tv American Artifacts Votes for Women Exhibit CSPAN October 12, 2019 11:25pm-12:01am EDT
you can watch archival films on public affairs in their entirety on our weekly series "reel america" saturday at 10:00 p.m. and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern here on american history tv. >> next, a visit to the smithsonian's national portrait gallery. a historian gives american history tv a guided tour of an exhibit marking the centennial of the 19th amendment, using images of early suffrage leaders, she shows how the movement intersected with the abolitionist and temperance movements. this is the first of a two-part program. >> hi, everyone. welcome to the national portrait gallery at the smithsonian institution. i'm the curator of votes for women.
a portrait of persistence. for this exhibition i worked 3.5 teachingearching, myself this history, and finding all the objects. in the exhibition, we have about 124 objects, of which there are 63 portraits. in curating the exhibition i was , hoping to commemorate the 19th amendment and tell the history of the 19th amendment and how women lobbied to get this amendment passed and ratified. but also ask questions about it. ask what does it do and what does it not do, and why 1965, the voting rights act, was considered a part two of the amendment. 19thif you follow me, i will take you through the exhibition and show you a few of the objects that tell this history. so let's go.
we are in the first gallery of the exhibition. i mentioned we have portraits that drive the narrative. i also wanted to include pieces of art, like the one we are looking at. it is titled "the war spirit at home," and it's by a female artist. she was active in the 1860's. i wanted to include this it portraysause young children -- you've got these four kids, one is a baby, but the three kids are celebrating. and a mother who is reading "the new york times." then you have a servant or helper who is, you know cleaning , the dishes. what i like about this painting 1866, and it depicts the war, the civil war, the rattle of vicksburg, so it's
kind of looking back. spencer decided to portray this moment in time by looking at the lives of women. and the women are very serious. the children are very much engaged in the celebration because they don't understand how severe and difficult that battle was. vicksburg, during the battle, themen on both sides -- confederate army and union army the city wascause .urrounded and embargoed sorry why am i talking about the civil war in a suffrage exhibition? what i wanted to do was demonstrate the divide between the north and the south as well why --races, black and white.
this plays a big part in the suffrage movement, especially when the 14th amendment was passed and ratified. it included the word male. this is the first time in the history of the constitution that gender was specified, and it delivered a severe blow to the suffrage movement, where women were trying to advocate for their right to vote, but they weren't even considered citizens, which is what the 10th amendment does. it granted citizenship to anyone in the united states. when the 15th amendment enfranchised american citizens, it only enfranchised half the population. this is a huge divide. the suffrage movement disagreed on how to handle it. that's why they split between each other. susan b anthony and elizabeth cady stanton wanted to advocate excluding black women, whereas lucy stowe was trying to advocate for universal suffrage.
african-americans were suffragists. if you come with me now, we will talk about one of the major african-american suffragists. she famously gave a speech at a suffrage convention in which she said we are all bound up together. so she was trying to explain to people that she was also an african-american and a woman combined. bound up together. it's intersectional. black women really couldn't just sit around and let people take away their rights and not advocate for them. they became active in church groups, and they really were learning how to speak in public, understanding their rights, understanding how to get those rights by their local communities by being involved in those local community church groups. that's a really interesting that not a lot of people
have gone into or understand as much. people do understand the suffrage movement was divided, but they don't understand that african-americans remain very active. so this exhibition endeavors to make sure we include african-americans and their stories, like sarah parker ramon , whose portrait is on the far wall. she was an activist in anti-slavery society of massachusetts. and she took her activism abroad. this is another interesting story in how american suffragists were not only vocus focused in the united states, but they were also active elsewhere, in europe especially. last, we are going to talk about seneca falls and what is being referred to as the myth of seneca falls. this is a portrait of elizabeth cady stanton and susan b anthony from 1870. the artist captured them
together -- you know, anthony is pointing to a book, and they are very dignified. this is what would be, like, a publicity shot today. they were using this portrait to represent them to a wider audience. they didn't even meet until 1851. seneca falls, as most of us probably recall from our history books in high school, was a gathering, the first convention in 1848. in new york, in seneca falls. elizabeth cady stanton and others penned the declaration of sentiments, which is the beginning document, one of the first documents that women were put into writing that women were advocating for a vote. what i hope this exhibition explains is by going back way back to 1832 is that women were getting together and talking and
advocating for their rights, for their citizenship rights well before 1848. suffrage just didn't appear out of thin air. it actually has a long history that others would argue starts well before 1832. that is a great intellectual debate i encourage you to look into. i brought us up to 1869 and now we are going to move into the next gallery, which starts in 1870. we are in the second gallery and i wanted to make sure to include representation of the women's christian temperance union. it helps us get into a lot of the different issues that american women were facing. temperance was a large organization that had 100 about 150,000 women across the united states involved. they would gather and meet in what was called chapters.
in 18 73, the women's christian temperance union actually endorsed suffrage cause. all of a sudden, suffragists expanded their membership and they reach by 150 1000 members, which is an incredible amount of people for that era. at the top, you see the women's holy war, and what is great about this very active, is that there is a woman on a horse, like a joan of arc figure, and she is leaping over these well marked barrels of alcohol. are all of her women wielding axes and hatchets, and they are part .f the temperance league the battle, of course, is against alcohol.
when women were married to alcoholics, they became a very vulnerable population. amongste organizing each other in ways that help ed them understand their rights and what they can do to advocate for their rights. on the bottom you see the prize. i wanted to include this little medal because i was curious to know how women were teaching themselves how to speak in public. if you think of, like, toastmasters of today, that is a good comparison of what they were doing. they were actually awarding prizes to women who were speaking and having little contests in order to avoid them for their good speeches. and of course, they were talking
about christianity and temperance. that is an interesting object i was able to find. the reason why was important for women to know how to speak in public was in part because the suffrage cause, the word about it was being threat -- angst -- was being spread through speeches. and a lot of women were going on what is called the lecture circuit and were speaking in auditoriums that were referred s, andthe time as lyceum they were being paid a lot of money. dickinson earned $20,000 annually. she made more than mark twain. i think that is an interesting comparison because whose name do we remember today even though was morebeth dickinson famous than mark twain at the time. now we are going to talk about a little bit of the scandals the suffragists got involved in. she was well ahead of her time.
she started her own business as a wall street banker with her sister. she advocated for free love, which means sex outside of marriage, which was definitely outside of the norm for women. and she also ran for president on a third party ticket. she was the first woman to do so. right here, we have a really nice portrait of her attempting asserting her right to vote, as she would see it. she voted when you weren't supposed to vote as a woman. here she is. dropped her vote into the ballot box. lots of women at this time were doing what would be referred to today as illegal voting. it was illegal and explicitly illegal for women to vote. she was one of thousands of
women across the country who sought to change the system by going out, voting, getting arrested, not paying the fine, then serving a sentence in jail so that then they can appeal through the court system, and they tried to change the laws that way, but they failed, and there was another severe blow dealt to the suffrage movement in 1873 when the supreme court ruled against a woman named virginia minor who had tried to vote and gone up there for court system. then the supreme court found that women should not vote legally in the united states. we were discussing how victoria woodhall asserted her right to vote by placing her ballot in the ballot box. here we have a different type of ballot box. this one is made of metal. the one in the victoria woodhall portrait was most likely made out of wood. what i like about this ballot
box is it explicitly says women's ballot on it. it is very much in your face that women were voting separately. most likely not on equal terms for equal types of suffrage, so for could maybe vote municipal suffrage or school suffrage. in some states before 1920, about 15, i believe, allowed women to vote in the presidential election. this is from indiana, which is one of those states that allowed women before 1920 to vote in the presidential elections. co. outade by bernard & of st. louis, and they made these boxes between 1860 and 1920. i think this is a really interesting piece of material culture that illuminates what women's rights were like and what it looked like, what it felt like. we are looking at a caricature
of victoria woodhall done by thomas nast in 1872. this exemplifies some of the struggles women were going through at the time. this is a caricature, so victoria woodhall has -- she was lsown for wearing victory role on her head, but the cartoonist turns them into devil horns and devil wings, somon wing she has become a demon. she is walking away from a woman who is looking over her shoulder, maybe a little undecided that she made her decision, she is going up this mountain. you can tell there are three children she is carrying as well as the alcoholic husband strapped to her back. this exemplifies the choices women had. either you throw in your stock with somebody like victoria woodhall, who is advocating for
free love at the time, and that is a very soft term for sex outside of marriage. she was advocating that women should indulge that and have and whyide of marriage, get married therefore? why have this burden of ill husband without any support? victoria woodhall was trying to promote choices women had. but, of course at the time women , were definitely not supposed to be having sex and definitely were not supposed to be enjoying it. this is very much a taboo subject. thomas nast really captures that in his caricature of victoria this demon lady. we are looking at a portrait of the first woman to argue a supreme court case -- argue a
case before the supreme court. she was arguing for cherokee land rights. she became an expert witness for native americans in subsequent trials. what i like about this portrait is how dignified she looks. she has her hair bound up in this beautiful cloth. she has her legs collar on. it really represents her as this respectable woman, because she was a suffragist and they were constantly being accused of being outside the bounds of femininity. she was actually the first woman to campaign for a presidency. i had mentioned victoria woodhall, who was the first one woman to name herself as candidate for presidency, but she could not campaign because she was serving a jail sentence. yet she had founded what was called equal rights party. this was like a democrat party and the republican party, but
it was a third party ticket. the suffragists are running for president on what is called a third party ticket. it is thanks to victoria woodhall that lockwood is able to run. she is a really good example of what women could do. she was a lawyer. she was advocating for rights in the supreme court, and she was also running for president. over here, we have a lovely portrait of abigail scott dunaway, who was an oregon suffragist who was active in trying to persuade male legislators to change the laws of these western states. she was based in oregon, and she founded the new northwest, which was a newspaper in 1871, that advocated for women's rights. a lot of people think suffrage was only based in the northeast. in fact, it was very, very
active across the united states. womenwere lots of mormon advocating for suffrage in utah. wyoming famously became the suffragete to endorse for women in 1869 and utah later in 1870. there is a nationwide approach .o this reform movement it was probably one of the longest reform movements in the united states and also one of the most widespread. we are in the third gallery now, and this is entitled the new woman. it begins in 1892 and goes right up to 1912. the new woman was educated. she was out on her bicycle, out and about, not in the home, you know, physically active, and this puzzled a lot of people. as you can see in this depiction farmer, his wife and possibly his daughter.
this new woman, she is wearing what looks like bloomers, pans, ts, she asked them for a glass of water. they of course oblige, but as she is drinking, they are thinking to themselves, who -- what is this person? is she awoman? -- woman? what is she doing outside of the home? you can see a lot of the womenion people had when study to advocate for further rights and enact their rights and enact their freedom in society and go to school and get educated. and so magazines were picking up on this. leslie was owned by miriam leslie,ho married frank who died, so she changed her name to become misses frank leslie. in order to assume the authority
it took to publish a magazine like this, you can see the use of the color. this is women writing in inn-air carriages -- riding open-air carriages in a parade. she's carrying a banner that says votes for women. it speaks to privilege behind the movement. a lot of wealthy white women were the ones that were actually out there advocating in parades like this. in part because the parades excluded african-americans, but they were doing well in getting the word out, so miriam leslie change her magazine to make sure that it included illustrations studyhis, and if you "leslie's" after she took over, you can see a clear trajectory into the feminist causes of the era, which is kind of interesting. finally, we are going to look at an example of anti-suffrage. 1894, and new york
had tried to change its state referenda to include women's .ight to vote, but it failed despite having a petition of 600,000 signatures in support of changing the state legislation, the referendum failed, so this example finds what was happening in this era where the suffragists had taken on a state-by-state approach. they were no longer going for the sort of amendment change that had been proposed in the 1870's or the judiciary changes. they were actually trying to do a full court press going state-by-state, but it was not going very well. it was very frustrating.
it depicts this woman as a ifciful, not serious bitch, you will. she cannot figure out how to dress herself, much less fit into a voting booth. women see themselves having a political voice. there's a lot of anti-suffrage that accompanies the whole movement, and in the exhibition, i chose to highlight some of those examples, but really not focus on it too much because i was more interested in how african-americans were really involved and what the strategies were in the movement. at two examples of ephemera that speak to the history of colorado and when his voting rights in colorado. i wanted to highlight colorado because it is the first state were able toists
lobby and convince male legislators to change the state constitution to make sure that women could vote. if that makes sense. because wyoming was a territory, they sorta grandfathered in the right to vote when it became a state, but women did not have to lobby wyoming legislators after it became a state to get the right to vote. it was already kind of written into their constitution. the colorado example is pretty interesting. if you come in close you can see , the three party tickets. at the very bottom in the ballot this would be what they voted , with. equal suffrage approved or equal suffrage not approved. once colorado women achieve the right to vote they elected female legislators. this is a portrait of three of the four female legislators from the era of 1893 through 1894 you have two democrats and one republican.
in the back we've got three , portraits of african-americans. there is cooper in the middle and mary church terrell on the right. these were studio portraits that were made of these women while they were students at overland college. which was founded by abolitionists and which was one of the first liberal arts schools if not the first in the united states to accept african-american students. what i love about these portraits is how young they are. we know that they each went on great livesto lead as activists, as women that were advocating for citizenship rights for all people of the united states, but particularly for african-americans, cooper wasanna julia
a teacher at the m street colored school in washington, d.c. of was living the life someone who truly believed in giving a liberal arts education to african-americans. terrell, whohurch founded the national colored women's association, but she was also teaching at the m street colored school, which is, of course, the dunbar high school in washington, d.c. what i like about these two women is that they were on sort of theng responsibility to assimilate african-americans in a post-civil war reconstruction era in a way that would give them white-collar access, so they became -- once they went to
dunbar high school, they went to college, and then they were business people, leaders. argumentmbodied that of w.e.b. dubois and booker t. that these men had been having about how to best assimilate african-americans during reconstruction. booker t. washington advocated for technical training, whereas w.e.b. dubois advocated for liberal arts training, and these walk, but walking the they are less recognized than the men, and they are very much equal to both of these men in the ways in which they were make lifeng how to better for african-americans during a very difficult time. so these three women are in this exhibition because they were not advocating for only suffrage, but advocating for other things
outside the parameters of this single issue focus. african-american women were doing lots and lots of activism, even though they were still excluded from the national american women's suffrage association, which the two fractions we were talking about in the very beginning when in 1870, the suffrage movement divided, they had actually come back together in 1892, so they then move forward with great force and great strategy. they are doing still the state-by-state strategy, but they are also excluding african-americans the whole time. my point is these women were not just sitting around waiting on the sidelines. they were being very act of active in and of themselves within their own groups and their own societies in their own local communities. we are standing in front of a
banner that was carried in 1911. the writing is actually an excerpt of scripture called "the glorious light." it was written in 1871 by the british dean of canterbury. what i liked about this banner is how it has that sense of spirituality that i think was so important to the suffragists during the first -- up through , and it also has that sense of emerging and onward and making progress forward, so i wanted to make sure to include a couple of banners we borrowed from the national women's party because they really speak to a lot of the thinking that is behind the movement and also point to the activism, so this actually concludes the first half of the exhibition. we have covered the movement up through 1912, and we have covered the first generation of
.uffragists from this point on, we are going to discover suffragists still have not achieved the right to vote, that women still do not have the right to vote in the united states, but we will trace how they switch tactics and really achieve progress in a very comparatively small amount of time. up through 1920, and then talk about the changes and the ongoing battle through 1965. >> this was the first of a two-part tour of the national gallery's votes for women exhibit marking the , centennial of the 19th amendment. you can watch this and other "american artifacts" programs by visiting our website at c-span.org/history. >> sunday night on "q&a,"
historian jeff wynd discusses his book "the vagabond" about the summer road trips taken by henry ford and thomas edison between 1914 to 1925. >> the idea was that they wanted to go out and have fun. they wanted to demonstrate, hey, guess what, you can get in your car and go do these things, too, but they were not going to have to try to like their own campfires. they were not going to eat cold beans out of cans. they were not just going to put a blanket on the ground. they had all these different amenities. they had a refrigerated car powered by edison batteries, so they can have fresh dairy. they had chefs who would prepare gourmet meals at night. in the morning, they would dress in a freshly ironed clothes, but you see, they were so famous, and america was so grateful to them that that did not matter. the point was "we are out in cars traveling and seeing these things. you can do it too. >> sunday night at 8:00 p.m.
eastern on c-span's "q&a." ♪ cliff the house will be in order. beenr 40 years, c-span has providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public-policy events from washington, d.c., and around the country so you can make up your own mind, created by cable in 1970 nine. c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span -- your unfiltered view of government. monday on american history tv, supreme court justices ruth bader ginsburg and sonia sotomayor discussed the judicial impact of the first woman to serve on the supreme court, sandra day o'connor. here is a preview. >> sandro would probably quote as she did many times, a
minnesota supreme court justice, jane cohen, who said at the end a wise old man and a wise old woman go into the same judgment, and i think that is true, but sandra would have followed it up by saying we each bring our life experience to the table. growing up female is not the same as growing up male, and you in ansee the difference opinion that justice o'connor road. it came out at the end of her very first term on the court. it was hogan against mississippi university for women. this is about a man who wanted to become a nurse, and the best nursing school in his area was
the mississippi university for women. hogan challenged the exclusion ,s a denial of equal protection and one of the then justices, theice powell, looked on reservation of the nursing school to women and -- as a kind of affirmative action for women, so it was ok. but sandra, if you read between the lines, what she is saying is if you want to improve the status of women in the nursing profession, the best way to do it is to get men to want to do the job because the pay inevitably will go up. [laughter] justice ginsburg: that was an insight that she had. she recognized that reserving that school to women was not a
favor to women. >> hear more about former supreme court justice sandra day o'connor's judicial impact monday at noon and in :00 p.m. >> next on "lectures in history," daniel richter of the university of pennsylvania teaches a class on 18th-century power struggles among native americans, colonial settlers, and european empires. the class was part of a seminar for high school teachers hosted by the institute of american history in partnership with the library company of philadelphia. >> i am here in philadelphia at the center for early american studies at the university of pennsylvania. we have been spending the week with an amazing group of educators from all over the country brought together under the auspices of the guilder lerman institute of early american history.