Picturesque Seneca Falls, where the Declaration of Sentiments was presented and signed in 1848, was abuzz with activity for the annual 3-day commemoration of the event spearheaded by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, among many others. This year, a new declaration was signed: the Declaration of Equalities, intended to help women in Islamic countries in particular.
All that glitters is not bad. Or, manifestations of wealth sometimes comprise much more than pretension. At a lecture by award winning architect Stephen F. Byrns about the restoration of the spectacular Untermyer Gardens in Yonkers, NY, which flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, what comes up but Mrs. Minnie Untermyer’s dedication to women’s suffrage and her husband’s wholehearted moral and financial support of this endeavor. Minnie participated in the famous 1917 suffrage parade in New York City, when petitions containing millions of signatures of New York State women were displayed on banners carried up Firth Avenue. The months long petition gathering effort that preceded the parade had led activists into the far reaches of the state, into rural as well as urban communities. The victory of votes for women in New York State weeks after the October parade signifies that New York was the only northeastern state to grant full suffrage for women before the 19th Amendment to the constitution was ratified in 1920.
The recent Celebration of Women’s Voices writers conference at Historic Hugeunot Street was an informative, eye-opening encounter with writers from the blogosphere. The presenters confirmed the facts of blogging life and offered a plethora of helpful resources.
A campaign poster: Votes for Mother
A campaign poster from 1917 (reproduced in the 2014 Woman’s Suffrage Calendar) brings to mind the “eternal vigilance” requirement of freedom. “The lack of direct political influence constitutes a powerful reason why women’s wages have been kept to a minimum,” stated the late Hon. Carroll D. Wright, Commissioner of Labor.
Meanwhile, today the population of homeless elderly women is imploding, according to an article by Rose Aquilar in The Nation. See Old, Female and Homeless.
The 2014 Woman’s Suffrage Calendar produced by the Howland Stone Store Museum presents striking examples of brilliant “visual rhetoric” used to get woman’s message across during the early 20th century. Let’s continue to remind Governor Cuomo of the importance of New York State’s upcoming 2017 Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Time flies. (Imagine a flying clock.)
In 2013 I participated in the centennial parade in Washington, D.C.. Among the celebrants, a sea of sorority sisters, dressed in red……
Currently, we’re studying a historic Quaker Meeting House that’s being restored in Farmington. http://farmingtonmeetinghouse.org There’s much more to learn as we study women’s heritage trails and obstacles on the paths.