Tag Archives: Suffragist

Happy Birthday, Abigail Scott Duniway

22 Oct

AbigailToday Abigail Scott Duniway would have been 179 years old. Duniway is best known for her work as a suffragist and for founding the newspaper The New Northwest in Portland, Oregon. The paper was dedicated to women’s rights, including suffrage.  Sadly, Duniway did not live to see the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920.

While Duniway may not have lived to witness the passage of the 19th amendment, she did see and was responsible for the passage of women’s suffrage in Oregon in 1912.  Duniway was the first woman to register to vote in Multnomah County.  Despite great resistance from her brother Harvey W. Scott, who was the editor of The Oregonian, Duniway was asked by then Governor Oswald West to draft the suffrage proclamation.

Duniway wrote several books, but may be best known for her last non-fiction,  Path Breaking: An Autobiographical History of the Equal Suffrage Movement in Pacific Coast States which was published the year before she died in 1914.  How nice to see that Oregon was ahead of the curve and on the right side of history as we celebrate Abigail Scott Duniway and her work for women’s rights.


Moment in Women’s History: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

7 Aug

In the past two years, we seem to have lost the fight for the poor and the workers in the United States. Big Corporations and the super elite along with the Fecal Five seem to have quashed and silenced the disenfranchised. We need another Elizabeth Gurley Flynn to take up the torch for the marginalized.

Flynn was a worker’s activist and feminist.  She was kicked out of high school for giving too many speeches for Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).  Coming from activist/socialist parents, Flynn sought out opportunities to carry on the work of her parents and give voice to the laborers.  Prior to WWI, Flynn organized strikes for textile workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  Not a big surprise, but she also became a very vocal proponent of birth control and reproductive rights, much like our Maggie Kuhn.

In 1920, Flynn was asked to join the National Board of the American Civil Liberties Union for her proven dedication to civil liberties and civil rights for immigrants.  Although her poor health, heart disease, forced her out of the spotlight, she moved to Southwest Portland, Oregon, where she took up the torch for the 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike.  She also joined the Communist Party and wrote a Feminist column for The Daily Worker. If you have not read her book, The Alderson Story: My Life as a Political Prisoner, which documents her time in prison, I highly recommend you visit your library and check out a copy.

The silk worker for instance may make beautiful things, fine shimmering silk. When it is hung up in the window of Altman’s or Macy’s or Wanamaker’s it looks beautiful. But the silk worker never gets a chance to use a single yard of it. And the producing of the beautiful thing instead of being a pleasure is instead a constant aggravation to the silk worker. They make a beautiful thing in the shop and then they come home to poverty, misery, and hardship. They wear a cotton dress while they are weaving the beautiful silk for some demi monde in New York to wear. –Elizabeth Gurly Flynn

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. It is my distinct pleasure to share this clip of Flynn. I hope you enjoy the video.

Women’s History: May 27

27 May

Happy Birthday, Rachel Carson

Happy Birthday, Rachel Carson. Carson was a pioneer environmentalist and author of Silent Spring. In Silent Spring,Carson documented the dangers of pesticides and herbicides and the lasting ill effects of toxic chemicals in water and on land and the presence of DDT even in mother’s milk.  Needless to say, Carson was attacked by the agricultural chemical industry.

After reading Silent Spring, President John F. Kennedy started an advisory committee which led to a full investigation of pesticides by the US Senate.  In 1963 the investigation corroborated Carson’s claims, and finally in 1972 the use of DDT was banned.  Just a side note, but the EPA was established in 1970 under the Nixon administration.  Carson died of cancer shortly after the book was published.

Happy Birthday, Amelia Jenks Bloomer.  Click here for more on our Amelia.

Happy Birthday, Julia Ward Howe. Click here to learn more about our Julia.

Women’s History: May 10

10 May

May 10, 1840, Elizabeth Cady marries Henry Stanton, becoming Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  Upon marrying Henry Stanton, Elizabeth had the word “obey” removed  from her wedding vows.  Stanton is best known for her work as a suffragist and abolitionist.   Stanton also helped to organize the 1848 Seneca Falls convention, the first women’s rights convention. Stanton was the chief author of the Declaration of Sentiments.  Initially, Stanton was a supporter of Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President,  Stanton’s support wanted when Woodhull published articles in her paper exposing the affair between Elizabeth Tilton and Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. Stanton and other suffragist felt that  Woodhull had pushed the envelope too far with some of her views on sex and “free love,” a phrase Woodhull coined.

May 10, 1872, Victoria Woodhull is nominated as the first woman candidate for U.S. president for the Equal Rights Party.

Women’s History: Mother’s Day

8 May

Happy Mother's Day

It was May 8, 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson declared Mother’s Day a national holiday in the United States.  Of course it was 44 years prior that Julia Ward Howe made her Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870.  Here is an excerpt from Howe’s proclamation:

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause…

Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God –
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Women’s History: May 5

5 May

Happy Birthday, Del Martin

Happy Birthday, Del Martin.  Martin was probably best known as the first lesbian wedding in California, in 2004, to her spouse/partner  Phyllis Lyon.  Martin and Lyon had been together for 55 years, until Martin passed away in 2008.  Martin had a long history as a lesbian and equal rights activist.  Martin published several books on sexuality: Lesbian/WomanLesbian Love and Liberation, and Battered Lives.  Unfortunately, Martin’s marriage in 2004 to Lyon was declared invalid.  There were married again before Martin’s death on June 16, 2008.  We shall see what the courts will do with Prop 8.

Happy Birthday, Lucia True Ames.  Ames was a social reformer, pacifist,suffragist, and abolitionist.  She is best known for starting what is now known as the American Peace Movement.   In addition to serving as president of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association (1903-1909), Ames was also active in the NAACP, and the ACLU.

Women’s History: May 3

3 May

Happy Birthday, Golda Meir

May 3 is a big day in Women’s History. Today we will be celebrating Maud O’Farrell Swartz, Golda Meir, and Nellie Tayloe Ross.

Happy Birthday, Golda Meir.  Meir was Israel’s fourth Prime Minister, as well as being the first woman to serve in that office.  Meir served as Prime Minister during the very difficult Yom Kippur War.  I personally feel Meir showed great wisdom and restraint and true leadership during this war. It was only a few months later that she resigned at Prime Minister.  I’m not sure how world leaders survive any type of war–regardless of the circumstances, I can only imagine that any war scars the soul.  Hard to believe this Russian born-woman, later a teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, would eventually become one of the key players in establishing the state of Israel in 1948.

Happy Birthday, Maud O’Farrell Swartz.  An Irish immigrant, Swartz became a suffragist here in the States. Swartz became a strong voice in the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) and in the labor movement.  Swartz served as president of the WTUL from 1922-1926, during a period when the organizing efforts declined in a business climate less friendly to unions–sound familiar?  Wisconsin and Maine must not be too familiar with history.

Finally, I would like to recognize Nellie Tayloe Ross.  Ross was the first female Director of the U.S. Mint, appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Quote of the day:

 It’s no accident many accuse me of conducting public affairs with my heart instead of my head. Well, what if I do? … Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.–Golda Meir

Women’s History: May 2

2 May

Happy Birthday, Inez Haynes Irwin

Happy Birthday, Inez Haynes Irwin. Irwin was probably best known for her work in journalism and for the suffragist movement. She was a member of the National Women’s Party, the party started by Alice Paul.  After the passage of the 19th Amendment, the NWP focused its attention the the Equal Rights Amendment. Irwin published many of her books under her former name, Inez Haynes Gillmore. Angel Island was a novel of Irwin’s that was so successful it was published three times, the first in 1914. In 1988 it was re-published as “early feminist” literature and includes an introduction by Portland’s Ursula K.Le Guin. Irwin published well over 40 books. Click here to learn more about Inez Haynes Irwin.

Women’s History: April 17

17 Apr

Anna Garlin Spencer

Happy Birthday, Anna Garlin Spencer.  Spencer was a social reformer, suffragist, and Unitarian minister. She was a social worker before there was such a thing.  Spencer was the first woman ordained in the state of Rhode Island.  Spencer was a pacifist who took on a role in the Peace Movement as well as the Women’s Suffragist Movement. She wrote one of the first social work text books adopted by Columbia University. Two of her books are: Woman’s Share in Social Culture and The Family and Its Members. Spencer was also one of the voices that helped to start the NAACP. To learn more about this do-gooder, Anna Garlin Spencer, click here.

Quote of the day:

 A successful woman preacher was once asked “what special obstacles have you met as a woman in the ministry?” “Not one,” she answered, “except the lack of a minister’s wife.”–Anna Garlin Spencer

Women’s History: April 11

11 Apr

Happy Birthday, Mary White Ovington

Happy Birthday, Mary White Ovington.  Ovington was best known as a suffragist, socialist, abolitionist, and co-founder of the NAACP. Ovington became a strong and vocal abolitionist after hearing Frederick Douglass speak in New York. To me, Ovington represents a real do-gooder–a social reformer working for equality and abolishing the class system of haves and have nots.  She joined the Socialist Party in 1905.  She was influenced by people like Jack London and Asa Philip who were able to see the connection between race and class.  In 1909, Ovington and others such as Ida Wells-Barnett, Fanny Garrison Villard, Jane Addams, and William Du Bois had formed the National Negro Committee which became the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People (NAACP) in 1910. For those of you that follow TSM with any regularity, you see how perfect a fit Mary White Ovington is for me and the blog. I wonder what it must feel like to be a history maker–allow me to qualify, a history maker on the right side of history.  To learn more about Mary White Ovington, click here.

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