Saturday, December 29, 2012

18. Cheyenne: Wyoming Firsts

By Becky Brown

Wyoming was the first U.S. territory and subsequently the first state to legislate women full rights to vote and hold office. In 1869 the territory approved universal adult female suffrage. Cheyenne is the state's capitol city.
Women voting in Cheyenne made news
in Frank Leslie's Weekly, 1888.

Wyoming was a pioneer in votes for women, followed by other Western states and territories. Here the west provides a beacon for eastern women, who are drowning in a sea of powerlessness.

Women's suffrage came first to the Western states for many reasons. It may be that pioneers settling a new territory are more innovative by nature. Frontier communities usually have few women so perhaps the ruling men perceive their voting bloc as less of a threat. Wyoming, still the most sparsely populated state, was hoping to attract more female settlers.  "We now expect at once quite an immigration of ladies to Wyoming," cheered the Cheyenne Leader.


Esther Hobart Morris (1814-1902)

Inspired by a gold rush, Esther Hobart Morris came to Wyoming from Illinois in 1869 with her husband. Like many other suffrage pioneers she'd learned techniques of reform politics through involvement in the antislavery movement. She effectively lobbied the legislature in Cheyenne with the strategy of attracting female settlement with the promise of equal opportunity.

In 1870 Esther Morris was appointed to a minor government job in the gold-mining town of South Pass City. This post as female justice of the peace was considered the first government position by a woman (although one has always to be wary of the accuracy of "firsts").

Wyoming achieved a truly documentable first when Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first female governor in 1925.*
(*Although there is an asterisk here---she was appointed to the office after her husband died in the job. She lost the re-election campaign a  year later when she ran on her own.)

Cheyenne by Georgann Eglinski
Cheyenne by Becky Brown

 Cheyenne, given that name by Hearth and Home magazine about a hundred years ago, can remind us of Wyoming's firsts.

 BlockBase #2113

Cutting an 8" Finished Block
The red measurements come from the EQ rotary cutting default set to 1/16th inch rather than 1/8".

A - Cut 6 squares 2-7/8".
Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 12 triangles.
B - Cut 8 squares 2-1/2"
C - Cut 1 square 3-3/8" (3-5/16")

Cutting a 12" Finished Block

A - Cut 6 squares 3-7/8".

Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 12 triangles.

B - Cut 8 squares 3-1/2".

C - Cut 1 square 4-3/4".

Cheyenne by Dustin Cecil
Dustin and Georgann shaded the block to look more like a pinwheel.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

17. Mother's Delight: Christabel Pankhurst

Mother's Delight
By Becky Brown

Christabel Pankhurst (1880-1958)

England's suffrage movement is personified in the Pankhurst family. No one had more influence on radical tactics, politics and propaganda than Christabel, the eldest daughter of a political family. In 1936 the King honored her for her leadership by appointing her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
 Christabel's mother Emmeline Pankhurst, (1858-1928)

In 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst and her three daughters, Christabel, Sylvia and Adela, rebelled against the old-school National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) to form the Women’s Social and Political Union. Their motto: "Deeds Not Words." WSPU deeds began with disruption that resulted in arrests and accelerated to hunger strikes, arson, bombs, assault and death threats. 

Emmeline and Christabel ignited religious fervor in WSPU members. Christabel, who had long been the center of her mother's life, became the center of the movement. For a decade her skills in publicity, in capturing press attention and her ever-increasing militancy transformed a polite, ineffective campaign into a terrorist cell of extremely well-dressed women. In 1913 a WSPU member died after throwing herself in front of a horse in the Derby race. The same year unknowns bombed politician David Lloyd George's home.

Marci H alternated blocks with crazy blocks and printed photos.
See her very effective project in her Flickr album here:

In 1914, the year World War I called a halt to their crusade, suffragettes slashed museum paintings with meat cleavers. A statement by a WSPU member:
 "I have tried to destroy a valuable picture because I wish to show the public that they have no security for their property nor their art treasures until women are given political freedom."

A 2-color version of Mothers Delight.
It took me a while to figure this out.

 Vera Brittain in boarding school during the early teens remembered the WSPU.
"The name of Mrs Pankhurst was a familiar echo in my school echo that grew louder as her exploits gathered publicity." Vera listened silently at her mother's tea parties to the older women criticizing the "suffs" as a "screaming sisterhood."

Emmaline Pankhurst with Christabel and Sylvia,
 a photo capturing Christabel's charisma and Sylvia's lack.
Adela Pankhurst (1885–1961)

When she criticized their tactics Adela was given a one-way ticket to Australia by her mother and eldest sister. "One of Adela is too many," was Christabel's opinion. Adela never saw them again.
Portraits of the Pankhursts were sold at the WSPU shop.
Emmeline's is topped by the official colors.
It is hard to imagine the fight for the vote without the Pankhursts but reading their biographies raises second thoughts about ranking such obsessive and manipulative women as heroes.

Did the Pankursts and the WSPU hurt or harm the cause, or were they irrelevant? First-person accounts by a variety of English people reveal how little their presence affected the lives of the average person. Women in the United Kingdom obtained the right to vote (property owners over 30) in 1918, four years after the WSPU ceased suffrage activities.

Monument to Emmeline Pankhurst in
Victoria Towers Gardens, erected in 1930

The Pankhurst Girls about 1890

Mother's Delight
By Becky Brown

Yet we can remember how one family radicalized the movement and dominated the publicity with Mother's Delight, a pattern published by Carlie Sexton in 1930.

 BlockBase #1237b
(If you want to search by number for the pattern in BlockBase remember to add the b.)

Cutting an 8"  or 12" Finished Block

The block is cut using 6 templates (3 shapes, each flipped). Cut 4 of each.

See the patterns for two different sizes. The 8" pattern includes seams. The 12" pattern does not, so add them.

It's fairly easy to piece if you can keep the direction of the pieces straight. Lay it all out before you stitch.

Mother's Delight by PIP at RestIsNotIdleness
Mother's Delight
By Dustin Cecil
Read Emmeline's side of the fight here:
My Own Story by Emmeline Pankhurst
And Sylvia's here:
The Suffragette: The History of the Women’s Militant Suffrage Movement  by Sylvia Pankhurst
See the 1974 BBC mini-series Shoulder to Shoulder about the Pankhursts.
Here are 2 short You Tube scenes

You can actually hear Sylvia discuss her mother in this 13 minute 1953 BBC program (There is no dish---just a polite summary):
See a set of anti-Pankhurst playing cards here

And read a transcript of the May 5, 1914, London Times story about the attack on a Sargent painting:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

16. Capital T: Sarah Pellet

Capital T by Becky Brown

The speaker: Miss Flynn on women's rights
Photo from the New York Public Library collection

Women from New Zealand to Maine came to women's suffrage from the temperance movement, learning skills in public speaking and persuasion by standing alone at a podium and asking a hostile audience to renounce alcohol.

Water or Wine: Young men choose beverages
 personified by the angel and the strumpet

The temperance movement began with requests that people sign pledges renouncing hard liquor---- promises to drink only beer and wine. Some signees pledged to refrain totally from alcohol of any kind, placing a Capital T by their signatures to indicate they were teetotalers. Alcohol would never pass their lips.

Unknown woman holding a copy of the
Sons of Temperance Offering
 for 1851. Library of Congress.

The Temperance Offering for 1850
Sarah Pellet (1824-1898) was a childhood friend of Lucy Stone's, a compatriot of Susan B. Anthony and other stars of the women's movement. Like Lucy Stone she hoped to go to college. After Harvard turned her down she too went to Oberlin. She was among those attending the early women's conferences of the late 1840s and early 1850s.

A Currier & Ives print of the Temperance Tree
Many quilt patterns have the word Temperance in the title.
Sarah joined the California Gold Rush, looking not for wealth but for converts to Temperance. Her quixotic trip made her a celebrity in that very intemperate society. Obed Gray Wilson remembered her. He was a young man mining near Spanish Flat,  "a very disorderly place of about twelve hundred inhabitants, chiefly Spanish and Portuguese.... The startling news that a woman would pass through our place the following day and could be seen and heard that evening ... spread rapidly and created a profound sensation. I decided to hear her and went early, that I might not fail to secure a seat."

Wilson described 500 men listening respectfully in Poker Hall, a converted gambling den. "She was then about twenty eight years of age, of very commanding appearance and a fluent, pleasing speaker. Her address was short, but pointed and effective. In closing she requested her hearers to come forward to a table before her and sign the pledge and petition for the organization of a lodge of the Sons of Temperance in the place." The audience refused to comply until Wilson himself led the way.

Miners and their dogs from the Library of Congress

Franklin Buck was not as impressed.
"Since I wrote we have had the first temperance lecture delivered in town. Miss Pellet has been here. She came in town Sunday and lectured in front of the hotel. When she took her stand on a dry goods box and commenced talking everybody ran. The saloons and stores were deserted. No dog fight ever drew together such a crowd....She is not bad looking, dresses in the Quaker style, has a fine voice  and a great flow of language. Did I say flow? It is a perfect torrent. She talked for an hour and never stopped to draw breath."

A friend of alcoholic John Sutter, considered to be California's founder, asked her to convert Sutter, who told her he couldn't possibly quit drinking. A man in his social position had too many parties to attend, an excuse that might do for the entire state of California at the time. Sarah is remembered not for her effectiveness but for her eccentricities: her bloomer dress, a proposal to import 5,000 temperance-committed women to California and a duel she indirectly caused when she pre-empted a political speaker.
Capital T by Georgann Eglinski

After a year or two she went north to Oregon and then turned up in Nicaragua, apparently seeking another challenge. In 1854 a group of what were known as filibusters, soldiers of fortune led by William Walker, stormed the capital Grenada intending to annex the country to the United States. I've found no record of Sarah's Nicaragua campaign but she is next reported as lecturing in New Orleans about Nicaragua in 1856. She went back to New England and New York where she seems to have led a rather uneventful life as a teacher (uneventful compared to the 1850s). She's buried in North Brookfield, Massachusetts.

Walker's Filibusters were drawn from the
wildest of the Californians

Capital T by Becky Brown

Remember the Temperance Movement as training ground for the women's rights movement with Capital T block, published by the Ladies Art Company about 1890 when temperance was an important reform movement in the U.S.
BlockBase #1662c
Cutting an 8" Finished Block
The red measurements are slightly larger. They come from the measurement default set to 1/16th inch.

A - Cut 4 squares 3-1/2".
Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 8 triangles.

B - Cut 2 squares 3-7/8".

Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles. You need 8 triangles.

C - Cut 8 squares 2-1/8". (2-3/16") 
Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 16 triangles.

D - Cut 1 square 3-1/8". (3-3/16")

Cutting a 12" Finished Block

A - Cut 4 squares 4-7/8".
Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 8 triangles.

B - Cut 2 squares 5-3/16".

Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles. You need 8 triangles.

C - Cut 8 squares 2-7/8".
Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 16 triangles.

D - Cut 1 square 4-1/2".

Capital T by Dustin Cecil

The Library of Congress has a searchable database of first-person accounts of the California Gold Rush: California As I Saw It. Search for words like temperance and bloomers to get a view of the Forty-Niners' world.

From the Pittsfield (Massachusetts) Sun in 1858

Capital T by Cookie's Creek