Saturday, April 27, 2013

35. Granny's Choice: "I'm an Anti"

Granny's Choice by Dustin Cecil 
Many women were opposed to female suffrage, perceiving the political arena as unladylike and viewing women who were interested in organizing, persuading politicians and venturing into public life as "unsexed."

In a contradictory move, however, women opposed to the vote organized their own political groups. In America the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOWS) was founded to consolidate state organizations in 1911.

 NAOWS Headquarters in either New York or Washington

Founder Josephine Jewell Dodge fit the stereotype of the woman who chose to be anti-suffrage. She was rich and well-bred. Her 1875 wedding was described as "the most brilliant and important social event of the season" in the New York Times. Yet this New York socialite was active in the area of children's welfare and early childhood education.

It's difficult to find a photo of Josephine Dodge (ladies' pictures were not in newspapers) but the Library of Congress has this 1913 picture of some fellow members of the NAOWS.

Like the pro-suffrage organizations the "Anti's" used the power of the press, publishing newspapers and pamphlets.

There were pledge cards and lapel ribbons, speeches and rallies. But their arguments had none of the flair of their pro-vote sisters. Mottoes like "Why waste time, energy and money, without result?" hasn't the punch of the simple "Votes for Women."

The media battle raged through the early 20th century. The Anti's may have won the hearts of the cartoonists.
 But anti-anti cartoons were also widely printed.

Socialite anti's (the woman above) were classed with these villains:  "White slavers" on the left  [the common euphemism for pimps and vice lords], business owners who wanted to exploit workers [women might want to effect change in the workplace] and the alcohol manufacturers who feared votes for prohibition.

Cartoon from Puck humor magazine

 "We Don't Vote for Women"; "We All Vote For Women". An enterprising postcard publisher made the most of the pro's and anti's in these glitter cards that were printed with various city locations.

Remember the Anti-Suffrage movement with Granny's Choice.

Granny's Choice by Georgann Eglinski

Granny's Choice by Becky Brown

BlockBase #2309

The pattern was published in the Kansas City Star in 1948.

Cutting an 8" Finished Block

The red measurements are a little larger---when the BlockBase measurements are set to 1/16" default.

A - Cut 1 square 7-1/4". (7-3/16")

Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles.
You need 4 triangles.
B - Cut 4 rectangles 1-7/8" (1-15/16") x 5-1/4". You'll trim these later.

C - Cut 4 squares 1-7/8" (1-15/16")

Piece the C squares to the B rectangles.
Add the A triangles to make larger triangles.
Piece those together and trim the B rectangles.

Granny's Choice by Becky Brown

Cutting a 12" Block

A - Cut 1 square 10-3/16"

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

B -  Cut 4 rectangles 2-5/8 x 7-1/4". Trim these as shown above.

- Cut 4 squares 2-5/8".

Read an account of Nebraska's anti-suffrage movement in Laura McKee Hickman's, “Thou Shalt Not Vote: Anti-Suffrage in Nebraska, 1914-1920,” Nebraska History 80 (1999): 55-65.
Click here:

See more about this English image contrasting "authentic" women and suffragettes by clicking here:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

34. Coffee Cup: Not My Job Description

Coffee Cup
By Becky Brown
A fondu or rainbow print is always good
 for getting a dimensional look,
a lesson from Baltimore Album quilts.
As we consider women's history this year we should remember that some of us have personal memories we need to record before younger generations completely forget the historical context. For example: The Chicago Coffee Cup Protest of 1977.

Producer Mary Richards refused to make coffee
 for the men in the office on the Mary Tyler Moore show.

The background: Jobs for women were opening up. One could be a television producer, a college professor, a legal secretary. Most of these jobs for women had one thing in common. The women made the coffee.

Iris Rivera

Iris Rivera was a legal secretary at the Illinois Appellate Defender's Office who received a memo from her boss outlining rules for women in the office, which included coffee making as a duty. Iris refused. She didn't drink coffee and beverage preparation was not in her job description. She was fired. The attorney's reasoning: Since the men were paid more than the women their time was too valuable to make coffee (circular reasoning, perhaps? Or just adding insult to injury?)

Women's rights group Women Employed (W.E.) focused national attention on the issue by staging  a protest, handing out packets of used coffee grounds with instructions for coffee making to men entering Rivera's building. She filed a suit with the Illinois Fair Employment Practice Commission but was apparently rehired without a legal decision.

Making coffee as a default duty was a minor factor in the inequalities of the era. Women Employed calculated that women, 45% of the downtown Chicago work force, earned 25% of the salaries. As a woman who worked in the Loop in those years I remember it well. What we call sexual harassment was a problem we hadn't even defined yet.

Coffee Cup
By Dustin Cecil

 But a symbol is a symbol and I think we won the coffee pot war---a small victory.

BlockBase #941
Coffee Cups was printed in the Kansas City Star in 1935.

Cutting an 8" Block
12" Cutting in Red

A - Cut 2 rectangles 8-1/2" x 1-7/8" (12-1/2" x 2-1/2").
B - Cut 2 rectangles 3-7/8" x 2-1/8" (5-1/2" x 3").
C  - Cut 1 rectangle 3-7/8" x 5-1/8" (5-1/2" x 7-1/2")

Use the templates to cut the rest of the pieces. D,E. F & G are cut from 1-1/2" strips. (2")

Coffee Cup
By Becky Brown

If you don't want to applique the handle find a fabric with rings, something like this Hometown from Sweetwater. See if you can find a large ring and fussy cut the rectangle B.

 Or if you like to applique you can applique the cup and saucer to a background cut to 8-1/2" square.

The Palm Beach Post, February 21, 1977

Making coffee wasn't the most demeaning thing secretaries had to do. For several years the woman's group Nine to Five sponsored a Petty Office Procedure contest. Read about the 1988 winners here in an article by Kirsten Lee Swartz:
"Secretaries Urged To Say 'No' Office Workers Honored At Allentown Program."  

When I ask my young friends with high-tone jobs if they are expected to make the coffee they look confused. I explain it---they tell me the office machines for coffee now are so simple that anybody can operate them.

Connie's William Morris Coffee Cup

For a history of the time see Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History.
Here's a preview at Google Books.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

33. Contrary Husband

Contrary Husband by Becky Brown

Contrary Husband (so named  by the Kansas City Star) is a natural for a sampler on women's issues. But whom to recall? History has so many tales of terrible husbands. There's Henry VIII with a well-deserved reputation for sheer quantity of bad marriages---Pierce Butler, King George IV, Lord Byron, T.S. Eliot, Charles Dickens, John Kennedy, Henry Ward Beecher. The roll of unfaithful hypocrites and/or cruel bullies is lengthy.

Famous Minister Henry Ward Beecher's
 affair was a scandal in 1872

Yet so many of their faults were personal failings rather than institutionalized rights. And we must admit that hypocrisy, promiscuity and homicide are character flaws in which women have always had equal rights.  

For this pattern we need to recall a husband whose faults were legislated rights. Consider Charles Lewis Bankhead whose behavior towards his wife Anne caused a good deal of concern in her family, recorded in their letters and memoirs. Anne's father's overseer remembered him as "a fine looking man, but a terrible drunkard...I have seen his wife run from him when he was drunk and hide in a potato-hole to get out of danger."

Currier & Ives sold this print called "Victory Doubtful."
Who was the audience who'd want to display it?

Anne's parents grew to despise Bankhead, but they felt completely helpless because options were few. Divorce in Virginia in 1815 was just about impossible to obtain. Charles thus had every right to beat his wife who was obligated to remain under his control. One proposed solution was to hire a keeper to live at the Bankheads to protect Anne from his violence.

Anne Randolph Bankhead

Anne's mother and her grandfather knew of the beatings but her grandfather asked family members to keep it secret---worried that public knowledge would increase Anne's misery. There was a profound shame in the whole affair. And after all, her grandfather was Thomas Jefferson.

Private unhappiness became a public issue when Bankhead and Anne's brother got into a fight in the courthouse square and Bankhead knifed his brother-in-law. Anne's friends and family hoped he'd be arrested and executed for attempted murder ("the only thing that would set his poor wife at liberty") but the authorities were incapable of punishing him. He left the county temporarily. Well-born young men in Virginia were essentially above the law.

Anne made excuses and continued to share his bed for another decade. By 1826 she was pregnant for the twelfth time, and in January gave birth to a boy. She died a few weeks later at the age of 35. She's buried in the Jefferson family graveyard.

The Graveyard at Monticello

Anne Randolph Bankhead's is just one very sad story of many. She could not get a divorce and just as bad---she could not imagine herself leaving a horrid husband. His death or hers was the only "liberty."

Contrary Husband by Dustin Cecil

Contrary Husband is one of many names for this block. We can use it not so much to recall a bad marriage, but as a reminder of an important legal right, the freedom to leave.

Contrary Husband was published in the Kansas City Star in 1938 

BlockBase #2597

Cutting an 8" Finished Block
(12" in red)

A - Use the template to cut 4 diamonds.

Or trim the diamonds from rectangles cut 2-1/2" x 6-5/8".
For the 12" Block trim from rectangles cut 3-1/2" x 6-11/16".

B - Cut 1 square 5-1/4" (5-3/16"). For 12" cut 7-3/15".

Cut with 2 diagonal cuts to make 4 triangles.

C - Cut 1 square 4-1/2". For 12" 6-1/2".

Read more about Anne Randolph Bankhead at the Monticello website

Contrary Husband by Becky Brown

Here is another reminder of the important legal point, summarized by legal scholar Joseph A. Ranney:
 "Divorce law is an important part of women's property rights law because it provides an avenue by which a wife can regain the legal rights and independence of a single woman and, in addition, can obtain an interest in the property of the marriage (through property division) and the earning power attributable to the marriage (through a maintenance award). Thus the standards under which divorce can be obtained ...are important to determining the relative power of married women...."
Read Ranney's 2000 paper "Anglicans, Merchants, and Feminists: A Comparative Study of the Evolution of Married Women's Rights in Virginia, New York, and Wisconsin," in the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law (Volume 6, Issue 3 Article 2)