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.