Woman; Suffragist Florence H. Luscomb
Are you. Good evening and welcome to woman. We have a very special guest this evening. She has a unique perspective on the women's movement. Her involvement began when she
was a child and her mother took her to hear Susan B Anthony. Her involvement continue to her graduation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture in 19 0 9 and continues until the present day. My guest is Miss Florence Florence. Thank you very much for coming. I'm very happy to be. I forgot to mention your middle initial will be to Florence H. Can you tell me about your mother taking you to see Susan B Anthony. Well ma delegate to the National American woman suffrage convention in 1892 and she took me with a little girl. Now of course at that age I can tell you about the business of selected. But there's just one thing that I feel there are key in my recollection and
that is that they said to me this woman who is speaking now is do you think you've been a feminist ever since. I think I've been a feminist. I can't think of anyone where morrow is to be converted by then fairly Anthony. How did the women's suffrage movement begin in this country. How did it begin. Yes in this country in this country it grew out of the anti slavery movement in those days. Women were not supposed to take an interest in anything except their own mystic. But some of the more public spirited women were so horrified by slavery that they wanted to
join the anti-slavery societies and work with them. And in several of the states they began to admit women into the societies. Then in eight forty the British Anti-Slavery Society decided that they would call for a anti-slavery conference to be held in London. And they sent the notices of it to every country to have anti-slavery organisation asking them to send accredited delegates and. The state of Pennsylvania included among its men delegates five women and the state of Massachusetts sent three women.
And when these eight women appear in London and presented their credentials the British were horrified. They'd never dream that women roared. It was such an improper thing and they spent an entire day debating whether they were to see these women with these official credentials. And the end of the day they voted that they would not see the women and one man exclaimed that he was thankful because they were rid of him of the convention. The man who is on his way to the most famous anti-slavery leader in the whole world at that time was William Lloyd Garrison alright. And he had been detained by bad weather. In crossing the Atlantic and he didn't arrive in London until
the women had been relegated to the gallery and William Lloyd Garrison refused to present his credentials and take in a pod in this conference and sat instead in the gallery with the women. Throughout it all. That was more or less still there were men at that time that were supportive of the women. Practically all the great leaders in the anti-slavery movement were also supporting the women's rights Wendell Phillips went on the lecture tour. Who with the wind will sail it. Wendell Phillips was one of the greatest leaders in the anti-slavery movement. Ralph Waldo Emerson supported the women's rights. You got great leaders in social reform all of the time practically all of them supporting
the woman's movement. There were two of the women who were a person sitting in the gallery and they that when they got back to this country they would call a conference on women's rights. One of them was a mob and the other was Elizabeth Cady Stanton who was on her honeymoon trip. Well it so happened that they lived in different states and in those days you didn't just drive a few hours to get over to a neighboring state. Gas was cheap. Right. You might even have you might have to take a stagecoach so that they were not able to carry out their plans until
18 when Lucretia mong was visiting in the POW where Elizabeth stuff was then living and so they said they could carry out their plan and they call me thing. They drafted the call to the draft that ought to be up to be. But they did it all in just five days. So it was just a local surrounding use of Seneca Falls. Nevertheless this was the first rights conference that had been held in the world in the world not just a country not just in this country too. In 1850 there was another conference
held in Worcester Massachusetts which was a truly national conference. It had over a thousand delegates coming from 11 different states. Some of them as far away as California. Now there was no old California had been built. Lim you had to come by stagecoach up across the furries but delegates from California to attend the great women's rights convention in Worcester Massachusetts. And that was just very shortly after Seneca Falls and that was two years later. That was that was in. In the 1850s where Christian Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton they're also I think they were I don't know that I've ever seen but if they had found it possible to be there they
certainly would have been. Let's talk about some of the conditions of women at that particular time that led to the meeting and finical fault. Yes. The last man and wife won that one is the husband and other world she was his position. A married woman couldn't own any property any property that became her husband's when they were married. And I think she inherited if she would who would use belong to her husband not to hook their children belong to him. He could give them away. He could even leave the will and they would be taken away from the mother and given to whom the Father had specified in
his will. It might be a total stranger who lived far away and the mother would never see her babies again. It was absolutely immoral for a woman to speak in public when the Stones started in speaking against slavery. Now let's let's tell her that St.. Well they are one of the pioneers in the in the anti-slavery and woman's rights movement. But when she began to speak in public. She was expelled from membership in her church for doing such an indecent thing as addressing an audience that was in the 1850s.
So they were they were in effect persecuted because they were speaking out in public. Yes all of them. Yass Lucy Stone founded a newspaper didn't shake Lucy Stone and her husband Henry V Blackwell founded the Woman's Journal and you brought a copy in 80 70. Tipping forward a little bit here. This was the national weekly newspaper for the whole month of 1870 and continued right through until the final victory. And this is a picture of Blackwell. Who was the husband of Lucy Stone. He wanted to get married and she didn't. She she she
wanted to be buried they were deeply in love. But she said that she had to give her life. And he said he would give his life to the woman's cause. And so I got married and have a devoted marriage. They also brought us a photograph of their daughter and they had one daughter Ella Blackwell and this is her picture and she is coming of that father and mother devoted her life all soul to the woman's cause. And we have another newspaper clipping of you selling the corner. Yes in 10 and 11. The publishers the blood of Lucy Stone were very
anxious to the public for their magazine for their newspaper and they asked me if I would sell it as a boy on the streets of Boston. And for two years every Saturday afternoon I was filled with the street and was just selling the paper book. But in order to do that I had to get a license as a headliner. This is my license granted to me in 1910. I see on here that if you haven't gotten a license you would have been fined a thousand dollars. If I had been so rough just to sell it without a license Tell me about the women who were who were at that time trying to generate interest in their cause what were their lives like.
You say it that you mean just where you left off when Lucy Stone was thrown out of her church. The early days of the war were one. There was Lucy Stone there was me. And Elizabeth were the three outstanding figures. They they converted hundreds of thousands of other women. Who took their pot did their part in building up this movement in EVERY STATE OF THE UNION. Having circulating a petition or
trying to get the. Each state to amend its state constitution to allow women to vote. And of course to try to get the very hideous discrimination against women in the law was. Amended. The State. Well when I went to see what were the ones that they concentrated on mostly beside the vote I think it was it was any of all of all the. The right to own property. The right of a mother to have equal in the children that she had born.
These are all the causes which they live in and as I say gradually we're able to get state after state to pass laws to change the laws. Abolishing the hideous freshens of women can take theory and tremendous hostility do you think. In the early days. So they met very great hostility. You had something you wanted to read. Oh. And a shawl. This was from the autobiography of Howard show off
a little bit younger than these the first pioneers women. But nevertheless not many years later and she tells about what it was like when you were going in to the countryside to speak at meetings to try and get an organization set up in different cities and towns to carry on the war. Now this gives of the. And other would have had to endure in going to hold beating the freight engine and caboose is casual commonplaces while 30 and 40 drives across the
country in blizzards and bitter cold. Equally inevitable once during a. Drive when the thermometer was 20 I said my face was freezing. In Kansas I was chased too much. The cover in which I sat with another woman driving me. They were there and they were as noisy things in a dream. I've loved us little by little they began to gain on us and they were almost within striking distance of the whip which was our only weapon.
When we reached the well they fell back. They really had to care an awful lot about their cause to go through the conditions they cared about there more than they can about their lives. At what point did you become super active in the women's movement. Oh my God. Through my college years I did what I could do what youngsters could do for college girls. I was a youngster. I would hand out leaflets then later all about the time I had graduated from college. We began to have open street rallies and I began to take a part in them. Were you ever arrested.
No. Most or they were not arrested then because as we do on violating any law. You participated in a march in 1930 13 in Washington in 1913. Two days before the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson. They had a hall in Washington and there were about eight women from all over the country who gathered that was a bunch of hoodlums who attacked the parade. They kick. They spat. They tripped. They all went to the floor and then they
brought the moving and the police and then live to Perth protect. The women and foreign oil sent for troops from the nearby to come and the parade mob. I know because I was there and took pot and that array. About two years later. There was great in New York City of forty thousand women and. Men. And that the largest that up to that time had ever been held in all. We also had a parade in 1950
and very you know they were great parades. It was all because of the trying to get. I was trying to get the vote. That there are people Americans who are not allowed to vote. And the company. Wyoming was the first territory where women were allowed to vote. When the Great. Hall went out and the. Area. Was enough. Congress would set territory a method to elect a government. And.
Run its local affairs. By. 69. Wyoming had a large enough population to be set up. Territory. And I wish I had time. But tell us something and I know some of the stories of how they came about considering. And having in their state in their territorial constitution that they were writing the right of women to. But they didn't. Want that. And. So. You know there are. Women. Ha. A territory could not vote for a national election President.
Vice President on the court. Members of Congress all the Senate but all. The women had. A political equality with them and. Went on your three minute. And there's a story that I'd like you to tell about the woman whose husband was an alien. Oh yes. We have just three minutes left. And 20. I was put in charge of a little. Information Service to help women have any difficulty getting story in those. So this woman had an American. Family. Far far enough.
So dad. She wanted. A woman suffrage was carried in one thousand twenty. Register. She would have to bring papers. Otherwise she could not be registered. And he didn't have the. It so happened that he went on a business trip. And he saw some documents deposit box at the bank. Sent. To go to a safe deposit box. And. Papers. And. Register. But except for that.
To get hold of his naturalization papers she would have been denied her legal rights and the method terrific story. Florence I thank you very much for coming this evening. Thank you for watching I've been talking to Florence H. Left with a suffragist goodnight. Reduction funding provided by public television stations Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. You me. You.
- Suffragist Florence H. Luscomb
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- WNED (Buffalo, New York)
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- This episode features a conversation with Florence Hope Luscomb, an American architect and woman suffrage activist in Massachusetts. She was one of the first women to graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a degree in architecture. She became a partner in an early woman-owned architecture firm. She dedicated herself fully to activism in the women's suffrage movement.
- Woman is a talk show featuring in-depth conversations exploring issues affecting the lives of women.
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- Copyright 1974 by Western New York Educational Television Association, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Director: George, Will
Guest: Luscomb, Florence H.
Host: Elkin, Sandra
Producer: Elkin, Sandra
Producing Organization: WNED
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Identifier: WNED 04330 (WNED-TV)
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- Chicago: “Woman; Suffragist Florence H. Luscomb,” 1975-01-16, WNED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 21, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_81-09j3tzx6.
- MLA: “Woman; Suffragist Florence H. Luscomb.” 1975-01-16. WNED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 21, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_81-09j3tzx6>.
- APA: Woman; Suffragist Florence H. Luscomb. Boston, MA: WNED, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_81-09j3tzx6