The Peterboro Women’s History Weekend will be held September 22-24, 2017. The name for this years weekend is taken from a 2016 biography of Elizabeth Smith Miller Ballots, Bloomers, and Marmalade written by Norman K. Dann PhD, biographer of Elizabeth’s father Gerrit Smith.
Miller is most famous for the trouser outfit that she wore to Seneca Falls to visit her cousin Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Stanton introduced Miller to Amelia Bloomer who wrote about the healthy costume in her newspaper The Lily. Women’s rights activists began wearing the reform dress against much negative press and scathing public protest.
Norman Dann will explain Miller’s relationship with her famous pants at 9 am Saturday, September 23 and Jody Luce will directly follow Dann at 10 am with descriptions of the bloomer costume, the effect that it had on Elizabeth, and on the women’s movement. Luce, the Tailor of Peterboro, studies the 19th C. historic outfit and creates reproductions of it.
At 11 am Debra A. Shattuck PhD, provost and Associate Professor of History at John Witherspoon College, Rapid City SD, will share her years of research for her 2017 publication Bloomer Girls: Women Baseball Pioneers, a portrait of America, its women, and its game. Shattuck will discuss the odd 19th Century theories about the effect of exercise on reproductive organs, and explore how women playing baseball transformed women’s physical and mental capacity.
The women in baseball theme jumpstarts the Bloomer weekend Friday night September 22 at 7 pm with the Oneida Public Library players performing a readers theater production of The Game of Life: The Great Peterboro Baseball Story, a comedy focusing on the first recorded baseball game played by women that occurred in Peterboro in August 1868. Written by Tom Murray, the play takes liberties with the 150 year old event and the Peterboro setting. Virginia Drake directs the play with the assistance of Ken Drake. Ken plays Gerrit Smith, Virginia plays Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Kathy Brodeur is the Village Busybody. Music and songs of the period, including suffragette anthems, will be provided by members of the Craobh Dugan Irish musicians led by Bill Fahy. After the performance, baseball refreshments will be provided.
Later in the afternoon photos of a group of Peterboro women wearing Bloomers for the ‘80s in the 1981 Seneca Falls Convention Days parade will be shared. Women carried picket signs that provided information on domestic violence, Peterboro history, and bloomers for sale. The bloomer and baseball morning will end at noon with the Bloomer Tea featuring a menu inspired by Miller’s 1875 cookbook served by the Peterboro Deli on the Green with the Bloomer Brigade assisting.
Reservations for the Peterboro Women’s History Weekend are due September 15th. Package reservations for programs and meals on Saturday are $67, reservations for programs and meals on Sunday are $35, and reservations for the programs and meals for the entire weekend are $85.
Individual programs are $5 and may be paid at the door. The Game of Life and The Rest of The Story of the Suffrage Movement are free and all are encouraged to attend. For updates, information and registration forms click here, or call (315) 280-8828, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration for the event is at the Smithfield Community Center, 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro. Participants are encouraged to wear 19th C. bloomers or suffrage outfits.
Photo: Bloomers for 80s Seneca Falls, 1981.