon

Butter, flour, sugar, coconut, cream of tartar

Add egg, baking soda in water

Combine into dough, not too wet

Roll out & cut out with a doughnut cutter

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Bake at 350 F for about 7-10 minutes

Finished cookies out to cool

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Easton Political Equality Club Reenacment

This past weekend was a whirlwind of Suffrage Centennial activity for me as I participated in two events; Saturday's 1900 Suffrage Convention reenactment in Glens Falls, NY, & Sunday's Easton Political Equality Club reenactment at Easton Burton Hall in the hamlet of North Easton, NY in my home county of Washington.

The Easton Political Equality Club (hereafter referred to as "the PEC") was the first suffrage organization formed in rural Washington County, NY in 1891. Suffrage movement leaders & sisters, Susan B. & Mary S. Anthony kept close ties to the region where they spent much of their childhood. Mary was born in Battenville, a hamlet in the neighboring town of Greenwich. Both women taught school in the area for a few years, & some members of the PEC were their former students.

Chloe Sisson and Lucy P. Allen

Members of the PEC were instrumental in getting Washington County women to form other political equality clubs & getting Washington County men to vote in favor of woman suffrage on November 6, 1917.

PEC members were also key informing the Easton Library, &, upon obtaining the vote, formed the Easton Book Club which is still going strong today. Because of this tie, the PEC gave their meeting minutes & other documents to the library, allowing researchers access to a treasure trove of great primary source documentation of suffrage movement activities in our area. In 2009, local historian Teri Gay published Strength Without Compromise: Womanly Influence and Political Identity in Turn-of-the-Twentieth Century Rural Upstate New York which drew much of its focus from this collection, as did Sunday's event.

Program for the Easton PEC event 10/22/2017

Kate Dudding portrayed Chloe Sisson & Nancy Marie Payne portrayed Lucy P. Allen as they remembered twenty-six years of suffrage activism. Greenwich Town Supervisor, & descendant of a PEC member, Sarah Skiff Idleman read a brief biography of suffragist Lucy Stone, as members would have done.

L to R top only: Nancy Payne, Kate Dudding, Tisha Dolton

My contribution to the program was also in keeping with the PEC meetings of more than a century ago. I sang "America (My Country 'tis of Thee)" as they usually sang a hymn or patriotic song to begin a meeting. Likewise, I ended by leading the attendees in singing the "Star Spangled Banner", our National Anthem.

I was also the entertainment. PEC meetings usually had musical entertainment, so I was there to sing suffrage songs, & get people to sing along! They did & when some sang harmony on the chorus of "Arise! Brave Woman!" ("Battle Hymn of the Republic"), I smiled.

Arise! Brave Woman!
Lyrics: Nannie Parker, Tune: John Brown’s Body/ Battle Hymn of the Republic, 1910 
Verse 1
Arise! Arise brave woman!
There is work for you to do;
Show the world that love is wisdom
And love’s promises are true;
Break the bonds that hold you captive
For the world has need of you
As we go marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
As we go marching on.
Verse 2
Do you need a sound to rouse you?
Hear the little children cry;
Do you need a sight to stir you?
See the old who hopeless die.
Shall they call to you in misery
While you stand heedless by?
No, we’ll go marching on.
Verse 4
We will give the world fair daughters
And those daughters shall be free;
They shall stand beside their brothers
On the ground of liberty,
And the cause of right shall prosper
On the land and on the sea
As we go marching on.
Verse 5
Then arise! Arise brave woman!
There is work for you to do;
Show the world that love is wisdom
And love’s promises are true;
Break the bonds that hold you captive
For the world has need of you
And we’ll go marching on.

Photo of Tisha Dolton in the Post-Star, Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Washington County Political Equality Club Adopts Resolutions

Excerpt from the May 31, 1905 article in the Greenwich Journal...

The Washington County Political Equality Club in its 14th Annual convention assembled, reaffirms its loyalty to the principles of American Independence, and calls for their application to all American citizens irrespective of sex.   And
                Whereas, The home is the foundation of human society and whatever tends to broaden women’s minds and deepen their sense of responsibility tends directly to promote the happiness and sobriety of the family relation, therefore
                Resolved, That equal suffrage should be granted to the mothers of the Republic, not only for the sake of the State, but also for the sake of the home.
                Resolved, That woman suffrage is no longer an academic question, but an existing faction in Great Britain* and Ireland*, in New Zealand** and Australia*** and throughout more than 300,000 square miles of United States territory^ and nine Representatives elected by both men and women.
                Resolved, That we continue with unabated diligence our policy of education and agitation. That while we in the future as in the past follow with singleness of heart and unity of purpose our one aim, to obtain the ballot for women, we extend the most cordial sympathy to all women’s societies, working for the advancement of civilization.
                Resolved, That we rejoice in the recent granting of full suffrage to women in Kansas, in the striking out by Congress from the state-hood bill of the clause classing women with illiterates, insane persons and felons; in the unanimous endorsement of women suffrage by 1300 physicians at the recent Russian medical congress, and by 4,000 students and professors of the University of St. Petersburg.
                Resolved, That in the death of Mary A. Livermore the cause of woman’s political equality with men has sustained a loss that will be felt throughout U.S.; that we honor her memory, and will do our best to carry on her work.
                                                                MRS. GEORGE WHELDEN,
                                                                MRS. CARROLL HALL,
                                                                MRS. JOHN WILSON, Jr.


The Greenwich Journal (Greenwich, NY) May 31, 1905, p.8

View the whole article on the New York Historic Newspapers website:

*Single women taxpayers could vote in municipal elections in 1869, partial female suffrage granted in 1918. Ireland broke from Great Britain & gave women full suffrage in 1922, while Great Britain granted full female suffrage in 1928.
**New Zealand grants all women the right to vote in 1893.
***Australia grants women the right to vote in 1902, but excludes aboriginal men & women. 
^ By 1905 only four states allowed women the right to vote: Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Idaho.

Timeline of Woman Suffrage:

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Suffrage Rally: Inez Milholland Boissevain

Inez Milholland Boissevain returned home briefly for our Suffrage Rally reenactment in City Park on May 7, 2017. Domenica Newell-Amato, dressed as a modern day Inez, delivered an abridged version of Milholland Boissevain's "Women of the West" speech. A speech she gave numerous times on her last speaking tour. The tour that would drain her, until she collapsed on the platform after she demanded to know "Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?"

Inez Milholland lived in New York City & the Adirondacks. Her father's family home in Lewis was the perfect vacation spot. Inez attended Vassar College in Poukeepsie, & eventually earned her law degree from New York University. After married Eugen Boissevan, she lost her US citizenship & was unable to practice law when she returned to the United States from a trip to Europe. 

In 1916, Alice Paul of the National Woman's Party requested Milholland Boissevain make the plea to the Women of the West to vote against incumbent Woodrow Wilson, because he was dragging his feet on enfranchising women. If their plan worked Glens Falls native, Charles Evans Hughes would have won the election of 1916. Alas, Hughes lost, & Milholland Boissevain lost her life from exhaustion & pernicious anemia.

Newell-Amato delivers Milholland's Women of the West speech at Glens Falls Suffrage Rally, 2017

THE UNENFRANCHISED WOMEN of the nation appeal to you for help in their fight for political freedom. We appeal to you to help us, for you alone have both the power and will. The dominant political party… has the power to liberate the women of the United States, but they have refused to exercise that power on our behalf, and on behalf of justice and of freedom. They have refused to put the party machinery back of the constitutional amendment. They have blocked the amendment at every turn. The Democratic leaders in the Senate forced it to defeat through a premature vote. In the House they have buried it in committee. Fourteen times the President has refused his help. Therefore, women of the West, let no free woman, let no woman that respects herself and womankind, lend her strength to the Democratic party that turns away its face from justice to the women of the nation.
 * * * * *
Now, for the first time in our history, women have the power to enforce their demands, and the weapon with which to fight for woman's liberation. You, women of the West, who possess that power, will you use it on behalf of women? We have waited so long and so patiently and so hopelessly for help from other political sources. May we not depend upon the co-operation and good-will of women in politics? Shall we not feel that women will respond to the appeal of women, and shall we not see their hands stretched out to us in sympathy and help? Women of the West, stand by us now. Visit your displeasure upon that political party that has ignored and held cheaply the interests of women. Let no party, whatsoever its name, dare to slur the demands of women, as the Democratic party has done, and come to you for your endorsement at the polls. Make them feel your indignation. Let them know that women stand by women. Show them that no party may deal lightly with the needs of women, and hope to enlist your support.
 * * * * *
Liberty must be fought for. And, women of the nation, this is the time to fight. This is the time to demonstrate our sisterhood, our spirit, our blithe courage, and our will. It is women for women now, and shall be till the fight is won. Sisters of the West, may we count on You? Think well before you answer. Other considerations press upon you. But surely this great question of woman's liberty comes first. How can our nation be free with half of its citizens politically enslaved? How can the questions that come before a government for decision, be decided aright, while half the people whom these decisions affect are mute? Women of the West, stand by us in this crisis. Give us your help and we shall win. Fight on our side and liberty is for all of us. For the first time in the world women are asked to unite with women in a common cause. Will you stand by?
* * * * *
The gods of government help those who help themselves. Therefore, women and sisters, and one day fellow voters, let us help ourselves. Say to the rulers of this nation: "You deal negligently with the interests of women at your peril. As you have sowed so shall ye reap. We, as women, refuse to uphold that party that has betrayed us. We refuse to uphold any party until all women are free. We are tired of being the political auxiliaries of men. It is the woman's fight only we are making. Together we shall stand, shoulder to shoulder for the greatest principle the world has ever known – the right of self-government."
* * * * *

It is only for a little while. Soon the fight will be over. Victory is in sight. It depends upon how we stand in this coming election – united or divided – whether we shall win and whether we shall deserve to win. We have no money, no elaborate organization, no one interested in our success, except anxious-hearted women all over the country who cannot come to the battle line themselves. Here and there in farm house and factory, by the fire-side, in the hospital, and school-room, wherever women are sorrowing and working and hoping, they are praying for our success. Only the hopes of women have we; and our own spirit and a mighty principle. Women of these states, unite. We have only our chains to lose, and a whole nation to gain. Will you join us by voting against President Wilson and the Democratic candidates for Congress?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Suffrage School in 1917

A bunch of us have been getting together to research the suffrage movement in Washington & Warren Counties in preparation for this year's New York State Suffrage Centennial. We even formed a committee to create events, like last month's Suffrage Rally in City Park. I thought I would share this article from The Post Star, March 22, 1917 which mentions some women from Greenwich & Easton participating in a suffrage school. Suffrage schools were created to educate women about civics, politics, and economics, so that when they finally got the right to vote, they would be knowledgeable voters.
Large Attendance is Source of Much Satisfaction to Leaders
At the Hudson Falls Suffrage School yesterday afternoon delegations were present from Greenwich, Easton, Fort Edward and Glens Falls, and the sesion was most interesting. Miss Elinor Byrns, dean of the school, gave a talk on suffrage, history and there was an argument by Mrs. Sophia Sisson of Easton who read a splended paper on pioneers. Remarks were made by Mrs. L.V.H. Gill and Mrs. Herbert Van Kirk of Greenwich. An information discussion closed the meeting.
Practical campaign instructions and drill in answer question occupied the first period of the evening session. These were followed by addresses by Miss Byrns and Mrs. Mitchell.
This afternoon addresses will be given by Miss Byrnes, and by Mrs. Brodie G. Higley, secretary of the Washington County branch of the new York State Suffrage Party, and one of the presidents of the Hudson Falls Political Equality Club, who will speak on Why Women Want to Vote.
The Rev. S. K. Emurian of Fort Edward will deliver an address at 8 o'clock this evening on Consecration to a Cause.
Tomorrow afternoon the Rev. O. D. Kellogg will conduct a class in Parliamentary Law, and on Friday evening Leroy V. Chew, editor of the Salem Press, will speak on Suffrage and the Press.

The large attendance at all sessions of persons who have hitherto given little heed to the equal suffrage cause, is a source of much gratification to the suffrage leaders.
Suffrage School in Wisconsin*

Thanks to the researchers at the Chapman Historical Museum who found this particular article.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Suffrage Rally 2017

I know it has been a while, & I apologize. I have been working on NYS Suffrage Centennial related events for over a year, & I am not slowing down now.

This past Sunday, May 7, 2017 from 1-3 PM at City Park in Glens Falls, NY, I was emcee & song leader at a Suffrage Rally reenactment, commemorating 100 years of Women's right to vote in New York State. The Glens Falls Area Suffrage Committee has been working to celebrate Warren & Washington County's involvement in the Suffrage Movement.

Suffrage Rally flyer promoting the event

Our suffrage rally was a look at the movement through historical speeches, letters, and song. Most of the presenters were representing the people who wrote, or spoke the words. Many were just folks from the community who expressed interest in reading, some do this sort of thing for a living (like me).

Greenwich Town Historian in Victorian bicycling costume

I have been researching the Suffrage Movement for many years. My specific area of focus is suffrage songs, & I have performed a number of history programs with song all over the region. 

We had a great turnout for the event. The local paper said 75 people, but that was at any given time. We estimate close to 150 people were there over the course of the two hour event! Here are just a few photos of the event.

Part of the Suffrage Rally crowd

Gertrude Foster Brown (Kim Harvish) addresses the crowd

Susan B. Anthony (Linda McKenney) listens intently 
 One of our speakers, Miss Susan B. Anthony, should be well known to locals, as she grew up in Battenville. Aunt Susan (portrayed by Linda McKenney) spoke out about Justice Hunt finding her guilty of voting without a jury of her peers (i.e. women). Judge Hunt was even there to interrupt!

Your honor, I have many things to say; for in your ordered verdict of guilty, you have trampled under foot every vital principle of our government. My natural rights, my civil rights, my political rights, my judicial rights, are all alike ignored. Robbed of the fundamental privilege of citizenship, I am degraded from the status of a citizen to that of a subject; and not only myself individually, but all of my sex, are, by your honor's verdict, doomed to political subjection under this, so-called, form of government.
Judge Hunt —Sit down Miss Anthony. I cannot allow you to argue the question.
May it please your honor, I am but simply stating the reasons why sentence cannot, in justice, be pronounced against me. Your denial of my citizen's right to vote, is the denial of my right of consent as one of the governed, the denial of my right of representation as one of the taxed, the denial of my right to a trial by a jury of my peers as an offender against law, therefore, the denial of my sacred rights to life, liberty and property
Judge Hunt —The Court cannot allow the prisoner to go on.
I entreat the Court to remember that since the day of my arrest, this is the first time that either myself or any person of my disfranchised class has been allowed a word of defense before judge or jury.
Judge Hunt—The prisoner has been tried according to the established forms of law.

Your honor, while the Court insists that I have been tried according to the established forms of law.  I argue that those forms of law are all made by men, interpreted by men, administered by men, in favor of men, and against women.
Judge Hunt—The Court orders the prisoner to sit down. It will not allow another word.
When I was brought before your honor for trial, I hoped for a broad and liberal interpretation of the Constitution and its recent amendments, that should declare all United States citizens under its protection, equality of rights guaranteed to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. But failing to get this justice—May it please your honor, I shall never pay a dollar of your unjust penalty. 

Suzanne Cohen brought a sign to the rally!
We also invited Glens Falls Art to come & demonstrate the process of tintypes! Using a wet process, they were able to capture images in a process popular during the Civil War, though it fell out of favor by the Edwardian era.

Tintype of Town Historian Tisha Dolton 2017

 Local Kevin McCullough read from a speech by Frederick Douglass from 1888.

From a speech by Frederick Douglass

Some of the songs were familiar enough so people could sing along with a bit of prompting!

The Glens Falls Area Suffrage Committee is planning more events throughout the year. So, like our Facebook page: & follow us on Twitter: @GFGwichSuffrage.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The following was originally published on the New York History Blog. Click the title below to go to that most fabulous blog on all things NY history! To contribute to the blog visit their Rally page. I am hoping to be at the conference!

New York Women’s Suffrage Centennial Conference Planned

By Editorial Staff on August 30, 2016
Night of Terror ProtesterOn Friday, October 7, the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network will hold a Women’s Suffrage Centennial Conference at the Holiday Inn in Seneca Falls/Waterloo. 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of women voting legally in New York.

The Conference will take place from 9 am to 4:30 pm. The Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, who is also serving as Chair of the New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission, has been invited to make the Keynote presentation.

Several special breakout sessions including:
– Promoting opportunities and locating funding sources
– How your local TPA can help drive business to your site
– How to advocate for women’s suffrage events and programs
Panel discussions about the suffrage movement from 1848 to present

Conference Outline

8 am – Registration, coffee and networking opportunities
9 – Welcome and introductions
9:10 – Welcoming Comments
Menzo Case, CEO, Generations Bank, Seneca Falls, NY
United States Senator Kirstin Gillibrand (invited)
9:30 – Keynote Address – Lt Gov & 2017 New York State Women’s Suffrage Centennial Chair Kathy Hochul (invited)
10:00 – Devin Lander, New York State Historian
Jennifer Lemak, Chief Curator of History, NYS Museum
10:30 – Sally Roesch Wagner, Executive Director Matilda Joslyn Gage Center – Reviewing the past & planning the future
11: – Are you utilizing your Tourism Promotion Agent? Panel discussion
11:50 – Margaret Fuller Update from Beacon, NY – Michael Barnett
Noon – Luncheon (included)
1 pm – Old Songs Concert Series Presentation – “The American Women’s Suffrage Movement in New York State in Song and Story”
1:45 – Breakout sessions – “Beginning Work on a Regional Suffrage Trail”
Katie Macintyre – Generations Bank
3 – Panel Discussion – “Bringing History to the Classroom and Public Programs”
Kim Harvish, Chapman Historical Museum, moderator
Susan Lewis, Women’s and Gender Studies, SUNY New Paltz
Susan Goodier, Women’s and Gender Studies, SUNY Oneonta
Ganondagan State Historic Site representative
Laurel Ullyette, Harriet Tubman Boosters
4 – Review the day for 2017 Women’s Suffrage Centennial planning
4:30 – Conference concludes

Prices are $55 for Network Members and $65 for Non-Members. Click here to sign up.

Special Pre-Conference Tour

On October 6, Auburn and Seneca Falls Historic sites, including the Tubman Home, Seward House Museum, Seneca Falls Historical Society Museum, National Women’s Hall of Fame and Women’s Rights National Historical Park will hold visits and tours. Additional information coming soon.

For questions and more information, email or call (315) 521-3985. This conference is produced by the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Susan B. Anthony Memorabilia

All historians have a focus. & many of them have a reason for that focus. My particular research focus is the Suffrage Movement, & one of the main reasons is because Susan B. Anthony lived, with her family, in Battenville here in the Town of Greenwich for a number of years.

Here is a look at some of my personal suffrage memorabilia collection, with a specific focus on Susan B. Anthony.

Post card of Susan B. Anthony's birthplace in Adams, MA

Post card of Susan B. Anthony's birthplace museum, Adams, MA

Flyer, sticker, and button from Susan B. Anthony Days, 1970

Susan B. Anthony finger puppet
The Susan B. Anthony finger puppet  can be purchased from The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild.

Susan B. Anthony Doll by Hallmark, 1979

Susan B. Anthony envelope and stamp postmarked 1936

This stamped & postmarked envelope was unopened & appear to contain something inside. Being curious, I used steam to loosen the glue & open the envelope without damaging any of the paper. This is what I found...

Found inside Susan B. Anthony envelope from 1936

I wonder what items will be created for the upcoming NY state Suffrage Centennial in 2017, or the US Suffrage Centennial in 2020! #ny4suffrage

*All items presented here are from the private collection of Patricia F. (Tisha) Dolton

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rough & Ready: Part One- Fire Extinguishers

My fascination with glass fire extinguishers goes back to my days as a site interpreter with the San Diego Historical Society (now the San Diego History Center). One of the house museums I gave tours of was the Villa Montezuma, an amazing Queen Ann Victorian built for an eccentric, Spiritualist pianist named Jesse Shepherd. In the basement kitchen, lining the counter, were a number of brightly colored "bottles" filled with clear fluid. They were fire grenade fire extinguishers.

I hadn't seen more of these beautiful glass fire extinguishers until I stepped into the Rough & Ready Firehouse Museum in Greenwich, NY during the Whipple City Festival in 2010, but I didn't have a camera with me (& I wouldn't own a smart phone for another 3 years). So, last month, I made sure I walked down to the museum during Whipple City Days to snap some pics. Gary St. Mary met my mom & I outside & walked us around the main floor talking about the various artifacts, & chatting about the locals, then & now.

Rough & Ready Firehouse Museum, Greenwich, NY

Fire grenades were invented in England in the late 1700s & became very popular in the US when Alanson Crane obtained a patent around 1870. They were used widely for the next 40 years until gradually replaced by metal canister extinguishers filled with refrigerant. The idea behind the glass fire grenade extinguisher was simple. A glass container was filled with fluid, typically carbon tetrachloride (CCI4) until it was discovered to cause respiratory problems, & was changed to less effective salt water. Thrown at the base of the fire, the fluid spilled from the broken container, & extinguished the flames.

Harden Hand Fire Extinguisher Company of Chicago, IL

Harden Hand Fire Extinguisher Company of Chicago, IL appears to be the most common of these US made extinguishers. They are typically blue in color with either a quilted diamond pattern, or a star with vertical ribs. They were generally one pint or 1 1/2 pints in volume.

The red "light bulbs" a common extinguisher from 1900-1920, & came in a six pack. These had a spring release that would cause a metal arm to break the glass when the fusible link melted in the fire. 

Fire extinguishers at the Rough & Ready in Greenwich, NY

 For more information check out the Antique Shoppe. & be careful if you have any of these glass fire extinguishers. You probably won't know if you have one filled with a potent chemical like carbon tetrachloride. So handle with care. A leak could require a HazMat Team.

This post is Part One in a series about the artifacts in the Rough & Ready Firehouse Museum in Greenwich, NY.