October 5, 2020 I www.ggrwhc.org I 616-574-7307
 Zeroing in on Grand Rapids Suffragists 

GGRWHC is starting to wrap up our 2020 celebrations of the centennial of the 19th Amendment. In her virtual program on Thursday, October 8th, board member Ruth Stevens will cover a broad sweep of material and take a deep dive into material new to local audience. She will tell the Grand Rapids story using archival photographs as well as the words of Grand Rapids suffragists preserved in rare oral interviews,scrapbooks, and newspaper articles. Tune in!

1920 Grand Rapids poster & Minnie R. Mickel
“Women Should be Seen and Heard: Grand Rapids and the Fight for the Vote”
by Ruth Stevens

Thursday, October 8th, 2020, 7:00 pm
Co-sponsored with the Grand Rapids Historical Society &
Grand Rapids Public Library

*Access to Virtual Online Presentation* 

The story of the women’s suffrage movement in Grand Rapids began as early as 1874 when Grand Rapids and Kent County suffragists organized and brought national leader Susan B. Anthony here for the 1874 campaign. It was unsuccessful, but suffragists persisted and finally claimed victory in 1918 when male electors voted to amend the Michigan constitution to grant women the right to vote. 
Along the way, women in Grand Rapids petitioned, marched, spoke, canvassed, and organized. Highlights from their campaign include the 1888 election of Harriet A. Cook to the Grand Rapids School Board, the hosting of the 1899 convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association at St. Cecilia Auditorium in Grand Rapids, the suffragist “take over” of the Grand Rapids Press in 1914, and the final push in 1918 when suffragists blanketed the city with posters and flyers as they pressed their cause. It’s quite a story!

Since 2019, Ruth Stevens has been GGRWHC’s woman on the road. She has partnered Susan B. Anthony's diary entries about her visits to Michigan with the local histories of various communities where she highlighted 1874 suffrage campaigns in Sturgis, Niles, Coloma, and other West Michigan communities. The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Museum posted Stevens’s July talk for them on YouTube. You can find it here, along with GGRWHC’s 1999 centennial re-enactment of the biggest event in Michigan suffrage history--the meeting in 1899 Grand Rapids of the national organization, with its glimpse into early racial tension in the movement. Check it out!

You can also find Ruth Stevens’s work in suffrage history on GGRWHC’s fabulous digital landing page.Use it either as prep for her presentation or to supplement it later! Stevens served as a textual editor of Julia Bouwkamp’s marvelous work on GGRWHC’s 2020 digital suffrage exhibit; and she authored materials for the Michigan Girl Scouts “Right to Vote Centennial” patch, from which she created a general resource guide. Stevens also created a Michigan suffrage quiz, available on the website of the 2020 Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative. Great stuff here!

Reading into Suffrage History
Virtual Book Discussion
Wednesday, October 21st, 7:00 pm

Death in Ten Minutes by Fern Riddell
Co-sponsored by the Grand Rapids Public Library &
Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council
Wednesday, October 21st, 7:00 pm
Death in Ten Minutes by Fern Riddell
Free & open to the public

Death in Ten Minutes is the story of Kitty Marion, one of the UK’s most militant suffragettes. Illustrating the British campaign using Kitty’s life, the book doesn’t end in 1918 when some British women got the vote. In fact, many US suffragists and UK suffragettes went on to use their skills for other causes and social movements. Kitty Marion was no exception. She moved to the US and worked on birth control here with Margaret Sanger. More here.

We are delighted that two specialists in British women’s history will provide context and help us to make connections between the US/UK sister movements. Former GVSU administrator and history professor Gretchen Galbraith will join us from her new home at SUNY Potsdam in New York, where she is dean of the School of Arts & Sciences; and Pamela Walker, Professor of History at Carleton University, will join from her home in Canada! They will help us understand how UK and US governmental systems are different, and why that made a difference; how political parties were involved differently in the two countries; how and why both movements split apart along the way; and when history writing and language can be controversial and deserve discussion in itself!
Aided by local hosts--Colleen Alles, from the Grand Rapids Public Library, and Jo Ellyn Clarey, from GGRWHC—the conversation will use a loose structure and make some links to the local history of Grand Rapids’ own suffragists. Please join us even if you couldn’t finish the book. You will be inspired to keep reading! Anyone interested is welcome, but the virtual Zoom discussion will require an RSVP.
Finally, you are welcome to find your own books or to check one out from the Grand Rapids Public Library. Get to reading!

UPCOMING EVENTS! Mark your calendars~

Stay in touch with our website calendar of events and watch our weekly newsletters!

October 8th, 7:00 pm: Women Should Be Seen and Heard: Grand Rapids and the Fight for the Vote” by Ruth Stevens  See our website or the GR Historical Society website to RSVP for this ZOOM event.
October 21st: Death in Ten Minutes by Fern Riddell -- -- Virtual Book Discussion Series, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, Free & open to the public. RSVP for this ZOOM event.

November 18th: All Bound Up Together by Martha S. Jones -- -- Virtual Book Discussion Series, 7:00 - 8:30 pm, Free & open to the public. RSVP for this ZOOM event.
During this challenging year, the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council has pivoted to virtual salutes after losing in-person celebrations of the centennial of the 19th Amendment. We have rededicated ourselves to honoring the long and costly battle for the universal right to vote at the same time we pause to reconsider how we will more fully and effectively embrace the women’s histories of our entire community. 

Please continue to celebrate with the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council virtually and in print! Watch for us via this electronic newsletter, follow us on Facebook, find our monthly features in Women’s Lifestyle Magazine, and sign up for our hard-copy newsletter, if you haven’t already – at ggrwhc.org! Stay tuned, stay safe, and stay exercised!
Stay home and stay safe--but celebrate with us virtually and in print! 
GGRWHC |  www.ggrwhc.org  | 616-574-7307
Hats off to the historical women who have shaped West Michigan!
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Thank you for your interest in preserving and celebrating the history of the many phenomenal women who've helped to shape West Michigan!  If you aren't already a supporter of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council, consider investing in our work as a volunteer or with an annual donation.  Visit our website for more information and the ability to donate online.