November 11, 2017
The Gotham Center for New York City History is all in for the New York State women’s suffrage centennial. First, it organized a panel at the CUNY Graduate Center last night (November 10) that I was delighted to step onto as a sub. Here’s the poster:
And so we gathered on the first night of the fall that my phone made a point of sending a text to say it was “FREEZING!”
(My event mates. I was there, too, but taking the photograph).
It was especially nice to see a full house in the Skylight Room on the top floor (not a nightclub, though my video did have music but sans chanteuse) of the CUNY Graduate Center. There were just about as many men as women. For a women’s suffrage centennial-related event, that’s saying something.
Peter-Christian Aigner, the center’s acting director, organized the panel to highlight fresh scholarship on the lesser known aspects of the suffrage movement in the city, so The Suffragents fit right in. Peter, as editor of the Gotham Center blog has organized a month’s worth of excerpts and articles for all of November to commemorate this important suffrage centennial anniversary. Mine are the introduction to The Suffragents among them, along with two new pieces I wrote for him: one about “When Suffrage Got Its Makeover On,” and another on Suffrage and the (Male) Editorial Elite.” I’ll re-post them when they run.
Last night, Lauren Santangelo showed us maps and photos of the various suffrage headquarters, including one thought to be Alva Belmont’s with its beauty repair shop (!) and talked about how the organizations had clustered around Murray Hill, bowing to the needs for safety and the cultural taboos against women appearing on the street unaccompanied. Her evolved dissertation on the topic is being published (no title yet) next fall by Oxford University Press.
Susan Goodier presented on the African American women suffragists and their separately organized, sometimes fraught relationship to their white counterparts. It’s a chapter in her new book with Karen Pastorello, Women Will Vote.
And I again shared the Suffragents trailer—Adam Vine’s work is a perennial hit with audiences, wherever I show it—and I followed up (as I had done at NYU Tuesday at the “When Modern Men Became Feminists” panel with Gail Collins and Christoph Irmscher) with a gestalt of highlights from just a few of the pro-suffrage arguments—by profession— that the men presented during the campaign’s last determinative decade. The ever-clever Adrian Mihai turned in all into a little nine-minute video for me, starting with the trailer. People seemed to really like it, so have a look:
Dawn showed us just a bit from her documentary about the activist women who came after the suffrage movement, starting with Belle Moskowitz. Here’s parts of her oeuvre as posted on youtube:
For me, another highlight of the evening was getting to meet Linda Grasso, author of the new Equal Under the Sky: Georgia O’Keeffe & Twentieth Century Feminism.
I was so glad to have this encounter because she is writing for the forthcoming suffrage special issue, due out in April of 2019, of American Journalism, which I am spearheading along with all these fine scholars.
We’re the same group who are producing the special issue’s companion database, suffrageandthemedia.org, sponsored by Humanities NY and my academic home, the NYU Arthur Carter Journalism Institute. You need to check it out, too. The current homepage: