Historical Society of Woodstock
About the Historical Society
Edna Kearns and Elisabeth Freeman
Standing on their shoulders:
101 Years of Voting and Still Marching for Women's Rights
Saturdays & Sundays, September 18 - October 24, 2021
Opening reception, Sunday, September 19, 2-4
You are invited to a free online presentation and video debut by author and women's rights activist Marguerite Kearns.
Passing the Women's Rights Torch to the Next Generation
“STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS” AND “PASSING THE TORCH”
To March or to Marry – Reading and talk by Violet Snow
Sunday, September 5, 2 pm - "on the porch" at HSW
Violet Snow will discuss Ulster County women's clubs and suffrage activity in the early 1900s, followed by a reading from her historical novel, To March or to Marry.
The novel begins in New York City in 1912. Two young women find their friendship torn apart when one of them abandons the dignified, middle-class feminism of their women's club to join suffragists marching for the vote. Abbie struggles with issues of marriage and motherhood, while Louise seeks independence, but they need each other's help to find their voices in the contentious world of emerging women’s rights.
Visionary feminists Alice Paul and Harriot Stanton Blatch are among the historical figures who make their appearance in this novel about the battle for the vote and the quieter but profound influence of the women’s clubs that gave women tools for changing society. (photo by Dion Ogust)
"Women's March on Woodstock", 2019 still from film by Tobe Carey
Two Important Videos start October 3
Tune in to HistoricalSocietyofWoodstock.org starting Saturday, Oct. 3, 2021 and view two short videos that are part of the virtual votes-for-women centennial celebration by the Historical Society. First is a musical presentation, Standing on the Shoulders, a four-minute song by Joyce Rouse that honors the spirit of Edna Kearns and Elisabeth Freeman, NYS suffrage activists with Woodstock connections who helped lay the base for successive waves of women's activism during the 20th century and into the 21st.
The second video, Women's March on Woodstock 2019 by filmmaker Tobe Carey, features the estimated 800 diverse participants marching in the small town of Woodstock, located 90 miles north of New York City in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain region. The community, founded in the 1700s, inspired the famous Woodstock music festival of 1969, but it didn't host the pivotal cultural event that was held over 50 miles away in Bethel, NY. This colorful film, edited by Bart Friedman, will also be available at HistoricalSocietyofWoodstock.org starting October 3, 2020. HSW thanks Tobe Carey for granting permission to show his video and still photographs of the Women's March.
Tobe Carey, an award-winning producer, director and cinematographer, has been documenting historical events in the Hudson Valley for many years. He operates Willow Mixed Media.
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
("Overlook Mountain", Zulma Steele, 1914, collection of the Historical Society of Woodstock)
"Women's March on Woodstock", 2019, film by Tobe Carey, edited by Bart Friedman
To be announced: Standing on Their Shoulders: 100 years of Voting and Still Marching for Women's Rights will include an exhibition of vintage photographs and a multi-media presentation in 2021 featuring the work of activists Edna Kearns and Elisabeth Freeman presented by their Woodstock-related descendants Marguerite (Culp) Kearns and Peg Johnston. (Culp) Kearns is a former reporter and editor of Woodstock Times and the granddaughter of Edna Kearns. Johnston is the great-niece of Elisabeth Freeman and the cousin of a former member of the Woodstock town board, the late Jane Van De Bogart.
The exhibit will appear at the HSW's Eames House Museum and on-line. The mult-media presentation will take place at the Woodstock Community Center. Dates and times will be announced.
To be announced: The cutting of a 100th birthday cake will be celebrated at the Standing on Their Shoulders exhibit opening with a musical performance by folk singers and musicians Pat Lamanna, Sharleen Leahey and Richard Mattocks. They will present contemporary and original activists songs accompanied by guitar and banjo.
(postcard: "Edna Kearns & Elisabeth Freeman")
Suffrage activist Elisabeth Freeman was a paid activist. She organized for women’s voting rights as well as conducted a speaking tour against lynching in the South. She supported labor issues, as well as many other social causes.
Edna Kearns, a suffrage activist, was a writer, editor, and grassroots campaigner in New York City and on Long Island. She traveled with her horse-drawn wagon as part of a strategy to reach the men voters of the state in rural and urban areas.
Both activists Elisabeth Freeman and Edna Kearns worked extensively in New York State. They knew each other and were both considered “wagon women.” A votes for women state referendum failed in 1915. New York State women won the next suffrage referendum in 1917. Horse-drawn wagons were used as speakers’ platforms.
“The NYS suffrage victory in 1917 became a tipping point for the nation. It took until 1920 for the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution,” said Olivia Twine, secretary of the HSW and the project coordinator for the fall exhibition. “The 19th Amendment wrote into law that all American women could vote. Implementation of the amendment, however, took decades until all women could finally vote in the US. The town board of Woodstock in 2016 passed a resolution supporting suffrage centennials. There’s a strong constituency for our exhibit in the Hudson Valley.”
Votes for women centennial celebrations like this one in Woodstock are being held across the US during this centennial year of 2020. Interviews with the two suffrage descendants, Johnston and Kearns, as well as organizing campaign photographs, are available for media coverage about the HSW event, according to Olivia Twine, exhibition director.
The exhibition in Woodstock highlights how US women have been marching for their rights for well over 100 years.
SEASONS: Catching Nature's Cycle
Saturday June 12, 2021- Sunday September 5, 2021, 1-5 pm
Selected Works from the collection of the Historical Society
The exhibition SEASONS: Catching Nature’s Cycle gathers forty works by Woodstock artists, selected by Guest Curator Susana Torruella Leval from the collection of the Historical Society of Woodstock, co-curated by Letitia Smith. The works in the exhibition encompass a century. The earliest images, from 1914, a summer view of Overlook by Zulma Steele, and a winter landscape by Edmund Rolfe, lead a visual tour of the seasons in Woodstock’s landscape.
As early as 1903, the village’s lush meadows, gentle streams, wooded glens, and healthful climate attracted visionary artists, who chose the site for the Utopian arts and crafts colony of Byrdcliffe, and, later, the Maverick Colony, giving birth to Woodstock as an arts colony. Three years later, the Arts Students League of New York set up a summer school in the village, soon known as the “Woodstock School of Landscape Painting”, highlighting the tradition of painting out of doors. Over time, it lured ever larger numbers of artists from New York City. By 1920, the New York Times referred to Woodstock as “a place of pilgrimage in the art world.” Since the 19th century, landscape painters Thomas Cole and Frederic Church had pioneered the plein air tradition in the Hudson Valley. Their artistic descendants, Birge Harrison and John Carlson, subsequent directors of the Woodstock School of Landscape, must have smiled their approval at the successful continuation of their legacy into the “modern” era.
The works in the exhibition display a rich variety of styles: from traditionally precise, yet expansive, romantic views; to proto Cubist and modernist abstractions; to lucid depictions inspired by Realist, Impressionist, and post Impressionist models. The works also offer diverse media: paintings in oil and acrylic, on canvas, paper and board; drawings on paper with pen with brush, oil and charcoal; watercolors; prints: lithographs and etchings; and vintage and contemporary photographs.
A tour of SEASONS: Catching Nature’s Cycle invites you to explore Woodstock’s country lanes and roads, identifying farms, barns and homes; watch children play and trees dance; and allow the sun to blind you as it reflects on the snow. You can slosh through meadows of mud, snow, and ice, watch melting ice crystals drift downstream, or amble along sunlit grassy or ochre banks. You can choose bird’s eye views of village or valley, or close-ups of bugs, and flowers, shelter in the shadow of a huge, gentle tree, or admire the majestic shagbarks. You will experience Overlook Mountain’s different moods: in a chilly Autumn fog or a sunny Summer haze; listen for the deep twang of the bullfrogs, or the silence of the snow; and smell the oversweet wisteria, the pungency of cow dung, and the musky scent of fallen leaves. You can observe the slow approach of a praying mantis stalking a bumblebee. Mostly, you can be joyous that you have Woodstock. (Exhibition catalogue available $20)
("Overlook Mountain", Zulma Steele, 1914, collection of the Historical Society of Woodstock)
"Sally Michel Sketching Sheep at Big Indian", Robert Selkowitz, 1977
Zoom Presentation on Wednesday, June 2, 2021
and write “Glenn Kreisberg” in the subject line. You will be sent a Zoom link prior to the event.
Scattered throughout the wooded uplands of the Catskill Mountains are many standing lithic structures that have mostly been ignored by conventional archaeologists. Often dismissed as colonial era stone walls and field clearing piles, these formations are increasingly emerging as part of a Native American tradition of ritual building practices that reflected a sophisticated world view and sociocultural belief system.
This program presents potential Native American sacred sites within the Catskills and surrounding regions in order to discern construction techniques, environmental positioning, and structural alignments related to sky observation. Utilizing GIS software, hundreds of sites and structures in the region have been geolocated, providing a basis for understanding these sites in their original context. This research is part of a larger effort to rediscover the cultural heritage and knowledge Native Americans in our region have long practiced and represented as a living synthesis projected upon their physical landscape.
For more information, visit www.historicalsocietyofwoodstock.org or email email@example.com
On January 8, 2021, the Historical Society of Woodstock (HSW) received a 2020 Ulster County Services and Promotion Fund Award of $2, 950 from Arts Mid-Hudson. This will help fund the HSW’s Assessing Woodstock History initiative. There were 28 requests for $120,000, but only 13 applicants received $37,500. The peer panel was composed of community stakeholders, artists, and nonprofit professions, and their recommendations were approved by Arts Mid-Hudson’s Board of Directors.
Zoom Presentation on Wednesday, March 31, 2021
The program will feature Janine Fallon-Mower and Jon D. Elwyn who have spent a good portion of their lives honing the skill of teasing out the gems of local history information from personal and family recollections. Much of their work is then transferred to the Historical Society of Woodstock’s archives. The presentation will include selected images found in local family collections of everyday life in Woodstock. Janine and Jon will also demonstrate how select family photographs can enhance the visual and written history of Woodstock N.Y. (image: On Tinker Street)
Town Historian, Richard Heppner will lead a lively discussion with the presenters and attendees following the presentation.
About the Panel:
Janine Fallon–Mower has authored several books on Woodstock including: Images of America – Woodstock and Woodstock Revisited. She has also co–authored Legendary Locals of Woodstock with Town Historian, Richard Heppner and View from the Sixth with Eric Knutsen.
Jon D. Elwyn has preserved the stories of Deanie Elwyn’s Brass Rail, the Trolley Diner and the world famous Deanie’s Restaurant in Woodstock, N.Y. He has also documented his family’s connection to many branches of Woodstock’s early settlers, including Woodstock’s first Supervisor Elias Hasbrouck.
To request a Zoom link for this presentation, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please place “Family History” in the subject line. Attendees will receive the link prior to the scheduled date.
Zoom Presentation on Thursday, February 18, 2021
“Alf Evers book signing at Twine’s Catskill Book Shop” (Courtesy Ed Sanders)
Sanders, who will be interviewed by Woodstock Town Historian, Richard Heppner, worked closely with Evers during the latter part of his life and, in Alf Evers: An American Genius, has offered a detailed study on the evolution of a historian’s life; a historian who helped lay the foundation of how we view our collective past.