After society leader, and suffrage patron, Alva Belmont died in France in 1933, her funeral was conducted in New York according to directions she left. Though no female priest officiated, otherwise the procession was everything that lady of social reinvention had envisioned — twenty honorary pallbearers including Christabel Pankhurst, Harriot Stanton Blatch and Margaret Sanger, fifteen hundred mourners watching as the purple, gold and white flag of the National Woman’s Party proceeded down the aisle of St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
Alva had also requested that a banner carried by the White House picketers accompany her to the Belmont family mausoleum. And so it did, a torn faded yellow banner inscribed with Susan B. Anthony’s quote, “Failure is Impossible.” And today, at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York, it hangs there still, a fitting if faded tribute to a woman who used her money, her brains and her social standing to help win the vote for women.
This lecture will explore the suffrage career of Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, followed by a book signing.
“And Yet She Persisted:” Why It Took Women 72 Years to Win the Right to Vote. Johanna Neuman will discuss this topic as she shares stories from her new book, Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought For Women’s Right to Vote. Jim O’Grady, of WNYC, the NPR affiliate, will conduct a curated conversation with Johanna about the themes of her book and her research. This will be followed by audience questions and an opportunity to purchase the books for author signature.
“When Fashion and Celebrity Became Weapons of Radical Change.” Johanna Neuman will talk about her new book, Gilded Suffragists: The New York Socialites Who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote, and afterward Judy Woodruff of PBS NewsHour will interview her about the book’s themes.