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.

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Tuning in to Ray Adell

Longtime radio broadcaster Ray Adell of Ray Adell Media, WGSM, WBAB and more.
Longtime radio broadcaster Ray Adell of Ray Adell Media, WGSM, WBAB and more. Photo by Tom Hoffman.

Ray Adell is a radio man, from his early days broadcasting down in Virginia to his arrival at WGSM (World’s Greatest Suburban Market!) in Huntington in the early 1950s. But perhaps you’ll remember him best as the voice (and mind) behind “About Long Island,” the long-running radio spot sponsored by the Grumman Corporation. For over twenty years Ray and his staff at Adell Media served up snippets of Long Island history in morning drive time to educate and entertain.

In this interview Ray looks back at the people he’s met (Jack Ellsworth and Edmund Hillary to name just two), stations he’s worked at (WCAP, WEST, WKBS, WGSM and WBAB to name just five), and answers the question: is radio dead?

Leave a comment if you have memories of Ray or any of the old Long Island stations. And special thanks to Thom Hoffman for arranging this interview.

BONUS: The Long Island History Project is now listed in iTunes! If you like what you hear, please leave a review or rate us. If you’re not sure how, read this first.

Many great interviews ahead so keep listening! You can bookmark us, use the “follow” button to get email updates, or subscribe in iTunes or your podcast reader of choice.

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Further Research