I’m reading Louise de Koven Bowen’s memoir Growing Up with City. She became a Suffragette after reading about the British Suffragettes who locked themselves to fences in protest. She figured if these women would take such actions, there must be good reason to want to vote. (She was not an uneducated or stupid woman by any stretch so go figure. We sure can’t assume anything about people in the past.)
She describes the speeches she gave and the events she attended in this movement. After the women got the vote in 1923, Bowen was shocked that so few women did vote. I found a fascinating article that states that in 1923 in Chicago only 35% of women voted. The reasons were surprising to me. Some women didn’t believe politics was feminine. Some had husbands who wouldn’t permit it. The chart above shows all the reasons and data.
So the lesson is assume nothing. I had assumed that most women would vote after such a long fight for the right.
It’s time for another Sepia Saturday post. This week’s prompt had me searching Flickr Commons for photos of parades way back when.
Virginia militia parade 1920s
Sufferage Parade, 1913
London, after WWI, 1918
Finally, here’s a video of the pet parade my brother’s town has held since the 1950s.
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Ernest Poole’s His Second Wife follows Ethel as she leaves small town Ohio after her father’s death. She goes to New York to live with her sister, Amy, a socialite and shopper, and Amy’s husband Joe and daughter. Ethel tries to fit in to the shallow scene Amy relishes, but just can’t. The superficial and materialism don’t appeal at all.
She’s after the new and exciting ideals, art and politics New York is supposed to offer. After Amy’s sudden death, Ethel stays to help Joe, but struggles to avoid getting trapped living her sister’s life.
Poole creates an original dilemma that rings true. Ethel isn’t the polar opposite of Amy as a lesser writer would have made her. She doesn’t hate shopping or all of bourgeois life, she just wants more. The novel recounts her struggle to find friends and to find her own identity, while evading Amy’s more manipulative friends who want to control Joe after he’s married Ethel. An original, compelling story, worth getting from Amazon, which offers it for free on Kindle.