The Historical Society of Woodstock has announced 100 Years of Voting: Past, Present and Future, a panel discussion celebrating the 2020 Centennial of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, set for Saturday, October 10th.
Featured panelist include Woodstock Women’s March organizers Anula Courtis and Maria-Elena Conte, and Marguerite Culp-Kearns and Peg Johnston, direct descendants of early 1900s activists. Culp-Kearns, a former Woodstock resident, is granddaughter of suffragist Edna Kearns. Johnston is great niece of Elisabeth Freeman and cousin to the late Jane Van De Bogart, a former Woodstock town board member.
Individually, Edna Kearns and Elisabeth Freeman drove horse-drawn wagons in New York State to campaign for the cause of Votes for Women leading up to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920.
Following introductions by the four panelists, moderator Olivia Twine will pose questions; then the discussion may be opened to comments from attendees. To register for the panel discussion, email your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive the Zoom link and log in details before the event.
Marguerite (Culp) Kearns, a freelance writer now based in Santa Fe, created the websites Suffrage Centennials and Suffrage Wagon News Channel. She was a reporter and editor of Woodstock Times weekly newspaper from 1972 through the 1980s, and is the author of an upcoming book about Edna Kearns to be published by SUNY Press in 2021 on the effect of the suffrage movement on four generations of her family. (Culp) Kearns will provide photographs and artifacts for the exhibit and present a multi-media presentation with Peg Johnston.
Peg (Margaret) Johnston has researched the activism of Elisabeth Freeman and created an interactive exhibit that has been shown at the Cooperative Gallery and the Phelps Museum in Binghamton NY and has created a website and blog at www.elisabethfreeman.org. She is the author with Thomas Dublin, PhD of the article “How did Elisabeth Freeman’s Publicity Skills Promote Woman Suffrage, Anti-Lynching, and the Peace Movement,” and curates historically themed installations.
After the 2016 election, Anula Courtis and co-founder Maria-Elena Conte, established the Woodstock NY Women’s March – a platform for area residents to address civil rights issues effecting our current society.
Maria-Elena Conte is a graduate of Rutgers College with a Minor in Women’s Studies. While at Rutgers she attended her first protest march -Women Unite, Take Back the Night. Dedicating her time to various causes, she spent a decade volunteering at Hudson Cradle, an infant Safe House working with children deemed failure to thrive. Recently, she launched a program called Woodstock S.O.S. (Senior Outreach Services). At the onset of Covid-19 this program helped connect Woodstock’s seniors with food aid and area volunteers.
This program will be held via Zoom, from 2 to 3 pm. To register, send your name and email address to email@example.com and receive the Zoom link and login details before the event.
Photos, from above: 2019 Woodstock Women’s March by Tobe Carey; and Edna Kearns, left; Elisabeth Freeman, right courtesy Marguerite Kearns and Peg Johnston.