The Long Island Suffrage Playbook

Women in most states could still not vote at the turn of the last century. The suffrage movement was stalled and icons such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony were dead. So what turned things around? How did the movement revitalize itself to the point that, by 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed and women’s suffrage was the law of the land? Part of the answer lies with two women from Long Island.

Rosalie Jones and Hikers 1913. Library of Congress Prints and
Rosalie Jones and Hikers 1913. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

On this episode we talk with Jane Swersey about her research into the lives of Rosalie Gardiner Jones of Oyster Bay and Ida Bunce Sammis of Cold Spring Harbor. Each took a different path and tactic in supporting the suffrage movement. Jones created inspired marketing opportunities like the Suffrage Hike to Albany in 1912 while Sammis worked through local organizations, becoming one of the first women elected to the New York State Assembly in 1918.

Ida Sammis (l, Nov 7, 1918) and Rosalie Jones (Mar 1, 1913). Both from the NY Evening World.
Ida Sammis (l, Nov 7, 1918) and Rosalie Jones (Mar 1, 1913). Both from the NY Evening World.

You’ll also hear abut the influence of the British suffrage movement, the difference between suffragists and suffragettes, and other luminaries such as Elisabeth Freeman, Alice Paul, and Lucy Burns. Jane also reflects on her experience teaching history in Long Island high schools for thirty-four years. Are students today more aware of the role of women in history? Listen to find out.

Further Research

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