An Unfinished Revolution: Edna Buckman Kearns and the Struggle for Women's Rights

An Unfinished Revolution: Edna Buckman Kearns and the Struggle for Women's Rights

by Marguerite Kearns

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Overview

Through the lens of one family's history, An Unfinished Revolution tells the story of the suffrage movement and the ongoing struggle for women's rights in the United States. The book opens with ten-year-old Marguerite Kearns listening to her grandfather Wilmer's stories about how he met her grandmother Edna, a ninth-generation Quaker and ardent suffrage campaigner, and how he fell in love with her. Wilmer, who became a male suffrage activist himself, also shares the story of the "Spirit of 1776" suffrage campaign wagon that Edna and others used while organizing in New York State in 1913. After sitting for years in a Kearns family garage, the wagon is currently housed in the permanent collection of the New York State Museum as a prime artifact in the national suffrage movement.

As Marguerite grows older, she draws on a wide variety of sources—from family stories and photographs to archives and scholarly histories—to piece together the real-life narrative of her family. Profoundly changed in the process, she becomes an activist herself, and when she marches in a present-day women's march, she carries a photo of her grandparents participating in a 1914 women's march in New York. With the women's suffrage movement as the backdrop, this memoir and family history illuminates how activism passes from one generation to another—and how a horse-drawn suffrage campaign wagon became a symbol of freedom and equality.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781438483320
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 06/01/2021
Series: Excelsior Editions
Pages: 354
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Marguerite Kearns grew up in the Philadelphia area learning about her family history. A former journalist and teacher, her award-winning writing has contributed to a support base for her storytelling. She lives in Northern New Mexico.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

The Story Behind the Story xvii

Part I

Chapter 1 The March of the Women 3

Chapter 2 Wilmer Meets Edna 9

Chapter 3 Granddaddy Wilmer 16

Chapter 4 "Dish Rags" and "She-Men" 26

Chapter 5 An Unlikely Couple 34

Chapter 6 "When Is Papa Coming Home?" 43

Chapter 7 The Secret 52

Chapter 8 "Don't Fall in Love with Curmudgeons" 59

Chapter 9 The Spirit of 1776 Wagon 67

Chapter 10 Getting to Know the Family on Edgar Allan Poe's Chairs 76

Part II

Chapter 11 The Telephone Party Line 97

Chapter 12 Just Friends 103

Chapter 13 Dinner at Delmonico's

Chapter 14 Many Women, Many Views 115

Chapter 15 Learning about Interviewing 124

Chapter 16 "Is It Always Like This?" 130

Chapter 17 "Will Thee Marry Me?" 136

Chapter 18 Rumblings at the Dinner Table 142

Chapter 19 "Happy New Year to Thee and All" 148

Chapter 20 First Chance to Be Alone 153

Looking Back: The Wedding 158

Part III

Chapter 21 Charles, Angela, and the Wedding Scandal 165

Chapter 22 Honeymoon in St. Louis 174

Chapter 23 "I Am a Writer" 178

Chapter 24 Civil War Orphan School 185

Chapter 25 Sinking Spells 194

Chapter 26 Holly, Mistletoe, and Evergreens 202

Chapter 27 "It Is Awful. Awful." 209 l Part IV

Chapter 28 "Trust Me" 217

Chapter 29 The Wagon in Woodstock 225

Chapter 30 Uproar in Huntington 234

Chapter 31 One Woman per Century 241

Chapter 32 Sojourner Truth in the Hudson Valley 248

Looking Back: In Their Own Words 251

Chapter 33 Pete Seeger's Aunt-Suffrage Activist Anita Pollitzer 265

Chapter 34 Inez Milholland-US Suffrage Martyr 270

Chapter 35 The Struggle Continues 277

Acknowledgments 287

Genealogy Chan 291

Timeline of the Spirit of 1776 Suffrage Wagon 293

Notes 301

Selected Bibliography 313

Index 319

About the Author 331

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