Sunday, March 08, 2009

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day. To help celebrate it, here are some photos from the Bain collection in the Prints and Photos Division of the Library of Congress.

They show suffragettes setting out from New York City in August 1913 on an extensive tour help publicize the women's suffrage movement.

As they set off, this short notice appeared in the New York Times:
Hurdy-Gurdy to Boom Suffrage

Elizabeth Freeman and Elsie MacKenzie, militant suffragists, will leave New York on Monday to travel by horse and carriage to Chicago. In each small town they pass through, at least one talk on woman's suffrage will be delivered. The women intend to earn their way by selling copies of the Boston Women's Journal and by enchanting their audiences with a hurdy-gurdy which can play a variety of tunes. Carrier pigeons will keep the women in touch with Boston. They will reach Chicago, it is expected, the latter part of October.
And the Times reported on August 20:

Policeman Arrests Speakers, but Society Leader Intercedes.

HARTFORD, Conn., Aug. 19. -- Miss Elizabeth Freeman of New York and Miss Elsie MacKenzie and Miss Vera Wentworth of London, the two latter English militant suffragists, who are on a campaign trip from New York to Boston, reached this city yesterday and paraded the streets with a wagon on which various suffragist sentiments were inscribed in flaming red letters on a white background.

Just as they had begun a noonday meeting near a factory, Policeman John P. Flynn placed them under arrest for violating a city ordinance that forbids vehicles used for advertising puposes to pass through the streets of the city. The policeman told them to follow him to the station, but when he started they drove off at a gallop in another direction.

Later in the day a local suffrage leader of social prominence went to see the Chief of Police with a lawyer, and the Chief said that the charge against the suffragists would be dismissed if they kept their signs covered during the rest of their stay in this city. The hint was followed by covering the signs with crepe.

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