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Women

The women, from outwardly feisty to quietly mutinous, who made the Edwardian era so colorful.

100th Anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage March on Washington

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Much of the discussion about women’s suffrage tends to focus on England, the Pankhursts, and their militant tactics, but the battle for the vote raged just as vehemently in the United States. If you follow my Twitter account, I spent most of the weekend (sorry Dowager Countess!) retweeting links to articles and pictures of the participants and artifacts from the Woman Suffrage Parade held exactly 100 years ago on Sunday and those who participated in its recreation. Though the 1913 parade was not without its own external and internal strife (namely, the abuse hurled at the women as they marched in Washington, and the controversy raised when black women asked to participate, much to the horror of many white Southern women delegates, respectively), the 2013 parade was a testament to how far we’ve come on issues of gender and race since then.

Photos from The Atlantic, via Library of Congress

Suffrage March

Cover of the program for the 1913 women's suffrage procession

Suffragists on bus in New York City

Marchers

Woman suffragists at head of parade

Crowds press in on the parade route in Washington, D.C.

For a little fun, here’s a very clever remake of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” with lyrics changed to reflect the fight for women’s suffrage:

Further Reading:
Marching for the Vote: Remembering the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913
Delta Sigma Theta Reenacts Women’s Suffrage March
The day the Deltas marched into history
Descendants of suffrage movement rally for 100th anniversary for right-to-vote march
Document Deep Dive: A Historic Moment in the Fight for Women’s Voting Rights
Centennial of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Parade
Three objects from the 1913 woman suffrage parade

Fascinating Women: Pearl Rivers- Female Journalist

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Pearl Rivers

Picture from Wikimedia Commons

Eliza J Nicholson, known by a pseudonym, ‘Pearl Rivers,’ was one of the first women to be involved in journalism and run a successful, political paper. Eliza’s husband gifted Eliza the paper titled, ‘The Picayune,’ after his death and through her knowledge of journalism and writing; Eliza not only managed the newspaper but through hard work, turned it into a success. During the lifetime of her husband the paper had struggled, but under the control of Eliza it flourished and became an American household name. Eliza was a country girl who dreamed big. During childhood play she was constantly using her imagination and due to being an only child she often had to make her own entertainment. These childhood adventures were the sources for her first poetry, which was considered good enough to publish in journals and newspapers of the time period. The editor of ‘The Picayune,’ invited her to become a literary editor of the paper, a rare accomplishment for a woman of the time period.

Pearl River’s Poem

Spring, the fairest of the seasons,

Spring the virgin queen is dead;

And a young voluptuous sister,

Reigns on the throne instead.

Royal June, with rosy fingers,

Softly closed her violet eyes,

And within the court of nature,

Now in regal state she lies.

Brave old March, her veteran soldier,

Covered with tattered fold,

Of the banner borne so proudly,

Lies beside her, dead and cold.

Fair capricious Lady April,

Sleepeth deep and calmly nigh;

Round her mouth a smile still lingers,

Still a teardrop in her eye.

On a bier of wilted roses,

Lies the tender Lady May,

And her constant loves, the poets,

Royal honors to her pay.

Low and reverently kneeling,

Round her lovely form they throng,

And embalm her precious beauty,

With the costly myrrh of song.

Unto each she left a token,

As a dying pledge of love:

One she gave her azure girdle;

One she gave her rosy glove;

One she gave her silver sandals,

Bright with shining gems of dew;

O’er the shoulders of another,

She her holy mantle threw.

But to me, the humble singer,

Leaning on my harp apart,

From the royal high-voiced poets,

She has left a broken heart.

Through the reign of glowing summer,

Lies the royal dead in state;

High voiced Poets, Humble Singer,

Mournfully keep watch and wait,

Wait! The sober days are coming,

Sad pall-bearers of the dead,

In the distant autumn country,

Hear their slow and weary tread.

 

If you want to read more of this poem or explore ‘Pearl River’s,’ poetry further, her book can be found freely online at: http://archive.org/details/lyrics00nich

Lady Cynthia Asquith on the Installation of the Telephone

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Lady_Cynthia_Charteris

Lady Cynthia Asquith (1881-1960) was the daughter of the 11th Earl of Wemyss and the daughter-in-law of Prime Minister H. H. Asquith. In her memoirs, Remember and Be Glad (1952), she reflects upon her life as an aristocratic girl in Edwardian society.


Much nervous strain in my home life arose from the newly-installed telephone, a source of perpetual embarrassment. Its having only one extension placed me in a continual dilemma. Every time I wanted to ring up a friend I had to decide whether at that moment it would be more judicious to invade my father’s sitting-room or the butler’s bedroom, and if I needed privacy in a talk I had to go out to the nearest Post Office. Incoming calls were a problem too. Whenever Papa was at home he had the telephone switched through to his room, and as he intercepted every call, naturally he got very bored by being perpetually charged with messages for all the other inmates of the house. For instance one morning when he was feverishly anxious to consult his stockbroker, to whom he had just “got through”, he was cut off by a strange woman’s voice:

“Who’s that speaking?” he barked, fuming with impatience.

“Hold on, my man, while I get a pencil and paper,” a voice imperiously charged him, “and then tell me where it is Mr. Horniblower goes for his teeth.” (Mr. Horniblower was Alfred the footman.)

You can imagine how much Papa’s monopolising of the telephone complicated my life. Suppose he happened not to feel in the mood to give me some message, he was liable, no matter how wildly unsuitable the hour, just to bark down the mouthpiece “Cynthia’s asleep.” Sometimes he would even declare the wish no doubt being father to the thought that I had left London for good, thereby greatly upsetting some hostess who had just succeeded in balancing the number of girls and young men at her dinner-table.

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