No effort could obtain any larger extension of the franchise to women but the new State constitution gave universal suffrage to men and carefully protected the right to vote of those who could not speak, read or write either the English or Spanish language. It then provided that the suffrage clause could only be amended by having the amendment submitted by a vote of three-fourths of each House of the Legislature. In order to be carried, it must have a three-fourths majority of the highest number voting at a State election and a two-thirds majority of the highest number voting in every county. This was expressly designed to prevent woman suffrage and it destroyed all possibility of it until conferred by a Federal Amendment.
Among the women who worked for woman suffrage in addition to those mentioned in the chapter were Mesdames Margaret Cartright, S. F. Culberson, George W. Carr, Josie Lockard, J. R. Kinyon, H. F. LaBelle, N. J. Strumquist, Margaret Medler, William J. Barker, Lansing Bloom, C. E. Mason, R. P. Donahoe, Ruth Skeen, John W. Wilson, S. C. Nutter, Catherine Patterson, Minnie Byrd, Howard Huey, Alfred Grunsfeld, Edgar L. Hewett, I. H. Elliot and I. H. Rapp.
As all women were fully enfranchised by the Federal Amendment a State branch of the National League of Women Voters was formed with Mrs. Gerald Cassidy as chairman.
 The History is indebted for this chapter to Deane H. (Mrs. Washington E.) Lindsey, State chairman of the National Woman Suffrage Association.
New York was the cradle of the movement for woman suffrage not only in this State but in the world, for here in 1848 was held the first Women's Rights Convention in all history. Except during the Civil War there was no year after 1850 when one or more such conventions did not take place until 1920, when all the women of the United States were enfranchised by an amendment to the National Constitution. This State was the home of the two great leaders for half a century—Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. The first appeal ever made to a Legislature for woman suffrage was made by these two women in 1854 and there was never a year afterwards when this appeal was not made by the women of New York except during the Civil War. The State Woman Suffrage Association was organized in 1869 and its work never ceased. Notwithstanding this record no suffrage for women had ever been obtained in this State, except a fragment of a School franchise for those in villages and country districts, up to 1901, when this chapter begins.
The cause had gradually gained in strength, however, and a factor which had strong influence was the splendid cooperation of many other organizations. The president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union often spoke at the suffrage conventions and legislative hearings and the superintendent of franchise, Dr. Lavinia R. Davis, sent out thousands of suffrage leaflets and appeals to the women of the local unions every year. The State Grange, with its membership approaching 100,000, passed favorable resolutions many times and gave the president and vice-president of the suffrage association, who were members, opportunities to speak at its meetings. The State Federation of Labor granted the vice-president time for an address at its convention in Troy as early as 1908 and thereafter endorsed the suffrage bills and sent speakers to the hearings on them. Women from labor unions spoke at conventions of the State Suffrage Association, which had a Committee on Industrial Work. The Western New York Federation of Women's Clubs, under the leadership of Mrs. Nettie Rogers Shuler of Buffalo, its president, was the first federation to admit suffrage clubs and a suffrage resolution was passed at its convention in 1909, at which time it had 35,000 members.
The annual conventions of the State association always were held in October. The thirty-third in the long series met at Oswego in the Presbyterian Church in 1901 and was welcomed by Mayor A. M. Hall. Addresses were made by Miss Susan B. Anthony, honorary president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association; Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, its vice-president-at-large; Alice Stone Blackwell, its recording secretary; Harriet May Mills and Julie R. Jenney of Syracuse. A memorial service was held for one of the pioneers, Charlotte A. Cleveland of Wyoming county, Mrs. Jean Brooks Greenleaf, former State president, and Mrs. Ella Hawley Crossett, vice-president, offering testimonials of her ability and helpfulness. She left the association a legacy of $2,000, the first it ever had received. Mrs. Mariana W. Chapman, president since 1896, was re-elected.
The convention of 1902 was held in Buffalo at the Church of the Messiah. The wife of the Mayor, Erastus Knight, represented him in giving a welcome from the city. Owing to the illness of Mrs. Chapman, Mrs. Crossett presided. She was elected president, after having served four years as vice-president. Miss Mills was chosen for that office and they served for the next eight years.
In 1903 the convention was held in the Presbyterial Church at Hornellsville welcomed by Mayor C. F. Nelson and the Rev. Charles Petty, pastor of the church. Mrs. Crossett responded and gave her annual address, which showed much activity during the year. Miss Mills, chairman of the State organization committee, said that she had arranged for fifty-five meetings. Dr. Shaw had spoken in thirty different counties, the president or vice-president accompanying her and organizing clubs at many places. The chairmen of the standing committees—Organization, Press, Legislative, Industries, Work Among Children, Enrollment, School Suffrage—and also the county presidents reported effective work. The addresses of Miss Anthony, Dr. Shaw and Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, national president, were highly appreciated by large audiences. During the summer of 1903, as in many others, Miss Anthony and Dr. Shaw attracted large gatherings at the Chautauqua and Lily Dale Assemblies.
The convention of 1904 met at Auburn. Mrs. Eliza Wright Osborne, daughter of Martha Wright and niece of Lucretia Mott, two of those who had called the first Woman's Rights Convention, entertained the officers and many chairmen in the annex of the hotel, a stenographer, typewriter and every convenience being placed at their disposal. In her own home she had as guests Miss Anthony, Dr. Shaw, Mrs. William Lloyd Garrison (her sister), Emily Howland, Mrs. William C. Gannett, Lucy E. Anthony and others. One evening her spacious house was thrown open for the people of the city to meet the noted suffragists. The convention was held in Music Hall, a gift of Mrs. Osborne to the city, and her son, Thomas Mott Osborne, welcomed it as Mayor.
The old Political Equality Club of Rochester, of which Miss Mary S. Anthony was president for many years, invited the convention for 1905. To go to the home city of the Anthony sisters was indeed a pleasure. They opened their house one afternoon for all who desired to take a cup of tea with them. It was crowded and many expressed themselves as feeling that they were on a sacred spot. A large number went to the third story to see the rooms where Mrs. Ida Husted Harper spent several years with Miss Anthony writing her biography and Volume IV of the History of Woman Suffrage. A reception was given at Powers Hotel attended by over 600 people. During the meetings Miss Anthony introduced a number of women who had attended the first Woman's Rights Convention, which adjourned from Seneca Falls to Rochester, Mary Hallowell, Sarah Willis, Mary S. Anthony and Maria Wilder Depuy.
The convention was held in the Universalist Church. Mayor James G. Cutler, who welcomed the delegates, spoke very highly of his "esteemed fellow citizen, Susan B. Anthony" and presented her with a large bouquet of American Beauty roses. Mrs. Crossett in her annual address compared the convention held at Rochester in 1890, when there were but seven local clubs in the State, with this one representing 100 local and 31 county clubs. Elnora M. Babcock, press chairman, reported 500 papers in the State using articles favorable to woman suffrage.
The convention for 1906 met at Syracuse in the (Samuel J.) May Memorial Church. Miss Anthony had passed away the preceding March. Over the entrance door of the church was a large banner with the last words of the beloved leader, "Failure is Impossible." The afternoon meeting closed with tributes of reverence and appreciation by Mrs. Osborne, Anne Fitzhugh Miller, Marie Jenney Howe, Mrs. Crossett, Miss Mills and Dr. Shaw. Large audiences gathered for the evening meetings, among the speakers being Mrs. Florence Kelley, Mrs. Henry Villard and Mrs. Rachel Foster Avery. Dr. Shaw and Mrs. Avery spoke in the University Chapel to the students.
The convention of 1907, which met in Geneva, received a warm welcome; stores displayed the suffrage colors in their windows and many citizens hung flags over their doorways. The gracious presence of Mrs. Elizabeth Smith Miller and her daughter Anne, president of the Geneva Political Equality Club, the largest in the State, made the convention especially memorable. The delegates were invited to Lochland, the Miller home on the lake, one afternoon where a memorial service was held on the big porch, the place of many suffrage meetings, in memory of Mary S. Anthony, who had died the preceding February. Affectionate tributes were paid. The convention was welcomed by Mayor Arthur P. Rose, City Attorney W. Smith O'Brien, Miss Miller and Mrs. Charlotte A. Baldridge, county president. Speakers were President Langdon C. Stewardson of Hobart College and Professors F. P. Nash and Nathaniel Schmidt of Cornell University.
The 40th State convention was held in 1908 in Buffalo, whose suffrage club invited the National American Association to hold its convention there the same week, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first Woman's Rights Convention. For eight years Mrs. Richard Williams, president of the club, had carried on the work in this city and had built up an excellent organization. Mrs. George Howard Lewis and Mrs. Dexter P. Rumsey were valuable members. Mrs. Lewis gave $10,000 to Dr. Shaw for suffrage work. The State convention, which met two days before the National, voted to have headquarters at Albany during the legislative session. It also voted to continue the State headquarters in Syracuse. Dr. Shaw had presented the suffrage question at the State Federation of Women's Clubs; Miss Mills had addressed the World's Temperance Congress; members had spoken before the resolution committees of the political State conventions and before many different organizations, institutions, etc. On May 26, 27, Mrs. Stanton Blatch had arranged a meeting in Seneca Falls to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the first Women's Rights Convention, called by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and that noble band of women in 1848. Addresses were made by their descendants and a number of the pioneer suffragists and a bronze tablet was placed on the Wesleyan Methodist Church, where the convention was held.
This year Mrs. Clarence Mackay became interested in the work for woman suffrage and organized in New York an Equal Franchise League of which she was president, with headquarters in the Metropolitan Tower. She opened her house for lectures, interested a great many prominent and influential people and also arranged a course of public lectures in one of the theaters, which attracted large audiences. The papers gave columns of space to her efforts and the movement received a great impetus.
It had always been Miss Anthony's strong desire to have headquarters in this large center from which news of all kinds was sent to the four quarters of the globe. She realized the vast numbers of people who could be reached and the great prestige which would be given to the movement but even with her wonderful ability for getting money she never could secure anywhere near enough to carry out this plan in the city where everything must be done on a large scale to be successful. The longed-for opportunity did not come in her lifetime but in 1909 Mrs. Oliver H. P. Belmont decided to take an active part in the work for woman suffrage and inquired of the leaders what was the most important thing to be done. They answered quickly: "Establish State headquarters in New York City and also bring the National headquarters here." With the executive ability for which she was noted Mrs. Belmont at once rented the entire floor of a big new office building at 505 Fifth Avenue, corner of 42nd Street, and invited both associations to take headquarters there for two years. They did so and the movement received a strong impulse not only in New York but in the country at large. The State association paid no rent and the national press bureau was maintained by Mrs. Belmont.
While in New York City women of the highest character and ability had sponsored the suffrage work it had not attracted the women who could give it financial support. When Mrs. Mackay and Mrs. Belmont identified themselves with it, opened their homes for lectures and interested their friends public attention was aroused. The meetings given in August by Mrs. Belmont at Marble House, Newport, which never before had been opened to the public, received an immense amount of space in the New York papers and those outside. The big headquarters soon were thronged with women; magazines, syndicates and the daily press had articles and pictures; mass meetings and parades followed and thousands of women entered the suffrage ranks. At the end of two years the State association was sufficiently well financed to maintain its headquarters, which remained in New York until its work was finished. Mrs. Belmont never lost her interest in the cause and continued to make large contributions. In a few years Mrs. Mackay turned her attention to other matters but her society was continued under the presidency of Mrs. Howard Mansfield. In 1909, under the direction of Mrs. Catt, its chairman, the Inter-Urban Council of twenty societies became the Woman Suffrage Party and organization along the lines of the political parties was begun.
The delegates came to the State convention at Troy in 1909 with high hopes that with headquarters established in New York City the suffrage work could be promoted as never before. It was held in the Y. M. C. A. building and greeted by representatives of the Emma Willard Association, City Federation of Women's Clubs, Daughters of the American Revolution and Teachers' Association. Mayor E. P. Mann extended an official welcome. Among the speakers was Professor Frances Squire Potter, national corresponding secretary. Mrs. William M. Ivins gave her impression of the suffrage movement in England and Miss Carolyn Crossett spoke on the meeting of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance in London, which she attended with Dr. Shaw. Not since the constitutional convention in 1894 had so much work been reported. The State president or vice-president had attended meetings in 41 counties. All-day meetings were held in all the cities on the Hudson River with excellent speakers, including Dr. Shaw. The president, vice-president and corresponding secretary, Miss Alice Williams, remained at Albany for three months, speaking and working in the towns in the eastern part of the State. Three large Self-Supporting Women's Suffrage Leagues joined the association.
In 1910 both the State association and the Woman Suffrage Party wrote Chairman Timothy Woodruff of the Republican and Chairman John A. Dix of the Democratic State Committees requesting a hearing at the conventions. They were politely referred to the Resolutions Committees. They went to the Republican convention at Saratoga Springs, carrying their literature and the printed resolution which they wished the committee to put in the platform: "We believe that the question of woman suffrage has reached such a degree of importance that the Legislature should submit an amendment for it to the voters of the State." The committee allowed ten minutes; Mrs. Crossett presided and presented Mrs. Mary Wood, national organizer of the Republican women; Miss Mary Garrett Hay, a leader of the New York Woman Suffrage Party and other able speakers but no attention was paid to their request. This program was repeated at the Democratic convention in Rochester with the same result, and this had been the experience for years. At this time candidates all over the State were being interviewed and women went to many county and city political conventions asking for endorsement of equal suffrage, seldom with success, although the politicians admitted that the time for acting was not far off.
The convention met at Niagara Falls in October, 1910, in the auditorium of the Shredded Wheat Biscuit Company, and was welcomed by Mayor Peter Porter. Mrs. Crossett responded and gave her annual address, which, she said, would be her last as president. Her home was in Warsaw in the western part of the State and when headquarters in New York City were given to the association she promised to make that her home for one year but could not do so longer. Over 1,000 persons had registered at the headquarters, she said, but these probably were not over one-third of those who called. Most of them came for speakers or help in some way; others came to volunteer assistance. Meetings had been held in nearly every unorganized county and there were 37 county societies. There were 155 clubs in the association, which had begun to make the assembly district the unit in the State, as Mrs. Catt had done in New York City. These clubs had held 695 public and 1,614 local meetings. The State board had arranged for 241 public meetings making 2,550. The association had now a membership of 58,000.
Mrs. Belmont, who had rooms on the same floor with the State and national associations, had formed eight clubs and given some of them headquarters. The city had headquarters and altogether there were ten. A Men's League had been organized. A Cooperative Service Club of over 100 business women was formed and met evenings at the State headquarters. The association sponsored the work of securing names to the National petition to Congress and they were tabulated at headquarters. Greater New York women secured 24,114 names and there were 72,086 signers in the State. A lecture bureau was established; Miss Carolyn Crossett went over the State arranging meetings; Miss Mills spoke in 28 counties. Dr. B. O. Aylesworth of Colorado University was spending the summer in New York and gave over twenty lectures for the association before clubs and public meetings. It seemed as if every woman's club in New York City asked for speakers and many of note were supplied. The association had published thousands of pieces of literature and used thousands prepared by the National.
It was in this flourishing condition that the State association passed from the hands of Mrs. Crossett into those of her successor, Miss Harriet May Mills, who had served with her as vice-president throughout the preceding eight years. The other officers during this period were Mrs. Shuler, Mary T. Sanford, Ada M. Hall, Ida A. Craft, Isabel Howland, Alice Williams, Anna E. Merritt, Georgiana Potter, Nicolas Shaw Fraser, Mrs. Ivins, Eliza Wright Osborne, Mariana W. Chapman and Mrs. Villard. The lack of space prevents naming the hundreds of women who gave unceasing service through these years when faith and courage were required and there were no victories as a reward. In all the cities of the State the local women arranged courses of lectures with prominent speakers and kept suffrage continually before the people through the press and in other ways. By this quiet, persistent work of comparatively few women the foundation was laid for the majorities in the many "up-State" counties when the amendment came to a vote.
At the annual convention of the State Association held in Niagara Falls, Oct. 18-21, 1910, the following officers were chosen: President, Miss Mills; vice-president, Mrs. Arthur L. Livermore, Yonkers; corresponding secretary, Mrs. Roxana B. Burrows, Andover; recording secretary, Mrs. Nicolas Shaw Fraser, Geneseo; treasurer, Mrs. Ivins, New York; auditors, Mrs. Osborne, Auburn, Mrs. Villard, New York. During the three following years there were but few changes.
The convention of 1911 met in Ithaca; that of 1912 in Utica and that of 1913 in Binghamton. This period was one of great activity, leading to the submission of an amendment to the State constitution by the Legislature in January, 1913, the object of the association for over forty years. Its paying membership had steadily increased from 5,252 in October, 1910 to 8,139 in October, 1913, with over 50,000 enrolled members in addition. New York was thus enabled to continue its record of having the largest delegation each year in the national convention. The receipts from membership were respectively $8,182, $11,836 and $14,230, the gains in membership and money amounting to about 60 per cent. The enrolled membership was finally adopted in place of the paid individual membership through suffrage clubs. For fourteen years the association maintained the News Letter, edited for ten years by Miss Mills and afterwards by Mrs. Minnie Reynolds and Miss Cora E. Morlan successively.
One part of the work which helped build up the association was the great campaigns through the summers of 1911-12, covering the eastern, northern and western counties and Long Island. Over 200 of these open-air rallies were held and thousands of enrolled members as well as new clubs and workers were secured. At the large Delhi meeting, held as an exception in the opera house, Mrs. Henry White Cannon came into the ranks, formed a strong organization and continued to be one of the valued leaders. Mrs. Gertrude Nelson Andrews for two years conducted classes in public speaking and knowledge of suffrage principles at the New York headquarters. She also went out into the State, rousing the women to the need of training themselves and others to speak for the cause and prepared a valuable book for her students.
In 1911 the State headquarters were moved into a beautiful old mansion at 180 Madison Avenue, just south of 34th Street in the heart of the shopping district, where they remained during 1912-13. Through the generosity of Mrs. Frances Lang, of whom they were leased, a comparatively low rent was paid. The new quarters were opened with a brilliant house-warming and in February a big State bazar and fair were held to raise funds. The preceding year the association celebrated Miss Anthony's birthday with a bazar in the roof garden of the Hotel Astor, with articles contributed from all parts of the State and several thousand dollars were realized. Never was this anniversary on February 15 allowed to pass without a special observance. In 1913 it was celebrated by a reception at the Hotel Astor with speeches by Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, Mrs. Ida Husted Harper, Miss Anthony's biographer, and others. A bust of the great leader was unveiled by the sculptor, Mrs. Adelaide Johnson. Contributions of $2,500 were made.
In May the State association united with all the suffrage societies of New York (except the Women's Political Union, Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch, president, which did not wish to take part), in a meeting and pageant at the Metropolitan Opera House arranged by Mrs. Mansfield. Former President Theodore Roosevelt and Dr. Shaw made notable addresses to an enthusiastic audience which crowded the vast amphitheater and the great prima donna, Madame Nordica, a strong advocate of woman suffrage, sang magnificently. The pageant was beautiful and was accompanied by an orchestra composed entirely of women led by David Mannes. The association cooperated in a number of big parades during these years, representatives coming from societies throughout the State and from neighboring States. On the last Saturday in May, 1910, there was a night procession down Fifth Avenue with Mrs. James Lees Laidlaw as the efficient chairman of arrangements. One on the first Saturday in May, 1911, will ever be remembered, all the thousands of women dressed in white, headed by Mrs. C. O. Mailloux and Miss Carolyn Fleming carrying the flag of the State association, white satin with a heavy gold fringe and a golden wreath of laurel in the center with the name and date of organization. The fund for it was collected by Mrs. Ivins, the State treasurer, who gave so generously of her money, time, thought and effort to strengthen the association through the years of her service. At the head of the great parade the first Saturday in May, 1912, marched the handsome and stately Mrs. Herbert Carpenter, carrying the Stars and Stripes. Miss Portia Willis as grand marshal, robed in white and mounted on a white horse, made a picture never to be forgotten. These two led several processions. The pioneers rode in handsomely decorated carriages. In these processions tens of thousands of women were in line and they marched with many bands from Washington Square to Central Park, a distance of several miles. Delegates from Men's Suffrage Leagues walked with them. Half a million people lined the streets, orderly and respectful.
In 1912 representatives of the association attended the State conventions of all the parties and extended hearings were granted by the Resolutions Committees. Their treatment was in great contrast to that of earlier days when they could scarcely obtain five or ten minutes before a committee. This year every party declared for woman suffrage in its platform. It was a gratification to sit in the great convention hall at Saratoga and hear the Hon. Horace White of Syracuse, who throughout his long years in the State Senate had constantly opposed the amendment, report in his capacity as chairman of the Resolutions Committee that the Republican party favored a speedy referendum on woman suffrage. Many dramatic features of propaganda characterized these years, which marked the awakening of the women of the entire State and brought into the ranks many wide-awake, independent young women, who wanted to use aggressive and spectacular methods, and these the older workers did not discourage. Those that attracted the most attention were the suffrage "hikes," in which Miss Rosalie Jones, a girl of wealth and position, was the leading spirit. She sent a picturesque account of these "hikes," which has had to be condensed for lack of space.
The idea originated with Rosalie Gardiner Jones, who began by making a tour of Long Island, her summer home, in a little cart drawn by one horse and decorated with suffrage flags and banners, stopping at every village and town, giving out literature and talking to the crowds that gathered. "If you once win the hearts of the rural people you have them forever. That is why I decided to organize a pilgrimage from New York City to Albany before the opening of the legislative session, when it was hoped a woman suffrage amendment would be submitted to the voters," she said.
Miss Jones recruited a small army of brave and devoted members, of which she was the "General" and Miss Ida Craft of Brooklyn the "Colonel" and the three others who walked every step to the end of the journey were Miss Lavinia Dock—"little Doc Dock"—a trained nurse, department editor of the American Journal of Nursing and author of The History of Nursing; Miss Sybil Wilbur of Boston, biographer of Mary Baker Eddy, and Miss Katharine Stiles of Brooklyn. They carried a message to Governor William Sulzer expressing the earnest hope that his administration might be distinguished by the speedy passage of the woman suffrage amendment, signed by the presidents of the various New York suffrage organizations, engraved on parchment and hand illumined by Miss Jones. The "hike" began Monday morning, Dec. 16, 1912, from the 242nd street subway station, where about 500 had gathered, and about 200, including the newspaper correspondents, started to walk.
From New York City to Albany there was left a trail of propaganda among the many thousands of people who stopped at the cross roads and villages to listen to the first word which had ever reached them concerning woman suffrage, and many joined in and marched for a few miles. The newspapers far and wide were filled with pictures and stories. The march continued for thirteen days, through sun and rain and snow over a distance of 170 miles, including detours for special propaganda, and five pilgrims walked into Albany at 4 p. m., December 28. Whistles blew, bells rang, motor cars clanged their gongs, traffic paused, windows were thrown up, stores and shops were deserted while Albany gazed upon them, and large numbers escorted them to the steps of the Capitol where they lifted their cry "Votes for Women." They were received at the Executive Mansion on the 31st and "General Rosalie" gave the message in behalf of the suffragists of New York State. The newly-elected Governor answered: "All my life I have believed in the right of women to exercise the franchise with men as a matter of justice. I will do what I can to advance their political rights and have already incorporated in my Message advice to the legislators to pass the suffrage measure."
The "hike" had resulted in such tremendous advertising of woman suffrage that another on a larger scale to Washington was planned. "General" Jones and "Colonel" Craft were reinforced by "little Corporal" Martha Klatschken of New York and a large group, who were joined by others along the route. The "army" was mustered in at the Hudson Terminal, New York, at 9 a. m. on Lincoln's birthday, Feb. 12, 1913, and the start was made a little later at Newark, N. J. Each marcher wore a picturesque long brown woolen cape. The little yellow wagon with the good horse "Meg," driven by Miss Elizabeth Freeman, was joined at Philadelphia by Miss Marguerite Geist, with a little cart and donkey, and she helped distribute the suffrage buttons, flags and leaflets.
Thousands of people were gathered at Newark to see the start of this "army of the Hudson," which now was known as the "army of the Potomac," and hundreds marched with them the first day. After this about a hundred fell in at each town and marched to the next one. Alphonse Major and Edward Van Wyck were the advance agents who arranged for the meetings and the stopping places for the night. They were constantly attended by the press correspondents, at one time forty-five of them with their cameras, besides the magazine writers. The Mayors of the places along the route would send delegations to meet them and escort them to the town hall, where the speech-making would begin. At Wilmington, Del., the city council declared a half-holiday; the Mayor and officials met them at the edge of town and escorted them to the town hall, which was crowded, and they were obliged also to hold street meetings for hours. They reached Philadelphia at 7 o'clock Sunday evening, where the streets had been packed for hours awaiting them, and it was only by holding street corner meetings on the way that they could get to the hotel.
The Princeton University students had been roaming around all the afternoon waiting for them, as there were a number of young college boys and girls with them, and the speakers held the crowd of boys for several hours. The next day a delegation of students walked with them for miles. At all of the other university towns they were received with the same enthusiasm. At the University of Pennsylvania they were detained hours for speeches in the grounds. At Baltimore they were received by Cardinal Gibbons in his mansion, an extraordinary courtesy, as they were not Catholics.
The "hikers" reached Hyattsville, four miles from Washington, the evening of February 27 and spent the night there. The next morning, escorted by a delegation of suffragists from the city, they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. The streets had been thronged for several hours with a cosmopolitan crowd, from the highest to the lowest. At the headquarters of the Congressional Committee of the National American Suffrage Association, across from the Treasury building, "General" Jones was presented with flowers and disbanded her army. Fourteen had walked the entire distance from New York—295 miles with some detours—and two had walked from Philadelphia.
A message to President Taft, similar to the one which had been sent by the New York officers to Governor Sulzer, had been entrusted by the board of the National Suffrage Association to the pilgrims, who expected to march in a body to the White House to deliver it. Before they reached Washington they were notified that the board itself would present it to the incoming President Wilson at a later date. Miss Florence Allen, the well known Ohio lawyer, who had been marching for several days, returned to New York, to try to obtain the recall of this decision but was unsuccessful. Afterwards the board informed "General" Jones that they would go together to the White House but all had separated, the psychological moment had passed and the message was never presented.
LEGISLATIVE ACTION. The legislature of New York meets annually and from 1854 to 1917 a woman suffrage measure was presented only to be rejected, with two exceptions. The first was in 1880, when the Legislature undertook to give women the right to vote at school meetings, but the law was ineffective and this great privilege was confined to women in villages and country districts. The charters of a number of third class cities granted School suffrage to women and some of them included the right to vote on special appropriations for those who paid taxes. This was the situation at the beginning of the century.
1901. When Theodore Roosevelt was Governor he advised the suffragists to drop the effort for a constitutional amendment awhile and work for something the Legislature could grant without a referendum to the voters. For five years, therefore, they tried to get some form of partial suffrage that could be obtained without amending the constitution. The total result was a law in 1901 giving to taxpaying women in the towns and villages a vote on propositions to raise money by special tax assessment, which was signed by Governor Benjamin F. Odell. Miss Susan B. Anthony considered this of little value but it covered about 1,800 places and when she saw the interest aroused in the women by even this small concession she came to think that it was worth while. In 1910 a legislative enactment increased this privilege to a vote on the issuing of bonds.
During the legislative sessions of 1902-3-4-5 the effort was concentrated on a bill to give a vote on special taxation to taxpaying women in all third class cities—those having less than 50,000 inhabitants. Mrs. Mary H. Loines of Brooklyn was chairman of the committee, as she had been since 1898. The special champions of the bill were Senators Leslie B. Humphrey, H. S. Ambler, John Raines; Representatives Otto Kelsey, George H. Smith, Louis C. Bedell, E. W. Ham. Among the strongest opponents were Senators Edgar Truman Brackett, George A. Davis, Thomas F. Grady and Nevada M. Stranahan. Governors Odell and Frank M. Higgins recommended it and Speaker Frederick S. Nixon urged it. Committee hearings were granted at every session and among its advocates were Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, national president, Mrs. Crossett and Miss Harriet May Mills, State president and vice-president; Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch, Mrs. Margaret Chanler Aldrich, Mrs. Mary E. Craigie and Miss Anne Fitzhugh Miller. Mrs. Arthur M. Dodge, president of the Anti-Suffrage Association, and Mrs. George Phillips, secretary, spoke in opposition. During these four years neither House voted on the bill and it was seldom reported by the committees.
In 1906 after consulting with Miss Anthony, the State leaders decided to return to the original effort for the submission to the voters of an amendment to the State constitution, which was presented by Senator Henry W. Hill of Buffalo and Representative E. C. Dowling of Brooklyn. Mrs. Henry Villard, Mrs. John K. Howe and Mrs. Helen Z. M. Rodgers were among the suffrage speakers and Mrs. Winslow W. Crannell was added to the "antis." No committee reports were made. The taxpayers' bill was also presented in 1906 and 1907 with no results of six years' work.
Thenceforth the resolution for the constitutional amendment was introduced every year, in 1908 by Senator Percy Hooker of LeRoy. The club women had now become interested and the legislators were deluged with letters and literature. Miss Mary Garrett Hay, Miss Helen Varick Boswell and Mrs. Harry Hastings headed the large delegation from New York City for the hearing. Mrs. Crossett informed the Judiciary Committee that during the past year woman suffrage had been officially endorsed by the New York City Federation of Labor with 250,000 members; State Grange with 75,000; New York City Federation of Women's Clubs with 35,000; Woman's Christian Temperance Union with 30,000 and many other organizations. F. A. Byrne spoke for the City Central Labor Union. Mrs. Francis M. Scott represented the Anti-Suffrage Association. Morris Hilquit and Mrs. Meta Stern spoke independently for the Socialists, making a strong appeal for the amendment. The Senate took no action and Speaker James W. Wadsworth, Jr., was able to defeat any consideration by the Lower House. During the following summer mass meetings were held in every city on the Hudson River addressed by Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, now president of the National Suffrage Association, and other noted speakers and a vast amount of work was done in the State.
In the Legislature of 1909 Senator Hill and Representative Frederick R. Toombs introduced the resolution. At the hearing the Assembly Chamber was filled to overflowing. Mrs. Villard, chairman of the Legislative Committee, presided. People stood four hours listening to the speeches and returned to a suffrage mass meeting at night. Mrs. William Force Scott and Miss Margaret Doane Gardner spoke for the "antis." Mrs. Crossett asked of the committee: "Does it mean nothing to you that 40,000 women in this State are organized to secure the franchise; that a few years ago 600,000 people signed the petition for woman suffrage to the constitutional convention; that associations formed for other purposes representing hundreds of thousands of members have endorsed it?" Mrs. Graham, president of the State W. C. T. U.; Mrs. John Winters Brannan and Mrs. Pearce Bailey, representing the Equal Franchise Society; Miss Mills, speaking for the State League; Leonora O'Reilly, presenting the resolution of the Women's Trade Union League of New York for the amendment; Mrs. Dexter F. Rumsey, speaking for Mrs. Nettie Rogers Shuler, president of the Western New York Federation of Women's Clubs; Mrs. Lillie Devereux Blake, a pioneer suffragist, president of the Legislative League; Mrs. Florence Kelley, executive secretary of the Consumers' League; Mrs. George Howard Lewis of Buffalo, a well known philanthropist; Mrs. Maud Nathan, president of the New York Consumers' League; Mrs. Rodgers and Mrs. Gabrielle Mulliner, lawyers—all urged the legislators to submit the question to the voters. Dr. Shaw held the audience spellbound until 6 o'clock. John Spargo, the well known socialist, spoke independently with much power, demanding the vote especially for working women. The use of the Assembly Chamber was granted for an evening suffrage meeting which attracted a large audience. The Legislature took no action.
Members of the large legislative committee met weekly during the session of 1910 at the State headquarters in New York to assist in promoting the work. All the workers as usual contributed their services. Mrs. Crossett and Miss Mills remained in Albany. A notable meeting was held there at Harmanus-Bleecker Hall, with excellent speakers. The boxes were filled with prominent women, who had invited many of the State officials as guests; seats were sent to all the members of the Legislature, most of whom were present, and the house with a capacity of 2,000 was crowded. Mrs. Clarence Mackay defrayed most of the expenses. On January 22 Governor Charles E. Hughes granted a hearing to George Foster Peabody, Oswald Garrison Villard, Mrs. Ella H. Boole, Mrs. Villard, Mrs. Crossett, Mrs. Frederick R. Hazard and Miss Anne F. Miller, who urged him to recommend the submission of an amendment. He seemed much impressed by the statements made but they had no effect. The hearing on March 9 broke all records. The Assembly Chamber was filled to the utmost and surging crowds outside tried to get in. Members of both Houses stood for hours listening to the speeches. Jesse R. Phillips, chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, presided. The suffrage speakers were headed by the eminent lawyer, Samuel Untermeyer. The anti-suffragists had a long list, including Mrs. Henry M. Stimson, wife of a New York Baptist minister, and Mrs. William P. Northrup of Buffalo. Both Judiciary Committees refused to let the resolution come before the two Houses, admitting that it would be carried if they did.
The most thorough preparation was made for the session of 1911 by all the suffrage societies. The Assembly committee refused to report and on May 10 Representative Spielberg, who had charge, moved to request it to do so. The vote was 38 in favor to 90 against his motion. On May 15 the Senate Judiciary Committee by 6 to 2 reported in favor but not until July 12 was the vote taken in the Senate and the measure was lost by a vote of 14 ayes, 17 noes.
In 1912 a remarkable hearing was held in a crowded Assembly Chamber. Senator Stillwell, a member of the Judiciary Committee, again introduced the amendment resolution and its chairman, Senator Bayne, was a staunch friend but after the committee had reported it favorably the Senate could not be moved. In the Assembly, on the final day of the session, for the first time since 1895 and the second time on record, the resolution was adopted. Just as it was about to be taken to the Senate for action, Representative Cuvellier of New York blocked further progress by moving to reconsider the vote and lay the resolution on the table. This was carried by a vote of 69 to 6 and doubtless had been prearranged.
By 1913 the sentiment in favor of letting the voters pass on the question had become too strong to be resisted. Mrs. Katharine Gavit of Albany, representing the Cooperative Legislative Committee, had charge of the resolution. On January 6, the opening day, a delegation from all the suffrage societies sat in the Senate Chamber and heard it introduced by Senator Wagner, the Democratic floor leader, who said that, while not personally in favor of it he was willing to sponsor it because his party had endorsed it in their platform, and it was favorably reported. In the Assembly it was promptly introduced by A. J. Levy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The form of the proposed amendment had been changed from that of all preceding years, which had intended simply to take the word "male" from the suffrage clause of the constitution. As alien women could secure citizenship through marriage and would thus immediately become voters it provided that they must first live in the country five years. The Senate struck out this naturalization clause; in the Assembly the Democratic members wanted it, the Republicans objected to it. On January 20 the Assembly passed the measure without it. The Senate put back the clause and passed it January 23 by 40 ayes, two noes—McCue and Frawley of New York—and returned it to the Assembly, which passed it four days later by 128 ayes, 5 noes. The resolution had still to pass another Legislature two years later but this was the beginning of the end for which two generations of women had worked and waited.
[LAWS. A complete digest of the laws relating to women and children during the first twenty years of the century was prepared for this chapter by Miss Kathryn H. Starbuck, attorney and counsellor at law in Saratoga Springs. It comprises about 3,600 words and includes laws relating to property, marriage, guardianship, domestic relations, etc. Much regret is felt that the exigencies of space compel the omission of the laws in all the State chapters. Miss Starbuck gave also valuable information on office holding and occupations, which had to be omitted for the same reason.]
NEW YORK CITY CAMPAIGNS.
The story of the growth of the woman suffrage movement in Greater New York is one of the most interesting chapters in the history of this cause, for while it advanced slowly for many years, it rose in 1915 and 1917 to a height never attained elsewhere and culminated in two campaigns that in number of adherents and comprehensive work were never equaled.
The Brooklyn Woman Suffrage Association was formed May 13, 1869, and the New York City Society in 1870. From this time various organizations came into permanent existence until in 1903 there were fifteen devoted to suffrage propaganda. In Manhattan (New York City) and Brooklyn these were bound together by county organizations but in order to unite all the suffragists in cooperative work the Interurban Woman Suffrage Council was formed in 1903 at the Brooklyn home of a pioneer, Mrs. Priscilla D. Hackstaff, with the President of the Kings County Political Equality League, Mrs. Martha Williams, presiding. The Interurban began with a roster of five which gradually increased to twenty affiliated societies, with an associate membership besides of 150 women. Under the able leadership of Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, chairman, it established headquarters in the Martha Washington Hotel, New York City, Feb. 15, 1907, with a secretary, Miss Fannie Chafin, in charge, and maintained committees on organization, literature, legislative work, press and lectures; formed clubs, held mass meetings and systematically distributed literature. The Council was the first suffrage organization in New York City to interview Assemblymen and Senators on woman suffrage and it called the first representative convention held in the big metropolis.
The Woman Suffrage Party of Greater New York was launched by this Council at Carnegie Hall, October 29, 1909, modelled after that of the two dominant political parties. Its first convention with 804 delegates and 200 alternates constituted the largest delegate suffrage body ever assembled in New York State. The new party announced that it would have a leader for each of the 63 assembly districts of the city and a captain for each of the 2,127 election districts, these and their assistant officers to be supervised by a borough chairman and other officers in each borough, the entire force to be directed by a city chairman assisted by city officers and a board of directors. Mrs. Catt, with whom the idea of the Party originated, and her co-workers believed that by reaching into every election district to influence its voters, they would bring suffrage close to the people and eventually influence parties and legislators through public opinion.
The population of Greater New York was 4,700,000 and the new party had a task of colossal proportions. It had to appeal to native Americans of all classes and conditions and to thousands of foreign born. It sent its forces to local political conventions; held mass meetings; issued thousands of leaflets in many languages; conducted street meetings, parades, plays, lectures, suffrage schools; gave entertainments and teas; sent appeals to churches and all kinds of organizations and to individual leaders; brought pressure on legislators through their constituents and obtained wide publicity in newspapers and magazines. It succeeded in all its efforts and increased its membership from 20,000 in 1910 to over 500,000 in 1917.
In 1915, at the beginning of the great campaign for a suffrage amendment to the State constitution, which had been submitted by the Legislature, the State was divided into twelve campaign districts. Greater New York was made the first and under the leadership of Miss Mary Garrett Hay, who since 1912 had served as chairman, the City Woman Suffrage Party plunged into strenuous work, holding conventions, sending out organizers, raising $50,000 as a campaign fund, setting a specific task for each month of 1915 up to Election Day, and forming its own committees with chairmen as follows: Industrial, Miss Leonora O'Reilly; The Woman Voter, Mrs. Thomas B. Wells; Speakers' Bureau, Mrs. Mabel Russell; Congressional, Mrs. Lillian Griffin; the French, Mrs. Anna Ross Weeks; the German, Miss Catherine Dreier; the Press, Mrs. Oreola Williams Haskell; Ways and Means, Mrs. John B. McCutcheon.
The City Party began the intensive work of the campaign in January, 1915, when a swift pace was set for the succeeding months by having 60 district conventions, 170 canvassing suppers, four mass meetings, 27 canvassing conferences and a convention in Carnegie Hall. It was decided to canvass all of the 661,164 registered voters and hundreds of women spent long hours toiling up and down tenement stairs, going from shop to shop, visiting innumerable factories, calling at hundreds of city and suburban homes, covering the rural districts, the big department stores and the immense office buildings with their thousands of occupants. It was estimated that 60 per cent of the enrolled voters received these personal appeals. The membership of the party was increased by 60,535 women secured as members by canvassers.
The following is a brief summing up of the activities of the ten months' campaign.
Voters canvassed (60 per cent of those enrolled) 396,698 Women canvassed 60,535 Voters circularized 826,796 Party membership increased from 151,688 to 212,223 Watchers and pickets furnished for the polls 3,151 Numbers of leaflets printed and distributed 2,883,264 Money expended from the City treasury $25,579 Number of outdoor meetings 5,225 Number of indoor meetings (district) 660 Number of mass meetings 93 Political meetings addressed by Congressmen, Assemblymen and Constitutional Convention delegates 25
Total number of meetings 6,003
Night speaking in theaters 60 Theater Week (Miner's and Keith's) 2 Speeches and suffrage slides in movie theaters 150 Concerts (indoor, 10, outdoor, 3) 13 Suffrage booths in bazaars 6 Number of Headquarters (Borough 4, Districts, 20) 24 Campaign vans (drawn by horses 6, decorated autos 6, district autos 4), vehicles in constant use 16 Papers served regularly with news (English and foreign) 80 Suffrage editions of papers prepared 2 Special articles on suffrage 150 Sermons preached by request just before election 64
A Weekly News Bulletin (for papers and workers) and the Woman Voter (a weekly magazine) issued; many unique features like stories, verses, etc.; hundreds of ministers circularized and speakers sent to address congregations; the endorsements of all city officials and of many prominent people and big organizations secured.
In order to accomplish the work indicated by this table a large number of expert canvassers, speakers, executives and clerical workers were required. Mrs. Catt as State Campaign chairman was a great driving force and an inspiration that never failed, and Miss Hay in directing the party forces and raising the money showed remarkable ability. Associated with her were capable officials—Mrs. Margaret Chandler Aldrich, Mrs. Wells, Mrs. Martha Wentworth Suffren, Mrs. Robert McGregor, Mrs. Cornelia K. Hood, Mrs. Marie Jenney Howe, Mrs. Joseph Fitch, Mrs. A. J. Newbury, and the tireless borough chairmen, Mrs. James Lees Laidlaw, Manhattan; Mrs. H. Edward Dreier, Brooklyn; Mrs. Henrietta Speke Seeley, Bronx; Mrs. Alfred J. Eno, Queens, and Mrs. William G. Willcox, Richmond.
The spectacular activities of the campaign caught and held public attention. Various classes of men were complimented by giving them "suffrage days." The appeal to the firemen took the form of an automobile demonstration, open air speaking along the line of march of their annual parade and a ten dollar gold piece given to one of their number who made a daring rescue of a yellow-sashed dummy—a suffrage lady. A circular letter was sent to 800 firemen requesting their help for all suffragists. "Barbers' Day" produced ten columns of copy in leading New York dailies. Letters were sent in advance to 400 barbers informing them that on a certain day the suffragists would call upon them. The visits were made in autos decorated with barbers' poles and laden with maps and posters to hang up in the shops and then open air meetings were held out in front. Street cleaners on the day of the "White Wings" parade were given souvenirs of tiny brooms and suffrage leaflets and addressed from automobiles. A whole week was given to the street car men who numbered 240,000. Suffrage speeches were given at the car barns and leaflets and a "car barn" poster distributed.
Forty-five banks and trust companies were treated to a "raid" made by suffrage depositors, who gave out literature and held open meetings afterward. Brokers were reached through two days in Wall Street where the suffragists entered in triumphal style, flags flying, bugles playing. Speeches were made, souvenirs distributed and a luncheon held in a "suffrage" restaurant. The second day hundreds of colored balloons were sent up to typify "the suffragists' hopes ascending." Workers in the subway excavations were visited with Irish banners and shamrock fliers; Turkish, Armenian, French, German and Italian restaurants were canvassed as were the laborers on the docks, in vessels and in public markets.
A conspicuous occasion was the Night of the Interurban Council Fires, when on high bluffs in the different boroughs huge bonfires were lighted, fireworks and balloons sent up, while music, speeches and transparencies emphasized the fact that woman's evolution from the campfire of the savage into a new era was commemorated. Twenty-eight parades were a feature of the open air demonstrations. There were besides numbers of torchlight rallies; street dances on the lower East Side; Irish, Syrian, Italian and Polish block parties; outdoor concerts, among them a big one in Madison Square, where a full orchestra played, opera singers sang and eminent orators spoke; open air religious services with the moral and religious aspects of suffrage discussed; a fete held in beautiful Dyckman Glen; flying squadrons of speakers whirling in autos from the Battery to the Bronx; an "interstate meet" on the streets where suffragists of Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York participated. Ninety original features arranged on a big scale with many minor ones brought great publicity to the cause and the suffragists ended their campaign valiantly with sixty speakers talking continuously in Columbus Circle for twenty-six hours.
On the night of November 2, election day, officers, leaders, workers, members of the Party and many prominent men and women gathered at City headquarters in East 34th Street to receive the returns, Mrs. Catt and Miss Hay at either end of a long table. At first optimism prevailed as the early returns seemed to indicate victory but as adverse reports came in by the hundreds all hopes were destroyed. The fighting spirits of the leaders then rose high. Speeches were made by Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, Mrs. Catt, Miss Hay, Dr. Katherine Bement Davis, Mrs. Laidlaw and others, and, though many workers wept openly, the gathering took on the character of an embattled host ready for the next conflict. After midnight many of the women joined a group from the State headquarters and in a public square held an outdoor rally which they called the beginning of the new campaign.
The vote was as follows:
For Against Lost by Manhattan Borough 88,886 117,610 28,724 Brooklyn Borough 87,402 121,679 34,277 Bronx Borough 34,307 40,991 6,684 Richmond Borough 6,108 7,469 1,361 Queens Borough 21,395 33,104 11,709
Total opposed, 320,853; in favor, 238,098; adverse majority, 82,755.
Two days after the election the City Party united with the National Association in a mass meeting at Cooper Union, where speeches were made and $100,000 pledged for a new campaign fund. The spirit of the members was shown in the words of a leader who wrote: "We know that we have gained over half a million voters in the State, that we have many new workers, have learned valuable lessons and with the knowledge obtained and undiminished courage we are again in the field of action." In December and January the usual district and borough conventions for the election of officers and then the city convention were held. At the latter the resolution adopted showed a change from the oldtime pleading: "We demand the re-submission of the woman suffrage amendment in 1917. We insist that the Judiciary Committee shall present a favorable report without delay and that the bill shall come to an early vote." Much legislative work was necessary to obtain re-submission, for which the City Party worked incessantly until the amendment was re-submitted by the Legislatures of 1916 and 1917 and preparations were again made for a great campaign.
* * * * *
The campaign of 1915 had been one of the highways, and of spectacular display. That of 1917 was of the byways, of quiet, intensive work reaching every group of citizens. The campaign was launched at a meeting in Aeolian Hall, March 29, where the addresses of Mrs. Catt and Miss Hay aroused true campaign fervor, the former saying: "Some foreign countries have given the franchise to women for their war work; we ask it that our women may feel they have been recognized as assets of the nation before it calls on them for war work."
The suffragists offered their services to the Government, even before it declared war; the State Party to the Governor, the City Party to the Mayor. The later said in a resolution adopted February 5: "We place at the disposal of the Mayor of this city for any service he may require our full organization of over 200,000 women, thoroughly organized and trained and with headquarters in every borough." The mass of the members stood solidly behind this offer. A War Service Committee was appointed with Mrs. F. Louis Slade as its chairman and it accomplished work that was not exceeded, if indeed equalled, in any city of the United States. Nine other committees were also appointed.
The leading features of the campaign of 1917 were the war work and the enrolling of women. In 1916 when Mrs. Catt started a canvass to obtain a million signatures of women to a petition to answer the argument, "Women do not want to vote," the City Party took as its share the securing of 514,555 in Greater New York. This accomplished, the signatures mounted on big placards were placed on exhibition at Party headquarters, now in East 38th Street, and a little ceremony was arranged during which Mayor John Purroy Mitchel and other prominent men made commendatory speeches. Debarred from outdoor meetings during the summer of 1916 on account of an epidemic and during the summer of 1917 because of war conditions, the following was nevertheless accomplished:
Meetings 2,085 Leaflets distributed 5,196,884 Money expended $151,438 Canvassed and enrolled women 514,555 Women secured to watch at polls 5,000 Campaign headquarters maintained 40 Newspapers (English and foreign) served daily 153 Suffrage editions and pages edited 10 Special suffrage articles 200 Other suffrage articles and interviews 400 Posters placed in shop windows 2,000
Maintained Letter Writing Committee to send letters to the press; issued Weekly News Bulletin; printed suffrage news in papers in ten languages; circularized all churches and business men in 75 per cent of the 2,060 election districts; conducted hundreds of watchers' schools; exhibited suffrage movies in hundreds of clubs, churches and settlements; had series of suppers and conferences for working-women; held captains' rally at the Waldorf-Astoria and a patriotic rally at Carnegie Hall; gave a series of suffrage study courses; raised funds at sacrifice sales, entertainments, lectures, etc.; sent speakers to hundreds of Labor Union meetings; held four pre-election mass meetings and as a wind-up to the campaign staged eight hours of continuous speaking by 40 men and women at Columbus Circle.
The Party leaders had to meet attacks and misrepresentations from the Anti-Suffrage Association, whose national and State headquarters were in New York City. The Party had also to combat the actions of the "militant" suffragists, whose headquarters were in Washington and whose picketing of the White House and attacks on President Wilson and other public men displeased many people who did not discriminate between the large constructive branch of the suffrage movement and the small radical branch. The Party leaders had often publicly to repudiate the "militant" tactics. In the parade of Oct. 28, 1917, the Party exhibited placards which read: "We are opposed to Picketing the White House. We stand by the Country and the President."
During the campaign, Miss Hay had associated with her on the executive board, Mrs. Slade, Mrs. Aldrich, Mrs. George Notman, Miss Annie Doughty, Mrs. F. Robertson-Jones, Mrs. Wells, Miss Adaline W. Sterling, Mrs. Herbert Lee Pratt, Mrs. Charles E. Simonson, Dr. Katherine B. Davis, Miss Eliza McDonald, Mrs. Alice P. Hutchins, Mrs. Louis Welzmiller. Borough chairmen who assisted were Mrs. John Humphrey Watkins, Manhattan; Mrs. Dreier, Brooklyn; Mrs. Daniel Appleton Palmer, Bronx; Mrs. David B. Rodger, Queens; Mrs. Wilcox, Richmond.
On the evening of November 6, election day, the City Party headquarters were crowded with people waiting for the returns. Mrs. Catt, Miss Hay, Mrs. Laidlaw and other leaders were present. Mr. Laidlaw and Judge Wadhams were "keeping the count." Walter Damrosch and other prominent men came in. From the beginning the returns were encouraging and as the evening wore on and victory was assured, the room rang with cheers and applause and there were many jubilant speeches.
The election brought a great surprise, for the big city, whose adverse vote suffragists had always predicted would have to be outbalanced by upstate districts, won the victory, the latter not helping but actually pulling down its splendid majority. The final vote in Greater New York read:
Majority Yes No in Favor New York County 129,412 89,124 40,288 Kings (Brooklyn) 129,601 92,315 37,286 Bronx 52,660 36,346 16,314 Richmond 7,868 5,224 2,644 Queens 34,125 26,794 7,331 ———- ———- ———- Total 353,666 249,803 103,863
Upstate districts, 349,463 ayes; 350,973 noes, lost by 1,510. Majority in the State as a whole, 102,353.
Immediately opponents made the charge that suffrage won in the City because of the pro-German, pacifist and Socialist vote. An analysis showed that in many districts where the Germans and Socialists predominated there was not as great a suffrage majority as in Republican or Democratic districts; that some of the conservative residential sections were more favorable than radical districts and that the soldiers in the field had voted for suffrage in the ratio of two to one.
Those who were best informed attributed the victory to many causes—to the support of voters in all the parties; to the help of the labor unions; to recognition of women's war work; to the example set by European countries in enfranchising their women; to the endorsement of prominent men and strong organizations. Most of all, however, it was due to the originality, the dauntless energy, the thorough organization methods and the ceaseless campaigning of the suffrage workers, who in winning the great Empire State not only secured the vote for New York women but made the big commonwealth an important asset in the final struggle for the Federal Suffrage Amendment.
THE TWO STATE CAMPAIGNS.
At the 45th convention of the State Woman Suffrage Association held in Binghamton Oct. 14-17, 1913, Miss Harriet May Mills declined to stand for re-election to the presidency. The following officers were elected: President, Mrs. Raymond Brown, New York City; corresponding secretary, Mrs. Henry W. Cannon, Delhi; recording secretary, Mrs. Nicolas Shaw Fraser, Geneseo; treasurer, Mrs. Edward M. Childs, New York City; directors; Miss Mills, Syracuse; Mrs. Arthur L. Livermore, Yonkers; Mrs. Helen Probst Abbott, Rochester; Mrs. Dexter P. Rumsey, Buffalo; Mrs. George W. Topliff, Binghamton; Mrs. Luther Mott, Oswego; Mrs. Chanler Aldrich, Tarrytown.
This convention had before it work of the gravest importance. The submission of a woman suffrage amendment had passed one Legislature and it was almost certain that it would pass a second and be voted on at the fall election of 1915. New York was recognized as an immensely difficult State to win. It contained great areas of sparsely settled country and also many large cities. It had a foreign born population of 2,500,000 in a total of 9,000,000. The political "machines" of both Republican and Democratic parties were well intrenched and there was no doubt that the powerful influence of both would be used to the utmost against a woman suffrage amendment. Party leaders might allow it to go through the Legislature because confident of their ability to defeat it at the polls. The vital problem for the suffragists was how to organize and unite all the friendly forces.
While the State Suffrage Association was the one which was organized most extensively there were other important societies. For some years the Women's Political Union, Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch president, had carried on an effective campaign. The Woman Suffrage Party, a large group, existed principally in New York City, organized by assembly districts. The Men's League for Woman Suffrage comprised a considerable number of influential men, now under the presidency of James Lees Laidlaw. The College Equal Suffrage League, Mrs. Charles L. Tiffany, president, was an active body of young women. The Equal Franchise Society, organized originally among the society women of New York City by Mrs. Clarence Mackay had Mrs. Howard Mansfield as president and had helped make the movement "fashionable." This was the case with Mrs. Oliver H. P. Belmont's Political Equality League.
On April 15, 1913, Miss Mills had invited representatives of these organizations to a conference at the State headquarters in New York to consider concerted action at which Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt was urged to become chairman of a State Campaign Committee composed of their presidents. Before accepting, Mrs. Catt, in order to learn conditions in the State, sent out a questionnaire to county presidents and assembly district leaders asking their opinion as to the prospect of success. Of the forty-two who answered twelve believed that their counties might be carried for the amendment if enough work was done; sixteen thought it doubtful, no matter how much work was done, and fourteen were certain they could not be carried under any conditions. Not a single county believed it could organize or finance its own work. In spite of the discouraging situation, Mrs. Catt on her return in the autumn from the meeting in Budapest of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, of which she was president, accepted the chairmanship on the condition that $20,000 should be raised for the work. The Empire State Committee organized November 11 was composed of Mrs. Raymond Brown, representing the State Association; Miss Mary Garrett Hay, the Woman Suffrage Party of New York City; Mrs. Mansfield, the Equal Franchise Society; Mrs. Tiffany, the College League and Mr. Laidlaw, the Men's League, with the following chairmen: Miss Rose Young, Press; Mrs. Warner M. Leeds, Finance; Mrs. Norman deR. Whitehouse, Publicity; Mrs. John W. Alexander, Art; Mrs. Mansfield, Literature.
For convenience of work the State was divided into twelve campaign districts, whose chairmen were, 1st, Miss Hay, New York City; 2nd, Mrs. Brown, Bellport, Long Island; 3rd, Miss Leila Stott, Albany; 4th, Mrs. Frank Paddock, Malone; 5th, Mrs. L. O. McDaniel, succeeded by Miss Mills, Syracuse; 6th, Mrs. Helen B. Owens, Ithaca; 7th, Mrs. Alice C. Clement, Rochester; 8th, Mrs. Nettie Rogers Shuler, Buffalo; 9th, Mrs. Carl Osterheld, Yonkers; 10th, Mrs. Gordon Norrie, Staatsburg; 11th, Miss Evanetta Hare, succeeded by Mrs. George Notman, Keene Valley; 12th, Miss Lucy C. Watson, Utica. Under all of these chairmen came the 150 assembly district leaders and under these the 5,524 election district captains. From the first it was realized that organization was the keynote to success and that to be effective it must extend into every polling precinct of the State. Mrs. Catt had no superior in organizing ability. The plan followed the lines of the political parties and was already in use by the Woman Suffrage Party of New York City, which she had founded.
In January, 1914, Campaign District Conferences and Schools of Method were held, followed by a convention and mass meetings in every county. During the year twenty-eight paid organizers were constantly at work. Mrs. Catt herself visited fifty of the up-state counties. The annual State convention October 12-16, was preceded by a state-wide motor car pilgrimage. On every highway was a procession of cars stopping along the route for street meetings and converging in Rochester for the convention. There was little change in officers. Three vice-presidents were added, Mrs. Alfred E. Lewis of Geneva, Mrs. Livermore, Mrs. Notman. Mrs. Cannon was succeeded as corresponding secretary by Miss Marion May of New York. Mrs. Abbott and Mrs. Shuler were added to the board of directors. A comprehensive program of work for 1914-15, laid out by Mrs. Catt, gave a definite task for each month and included raising a $150,000 campaign fund, each district being assigned a proportion; school for suffrage workers, special suffrage edition of a newspaper in every county, automobile campaign, work at county fairs and a house to house canvass to enroll the names of women who wanted the suffrage. Mrs. Catt's plan also included parades in all the large cities and schools in every county to train watchers for the polls.
As was expected the resolution for the suffrage amendment was passed by the Legislature of 1915, the vote to be taken on the day of the regular election, November 2. Forty paid organizers were kept in the field and a convention was held again in each county. By autumn each of the 150 assembly districts was organized and in addition there were 565 clubs and 183 campaign committees. About 2,500 women held official positions, serving without pay. It was estimated that about 200,000 women worked in some capacity in this campaign. Twelve thousand New York City public school teachers formed a branch under Katharine Devereux Blake as chairman. Each paid fifty cents dues and many gave their summer vacation to work for the amendment.
The Equal Franchise Society, in charge of the literature, printed 7,230,000 leaflets, requiring twenty tons of paper; 657,200 booklets, one full set sent to every political leader in the State; 592,000 Congressional hearings and individual speeches were mailed to voters; 149,533 posters were put up and 1,000,000 suffrage buttons were used; 200,000 cards of matches with "Vote Yes on the Suffrage Amendment" on the back were distributed and 35,000 fans carrying the suffrage map.
The value of street speaking had long since been learned. A woman speaking from an automobile or a soap box or steps, while she might begin by addressing a few children would usually draw a crowd of men of the kind who could never be gotten inside a hall, and these men were voters. The effect of these outdoor meetings was soon seen all over the State in the rapidly changing sentiment of the man in the street. During the six months preceding the election 10,325 meetings were recorded besides the countless ones not reported. Mass meetings were held in 124 different cities, sixteen in New York, with U. S. Senators and Representatives and other prominent speakers. The week before election in New York, Buffalo, Rochester and other large cities Marathon speeches were made continuously throughout the twenty-four hours, with listening crowds even during the small hours of the night. Suffrage speeches were given in moving picture shows and vaudeville theaters and a suffrage motion picture play was produced. Flying squadrons of trained workers would go into a city, make a canvass, hold street meetings, attract public attention and stimulate newspaper activity.
A remarkable piece of work was done by a Press and Publicity Council of one hundred women in New York City organized by Mrs. Whitehouse. They established personal acquaintance with the editors and owners of the fifteen daily papers; answered the anti-suffrage letters published; communicated with the editors of 683 trade journals, 21 religious papers, 126 foreign language papers and many others—893 in all—and offered them exclusive articles; they suggested special features for magazines and planned suffrage covers; they secured space for a suffrage calendar in every daily paper. This council placed suffrage slides in moving picture houses and suffrage posters in the lobbies of theaters; and had a page advertisement of suffrage in every theater program. Comedians were asked to make references to suffrage in their plays and jokes were collected for them and appropriate lines suggested.
A sub-committee of writers was organized which assembled material for special suffrage editions of papers, wrote suffrage articles and made suggestions for stories. The Art Committee illustrated the special editions and made cartoons. They held an exhibit of suffrage posters with prizes and raised money through an exhibition and sale of the work of women painters and sculptors. A new suffrage game was invented and installed at Coney Island. They supplied the posters for $70,000 worth of advertising space on billboards and street cars which was contributed by the owners during the final weeks of the campaign. They organized and managed the suffrage banner parade, the largest which had yet taken place.
Among the other publicity "stunts" of the council were suffrage baseball games, a Fourth of July celebration at the Statue of Liberty and Telephone and Telegraph Day, when the wires carried suffrage messages to politicians, judges, editors, clergymen, governors, mayors, etc., all of these "stunts" receiving a large amount of newspaper publicity. The most effective was the One Day Strike, to answer the argument used by the "antis" that "woman's place was in the home" by asking all women to stay at home for only one day. The suggestion was never intended to be carried out and did not go further than a letter sent by Mrs. Whitehouse to the presidents of women's clubs and some other organizations, asking them to come to a meeting to consider the plan, copies of which were sent to the newspapers. The effect was extraordinary. Department stores, telephone company managers, employers of all kinds of women's labor, hospitals and schools, protested loudly against the crippling of public service, the loss of profits and the disruption of business which would result from even one day's absence of women from their public places. Editorial writers devoted columns to denouncing the proposal. Suffrage leaders were bitterly criticized for even suggesting such a public calamity. The favorite argument of the "antis" was answered for all time.
At the very end of the campaign the anti-suffragists began to advertise extensively in the subway and on the elevated roads in New York City but the firm that controlled this space refused to accept any advertising from the suffragists. Woman's wit, however, was equal to the emergency. For the three days preceding the election one hundred women gave their time to riding on elevated and subway trains holding up large placards on which were printed answers to the "anti" advertisements. The public understood and treated the women with much courtesy.
It is difficult to give even the barest outline of the work of the Press Bureau, at first under the management of Mrs. Haryot Holt Dey and later of Miss Rose Young, with a volunteer force of 214 press chairmen over the State. There were 2,136 publications in the State, 211 dailies, 1,117 weeklies, 628 monthlies, and 180 foreign publications printed in twenty-five languages. To the weeklies a bulletin from the central bureau went regularly; 3,036 shipments were made of pages of plate matter. The American Press Association and the Western Newspaper Union for many weeks sent out columns of suffrage news with their regular service for the patent inside page used by country papers. The bureau furnished material for debates and answered attacks against suffrage. The support given by the newspapers was of great value. Of the fifteen dailies of New York City ten were pro-suffrage, while the rural press was overwhelmingly in favor. Most of the papers of the larger cities up-state were opposed, although there were notable exceptions.
There were several high water marks. On Nov. 6, 1914, just a year before the election, at a mass meeting which packed Carnegie Hall, $115,000 were pledged, the largest sum ever raised at a suffrage meeting, a visible proof of the great increase in favorable sentiment since the campaign had begun a year ago, when the $20,000 which Mrs. Catt wanted as the original guarantee seemed almost impossible of attainment. In May, 1915, a luncheon attended by 1,400 people pledged $50,000. On October 23, ten days before election, there occurred in New York City the largest parade ever organized in the United States for suffrage, called the "banner parade" because of the multitude of flags and banners which characterized it, only those for suffrage being permitted. There were 33,783 women who marched up Fifth Avenue, past a crowd of spectators which was record-breaking, taking from 2 o'clock in the afternoon until long after dark. The rear was brought up by scores of motor cars gaily decorated with Chinese lanterns and after darkness fell the avenue was a solid mass of moving colored lights. There seemed no end to the women who were determined to win the vote and a multitude of men seemed to be ready to grant it.
On Nov. 2, 1915, the vote took place. Every preparation had been made and every precaution taken, as far as the strength of the organization would permit, to secure a fair election and an honest count. A law had been obtained which permitted women to act as watchers at any election on woman suffrage, which proved an important safeguard. Wherever possible, watchers were provided for the polling places all over the State. The result of the election was: For the suffrage amendment, 553,348; against, 748,332; adverse majority 194,984.
The disappointment was almost crushing. Although the task of persuading the huge cosmopolitan population of New York State to grant equality to women had been recognized as being almost superhuman, the work done had been so colossal that it would have been impossible not to hope for success. Mrs. Catt had planned and seen carried out a masterly campaign never before approached anywhere in the history of suffrage. The devotion and self-sacrifice of thousands of women were beyond praise but there were not enough of them. If every county and every town had raised its proportion of the funds and done its share of the work, the amendment might have been carried, but this first campaign laid the foundation for the victory that the next one would bring.
This was the largest vote ever polled for suffrage at any election—553,348 out of a vote of 1,300,880, being 42-1/2 per cent. The vote in the State outside of New York City was 427,479 noes, 315,250 ayes, opposing majority, 112,229; in this city 320,853 noes, 238,098 ayes, opposing majority 82,755; total opposed, 194,984. The amendment received a larger favorable vote than the Republican party polled at the Presidential election of 1912, which was 455,428. In 1914 this party swept the State and it could have carried the suffrage amendment in 1915.
SECOND NEW YORK CAMPAIGN.
With 42-1/2 per cent. of the vote cast in November, 1915, in favor of the woman suffrage amendment the leaders were eager to start a new campaign at once and take advantage of the momentum already gained. Two nights after election the campaign was started at a mass meeting in Cooper Union, New York City, where $100,000 were pledged amid boundless enthusiasm. The reorganization of the State took place immediately, at the annual convention held in this city, November 30-December 2, and all the societies that had cooperated in the Empire State Campaign Committee became consolidated under the name of the State Woman Suffrage Party, into which the old State association was merged. The demand was so overwhelming that Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, who had led the two years' fight so magnificently, should continue to be leader, that she was obliged to accept the chairmanship.
The other officers elected were Mrs. Norman deR. Whitehouse, Mrs. James Lees Laidlaw, Mrs. Henry W. Cannon, first, second and third vice-chairmen; Mrs. Michael M. Van Beuren and Miss Alice Morgan Wright, secretaries; Mrs. Ogden Mills Reid, treasurer; Mrs. Raymond Brown, Mrs. Dexter P. Rumsey, Miss Harriet May Mills and Mrs. Arthur L. Livermore, directors. A few weeks later the convention of the National Association called Mrs. Catt even more insistently to accept its presidency and Mrs. Whitehouse became chairman and therefore the leader of the new campaign. Mrs. Catt headed the list of directors; Mrs. Laidlaw was made chairman of legislative work and Mrs. Brown of organization.
The next State convention was held in Albany, Nov. 16-23, 1916, and the same officers were elected except that Mrs. Charles Noel Edge succeeded Mrs. Van Beuren as secretary. The chairmen of the twelve campaign districts were continued with the following changes: Second, Mrs. Frederick Edey, Bellport; fourth, Mrs. Robert D. Ford, Canton; fifth, Mrs. William F. Canough, Syracuse; sixth, Miss Lillian Huffcut, Binghamton; eighth, Mrs. Frank J. Tone, Niagara Falls; ninth, Mrs. Frank A. Vanderlip, Scarborough.
LEGISLATIVE ACTION. The determination to enter immediately into another campaign met with much opposition, even from many suffragists. The Legislature had submitted the amendment in 1915 confident that it would be overwhelmingly defeated but the ability and persistence of the women and the big vote secured made the opponents afraid to take another chance. That it was finally forced through both Houses was due, first, to the brilliant legislative work of Mrs. Whitehouse and Mrs. Laidlaw, assisted by Mrs. Helen Leavitt, chairman of legislative work for the Albany district; second, to the extraordinary support given by the organizations throughout the State, through delegations, mass meetings, letters and telegrams, 6,000 from the 9th district alone. The Men's League gave invaluable help.
The resolution was introduced in both branches on Jan. 10, 1916. The fight centered in the Senate and had as determined opponents Senator Elon F. Brown, floor leader of the Republicans, and Senator Walters, Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee. The Democratic minority gave it a lukewarm support. Every subterfuge was directed against it. Finally it was reported out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee February 15 by a vote of 11 to one and then there was a standstill. The Senate Judiciary Committee constantly postponed action. At last 500 women came to the Capitol on March 14 to urge immediate action and the resolution was adopted in the Assembly that day by 109 ayes to 30 noes.
The Senate Committee had promised that it would report that same day, and at 2 p. m. it went into executive session and the suffrage leaders camped outside the door. That evening a suffrage ball was to take place in Madison Square Garden, New York City, which they were to open, and the last train that would reach there in time left Albany at 6 o'clock. The Committee knew this but hour after hour went by without word from it. After time for the train a friendly Senator appeared and announced that it had adjourned sometime before without taking action and had gone out the back way in order to escape from the waiting watchers! Taking the next train and arriving in New York at 10 o'clock at night the suffragists drove direct to Madison Square Garden. As they approached it they saw great throngs outside storming the doors, which had been closed by the police as it was dangerously crowded. They succeeded in getting in and were greeted by cheers as they led the grand march, which had been awaiting their arrival. At midnight Mrs. Whitehouse and Mrs. Laidlaw took the sleeper back to Albany and were on hand at the opening of the session the next morning. Such undaunted spirit caught the public imagination and the newspapers did it full justice, with big headlines and columns of copy, but still the bill did not pass.
The final pressure which put the amendment through was a clever bit of strategy due to Mrs. Whitehouse. In answer to her appeal editorials appeared in newspapers throughout the State saying that no group of men in Albany had the right to strangle the amendment or refuse the voters the privilege of passing on it. On March 22 the Senate Committee reported the resolution by 11 ayes, one no. On April 10 it passed the Senate by 33 ayes, 10 noes.
In 1917 the amendment was passed again to go to the voters at the regular election November 6. The State Woman Suffrage Party strengthened its organization with the goal of a captain for every polling precinct, each with a committee of ten women to look after the individual voters. Larger cities had a chairman and board of officers combined with the assembly and election district organization. In Buffalo, Mrs. Thew Wright headed a capable board; in Rochester one was led by Mrs. Alice Clement, later by Mrs. Henry G. Danforth; in Syracuse by Mrs. Mary Hyde Andrews; in Utica by Miss Lucy C. Watson. By the end of the campaign, in addition to volunteers, 88 trained organizers were at work in the 57 counties outside of Greater New York. The National Suffrage Association contributed four of its best workers and paid their salaries. Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and some of the southern and western States sent valuable workers.
Early in 1917 the entire organization was well developed and suffrage work was at its height when it was suddenly stopped short by the entrance of the United States into the World War. At once everything else became of secondary importance. The Suffrage Party, like all organizations of women, was eager to serve the country and seized the first opportunity, which came with the order from Governor Charles S. Whitman for a military census of all the men and women of the State over 21 years of age. Entire responsibility for organizing and carrying on this work in several counties was given to the party. From April to August the suffrage campaign was almost entirely suspended while its leaders took a prominent part in war activities. It was only about three months before election that the suffrage issue again became dominant. The amendment must come before the voters at the November election. With the United States engaged in a World War for democracy it seemed impossible to allow democracy to be defeated at home, and therefore it was decided that the suffrage campaign must be carried on.
In spite of some opposition Mrs. Whitehouse called a State conference at Saratoga the end of August. Besides the distraction caused by the war other difficulties had arisen. The White House at Washington had been "picketed" by the National Woman's Party and the President burned in effigy as a protest because the Federal Suffrage Amendment had not been submitted by Congress. The press was filled with the story and the public was indignant. Because the country was at war and the President burdened with heavy responsibilities, reproaches of disloyalty and pro-Germanism were hurled at suffragists in general. The officers of the National Association had repeatedly condemned the "militancy" and repudiated all responsibility for it but to the public generally all suffragists looked alike and people did not at first recognize the difference between the small group of "pickets" and the great suffrage organization of almost countless numbers. New York workers were very resentful because a direct appeal to suspend the "picketing" until after the election was refused by the leaders of the Woman's Party. The Saratoga conference adopted a resolution of disapproval.
At a mass meeting in New York soon afterwards Governor Whitman, Mayor Mitchel and other prominent men spoke most encouragingly, but on September 10 a suffrage amendment was defeated in Maine by a vote of two to one and this had a disastrous effect on the New York situation. It discouraged the workers and many newspapers which had been friendly, anticipating a similar defeat in New York, became hostile in tone; also because of the pressure of war news, the papers were almost closed to suffrage matter. Mass meetings which formerly were crowded were now so poorly attended that many had to be abandoned.
In order to help the chances of the amendment President Wilson on October 25 received a delegation of one hundred of the most prominent women of the Party, headed by Mrs. Whitehouse. He expressed his appreciation of the war work of women and his thorough belief that they should have the suffrage, praising the New York campaign and saying: "I am very glad to add my voice to those which are urging the people of your State to set a great example by voting for woman suffrage. It would be a pleasure if I might utter that advice in their presence, but, as I am bound too close to my duties here to make that possible, I am glad to ask you to convey that message to them...."