unCOMMON Salon at NYU’s Bobst Library – “That Time When Men Really Stood Up for a Women’s Cause”

February 21, 2018

NYU Libraries posted this video of the entire event.

The second event of 2018 for The Suffragents was right on the NYU campus. Well, our urban university doesn’t really have a campus in the traditional sense, but being invited to speak  at Bobst Library means a temporary berth on the south side of Washington Square Park, the part of our complex that actually feels a little more like a more traditional university. The Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, where I teach, is on The Bowery in the East Village, about an eight minute walk due east down 4th Street. It’s an area with a very different vibe.

Being on “campus” was also a reminder of some important Men’s League for Woman Suffrage geographical lore. Max Eastman,

Max Eastman, the first secretary-treasurer of the Men’s League for Woman Suffrage of the State of New York.

the League’s first secretary-treasurer, started the organization in his apartment at 118 Waverly, just around the corner.

118 Waverly, in Max’s apartment, first headquarters of the New York Men’s League for Woman Suffrage.

And the women who inspired him to service included  his sister, Crystal Eastman, who lived with him there;


Crystal Eastman


his girlfriend, Inez Milholland, the youthful face of the suffrage movement;


Inez Milholland


And Eastman’s first wife, Ida Rauh.

Ida Rauh

Greenwich Villagers, all, and all early female graduates of NYU Law School.

We had a lovely turnout, one  better than we expected on a gorgeous 70-plus degree evening in a New York February. FEBRUARY. The organizer was  Brynne Campbell, the library’s health sciences reference associate, and the space was a nifty new one on the 7th floor.

The photo above is of a part of the group on the right side of the column as I faced them. It included my graduate student in GloJo-Latin American Studies, Nidia Bautista, who is already waxing nostalgic about graduation, although it is not until mid-May. Last week she tweeted this:

And then, after last night’s presentation, this:


It was so lovely of Nidia to come. I was just as thrilled to see my pals Bernadette Murray and Bran Raskovic;

with Bernadette Murray and Bran Raskovvic


and our journalism librarian Katy Boss; Michael Stoller, the library’s associate dean for collections and research services; Laura Lee Huttenbach of the Literary Reportage program at NYU Journalism (and already a published author), who I’ve recently gotten to know; and Kayla Stewart, who I had met just that morning. Thanks to all for coming, along with those who were new to me.

For this presentation, I thought I would try something new. So I focused on how and why the members of the Men’s League embraced the perceived emasculation of  being “suffrage husbands,” the derogatory term long used to describe men roped to the suffrage movement by wedlock, and turned it into a “title of distinction.”

From THE HISTORY OF WOMAN SUFFRAGE, Ida Husted Harper, ed.


In almost no time at all, save the catcalling and peltings they endured during the 1911 suffrage parade down Fifth Avenue, they managed to transform images like this one:



Or this one:



Into one more like this:



The evening provided another chance to share the “Arguments” video — seven minutes of highlights from the arguments men posed on behalf of women’s equality in the second decade of the 20th century.






National History Day contestants, please read this before you contact me.

The Suffragents won the Gold Medal in US History in the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards and was a finalist for the 2018 Sally and Morris Lasky Prize, presented by the Center for Political History.  See Summer Camp Newsletters” and Facebook posts from book-related appearances. Reviews, notices, and articles about my books are under their titles here. My articles are here.

Upcoming Events: September 23: Bentson Dean’s Lecture, College of Arts and Science, New York University. October 17: Suffragents Panel, National Archives, Washington DC.  [2020] March 27 Ephemera Society of America, 40th annual conference, Old Greenwich CT. June 4-6Métiers et professions des médias (XVIIIe-XXIe siècles),”  Université de Lausanne (Switzerland).

Happened 2019: Exhibition Opening Remarks: “Women Get the Vote: A Historic Look at the Nineteenth Amendment,“New York Society Library. February 23: Public Values in Conflict with Animal Agribusiness Practices,” UCLA Law School, Los Angeles.  March 13: The Suffragents,” Scarsdale Woman’s Club, Scarsdale NY. March 24: League of Women Voters, Albany County at the Bethlehem (NY) Public LibraryMarch 25:Judges, Lawyers, and Women’s Suffrage: Recognizing the Men Who Stood with Women on the Front Lines,” Gender Fairness Committee of the Third Judicial District, CLE, NY State Courts at SUNY Albany Law School, Albany NY. May 15: “The Republican Suffragents,” National Women’s Republican Club, New York City. August 7:  Panel, “From Emma Goldman to the Marketplace of Ideas: Marking the 100th Anniversary of Free Speech at the Supreme Court.” (page 40) AEJMC, Toronto. August 14: Webinar, National Park Service.