Press Release "Standing on their Shoulders"

PO Box 841 Woodstock, N.Y. 12498 Historical Society of Woodstock NY


October 8, 2020

Standing on Their Shoulders: 

100 Years of Voting and Still Marching for Women's Rights


The Historical Society of Woodstock, together with Humanities New York and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, announces a year-long celebration of the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which recognized women's right to vote. Standing on Their Shoulders: 100 Years of Voting and Still Marching for Women's Rights, highlights Woodstock's connection to the women's rights movement. These events are funded partly by an Action Grant from Humanities New York and The National Endowment for the Humanities, without whose support these programs wouldn't be possible.


Virtual Panel Discussion, Saturday, October 10, 2020, 2-3 pm

100 Years of Voting: Where Do We Go From Here? Topics will include historic women's events with Woodstock connections, the planning and effects of the Woodstock Women's March, and ideas for future activism to promote equal rights. Panelists include Marguerite (Culp) Kearns and Peg Johnston—direct descendants of early 1900's activists Edna Kearns and Elisabeth Freeman – and Anula Courtis and Maria-Elena Conte, organizers of the popular Woodstock Women's March. 


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. Edna Kearns' wagon is scheduled to be on permanent display at the New York State Museum in Albany in the future.


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, please send your name and email address to . You will receive the Zoom link and log in details before the event.


Marguerite (Culp) Kearns, a freelance writer, editor and blog developer now based in Santa Fe, created the award-winning websites and blogs, Suffrage Centennials and the 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 She is the author with Thomas Dublin, PhD of the articles “How did Elisabeth Freeman's Publicity Skills Promote Woman Suffrage, Anti-Lynching, and the Peace Movement, and curates historically themed installations. 

Anula Courtis founded a company that works with hospitals and clinics around the country to reduce the amount of money spent on medications. The savings benefit uninsured people in communities around the country. Courtis chairs the Woodstock Human Rights Commission and is a member of the Woodstock Police Reform Committee. 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 –  after the 2016 election.


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.. 


Olivia M. Twine holds an M.A. Degree in Theatre and Communications from Columbia University. A writer whose work about history, society, and cultural issues appears in regional publications, Twine serves as Project Director for Standing on Their Shoulders: 100 Years of US Women Voting and Still Marching for Women's Rights.

Two Colorful Videos, October 3, 2020, set the ambiance for the Year-Long Party.

The votes-for-women centennial celebration begins at with Standing on the Shoulders, a four-minute song by Joyce J Rouse, which features a montage of heroic women and honors the spirit of Edna Kearns and Elisabeth Freeman, New York State suffrage activists with Woodstock ties (Standing on the Shoulders by Joyce J Rouse @ 1969 @ 2015 Rouse House Music (ASCAP) used by permission. All rights reserved


The second video, Women's March on Woodstock 2019 by filmmaker Tobe Carey, features diverse participants marching in the small town of Woodstock, NY. The community, founded in the 1700's inspired the famous Woodstock music festival of 1969, but it didn't host the cultural event that was held 50 miles away in Bethel, NY. See Carey's film, edited by Barton Friedman, at HSW thanks Tobe Carey for allowing HSW to use his video and still photographs, and Humanities New York for funding these two video programs.

Tobe Carey, an award-winning producer, director and cinematographer, has  been documenting historical events in the Catskills for many years. He operates Willow Mixed Media in Glenford, NY.

Barton (Bart) Friedman helped found the pioneering video production companies Media Bus, Videofreex, and Reelizations.  He has a BA in psychology from Adelphi University and has been working in the field of videography for 50 years. He has a video production company in Saugerties, NY.


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