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The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Sewickley

Signals, October 2009

“What you want, I suppose, is to vote just like the men do.”

“Certainly not,” replied Mrs. Baring-Banners.

“If we couldn’t do any better than that there would be no use [in] our voting.”

(Quoted from the Washington Star in The [Sewickley] Herald, Vol. XII, no. 8, October 10, 1914)

The movement in Pennsylvania toward women’s suffrage began with meetings as early as 1848. The State Women’s Suffrage Association, formed in Philadelphia in 1869, campaigned for over fifty years for women’s right to vote. Many well known American feminists were from

the state, including Lucretia Mott, Florence Kelly and Susan B. Anthony.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly had approved amending the state constitution to give women the right to vote in 1913, but the (male) voting public rejected it. The legislature was to vote again in 1915. In support of the 1915 vote, women took over the editorship of the October 10,1914, issue of The [Sewickley] Herald, which was entitled “Woman Suffrage Edition: Victory Pennsylvania 1915.” Adele Shaw was editor-in-chief, and her staff in-

cluded Elizabeth Congdon Barron, Mary E. Bakewell, Eleanor Willard George, Cornelia Shaw, Anne Davis Leggate, Euphemia Bakewell, Eleanor Drynan and Lucy E. Haworth. The edition was issued under the auspices of the Sewickley Branch of the Pennsylvania Woman’s Suffrage Party, and all departments of the paper were placed unreservedly in the hands of the editorial staff. A note from the Herald management states, “It is their paper, and all the credit that accrues to it belongs to them. Viewed from the standpoint of progressive journalism, it is a spendid paper, and [we feel] a sense of pride in co-operating with the Sewickley Suffrage Party in the publication of this issue.”

For this special issue, the women gathered statistics on the number of women land-

owners in local boroughs and the value of their properties. They interviewed members of the borough councils and gave a rundown on how each was leaning on the suffrage question. The opinions of local clergy were recorded. The head librarian at the Sewickley Public Library presented an annotated list of books supporting suffrage for women. There is a piece on suffrage work in Sewickley, naming pioneer local suffragists. Thought-provoking articles included “Women as Factors in Our Municipalities,” “Feminism,” “Women and

Peace,” ”Woman and the Home,” “War and Women.” An article called “Woman Suffrage in the United States” is illustrated with a map of the country showing the extent of suffrage by state. There is a poem by Euphemia Bakewell called “When Women Vote,” and there is a photograph of author Mary Roberts Rinehart with the caption “An Active Worker in the Pennsylvania Woman Suffrage Campaign.”

While the suffrage amendment passed in the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1915, it was again rejected by the voters in the November election, and the women of Pennsylvania didn’t have the vote until after Congress finally passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on June 4, 1919. Pennsylvania became the seventh state to ratify the amendment, and it became law on August 18, 1920.


No Baths for Women!

This tongue-in-cheek piece, “Style–Anti-Suffragist Literature,” was published in the August 26, 1916, edition of The [Sewickley] Herald.

Bathing is not a right, but a privilege. It would also double the expense; twice as much water, twice as many towels, twice as much soap.

A great many women don't want to bathe. Do you see as many women as men at the beaches? If women wanted baths, they would prove it by washing their hands and faces oftener.

Why cannot man represent women at the bath?

A good mother has no time for bathing. Women should be mothers, not mermaids. It would consume too much of their time that should be used for housekeeping.

The husband might want the tub at the same time as the wife. This would cause dissension in the home.

The husband is stronger and could get the tub if he wanted it. The plumber is stronger

and could refuse to carry out orders.

Men by nature are coarse and sturdy and can stand baths, which would injure the delicate, sensitive fibre of women. Men exercise more than women and get warmer, follow all the active pursuits, and golf, and they need baths. Women only do house-cleaning and stand over stoves; they do not need baths. Baths

would wash off their bloom.

Only in a comparatively small region of the world, where there are advanced, unproved ideas, do the women take baths.




The Western Pennsylvania Frontier and the Eastern Woodland Indian

An illustrated lecture by Michael Tomana & Dr. Stephen Glinsky

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 7:30 p.m.

Held at the Old Sewickley Post Office

The Sewickley Valley Historical Society is pleased to present Michael Tomana, J.D., and Dr. Stephen Glinsky, who will make a joint presentation about the Western Pennsylvania frontier during the period 1750 through 1800 and the interaction between settlers and the

Eastern Woodland Indians. The presentation will include a display and discussion of Mr. Tomana’s collection of period arms and artifacts as well as a display of the art of noted local painter Robert Griffing, whose images will be incorporated into the narrative. Mr. Tomana is a life-long resident of the area and a graduate of Yale University and Boston College Law School. At Yale, he was a student of noted American historians C. Van Woodward, Howard Lamar, William McFeeley, Donald Kagan and Patricia Nelson. He is Chief Executive Officer of Redleaf Group and RLI Partners, Chairman of the Board of Amperion, Inc., and a Director on the Board of LucidMedia, Inc., as well as a Director of SVHS and several other non-profit organizations.

Dr. Stephen Glinsky is a resident of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, and has lectured frequently on the Eastern Woodland Indian utilizing the narrative art of Robert Griffing. Dr. Glinsky’s work is made possible by a grant from the Venango Center for Creative Development, Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts, a Program of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and sponsored by Paramount Publishers, Inc., and Robert Griffing, artist.

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