My new book, Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women’s Right To Vote, tells the fascinating story of more than two hundred New York social figures -- Astors, Belmonts, Harrimans, Vanderbilts and their circle -- who joined the women’s suffrage movement in the 1910s. Chronicled by a vibrant newspaper industry for their extravagant lifestyles, they became the media darlings of their day. And when these glamorous socialites embraced the suffrage campaign, they became the first celebrities to endorse a political cause in the twentieth century.…
In writing about people, I delight in discovering aspects of their lives that illuminate their character. When I wrote the obituary of Ronald Reagan, I read that as he was leaving the presidency, a reporter asked Reagan what it had been like to be an actor in the White House, the first. He cocked his head, smiled and said, “There have been times in this office when I’ve wondered how you could do the job if you hadn’t been an actor.” To me, that anecdote told volumes about his values and his perspective on power and its uses.
It was a shock to me to learn, when I was researching my new book, Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women's Right to Vote, that the two matriarchs of the women's suffrage movement in the United States -- Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony -- campaigned against black voting rights in the aftermath of the Civil War. During the war, as the Union fought the Southern declaration of secession, they volunteered for humanitarian efforts on the home front, … [Read More...]
As the nation’s capital readied for Woodrow Wilson’s first inauguration in March of 1913, activist Alice Paul made plans for a large suffrage parade of floats, marchers and theatrical representations. As I note in my new book, Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women's Right to Vote, states often serve as incubators for social change in this country. By the time of the 1912 election, 1.3 million women in this country were already eligible to vote for president -- and Paul … [Read More...]
She was a remarkable woman -- long before her time. Born in Delaware as the first of 13 children, Mary Ann Shadd Cary was a descendant of a Hessian soldier who had fought in America for the British during the French and Indian War and married an African-American woman who had cared for him after he was wounded. Her father, Abraham Shadd, was known as a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, escorting slaves from the South to freedom in the North. As racial tensions increased in the … [Read More...]
To me, the four most powerful words in any language are, “Once upon a time.” Storytelling is inspiring, and at its heart is a focus on people. Stories, whether novels or histories, hold a mirror to our own lives, teaching us about ourselves and about our shared fears, observations and ambitions.
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For those who have been following the book tour for Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote, comes news that C-SPAN 2, Book TV, is airing the conversation between me and PBS’ Judy Woodruff this weekend — at 11 p.m. Saturday November 11 and again at 1 p.m. Sunday November 12.
Details here. Thank you for all the support. And hope you enjoy the show!