Friday, January 31, 2014


Timeline of the Women's Rights Movement

Timeline of the Women's Rights Movement in the U.S.
  • 1777 ~ The original 13 states pass laws that prohibit women from voting. Abigail Smith Adams, wife of President John Adams, writes that women "will not hold ourselves bound by any laws which we have no voice."
  • 1826 ~ The first public high schools for girls open in New York and Boston. The American Journal of Education wrote that the school should give "women such an education as shall make them fit wives for well educated men, and enable them to exert a salutary influence upon the rising generation."
  • 1833 ~ Oberlin College is founded in Ohio and becomes the first college to admit women and African Americans. The Oberlin Collegiate Institute held as one of its primary objectives: "the elevation of the female character, bringing within the reach of the misjudge and neglected sex, all the instructive privileges which hitherto have unreasonably distinguished the leading sex from theirs." While women took courses with men, they pursued diplomas from the Ladies Course. Three women graduated in 1841.
  • 1837 ~ Mary Lyon establishes Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, the first college for women.
  • 1848 ~ The world's first women's rights convention is held in Seneca Falls, NY, July 19-20. After 2 days of discussion and debate, 68 women and 32 men sign a Declaration of Sentiments, which outlines grievances and sets the agenda for the women's rights movement. A set of 12 resolutions is adopted calling for equal treatment of women and men under the law and voting rights for women.
  • 1849 ~ Elizabeth Smith Miller appears on the streets of Seneca Falls, NY,in "turkish trousers," soon to be known as "bloomers."
  • 1849 ~ Amelia Jenks Bloomer publishes and edits Lily, the first prominent women's rights newspaper.
  • 1849 ~ Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S. from Geneva College in New York. For the first time, women are permitted to practice medicine legally.
  • 1850 ~ Quaker physicians establish the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, PA to give women a chance to learn medicine. The first women graduated under police guard.
  • 1850 ~ The first National Women's Rights Convention takes place in Worcester, MA, attracting more than 1,000 participants. National conventions are held yearly (except for 1857) through 1860.
  • 1855 ~ Lucy Stone becomes first woman on record to keep her own name after marriage, setting a trend among women who are consequently known as "Lucy Stoners."
  • 1855 ~ The University of Iowa becomes the first state school to admit women.
  • 1855 ~ In Missouri v. Celia, a Black slave is declared property without right to defense against a master's act of rape.
  • 1859 ~ American Medical Association announces opposition to abortion. In 1860, Connecticut is the first state to prohibit all abortions, both before and after quickening.
  • 1859 ~ The birth rate continues its downward spiral as reliable condoms become available. By the late 1900s, women will raise an average of only two or three children.
  • 1860 ~ Of 2,225,086 Black women, 1,971,135 are held in slavery. In San Francisco, about 85% of Chinese women are essentially enslaved as prostitutes.
  • 1866 ~ The 14th Amendment is passed by Congress (ratified by the states in 1868), the first time "citizens" and "voters" are defined as "male" in the Constitution.
  • 1866 ~ The American Equal Rights Association is founded, the first organization in the U.S. to advocate women's suffrage.
  • 1868 ~ The National Labor Union supports equal pay for equal work.
  • 1868 ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony begin publishing The Revolution, an important women's movement periodical.
  • 1869 (May) ~ Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association. The primary goal of the organization is to achieve voting rights for women by means of a Congressional amendment to the Constitution.
  • 1869 (Nov) ~ Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell and others form the American Woman Suffrage Association. This group focuses exclusively on gaining voting rights for women through amendments to individual state constitutions.
  • 1869 (Dec. 10) ~ The territory of Wyoming passes the first women's suffrage law. The following year, women begin serving on juries in the territory.
  • 1870 ~ Iowa is the first state to admit a woman to the bar: Arabella Mansfield.
  • 1870 ~ The 15th Amendment receives final ratification. By its text, women are not specifically excluded from the vote. During the next two years, approximately 150 women will attempt to vote in almost a dozen different jurisdictions from Delaware to California.
  • 1872 ~ Through the efforts of lawyer Belva Lockwood, Congress passes a law to give women federal employees equal pay for equal work.
  • 1872 ~ Charlotte E. Ray, a Howard University law school graduate, becomes first African-American woman admitted to the U.S. bar.
  • 1872 ~ Susan B. Anthony casts her first vote in an attempt to test whether the 14th Amendment would be interpreted broadly to guarantee women the right to vote. She was tried in June 17-18, 1873 in Canandaigua, NY and found guilty of "unlawful voting."
  • 1873 ~ Bradwell v. Illinois: Supreme Court affirms that states can restrict women from the practice of any profession to uphold the law of the Creator.
  • 1873 ~ Congress passes the Comstock Law, defining contraceptive information as "obscene material."
  • 1874 (Oct 15) ~ Virginia Minor applies to register to vote in Missouri. The registrar, Reese Happersett, turned down the application, because the Missouri state constitution read: "Every male citizen of the United States shall be entitled to vote." Mrs. Minor sued in Missouri state court, claiming her rights were violated on the basis of the 14th Amendment. She argues that the 14th Amendment’s privileges and immunities clause must be interpreted to guarantee her a right to vote. However the Supreme Court rules that while women are "persons" under the 14th Amendment that they are a special category of "non-voting" citizens and that states remain free to grant or deny women the right to vote.
  • 1877 ~ Helen Magill is the first woman to receive a Ph.D. at a U.S. school, a doctorate in Greek from Boston University.
  • 1878 ~ The Susan B. Anthony Amendment, to grant women the vote, is first introduced in the U.S. Congress.
  • 1884 ~ Belva Lockwood, presidential candidate of the National Equal Rights Party, is the first woman to receive votes in a presidential election (approx. 4,000 in six states).
  • 1887 ~ For the first and only time in this century, the U.S. Senate votes on woman suffrage. It loses, 34 to 16. Twenty-five Senators do not bother to participate.
  • 1890 ~ After several years of negotiations, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association merge to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) the leadership of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Now the women's movement main organization, NAWSA works to obtain voting rights for women.
State Presidents and Officers
National American Woman Suffrage Assoc. (1892)

The Presidents of the NAWSA were:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1890-1892
Susan B. Anthony, 1892-1900
Carrie Chapman Catt, 1900-1904
Anna Howard Shaw, 1904-1915
Carrie Chapman Catt, 1915-1947
Caroline McCormick Slade, 1947-1951
  • 1893 ~ Colorado is the first state to adopt an amendment granting women the right to vote. Utah and Idaho follow suite in 1896; Washington State in 1910; California in 1911; Oregon, Kansas and Arizona in 1912; Alaska and Illinois in 1913; Montana and Nevada in 1914; New York in 1917; Michigan, South Dakota and Oklahoma in 1918.
  • 1896 ~ The National Association of Colored Women is formed, bringing together more than 100 Black women's clubs. leaders in the Black women's club movement include Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, Mary Church Terrell and Anita Julia Cooper.
  • 1899 ~ National Consumers League is formed with Florence Kelley as its president. The League organizes women to use their power as consumers to push for better working conditions and protective laws for women workers.
  • 1900 ~ Two-thirds of divorce cases are initiated by the wife; a century earlier, most women lacked the right to sue and were hopelessly locked into bad marriages.
  • 1903 ~ Based on a similar organization in Britain, the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) is founded at the convention of the American Federation of Labor in Boston, when it became clear that American labor had no intention of organizing America's women into trade unions.The goals of the WTUL are to secure better occupational conditions and improved wages for women as well as to encourage women to join the labor movement. Local branches are quickly established in Boston, Chicago and New York.
  • 1909 ~ Women garment workers strike in New York for better wages and working conditions in the Uprising of the 20,000. Over 300 shops eventually sign union contracts.
  • 1912 ~ Juliette Gordon Low founds first American group of Girl Guides, in Atlanta, GA. Later renamed the Girl Scouts of the USA, the organization brings girls into the outdoors, encourages their self-reliance and resourcefulness and prepares them for varied roles as adult women.
  • 1913 ~ Alice Paul and Lucy Burns form the Congressional Union to work toward the passage of a federal amendment to give women the vote. It later is renamed the National Women's Party. Members picket the White House and engage in other forms of civil disobedience, drawing public attention to the suffrage cause.
  • 1914 ~ Margaret Sanger calls for legalization of contraceptives in her feminist publication, The Woman Rebel, which the Post Office bans from the mails.
  • 1916 ~ Margaret Sanger opens the first U.S. birth control clinic in Brooklyn, NY. Although the clinic is shut down 10 days later and Sanger is arrested, she eventually wins support through the courts and opens another clinic in New York City in 1923.
  • 1917 ~ During WWI women move into many jobs working in heavy industry in mining, chemical manufacturing, automobile and railway plants. They also run street cars, conduct trains, direct traffic and deliver mail.
  • 1917 ~ Jeannette Rankin of Montana becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
  • 1919 ~ The federal woman suffrage amendment, originally written by Susan B. Anthony and introduced in Congress in 1878, is passed by the House of Representatives (304 to 89). The Senate passes it with just two votes to spare (56 to 25). It is then sent to the states for ratification. 
  • 1920 ~ The Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor is formed to collect information about women in the workforce and safeguard good working conditions for women.
  • 1920 (Aug 26) ~ The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote, is signed into law by the Secretary of State, Bainbridge Colby.
  • 1921 ~ Margaret Sanger organizes the American Birth Control League, which becomes Federation of Planned Parenthood in 1942.
  • 1923 ~ Supreme Court strikes down a 1918 minimum-wage law for District of Columbia women because, with the vote, women are considered equal to men. This ruling cancels all state minimum wage laws.
  • 1933 ~ Frances Perkins, the first woman in a Presidential cabinet, serves as Secretary of Labor during the entire Roosevelt presidency.
  • 1936 ~ The federal law prohibiting the dissemination of contraceptive information through the mail is modified, and birth control information is no longer classified as obscene. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second District renders an historic decision in U.S. v. One Package and asserts the rights of the physician in the legitimate use of contraceptives and eradicated the restrictions prohibiting the importation, sale or carriage by mail of contraceptive materials and information for medical purposes.
  • 1941 ~ A massive government and industry media campaign persuades women to take jobs during the war. Almost 7 million women respond, 2 million as industrial "Rosie the Riveters" and 400,000 join the military.
  • 1945 ~ Women industrial workers begin to lose their jobs in large numbers to returning service men, although surveys show 80% want to continue working.
  • 1957 ~ The number of women and men voting is approximately equal for the first time.
  • 1960 ~ The Food and Drug Administration approves birth control pills.
  • 1960 ~ Women now earn only 60 cents for every dollar earned by men, a decline since 1955. Women of color earn only 42 cents.
  • 1961 ~ President John Kennedy establishes the President's Commission on the Status of Women to explore issues relating to women and to make proposals in such areas as employment policy, education, and federal Social Security and tax laws relating to women. Kennedy appointed Eleanor Roosevelt, former U.S. delegate to the United Nations and widow of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to chair the commission The report issued by the Commission in 1963 documents substantial discrimination against women in the workplace and makes specific recommendations for improvement, including fair hiring practices, paid maternity leave, and affordable child care.
  • 1963 ~ The Equal Pay Act, proposed 20 years earlier, establishes equal pay for men and women performing the same job duties. It does not cover domestics, agricultural workers, executives, administrators or professionals.
  • 1963 ~ Betty Friedan's best-seller, The Feminine Mystique, detailed the "problem that has no name." Five million copies are sold by 1970, laying the groundwork for the modern feminist movement.
  • 1964 ~ Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars employment discrimination by private employers, employment agencies and unions based on race, sex and other grounds. To investigate complaints and enforce penalties, it establishes the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which receives 50,000 complaints of gender discrimination in its first five years.
  • 1966 ~ National Organization for Women (NOW) is formed by a group of feminists including Betty Friedan while attending the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women. It becomes the largest women's rights group in the United States, and begins working to end sexual discrimination, especially in the workplace, by means of legislative lobbying, litigation, and public demonstrations.
  • 1967 ~ Executive Order 11375 (amending Executive Order 11246) expands President Lyndon Johnson's affirmative action policy of 1965 to cover discrimination based on gender. As a result, federal agencies and contractors must take active measures to ensure that women as well as minorities enjoy the same educational and employment opportunities as white males.
  • 1968 ~ New York Radical Women garner media attention to the women's movement when they protest the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.
  • 1968 ~ The first national women's liberation conference is held in Chicago.
  • 1968 ~ The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) is founded.
  • 1968 ~ National Welfare Rights Organization is formed by activists such as Johnnie Tillmon and Etta Horm. They have 22,000 members by 1969, but are unable to survive as an organization past 1975.
  • 1968 ~ Shirley Chisholm (D-NY) is first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress.
  • 1970 ~ Women's wages fall to 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. Although non-white women earn even less, the gap is closing between white women and women of color.
  • 1970 ~ The Equal Rights Amendment is reintroduced into Congress.
  • 1972 ~ Congress sends the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution to the states for ratification. Originally drafted by Alice Paul in 1923, the amendment reads: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." Congress places a seven year deadline on the ratification process, and although the deadline extends until 1982, the amendment does not receive enough state ratifications. It is still not part of the U.S. Constitution.
  • 1972 ~ Title IX of the Education Amendments bans sex discrimination in schools. It states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." As a result of Title IX, the enrollment of women in athletics programs and professional schools increases dramatically.
  • 1973 ~ The first battered women's shelters open in the U.S., in Tucson, AZ and St. Paul, MN.
  • 1973 ~ In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court establishes a woman's right to abortion, effectively canceling the anti-abortion laws of 46 states.
  • 1974 ~ MANA, the Mexican-American Women's National Association, organizes as feminist activist organization. By 1990, MANA chapters operate in 16 states; members in 36.
  • 1974 ~ Hundreds of colleges are offering women's studies courses. Additionally, 230 women's centers on college campuses provide support services for women students.
  • 1975 ~ The first women's bank opens, in New York City.
  • 1978 ~ The Pregnancy Discrimination Act amends the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and bans employment discrimination against pregnant women. Under the Act, a woman cannot be fired or denied a job or a promotion because she is or may become pregnant, nor can she be forced to take a pregnancy leave if she is willing and able to work.
  • 1981 ~ At the request of women's organizations, President Carter proclaims the first "National Women's History Week," incorporating March 8, International Women's Day.
  • 1981 ~ Sandra Day O'Connor is the first woman ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1993, she is joined by Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
  • 1984 ~ Geraldine Ferraro is the first woman vice-presidential candidate of a major political party (Democratic Party).

One Woman One Vote ~ VIDEO

Friday, January 24, 2014

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)

"Oh, if I could but live another century and see the fruition of all the work for women! There is so much yet to be done." ~Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) is perhaps the most widely known suffragist of her generation and has become an icon of the woman’s suffrage movement. She traveled the country to give speeches, circulate petitions and organize local women’s rights organizations.

Susan was born in Adams, MA. After the Anthony family moved to Rochester, NY in 1845, they became active in the antislavery movement. Antislavery Quakers met at their farm almost every Sunday, where they were sometimes joined by Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison. Later two of Anthony's brothers, Daniel and Merritt, were anti-slavery activists in the Kansas territory.

In 1848 Susan was working as a teacher in Canajoharie, NY and became involved with the teacher’s union when she discovered that male teachers had a monthly salary of $10.00, while the female teachers earned $2.50 a month. Her parents and sister Marry attended the 1848 Rochester Woman’s Rights Convention held August 2.

Anthony’s experience with the teacher’s union, temperance and antislavery reforms and Quaker upbringing, laid fertile ground for a career in women’s rights reform to grow. The career would begin with an introduction to Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

On a street corner in Seneca Falls in 1851, Amelia Bloomer introduced Susan to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and later Stanton recalled the moment: “There she stood with her good earnest face and genial smile, dressed in gray silk, hat and all the same color, relieved with pale blue ribbons, the perfection of neatness and sobriety. I liked her thoroughly, and why I did not at once invite her home with me to dinner, I do not know.”

Meeting Elizabeth Cady Stanton was probably the beginning of her interest in women’s rights, but it is Lucy Stone’s speech at the 1852 Syracuse Convention that is credited for convincing Susan to join the women’s rights movement.

In 1853 Susan campaigned for women's property rights in New York State, speaking at meetings, collecting signatures for petitions and lobbying the state legislature. She circulated petitions for married women's property rights and woman suffrage. She addressed the National Women’s Rights Convention in 1854 and urged more petition campaigns. In 1854 she wrote to Matilda Joslyn Gage that “I know slavery is the all-absorbing question of the day, still we must push forward this great central question, which underlies all others.”

By 1856 she became an agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society, arranging meetings, making speeches, putting up posters and distributing leaflets. She encountered hostile mobs, armed threats and things thrown at her. She was hung in effigy, and in Syracuse her image was dragged through the streets.

At the 1856 National Women’s Rights Convention, Susan served on the business committee and spoke on the necessity of the dissemination of printed matter on women’s rights. She named The Lily and The Woman’s Advocate, and said they had some documents for sale on the platform.

Stanton and Anthony founded the American Equal Rights Association and in 1868 became editors of its newspaper, The Revolution. The masthead of the newspaper proudly displayed their motto, “Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.”

By 1869 Stanton, Anthony and others formed the National Woman Suffrage Association and focused their efforts on a federal woman’s suffrage amendment. In an effort to challenge suffrage, Susan and her three sisters voted in the 1872 Presidential election. She was arrested and put on trial in the Ontario Courthouse, Canandaigua, NY. The judge instructed the jury to find her guilty without any deliberations, and imposed a $100 fine. When she refused to pay a $100 fine and court costs, the judge did not sentence her to prison time, which ended her chance of an appeal. An appeal would have allowed the suffrage movement to take the question of women’s voting rights to the Supreme Court, but it was not to be.

From 1881 to 1885, Anthony joined Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage in writing the History of Woman Suffrage. As a final tribute to Susan B. Anthony, the Nineteenth Amendment was named the Susan B. Anthony Amendment. It was ratified in 1920.

Click HERE for more information.

The 19th Amendment

Governor Edwin P. Morrow signing the Anthony Amendment.
Kentucky was the 24th state to ratify on 6 Jan 1920.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Annie Besant (1847-1933)

"Better remain silent, better not even think, if you are not prepared to act." ~Annie Besant

Annie Morris, the daughter of William Wood and Emily Morris, was born in 1847 in London, Enland. Her father, a doctor, died when she was only five years old. Without any savings, Annie's mother found work looking after boarders at Harrow School. Mrs. Wood was unable to care for Annie and persuaded a friend, Ellen Marryat, who lived in Charmouth in Dorset, to take responsibility for her upbringing.

In 1866 Annie met the Rev. Frank Besant. Although only 19, she agreed to marry the young clergyman in Hastings on 21 Dec 1867. By the time she was 23 Annie had two children and was deeply unhappy because her independent spirit clashed with the traditional views of her husband. She also began to question her religious beliefs. When Annie refused to attend communion, Frank Besant ordered her to leave the family home after which a legal separation was arranged. Their son Digby stayed with Frank and daughter Mabel went to live with Annie in London.

After leaving her husband Annie completely rejected Christianity, and in 1874 joined the Secular Society. She soon developed a close relationship with Charles Bradlaugh, editor of the radical National Reformer and leader of the secular movement in Britain. Bradlaugh gave Annie a job working for the National Reformer and during the next few years wrote many articles on issues such as marriage and women's rights.

Annie also developed a reputation as an outstanding public speaker. The Irish journalist, T. P. O'Connor wrote: " What a beautiful and attractive and irresistible creature she was then, with her slight but full and well-shaped figure, her dark hair, her finely chiselled features… with that short upper lip that seemed always in a pout". Beatrice Webb claimed that she was the "only woman I have ever known who is a real orator, who has the gift of public persuasion."

Tom Mann agreed: "The first time I heard Mrs. Besant was in Birmingham, about 1875. The only women speakers I had heard before this were of mediocre quality. Mrs. Besant transfixed me; her superb control of voice, her whole-souled devotion to the cause she was advocating, her love of the down-trodden, and her appeal on behalf of a sound education for all children, created such an impression upon me, that I quietly, but firmly, created such an impression upon me, that I quietly, but firmly, resolved that I would ascertain more correctly the why and wherefore of her creed."

In 1877 Annie and Charles Bradlaugh decided to publish The Fruits of Philosophy by Charles Knowlton, a book that advocated birth control. Annie and Bradlaugh were charged with publishing material that was "likely to deprave or corrupt those whose minds are open to immoral influences". In court they argued that "we think it more moral to prevent conception of children than, after they are born, to murder them by want of food, air and clothing." Besant and Bradlaugh were both found guilty of publishing an "obscene libel" and sentenced to six months in prison. At the Court of Appeal the sentence was quashed.

After the court-case Annie wrote and published her own book advocating birth control entitled The Laws of Population. The idea of a woman advocating birth-control received wide-publicity. Newspapers like The Times accused her of writing "an indecent, lewd, filthy, bawdy and obscene book". Rev. Besant used the publicity of the case to persuade the courts that he, rather than Annie, should have custody of their daughter Mabel.

In 1880 Charles Bradlaugh was elected MP for Northampton, but as he was not a Christian he refused to take the oath, and was expelled from the House of Commons. As well as working with Bradlaugh, Annie also became friends with socialists such as Walter Crane, Edward Aveling and George Bernard Shaw. This upset Bradlaugh, who regarded socialism as a disruptive foreign doctrine.

After joining the Social Democratic Federation, Annie started her own campaigning newspaper called The Link. Like Catherine Booth of the Salvation Army, Annie was concerned about the health of young women workers at the Bryant & May match factory. On 23 Jun 1888, Annie published an article White Slavery in London where she drew attention to the dangers of phosphorus fumes and complained about the low wages paid to the women who worked at Bryant & May.

Three women who provided information for Annie's article were sacked. Annie responded by helping the women at Bryant & May to form a Matchgirls Union. After a three week strike, the company was forced to make significant concessions including the re-employment the three victimized women.

Annie also join the socialist group, the Fabian Society, and in 1889 contributed to the influencial book, Fabian Essays. As well as Besant, the book included articles by George Bernard Shaw, Sydney Webb, Sydney Olivier, Graham Wallas, William Clarke and Hubert Bland. Edited by Shaw, the book sold 27,000 copies in two years.

In 1889 Annie was elected to the London School Board. After heading the poll with a 15,000 majority over the next candidate, she argued that she had been given a mandate for large-scale reform of local schools. Some of her many achievements included a program of free meals for undernourished children and free medical examinations for all those in elementary schools.

In the 1890s Annie became a supporter of Theosophy, a religious movement founded by Helena Blavatsky in 1875. Theosophy was based on Hindu ideas of karma and reincarnation with nirvana as the eventual aim. She went to live in India but remained interested in the subject of women's rights. She continued to write letters to British newspapers arguing the case for women's suffrage and in 1911 was one of the main speakers at an important NUWSS rally in London.

While in India, Annie joined the struggle for Indian Home Rule, and during the First World War was interned by the British authorities. She died in India on 20 Sep 1933.

Amelia Bloomer (1818-1894)

"As soon as it became known that I was wearing the new dress, letters came pouring in upon me by the hundreds from women all over the country making inquiries about the dress and asking for patterns—showing how ready and anxious women were to throw off the burden of long, heavy skirts." ~Amelia Bloomer

Amelia Jenks was born on 27 May 1818 in Homer, NY. At the age of 22 she married attorney Dexter Bloomer, who encouraged her to write for his New York newspaper, the Seneca Falls County Courier.

In 1848, Amelia attended the Seneca Falls Convention, an influential women's rights convention in the U.S. The following year, she began editing the first newspaper for women, The Lily. It was published biweekly from 1849 until 1853. The newspaper began as a temperance journal, but came to have broad mix of contents ranging from recipes to moralist tracts, particularly when influenced by temperance activist and suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Amelia felt that because women lecturers were considered unseemly, writing was the best way for women to work for reform. Originally, The Lily was to be for “home distribution” among members of the Seneca Falls Ladies Temperance Society, which had formed in 1848, and eventually had a circulation of over 4,000. The paper encountered several obstacles early on, and the Society’s enthusiasm died out. Bloomer felt a commitment to publish and assumed full responsibility for editing and publishing the paper. Originally, the title page had the legend “Published by a committee of ladies.” But after 1850 – only Bloomer’s name appeared on the masthead. This newspaper was a model for later periodicals focused on women's suffrage.

Amelia described her experience as the first woman to own, operate and edit a news vehicle for women:

"It was a needed instrument to spread abroad the truth of a new gospel to woman, and I could not withhold my hand to stay the work I had begun. I saw not the end from the beginning and dreamed where to my propositions to society would lead me."

In her publication, she promoted a change in dress standards for women that would be less restrictive in regular activities:

"The costume of women should be suited to her wants and necessities. It should conduce at once to her health, comfort, and usefulness; and, while it should not fail also to conduce to her personal adornment, it should make that end of secondary importance."

In 1851, New England temperance activist Elizabeth Smith Miller (aka Libby Miller) adopted what she considered a more rational costume: loose trousers gathered at the ankles, like women's trousers worn in the Middle East and Central Asia, topped by a short dress or skirt and vest. The costume was worn publicly by actress Fanny Kemble. Miller displayed her new clothing to Stanton, her cousin, who found it sensible and becoming, and adopted it immediately. In this garb Stanton visited Bloomer, who began to wear the costume and promote it enthusiastically in her magazine. Articles on the clothing trend were picked up in the New York Tribune. More women wore the fashion which was promptly dubbed "The Bloomer Costume" or "Bloomers". However, the bloomers were subjected to ceaseless ridicule in the press and harassment on the street. Amelia herself dropped the fashion in 1859, saying that a new invention, the crinoline, was a sufficient reform that she could return to conventional dress.

Amelia remained a suffrage pioneer and writer throughout her life, writing for a wide array of periodicals. Although she was far less famous than some other suffragettes, she made many significant contributions to the women’s movement — particularly concerning dress reform and the temperance movement. She led suffrage campaigns in Nebraska and Iowa, and served as president of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association from 1871 until 1873.

Amelia died on 30 Dec 1894 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Madeline McDowell Breckinridge (1872-1920)

Madeline "Madge" McDowell Breckinridge was a leader of the women's suffrage movement and one of Kentucky's leading progressive reformers.

She was born in Woodlake, KY on 20 May 1872 and grew up in Ashland at the Henry Clay Estate, a farm established by her great-grandfather, 19th century statesman Henry Clay. Her mother was Henry Clay, Jr.'s daughter, Anne Clay, and her father was Maj. Henry Clay McDowell (a namesake of Henry Clay), who served during the American Civil War on the Union side.
She was educated in Lexington, KY, at Miss Porter's School in Farmington, CT and at State College (now the University of Kentucky) intermittently between 1890-1894. In 1898 Madeline married Desha Breckinridge, the editor of the Lexington Herald and a brother of the pioneering social worker Sophonisba Breckinridge. The Breckinridges together used the newspaper's editorial pages to promote political and social causes of the Progressive Era, especially programs for the poor, child welfare and for women's rights.

The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed shortly before she died. She was able to vote only once in her life, in the November 1920 presidential election, before suffering a stroke and dying on Thanksgiving day, 25 Nov 1920.

Lucy Burns (1879-1966)

Lucy Burns was a versatile and pivotal figure within the National Woman's Party. With distinctive flame-red hair that matched her personality and convictions, she was often characterized as a charmer and a firebrand–and the crucial support behind her friend Alice Paul's higher-profile leadership.

Born to an Irish Catholic family in Brooklyn, NY on 28 Jul 1879, Lucy was a brilliant student of language and linguistics. She studied at Vassar College and Yale University in the United States and at the University of Berlin in Germany (1906-8). While a student at Oxford College in Cambridge, England, she witnessed the militancy of the British suffrage movement.

She set her academic goals aside and in 1909 became an activist with Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst's Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). She perfected the art of street speaking, was arrested repeatedly, and was imprisoned four times. From 1910 to 1912 she worked as a suffrage organizer in Scotland.

Lucy met Alice Paul in a London police station after both were arrested during a suffrage demonstration outside Parliament. Their alliance was powerful and long-lasting. Returning to the United States (Paul in 1910, Burns in 1912), the two women worked first with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) as leaders of its Congressional Committee. In April 1913 they founded the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CU), which evolved into the NWP. Burns organized campaigns in the West (1914, 1916), served as NWP legislative chairman in Washington, D.C., and, beginning in April 1914, edited the organization's weekly journal, The Suffragist.

She was a driving force behind the picketing of President Woodrow Wilson's administration in Washington, DC, beginning in January 1917. Six months later, she and Dora Lewis–targeting the attention of visiting Russian envoys–attracted controversy by prominently displaying a banner outside the White House declaring that America was not a free democracy as long as women were denied the vote. When Lucy participated in a similar action with Katharine Morey later the same month, they were arrested for obstructing traffic. The banners displeased President Wilson and escalated the administration's response to the picketing.

At Occoquan
Lucy was arrested and imprisoned six times. Declaring that suffragists were political prisoners, she was among those in the Occoquan Workhouse who instigated hunger strikes in October 1917 and were subsequently placed in solitary confinement. Jailed again when protesting the treatment of the imprisoned Alice Paul, she joined Paul and others in another round of Occoquan hunger strikes. She was in Occoquan for what became known as the “Night of Terror” on 15 Nov 1917, during which she was beaten and her arms were handcuffed above her head in her cell. Particularly brutal force-feeding soon followed. After her release, she commenced nationwide speaking tours. Unlike Paul, who remained active in the NWP until her death, Lucy retired from public campaigns with the success of the 19th Amendment. She spent the rest of her life working with the Catholic Church and died on 22 Dec 1966 in Brooklyn, NY.

An expanded biography can be found HERE.

Night of Terror ~ VIDEO

Lillie Devereau Blake (1833-1913)

"We are tired of the pretense that we have special privileges and the reality that we have none; of the fiction that we are queens, and the fact that we are subjects; of the symbolism which exalts our sex but is only a meaningless mockery." ~Lillie Devereau Blake

Lillie Devereux Blake (August 12, 1833–December 30, 1913) was an American woman suffragist and reformer, born in Raleigh, North Carolina, and educated in New Haven, Connecticut.

Born Elizabeth Johnson Devereux to George Pollock Devereux and Sarah Elizabeth Johnson, she spent much of her early childhood in Roanoke, Virginia. It was George Devereux who called his daughter "Lilly," giving her the name she would later adopt as her own. Her father, a plantation owner in North Carolina, died in 1837. At this point, Sarah Elizabeth Johnson took her two daughters and moved back to her family in Connecticut. Lillie grew up in New Haven, Connecticut where she studied at Miss Apthorp's school for girls before receiving further education from Yale tutors.

Lillie’s close connection to Yale turned into a minor scandal. She was a renowned belle, who at 16 wrote that she intended to redress the wrongs done to her sex by trifling with men’s hearts. Although she abandoned this particular formulation of feminism, the difficulties of expressing her independence within the limited roles allowed by her social station would prove a continuing theme in her life. In this case, a Yale undergraduate was expelled for being involved with her in what was called a disgraceful affair. The student was an admirer whose affections were too serious. She rejected him and he retaliated with stories implying a sexual relationship. He was punished by the college for impugning her character. In her autobiography, Lillie Blake denied that a disgraceful affair had taken place and expressed regret that the student had been expelled. She also noted that the story was not taken very seriously in social circles as she still received offers of marriage.

In 1855 she married Frank G. Q. Umsted, a Phildelphia lawyer. Her first daughter was born in 1857; her second daughter was born the following year. Frank died in 1859 (after apparently committing suicide) leaving her with two children to support. Blake began to write feverishly to support herself and her daughters: she wrote short stories, novels, newspaper and magazine articles. Her first story, "A Lonely House", appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. In the next few years, she produced two successful novels, Southwold (1859) and Rockford (1862). What generated the most money and fame for Blake, however, was her job as a correspondent in Washington, DC during the Civil War. She was contracted as a correspondent for several publications, including the New York Evening Post, New York World, Philadelphia Press and Forney's War Press.

Blake’s early fiction modeled itself on the popular sentimental fiction of the time, but became subversive. Her stories for popular magazines, published under her own name and various noms de plum, depicted strong female protagonists in standard sentimental plots which reflected her own resistance to the roles that she was expected to fill in her own life. Her later fiction included the realism that she gained from her journalism experience. It also showed a more explicit consciousness of women’s issues. Her most famous novel Fettered for Life, or, Lord and Master: A Story of To-Day is an attempt to draw attention to the myriad of complex issues facing women.

In 1866 she married Grinfill Blake, a wealthy New York merchant. She was one of the active promoters of the movement that resulted in the founding of Barnard College. In 1869, she visited the Women's Bureau in New York and soon after, began speaking all over the United States in support of female enfranchisement. She earned a reputation as a freethinker and gained fame when she attacked the well known lectures of Morgan Dix, a clergyman who asserted that woman’s inferiority was supported by the Bible. Her lectures, published as Woman’s Place To-Day rejected this idea, asserting in one instance that if Eve was inferior to Adam because she was created after him, then by the same logic Adam was inferior to the fishes. Blake testified before the New York Constitutional Commission of 1873 in support for women's suffrage. Along with Matilda Joslyn Gage, she signed the 1876 Centennial Women's Rights Declaration. She was president of the New York State Woman's Suffrage Association from 1879 to 1890 and of the New York City Woman's Suffrage League from 1886 to 1900. Blake completely broke ties with the National American Woman Suffrage Association in 1900 when Susan B. Anthony, who was retiring as the leader of the organization, selected Carrie Chapman Catt and Anna Howard to succeed her. Blake had withdrawn her candidacy in the interests of harmony. For years, Blake and Anthony had disagreed on the basic purpose of the women's movement. Anthony wanted to focus solely on suffrage; Blake wanted to pursue a broader course of reform. This split in strategy was caused by a deeper theoretical divide. Blake developed a theory of gender that was radical for her time. She argued that gender roles are learned behaviors, and that women and men shared a common nature. Therefore, women should have the same rights as men in all areas. Anthony and her followers instead emphasized the unique nature of women, their separate sphere, and innate moral authority as justification for their right to suffrage. This conflict, among others that Blake took part in, helps to explain the way she is remembered, or not remembered, in the context of the woman’s movement.

Blake went on to create the National Legislative League. She worked on improving immigration laws for women and furthering equality in society. In addition, Blake helped establish pensions for Civil War nurses and also worked on granting mothers joint custody of their children. She wanted to have women involved in civic affairs and encouraged them to study law in school. She was the author of the law providing for matrons in the police stations, passed in 1891. 

Blake was an avid writer and her writings also include: Fettered for Life (1872), a novel dealing with the woman's suffrage question; Woman's Place To-day (1883), a series of lectures in reply to Dr. Morgan Dix's lenten sermons on the Calling of a Christian Woman; and A Daring Experiment (1894).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947)

"To the wrongs that need resistance, To the right that needs assistance, To the future in the distance, Give yourselves." ~Carrie Chapman Catt

Carrie Chapman Catt (January 9, 1859 – March 9, 1947) was an American women's suffrage leader who campaigned for the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave U.S. women the right to vote in 1920. Catt served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Associationand was the founder of the League of Women Voters and the International Alliance of Women. She "led an army of voteless women in 1919 to pressure Congress to pass the constitutional amendment giving them the right to vote and convinced state legislatures to ratify it in 1920" and "was one of the best-known women in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century and was on all lists of famous American women".

Born Carrie Clinton Lane in Ripon, Wisconsin, she spent her childhood in Charles City, Iowa and graduated from Iowa State Agricultural College in Ames, Iowa, graduating in three years. Carrie became a teacher and then superintendent of schools in Mason City, Iowa in 1885 and was the first female superintendent of the district.

In 1885 Carrie married newspaper editor Leo Chapman, but he died soon after. Eventually she landed on her feet, but only after some harrowing experiences in the male working world. In 1890, she married George Catt, a wealthy engineer. Their marriage allowed her to spend a good part of each year on the road campaigning for women's suffrage, a cause she had become involved with in Iowa during the late 1880s. She also joined the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

Carrie became a close colleague of Susan B. Anthony, who selected Carrie to succeed her as head of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). She was elected president of NAWSA twice; her first term was from 1900 to 1904 and her second term was from 1915 to 1920. Her second term coincided with the climax of the women's suffrage movement in the U.S. Under her leadership the movement focused on success in at least one eastern state, because previous to 1917 only western states had granted female suffrage. She thus led a successful campaign in New York state, which finally approved suffrage in 1917. During that same year President Wilson and the Congress entered World War I. Carrie made the controversial decision to support the war effort, which shifted the public's perception in favor of the suffragettes who were now perceived as patriotic. Receiving the support of President Wilson, the suffrage movement culminated in the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on 26 Aug 1920.

In her efforts to win women's suffrage state by state, Carrie sometimes appealed to the prejudices of the time. In South Dakota, she lamented that while women lacked suffrage, "The murderous Sioux is given the right to franchise which he is ready and anxious to sell to the highest bidder." In 1894, she urged that uneducated immigrants be stripped of their right to vote - the United States should "cut off the vote of the slums and give it to woman. White supremacy will be strengthened, not weakened, by women's suffrage," was her argument when trying to win over Mississippi and South Carolina in 1919.

NAWSA was by far the largest organization working for women's suffrage in the U.S. From her first endeavors in Iowa in the 1880s to her last in Tennessee in 1920, Carrie supervised dozens of campaigns, mobilized numerous volunteers (1 million by the end), and made hundreds of speeches. After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, she retired from NAWSA.

Carrie founded the League of Women Voters in 1920 as a successor to NAWSA. In the same year, she ran as the Presidential candidate for the ideologically Georgist Commonwealth Land Party.

She was also a leader of the international women's suffrage movement. She helped to found the International Woman Suffrage Alliance (IWSA) in 1902, serving as its president from 1904 until 1923. The IWSA remains in existence, now as the International Alliance of Women.

Carrie was active in anti-war causes during the 1920s and 1930s. It was during this period that she became recognized as one of the most prominent female leaders of her time.

In 1933 in response to Adolf Hitler's rise to power, Carrie organized the Protest Committee of Non-Jewish Women Against the Persecution of Jews in Germany. This group gathered 9,000 signatures of non-Jewish American women and attached these to a letter of protest sent to Hitler in August 1933. The letter decried acts of violence and restrictive laws against German Jews. She pressured the U.S. government to ease immigration laws so that Jews could more easily take refuge in America. For her efforts, Catt became the first woman to receive the American Hebrew Medal. She also wrote the Do You know pamphlet, informing people about Woman Suffrage issues.

The last event Carrie helped organize was the Woman's Centennial Conference in New York in 1940, a celebration of the feminist movement in the United States. She died in New Rochelle in 1947.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Millicent Fawcett (1847-1929)

"A large part of the present anxiety to improve the education of girls and women is also due to the conviction that the political disabilities of women will not be maintained." ~Millicent Fawcett

Millicent Garrett Fawcett, the daughter Newson Garrett and Louise Dunnell, was born in Aldeburgh, Suffolk in 1847. When she was twelve years old, her older sister, Elizabeth Garrett, moved to London in an attempt to qualify as a doctor. Millicent's visits to London to stay with her older sister Elizabeth and other sister, Louise, brought her into contact with people with radical political views. In 1865 Louise took Millicent to hear a speech on women's rights made by the Radical MP, John Stuart Mill. Millicent was deeply impressed by Mill and became one of his many loyal supporters.

Mill introduced Millicent to other campaigners for women's rights. This included Henry Fawcett, the Radical MP for Brighton. Fawcett, who had been blinded in a shooting accident in 1857, had been expected to marry Millicent's sister Elizabeth, but in 1865 she decided to concentrate of her attempts to become a doctor. Henry and Millicent became close friends and even though she was warned against marrying a disabled man, 14 years her senior, the couple was married in 1867. On 4 Apr 1868 their daughter, Philippa Fawcett, was born.

Over the next few years Millicent spent much of her time assisting Henry in his work as a MP However, Henry, an ardent supporter of women's rights, encouraged Millicent to continue her own career as a writer. At first Millicent wrote articles for journals but later books such as Political Economy for Beginners and Essays and Lectures on Political Subjects were published.

Millicent joined the London Suffrage Committee in 1868. Although only a moderate public speaker, Millicent was a superb organizer and eventually emerged as the one of the leaders of the suffrage movement. She was so nervous before a speech that she was often physically ill. As a result she refused to make speeches more than four times a week.

She also campaigned against the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act: "In 1857 the Divorce Act was passed, and, as is well known, set up by law a different moral standard for men and women. Under this Act, which is still in force, a man can obtain the dissolution of the marriage if he can prove one act of infidelity on the part of his wife; but a woman cannot get her marriage dissolved unless she can prove that her husband has been guilty both of infidelity and cruelty."

Millicent also took a keen interest in women's education. She was involved in the organization of women's lectures at Cambridge that led to the establishment of Newnham College. Philippa Fawcett, went to Newnham and was placed first in the mathematical tripos.

The political career of Henry Fawcett was also going well. In 1880 William Gladstone, leader of the Liberal government, appointed Henry as his Postmaster General. Henry, who introduced the parcel post, postal orders and the sixpenny telegram, also used his power as Postmaster General to start employing women medical officers.

Henry was taken seriously ill with diphtheria and, although he gradually recovered, his political career had come to an end. Severely weakened by his illness, he died of pleurisy on 6 Nov 1884. It was claimed that "even decades later she would be visibly distressed by the mention of her husband's name."

Millicent now had more time for her own political career and became involved with the Personal Rights Association, which took an active role in exposing men who preyed on vulnerable young women. In 1886 she took part in a physical assault on an army major who had been pestering a servant of a friend of hers. According to William Stead: "They threw flour over his waxed moustache and in his eyes and down the back of his neck. They pinned a paper on his back, and made him the derision of a crowded street... in the sequel he was turned out of a club, and cut by a few lady friends - among them a young lady of some means to whom he was engaged at the time when he planned to ruin the country lass. Mrs Fawcett had no pity; she would have cashiered him if she could."

After the death of Lydia Becker in 1890, Millicent was elected president of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). She believed that it was important that the NUWSS campaigned for a wide variety of causes. This included helping Josephine Butler in her campaign against white slave traffic. Millicent also gave support to Clementina Black and her attempts to persuade the government to help protect low paid women workers.

Millicent's sister, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and her daughter, Louisa Garrett Anderson, joined the WSPU. In December, 1911 she wrote to her sister: "We have the best chance of Women's Suffrage next session that we have ever had, by far, if it is not destroyed by disgusting masses of people by revolutionary violence." Elizabeth agreed and replied: "I am quite with you about the WSPU. I think they are quite wrong. I wrote to Miss Pankhurst... I have now told her I can go no more with them."

Although Millicent had always been a Liberal, she became increasing angry at the party's unwillingness to give full support to women's suffrage. Herbert Asquith became Prime Minister in 1908. Unlike other leading members of the Liberal Party, Asquith was a strong opponent of votes for women. In 1912 Fawcett and the NUWSS took the decision to support Labour Party candidates in parliamentary elections.

Despite Asquith's unwillingness to introduce legislation, Millicent remained committed to the use of constitutional methods to gain votes for women. Like other members of the NUWSS, she feared that the militant actions of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) would alienate potential supporters of women's suffrage. However, Fawcett admired the courage of the suffragettes and was restrained in her criticism of the WSPU.

Millicent was upset when Louisa Garrett Anderson was sent to prison for taking part in the window-braking campaign. She wrote to her sister, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson: "I am in hopes she will take her punishment wisely, that the enforced solitude will help her to see more in focus than she always does."

Millicent Fawcett addressing the crowds in
Hyde Park at the culmination of the Pilgrimage on 
26 Jul 1913.
Two days after the British government declared war on Germany on 4 Aug 1914, the NUWSS declared that it was suspending all political activity until the conflict was over. Although Millicent supported the First World War effort she did not follow the WSPU strategy of becoming involved in persuading young men to join the armed forces. Fran Abrams has pointed out: "She (Millicent Fawcett) would lose no fewer than twenty-nine members of her extended family, including two nephews."

Despite pressure from members of the NUWSS, Millicent refused to argue against the First World War. Her biographer argued: "She stood like a rock in their path, opposing herself with all the great weight of her personal popularity and prestige to their use of the machinery and name of the union." At a Council meeting of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies held in February 1915, Fawcett attacked the peace efforts of people like Mary Sheepshanks. Fawcett argued that until the German armies had been driven out of France and Belgium: "I believe it is akin to treason to talk of peace."

After a stormy executive meeting in Buxton all the officers of the NUWSS (except the Treasurer) and ten members of the National Executive resigned over the decision not to support the Women's Peace Congress at the Hague. This included Chrystal Macmillan, Margaret Ashton, Kathleen Courtney, Catherine Marshall, Eleanor Rathbone and Maude Royden, the editor of the The Common Cause.

Kathleen Courtney wrote when she resigned: "I feel strongly that the most important thing at the present moment is to work, if possible on international lines for the right sort of peace settlement after the war. If I could have done this through the National Union, I need hardly say how infinitely I would have preferred it and for the sake of doing so I would gladly have sacrificed a good deal. But the Council made it quite clear that they did not wish the union to work in that way."

According to Elizabeth Crawford, author of The Suffragette Movement (1999): "Mrs. Fawcett afterwards felt particularly bitter towards Kathleen Courtney, whom she felt had been intentionally and personally wounding, and refused to effect any reconciliation, relying, as she said, on time to erase the memory of this difficult period."

In April 1915, Aletta Jacobs, a suffragist in Holland, invited suffrage members all over the world to an International Congress of Women in the Hague. Some of the women who attended included Mary Sheepshanks, Jane Addams, Alice Hamilton, Grace Abbott, Emily Bach, Lida Gustava Heymann, Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Kathleen Courtney, Emily Hobhouse, Chrystal Macmillan and Rosika Schwimmer. At the conference the women formed the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WIL).

After the passing of the Qualification of Women Act the NUWSS and WSPU disbanded. A new organisation called the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship was established. As well as advocating the same voting rights as men, the organisation also campaigned for equal pay, fairer divorce laws and an end to the discrimination against women in the professions.

Women had their first opportunity to vote in a General Election in December, 1918. Several of the women involved in the suffrage campaign stood for Parliament. Only one, Constance Markiewicz, standing for Sinn Fein, was elected. However, as a member of Sinn Fein, she refused to take her seat in the House of Commons. Later that year, Nancy Astor became the first woman in England to become a MP when she won Sutton, Plymouth in a by-election. Other women were also elected over the next few years. This included Dorothy Jewson, Susan Lawrence, Margaret Winteringham, Katharine Stewart-Murray, Mabel Philipson, Vera Terrington and Margaret Bondfield.

In 1919 Parliament passed the Sex Disqualification Removal Act which made it illegal to exclude women from jobs because of their sex. Women could now become solicitors, barristers and magistrates. Millicent ceased to be active in politics and concentrated on writing books such as The Women's Victory (1920), What I Remember (1924) and Josephine Butler (1927).

A bill was introduced in March 1928 to give women the vote on the same terms as men. There was little opposition in Parliament to the bill and it became law on 2 Jul 1928. As a result, all women over the age of 21 could now vote in elections. Many of the women who had fought for this right were now dead including Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Barbara Bodichon, Emily Davies, Elizabeth Wolstenholme-Elmy, Constance Lytton and Emmeline Pankhurst.

Millicent had the pleasure of attending Parliament to see the vote take place. That night she wrote in her diary: "It is almost exactly 61 years ago since I heard John Stuart Mill introduce his suffrage amendment to the Reform Bill on May 20th, 1867. So I have had extraordinary good luck in having seen the struggle from the beginning."

Millicent Fawcett died on 5 Aug 1929.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Matilda Josyln Gage (1826-1898)

"While so much is said of the inferior intellect of woman, it is by a strange absurdity conceded that very many eminent men owe their station in life to their mothers." ~Matilda Joslyn Gage

Matilda Joslyn was born on 24 Mar 1826 in Cicero, NY. An only child, she was raised in a household dedicated to antislavery. Her father, Dr. Hezekiah Joslyn, was a nationally known abolitionist, and the Joslyn home was a station on the Underground Railway.

In 1845 she married merchant Henry Hill Gage, with whom she would have four children. They eventually settled in Fayetteville, NY, and their home became a station on the Underground Railroad. Although occupied with both family and antislavery activities, Gage was drawn to a new cause: the woman’s suffrage movement. Her life’s work would become the struggle for the complete liberation of women.

Unable to attend the first Woman’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls in 1848, Gage attended and addressed the third national convention in Syracuse in 1852. She became a noted speaker and writer on woman’s suffrage.

During the Civil War, Gage was an enthusiastic organizer of hospital supplies for Union soldiers. In 1862 she predicted the failure of any course of defense and maintenance of the Union that did not emancipate the slaves.

Gage, along with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was a founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association and served in various offices of that organization (1869-1889). She helped organize the Virginia and New York state suffrage associations, and was an officer in the New York association for twenty years. From 1878 to 1881 she published the National Citizen and Ballot Box, the official newspaper of the NWSA.

In 1871 Gage was one of the many women nationwide who unsuccessfully tried to test the law by attempting to vote. When Susan B. Anthony successfully voted in the 1872 presidential election and was arrested, Gage came to her aid and supported her during her trial. In 1880 Gage led 102 Fayetteville women to the polls in 1880 when New York State allowed women to vote in school districts where they paid their taxes.

During the 1870s Gage spoke out against the brutal and unfair treatment of Native Americans. She was adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk nation and given the name Ka-ron-ien-ha-wi (Sky Carrier). Inspired by the Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy’s form of government, where “the power between the sexes was nearly equal,” this indigenous practice of woman’s rights became her vision.

Gage coedited with Stanton and Anthony the first three volumes of the six-volume The History of Woman Suffrage (1881-1887). She also authored the influential pamphlets Woman as Inventor (1870), Woman’s Rights Catechism (1871) and Who Planned the Tennessee Campaign of 1862? (1880).

Discouraged with the slow pace of suffrage efforts in the 1880s, and alarmed by the conservative religious movement that had as its goal the establishment of a Christian state, Gage formed the Women’s National Liberal Union in 1890, to fight moves to unite church and state. Her book Woman, Church and State (1893) articulates her views.

While Gage remained a supporter of woman’s rights throughout her life, she spent her elder years concentrating on religious issues. She died in Chicago, IL on 18 Mar 1898. Her lifelong motto appears on her gravestone in Fayetteville: 

“There is a word sweeter than Mother, Home or Heaven; that word is Liberty.”


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Inez Milholland (1886-1916)

"Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty." ~Inez Milholland's last public words

Inez Milholland, daughter of John Elmer Milholland and Jean Torrey, was born on 6 Aug 1886 in Brooklyn, NY. She was a suffragist, labor lawyer, WWI correspondent and public speaker who greatly influenced the women's movement in America. 

Her causes were far reaching. She was not only interested in prison reform, she sought world peace and worked for equality for African Americans. She was a member of the NAACP, the Women's Trade Union League, the Equality League of Self Supporting Women in New York (Women's Political Union), the National Child Labor Committee, and England's Fabian Society. She was also involved in the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which later branched into the grassroots radical National Woman's Party. She became a leader and a popular speaker on the campaign circuit of the NWP, working closely with Alice Paul and Lucy Burns.

Inez stepped into her first suffrage parade on 7 May 1911, holding a sign that read, "Forward, out of error, Leave behind the night, Forward through the darkness, Forward into light!" She quickly became the beautiful face of the suffrage movement. The New York Sun stated that "No suffrage parade was complete without Inez Milholland." She led many parades in 1911, 1912 and 1913.

In 1913, at the age of 27, Inez made her most memorable appearance, as she helped organize the suffrage parade in Washington, DC, scheduled to take place the day before President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration. She led the parade wearing a crown and a long white cape while riding atop a large white horse named "Gray Dawn."

She believed that women should have the right to vote because of the traits that were unique to women. She argued that women would metaphorically become the "house-cleaners of the nation." She believed women's votes could remove social ills such as sweatshops, tenements, prostitution, hunger, poverty and child mortality. She told men that they should not worry about the women in their lives as they were extending their sacred rights and duties to the whole country rather than inside the home. Even though she spoke of these issues, she was always disappointed that she was better known for her looks than her brains.

Inez became the classic New Woman in the beginning of the 20th century. She loved the new dance crazes of the Turkey Trot and the Grizzly Bear and enjoyed traveling to Paris and buying couture gowns in Paris. Additionally, her views mirrored those of the New Woman when it came to sexual love.

By the fall of 1909, Inez and Max Eastman became rising radical stars due to their handsome looks. Inez knew Max through his sister, Crystal Eastman whom she met at socialist and suffrage rallies. She told Max that she loved him and tried to convince him to elope with her. When he finally reciprocated her love and agreed to marry her, their relationship fell apart. They both realized they could not be lovers, but they did remain close lifelong friends.

In the same way that she fell fast in love with Eastman, soon after she began seeing the author, John Fox, Jr.. She told him she loved him but he didn't reciprocate right away. When he did tell her that he loved her, she was no longer interested.

In July, 1913 while on a cruise to London, Inez proposed to Eugen Jan Boissevain, a Dutchman she had known for about a month. The two were married on July 14 at the Kensington registry office which was as soon as they could after their arrival in London without consulting their families. Her father, who was in New York at the time and heard about the marriage from the press. insisted that the two get remarried in a church, but Inez refused.

The marriage between Milholland and Boissevain was not perfect. A complication arose when the couple returned to New York from London. Inez was no longer an American citizen because the law stated that the woman took the man’s nationality in a marriage. Although she fought for suffrage, if women would have been granted the right to vote in her lifetime, she would not have been able to practice her right because she was no longer a citizen. Although married, Inez did not stop flirting with other men and often wrote to Boissevain to tell him. Additionally, most disappointing to the couple was the fact that they did not have any children.

In 1916 she went on a tour in the West speaking for women's rights as a member of the National Woman's Party. She undertook the tour despite suffering from pernicious anemia and despite the admonitions of her family who were concerned about her deteriorating health. On Octoer 22 Oct 1916, she collapsed in the middle of a speech in Los Angeles, and was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital. Despite repeated blood transfusions, she died on 25 Nov 1916.

Mary Ann M'Clintock (1795-1884)

Mary Ann Wilson (1800-1884) was born to Quaker parents. She married Thomas M’Clintock, a druggist and fellow Quaker, in 1820, and they lived in Philadelphia for 17 years. During that time Mary Ann gave birth to four daughters and a son.

She was recognized by her fellow Quakers as a minister and leader. By 1833 M’Clintock was a social activist when she, along with Lucretia Mott and others, became founding members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.

In 1836 the family moved to Waterloo, NY, where they would join a network of Quaker abolitionists that included Richard and Jane Hunt and George and Margaret Pryor (Mary Ann’s half-sister). They lived in a house owned and built by Richard Hunt at 14 East Williams Street, and ran a drugstore and school in one of Hunt’s commercial buildings behind their house on Main Street in Waterloo.

In 1842, at an annual convention of the American Anti-Slavery Society held in Rochester, NY, Thomas and Mary Ann became founding members of the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society and helped write its constitution. They were joined by Frederick Douglass, Richard Hunt and Jane Hunt, Isaac and Amy Post, George and Margaret Pryor.

Mary Ann became an organizer of the First Woman’s Rights Convention when she joined a group of friends on 9 Jul 1848, in the front parlor of the Hunt residence. She hosted a second planning meeting at her own home on July 16, where she, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and possibly several others drafted the Declaration of Sentiments that was read, discussed and ratified in the Wesleyan Chapel.

While living in Waterloo, Mary Ann and Thomas M’Clintock became very active in the local Hicksite Quaker community, the Junius Monthly Meeting. In October of 1848 they led several hundred members of the Hicksite community to form the new Progressive Friends or Friends of Human Progress. Thomas and Mary Ann served as clerk and associate clerk at nearly every yearly meeting while they lived in Waterloo.

Found at

Friday, January 10, 2014

OH the Women!

Prominent Seattle women participate in a reception for noted suffragists at Seattle's Hotel Lincoln on June 30, 1909.

On the evening of June 30, 1909, prominent Seattle women lend their support to the suffrage cause at a reception hosted by the Washington Equal Suffrage Association in honor of the visiting delegates, officers, and friends of the National Suffrage Association. Both suffrage groups are in Seattle to hold conventions and raise public awareness of the suffrage cause. The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific (A-Y-P) Exposition underway at the University of Washington campus continues to attract large crowds and suffragists hope to capitalize on the male voters among these fairgoers and secure votes needed to ratify Amendment 6 to the state constitution. If ratified, Amendment 6, submitted to the electorate by the state Legislative Assembly in January 1909 for a vote on November 10, 1910, will grant Washington women the right to vote.

Suffrage Luminaries Welcomed
The reception was held from 8:00 to 11:00 pm in the parlors of the Hotel Lincoln in Seattle. The national association was convening in Seattle to help Washington suffragists build support for the upcoming vote and as part of their ultimate goal: a women's suffrage amendment to the United States Constitution. Wyoming (in 1869), Colorado (1893), Utah (1896), and Idaho (1896) had granted their women citizens the right to vote. National suffrage leaders saw Washington as a key contest in the push toward national women's suffrage.

The reception was Seattle's opportunity to formally welcome suffrage luminaries to the city. The Seattle Sunday Times had prepared the ground for the suffrage seed, running a full page line-drawing of the Northern Pacific Suffrage Special train jubilantly bedecked with graciously gowned suffrage supporters on June 27, 1909. The banner above the illustration read, "Oh the women! They are coming to Seattle by the train load this week!"

The Seattle Times explained why this first reception was important:

"The event promises to be a most notable one in view of the fact that not only are suffragists proper invited to be present, but all who are interested in the cause, and that it provides an opportunity for meeting women of international reputation. The reception will include an entertainment program, and many of the women prominently identified with the association work will deliver addresses. Among the speakers are Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, who is president of the national organization; Mrs. Rachel Foster Avery, first vice-president; Mrs. Harriet Taylor Upton, Miss Alice Stone Blackwell, Miss Kate Gordon, and Miss Lucy Anthony, niece of the famous Susan B. Anthony, now dead ... . The guests will be received by local woman of prominence, who will extend hearty welcome to the visiting delegates" ("Suffragists To Convene ...").

Parlors Were Thronged
The prominent local women who received (i.e. welcomed guests in a receiving line) for the visiting suffragists not only freed the suffrage leaders to mingle with guests discussing the suffrage cause, but also demonstrated their own approval for the gathering and the suffrage cause in general. Since the general public was welcome at this gathering it was convenient that these prominent local women would be likely to know the guests and provide a personal welcome.

The Hotel Lincoln's parlor where the reception was held, The Seattle Times noted the following day:

"... was decorated in yellow. California poppies were used in profusion. An orchestra played many selections throughout the evening. In the receiving line were Mrs. Emma Smith DeVoe, state president of the Suffrage League; Mrs. Roger S. Greene, Mrs. Orange Jacobs, and Mrs. John P. Hoyt, wives of judges, who were friends of the suffragists in territorial days, and Miss Inez Denny, who was also a member of the league; Mrs. John Leary, Mrs. Homer M. Hill, Dr. Sarah Kendall, Mrs. Nellie Mitchell Fick, president King County Political Equality Club; Miss Adelia M. Parker, president Washington College Suffrage League; Mrs. Isaac H. Jennings, who represented the state federation; Mrs. Reekie, the city federation, and Mrs. Fish, president of the Century Club.

"Also in the line were officers in the National Association, in whose honor the reception was given: President, the Rev. Anna H. Shaw; vice-president, Mrs. Rachel Foster; recording secretary, Miss Alice Stone Blackwell; corresponding secretary, Miss Kate Gordon, of New Orleans; treasurer, Mrs. Harriet Taylor Upton; auditor, Miss Laura Clay of Kentucky; Mrs. Ella S. Stewart, Miss Caroline Lexow, and Dr. Margaret Long, representing the College Suffrage League.

"The ladies who presided at the punch table were Mrs. Fred Gilman, Mrs. Duncan McGregor, Miss Day, Miss O'Meara, Miss Wallin, and Miss Whitehead" ("Women Who Received ...").

Suffrage leader Harriet Taylor Upton described the gathering succinctly: "A reception was tendered the delegates at the Lincoln, and the parlors were thronged" ("The Seattle Convention").

"Suffragists Convene In Seattle," The Seattle Times, June 30, 1909, p. 1; "Women Who Received For The Suffragists Last Night," Ibid., July 1, 1909, p. 13; "Oh The Women!," Ibid., June 27, 1901; Marion Harland and Virginia Terhune Van de Water, Everyday Etiquette: A Practical Manual of Social Usages (Indianapolis: The Boobs-Merrill Company, 1905), p. 42; "The Seattle Convention," Progress, August 1909, p. 1. By Paula Becker, May 02, 2008

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928)

"You must make women count as much as men; you must have an equal standard of morals; and the only way to enforce that is through giving women political power so that you can get that equal moral standard registered in the laws of the country. It is the only way." ~Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Goulden, daughter of Robert Goulden and Sophia Crane, was born in Manchester, England in 1858. Her father came from a family with radical political beliefs and his father had been at the Peterloo Massacre in 1819. Goulden took part in the campaigns against slavery and the Corn Laws. Emmeline's mother was a passionate feminist and started taking her daughter to women's suffrage meetings in the early 1870s.

Robert Goulden was a friend of John Stuart Mill and supported his campaign to get women the vote. These views were communicated to his children and during the 1868 General Election, Emmeline and her younger sister, Mary, took part in a feminist demonstration. According to Martin Pugh, the author of The Pankhursts (2001), she attended her first suffrage meeting in 1872, hosted by veteran campaigner, Lydia Becker. "During the late 1860s Manchester also became the scene of one of the earliest campaigns for women's suffrage, and at fourteen Emmeline returned home from school one day to find her mother preparing to attend a suffrage meeting addressed by Lydia Becker in the city. Jane Pankhurst had no hesitation in agreeing to Emmeline, satchel in hand, accompanying her to hear the arguments."

After a short spell at a local school, Emmeline was sent to École Normale Supérieure, a finishing school in Paris in 1873. "The school was under the direction of Marchef Girard, a woman who believed that girls' education should be quite as thorough as the education of boys. She included chemistry and other sciences in the course, and in addition to embroidery she had her girls taught bookkeeping. When I was nineteen I finally returned from school in Paris and took my place in my father's home as a finished young lady."

According to her biographer: "She returned to Manchester having learnt to wear her hair and her clothes like a Parisian, a graceful, elegant young lady, much more mature in appearance than girls of her age today, with a slender, svelte figure, raven black hair, an olive skin with a slight flush of red in the cheeks, delicately pencilled black eyebrows, beautiful expressive eyes of an unusually deep violet blue, above all a magnificent carriage and a voice of remarkable melody... She was romantic, believed in constancy, held flirtation degrading, would only give herself to an important man."

Soon after her returned to Manchester, she met the lawyer, Richard Pankhurst. A committed socialist, Richard was also a strong advocate of women's suffrage. Richard had been responsible for drafting an amendment to the Municipal Franchise Act of 1869 that had resulted in unmarried women householders being allowed to vote in local elections. Richard had served on the Married Women's Property Committee (1868-1870) and was the main person responsible for the drafting of the women's property bill that was passed by Parliament in 1870.

Richard and Emmeline were immediately attracted to each other and although there was a significant age difference, he was forty-four and she was only twenty, Richard Goulden gave permission for the marriage to take place. Emmeline had four children in the first six years of marriage.

In 1886 the family moved to London where their home in Russell Square became a centre for gatherings of socialists and suffragists. They were also both members of the Fabian Society. At a young age, their children were encouraged to attend these meetings. This had a major impact on their political views. AsJune Purvis has pointed out: "Such experiences had a decisive effect on Christabel. Nothing she learned from the inadequate education offered by governesses or, when the family moved back to the north in 1893, at the high schools she attended - first in Southport and then in Manchester - compared with the political education she received at home."

In 1886 Emmeline became involved in the Matchgirls Strike. She later recalled in her autobiography: "I threw myself into this strike with enthusiasm, working with the girls and with some women of prominence... It was a time of tremendous unrest, of labour agitations, of strikes and lockouts." She became friendly with Annie Besant, the union leader in this dispute, who became a regular visitor to the Pankhurst home. Other visitors included Keir Hardie, William Morris and Eleanor Marx.

During these years Richard and Emmeline continued their involvement in the struggle for women's rights and in 1889 helped form the pressure group, the Women's Franchise League. The organization's main objective was to secure the vote for women in local elections.

In 1893 Richard and Emmeline returned to Manchester where they formed a branch of the new Independent Labour Party (ILP). In the 1895 General Election, Pankhurst stood as the ILP candidate for Gorton, an industrial suburb of the city, but was defeated.

In 1894 Emmeline became a Poor Law Guardian. This involved regular visits to the Chorlton Workhouse and she was deeply shocked by the misery and suffering of the inmates. She became particularly concerned about the way women were treated and it reinforced her belief that women's suffrage was the only way these problems would be solved.

Emmeline began organizing Sunday open-air meetings in the local park. The local authority declared that these meetings were illegal and speakers began to be arrested and imprisoned. Pankhurst invited Keir Hardie to speak at one of these meetings. On 12 Jul 1896, over 50,000 turned up to hear Hardie, but soon after he started speaking, he was arrested. The Home Secretary, worried by the publicity Hardie was getting, intervened, and used his power to have the leader of the ILP released.

Richard and Emmeline were both active members of the Independent Labour Party. Richard made several unsuccessful attempts to be elected to the House of Commons but his political career came to an end when he died of a perforated ulcer in 1898. "Faithful and True My Loving Comrade", a quote from Walt Whitman, were the words she choose for his gravestone. Without her husband's income, Emmeline had to sell their home and move to a cheaper residence at 62 Nelson Street, Manchester. She was also forced to accept the post of registrar of births and deaths.

She continued her involvement in politics but she grew gradually disillusioned with the existing women's political organizations and in 1903 she joined forces with her three daughters to establish the Women's Social and Political Union(WSPU). At first Emmeline intended that the main aim of the organization was to recruit working class women into the struggle for the vote.

Keir Hardie gave his support to the WSPU but this brought him into conflict with other members of the Labour Party. As they pointed out, the WSPU wanted votes for women on the same terms as men, and specifically not votes for all women. They considered this unfair as in 1903 only a third of men had the vote in parliamentary elections. Hardie's friend, John Bruce Glasier, recorded in his diary after a meeting with Emmeline Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst, that they were guilty of "miserable individualist sexism" and that he was strongly against supporting the organization.

By 1905 the media had lost interest in the struggle for women's rights. Newspapers rarely reported meetings and usually refused to publish articles and letters written by supporters of women's suffrage. In 1905 the WSPU decided to use different methods to obtain the publicity they thought would be needed in order to obtain the vote.

On 13th October 1905, Christabel Pankhurst and Annie Kenney attended a meeting in London to hear Sir Edward Grey, a minister in the British government. When Grey was talking, the two women constantly shouted out, "Will the Liberal Government give votes to women?" When the women refused to stop shouting the police were called to evict them from the meeting. Pankhurst and Kenney refused to leave and during the struggle a policeman claimed the two women kicked and spat at him. Pankhurst and Kenney were arrested and charged with assault. They were found guilty of assault and fined five shillings each. When the women refused to pay the fine they were sent to prison. The case shocked the nation. For the first time in Britain women had used violence in an attempt to win the vote.

This publicity increased support for the WSPU amonst women. Members included included Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, Marion Wallace-Dunlop, Elizabeth Robins,May Billinghurst, Elizabeth Wolstenholme-Elmy, Mary Allen, Winifred Batho, Mary Leigh, Mary Richardson, Ethel Smyth, Teresa Billington-Greig,Helen Crawfurd, Emily Davison, Charlotte Despard, Mary Clarke, Mary Gawthorpe, Margaret Haig Thomas, Cicely Hamilton, Eveline Haverfield, Edith How-Martyn, Annie Kenney, Constance Lytton, Kitty Marion, Dora Marsden, Winnie Mason, Hannah Mitchell, Margaret Nevinson, Evelyn Sharp, Ethel Smyth,Sybil Thorndike, Alice Wheeldon, Hettie Wheeldon and Octavia Wilberforce.

In 1906 Emmeline organized a huge rally in Caxton Hall, and a deputation went to the House of Commons to demand the vote: She later wrote about this in her autobiography, My Own Story (1914): "Those women had followed me to the House of Commons. They had defied the police. They were awake at last thev were prepared to do something that women had never done before - fight for themselves. Women had always fought for men, and for their children. Now they were ready to light for their own human rights. Our militant movement was established.''

In 1907 some leading members of the Women's Social and Political Union began to question the leadership of Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst. These women objected to the way that the Pankhursts were making decisions without consulting members. They also felt that a small group of wealthy women like Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence were having too much influence over the organization. In the autumn of 1907, Teresa Billington-Greig, Elizabeth How-Martyn, Dora Marsden, Helena Normanton, Margaret Nevinson and Charlotte Despard and 70 other members of the WSPU left to form the Women's Freedom League (WFL).

During the summer of 1908 the WSPU introduced the tactic of breaking the windows of government buildings. On 30th June suffragettes marched into Downing Street and began throwing small stones through the windows of the Prime Minister's house. As a result of this demonstration, 27 women were arrested and sent to Holloway Prison.

Emmeline was arrested and was sentenced to six weeks in prison. Fran Abrams the author of Freedom's Cause (2003), explained how she reacted to the situation: "Emmeline knew what to expect - she had by then heard graphic descriptions of prison life from Sylvia and Adela as well as from Christabel. She was shocked, though, when the wardress asked her to undress in order to put on her prison uniform - stained underwear, rough brown and red striped stockings and a dress with arrows on it. She was given coarse but clean sheets, a towel, a mug of cold cocoa and a thick slice of brown bread, and taken to her cell. Second division prisoners were kept in solitary confinement and were let out of their cells only for an hour's exercise each day. They were not allowed to receive letters for four weeks. Even though she had prepared herself for the experience, the reality hit her harder than she had anticipated."

In October 1908 she was arrested with Christabel Pankhurst and Flora Drummond and charged with publishing an inflammatory handbill. Now in her fifties, Emmeline's actions inspired many other women to follow her example of committing acts of civil disobedience. In one eighteen month period, she endured ten hunger-strikes. She later recalled: "Hunger-striking reduces a prisoner's weight very quickly, but thirst-striking reduces weight so alarmingly fast that prison doctors were at first thrown into absolute panic of fright. Later they became somewhat hardened, but even now they regard the thirst-strike with terror. I am not sure that I can convey to the reader the effect of days spent without a single drop of water taken into the system. The body cannot endure loss of moisture. It cries out in protest with every nerve. The muscles waste, the skin becomes shrunken and flabby, the facial appearance alters horribly, all these outward symptoms being eloquent of the acute suffering of the entire physical being. Every natural function is, of course, suspended, and the poisons which are unable to pass out of the body are retained and absorbed."

A wealthy supporter of the WSPU donated money to buy Emmeline Pankhurst a motor car so that she could travel the country in comfort. In August 1909, Vera Holme was appointed as Pankhurst's chauffeur. The author of The Pankhursts (2001): "It is probable that Vera Holme had learnt to drive as a result of touring the provinces with a theatrical company; since driving tests had not been invented the chief requirement was a capacity to cope with the frequent mechanical breakdowns and to deal with horse traffic."
Vera Holme driving Emmeline in 1909.
Emmeline Pankhurst's sister, Mary Clarke, began to organize the breaking the windows of buildings in Brighton. According to Sylvia Pankhurst: "Facing the rude violence of the seaside rowdies at Brighton, where she was stationed, she displayed a quiet, persistent courage, which made peculiarly large demands on one so sensitive. Exerting her frail physique to its utmost, she was grievously ill on the eve of Black Friday, and her Brighton comrades had begged her not to go. She had promised to take the easier course of arrest for window-breaking, and had telegraphed to Brighton from the police court." Clarke was arrested and sent to Holloway Prison, where she endured a hunger-strike and forced-feeding. She was released on 22nd December, 1910 but two days later Emmeline found her unconcious and she died soon afterwards as a result of a burst blood vessel on the brain. Clarke, like several suffragettes, probably died as a result of being forced-fed in prison.

Emmeline met Ethel Smyth in the summer of 1910. Fran Abrams, the author of Freedom's Cause (2003), has argued: "Ethel Smyth, an endearingly eccentric bisexual composer who cheerfully confessed to having little or no political background and to caring even less about votes for women - until she met and fell passionately in love with the founder of the WSPU. At first glance Ethel Smyth made a curious companion for a political leader who, despite the violence which attached itself to her movement, remained resolutely feminine. While Emmeline usually had some lace about her person Ethel always dressed in tweeds, deerstalker and tie. Emmeline tended to attack every venture with passion while her new friend regarded the world with a wry, amused cynicism. Ethel, unlike Emmeline, had few sexual or personal inhibitions. But the two women, who at fifty-two were exactly the same age, immediately formed so close an attachment that Ethel decided to give two years of her life to the cause."

In her autobiography, Female Pipings for Eden (1933), Ethel Smyth described Emmeline Pankhurst as "a graceful woman, rather under middle height, one would have said a delicate-looking woman, but the well-knit figure, the quick deft movement, the clear complexion, the soft bright eyes that on occasion could emit lambent flame, betokened excellent health."

Some members of the WSPU, including Adela Pankhurst became concerned about the increase in the violence as a strategy. She later told fellow member, Helen Fraser: "I knew all too well that after 1910 we were rapidly losing ground. I even tried to tell Christabel this was the case, but unfortunately she took it amiss." After arguing with Emmeline about this issue she left the WSPU in October 1911. Sylvia Pankhurst was also critical of this new militancy. Christabel Pankhurst replied that "I would not care if you were multiplied by a hundred, but one of Adela is too many."

In 1912 the WSPU organized a new campaign that involved the large-scale smashing of shop-windows. Frederick Pethick-Lawrence and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence both disagreed with this strategy but Christabel Pankhurst ignored their objections. As soon as this wholesale smashing of shop windows began, the government ordered the arrest of the leaders of the WSPU. Christabel escaped to France but Frederick and Emmeline were arrested, tried and sentenced to nine months imprisonment. They were also successfully sued for the cost of the damage caused by the WSPU.

Emmeline was one of those arrested. Once again she went on hunger strike: "I generally suffer most on the second day. After that there is no very desperate craving for food. weakness and mental depression take its place. Great disturbances of digestion divert the desire for food to a longing for relief from pain. Often there is intense headache, with fits of dizziness, or slight delirium. Complete exhaustion and a feeling of isolation from earth mark the final stages of the ordeal. Recovery is often protracted, and entire recovery of normal health is sometimes discouragingly slow." After she was released from prison she was nursed by Catherine Pine.

After Frederick Pethick-Lawrence and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence were released from prison they began to speak openly about the possibility that this window-smashing campaign would lose support for the WSPU. The summer of 1913 saw a further escalation of WSPU violence. In July attempts were made by suffragettes to burn down the houses of two members of the government who opposed women having the vote. These attempts failed but soon afterwards, a house being built for David Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, was badly damaged by suffragettes. This was followed by cricket pavilions, racecourse stands and golf clubhouses being set on fire. Some leaders of the WSPU such as Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, disagreed with this arson campaign. When Pethick-Lawrence objected, she was expelled from the organisation. Others like Elizabeth Robins showed their disapproval by ceasing to be active in the WSPU.

Sylvia Pankhurst was also very unhappy that the WSPU had abandoned its earlier commitment to socialism and disagreed with Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst's attempts to gain middle class support by arguing in favour of a limited franchise. She made the final break with the WSPU when the movement adopted a policy of widespread arson. Sylvia now concentrated her efforts on helping the Labour Party build up its support in London.

Emmeline was now estranged from two of her daughters. Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence wrote to Sylvia Pankhurst about her mother: "I believe she conceived her objective in the spirit of generous enthusiasm. In the end it obsessed her like a passion and she completely identified her own career with it in order to obtain it. She threw scruple, affection, honour, legality and her own principles to the winds."

In 1913 the WSPU increased its campaign to destroy public and private property. The women responsible were often caught and once in prison they went on hunger-strike. Determined to avoid these women becoming martyrs, the government introduced the Prisoner's Temporary Discharge of Ill Health Act. Suffragettes were now allowed to go on hunger strike but as soon as they became ill they were released. Once the women had recovered, the police re-arrested them and returned them to prison where they completed their sentences. This successful means of dealing with hunger strikes became known as the Cat and Mouse Act.

Kitty Marion was also a leading figure in the WSPU arson campaign and she was responsible for setting fire to Levetleigh House at St. Leonards (April 1913), the Grandstand at Hurst Park racecourse (June 1913) and various houses in Liverpool (August, 1913) and Manchester (November, 1913). These incidents resulted in a series of further terms of imprisonment during which force-feeding occurred followed by release under the Cat & Mouse Act. It has been calculated that Marion endured 200 force-feedings in prison while on hunger strike.

In June, 1913, at the most important race of the year, the Derby, Emily Davison ran out on the course and attempted to grab the bridle of Anmer, a horse owned by King George V. The horse hit Emily and the impact fractured her skull and she died without regaining consciousness. Although many suffragettes endangered their lives by hunger strikes, Emily Davison was the only one who deliberately risked death. However, her actions did not have the desired impact on the general public. They appeared to be more concerned with the health of the horse and jockey and Davison was condemned as a mentally ill fanatic.

On 4 Aug 1914, England declared war on Germany. Two days later the NUWSS announced that it was suspending all political activity until the war was over. The leadership of the WSPU began negotiating with the British government. On the 10th August the government announced it was releasing all suffragettes from prison. In return, the WSPU agreed to end their militant activities and help the war effort.

Ethel Smyth has pointed out in her autobiography, Female Pipings for Eden (1933) : "Mrs. Pankhurst declared that it was now a question of Votes for Women, but of having any country left to vote in. The Suffrage ship was put out of commission for the duration of the war, and the militants began to tackle the common task."

After receiving a £2,000 grant from the government, the WSPU organized a demonstration in London. Members carried banners with slogans such as "We Demand the Right to Serve", "For Men Must Fight and Women Must Work" and "Let None Be Kaiser's Cat's Paws". At the meeting, attended by 30,000 people, Emmeline Pankhurst called on trade unions to let women work in those industries traditionally dominated by men.

The Women's Party also supported: "equal pay for equal work, equal marriage and divorce laws, the same rights over children for both parents, equality of rights and opportunities in public service, and a system of maternity benefits." Christabel and Emmeline had now completely abandoned their earlier socialist beliefs and advocated policies such as the abolition of the trade unions.

After the First World War Emmeline spent several years in the USA and Canada lecturing for the National Council for Combating Venereal Disease. She was accompanied by Catherine Pine. When Emmeline returned to Britain in 1925 she joined the Conservative Party and was adopted as one of their candidates in the East End of London. Sylvia Pankhurst, who still held her strong socialist views, was appalled by this decision. Emmeline's was also angry with Sylvia for having an illegitimate baby and refused to see her daughter or grandson.

Adela Pankhurst, who had married Tom Walsh during the First World War, had five children. Emmeline never saw any of Adela's children. However, Adela, like her mother, had moved sharply to the right in the 1920s and she did write to her expressing regret for the long rift between them.

Emmeline Pankhurst died in a nursing home in Hampstead on 14 Jun 1928, a month short of her seventieth birthday.