When Alice Paul helped design the banners for the National Woman's Party, she suggested three colors: Purple for justice, white for purity of purpose, and gold for courage. Bearing these standards, women took to the streets in parades and picket lines to fight for a cause they passionately believed in: that American women should be allowed to vote.
It may be hard now to believe that there was ever a day in the United States when women weren't allowed to vote. But winning this right was part of a 72-year struggle on the part of thousands of women that finally culminated with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Ann Bausum gets inside this gripping story with an overview of the larger fight for women's voting rights, from Seneca Falls to state-by-state ballot battles. But it's her special focus on the less well-known story of Alice Paul and her band of unstoppable soldiers for suffrage that makes With Courage and Cloth a real page turner.
These women needed courage when they set forth armed only with cloth banners. While parading, they often were overwhelmed by hostile onlookers who transformed into ugly mobs. When picketing the White House to spur the conscience of President Woodrow Wilson to fight for democracy at home as he did abroad, they were arrested and thrown in jail. They braved terrible prison conditions, rats, hunger strikes, and force-feedings, to bring their message to the world: that women, too, were created equal and they deserved to vote as full citizens under the law.
Stunning archival photographs—some never before published—reams of research, and a deft and lively narrative tell this story as if it were hot off today's headlines. Any reader of this book won't easily forget the sacrifice and struggle of women who rose to champion Susan B. Anthony's 1876 clarion call: "We ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever."
"The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."
"Because of the unwavering determination of literally thousands, women won the right to vote, and since that time women have made great strides in politics and government. As the first woman elected to the United States Senate from the State of North Carolina, I know all too well how important it is that women exercise the right to vote. Today, because of the efforts of the women profiled in this book and others like them, we are fortunate to live in a time when women have the ability to wield their influence like never before."
—Senator Elizabeth Dole
I love finding neat stories and facts when I research a book, and I try to include as many of them as I can in my final text. There's never enough room, though, and I'm always weighing how essential a fact might be to the overall thread of the story. Inevitably favorite tidbits never make it from their notecards into my drafts, or they fall by the wayside during revisions. Sometimes I'm able to fold in the tip of the iceberg about a fact, it's most essential points, but have to omit extra details.
The photo caption shown here with its image from page 28 of With Courage and Cloth is just such a place. There was so much to say! My editor and I collaborated until we'd filled every available space and line of allotted text for this image, and we were both satisfied with the variety and quantity of information we'd squeezed into our space. For all the information included, though, there's more that never made it into a draft. Here's the whole story.
This image is one of a pair of photographs I borrowed from Coline Jenkins Sahlin for inclusion in the book. Coline is the great-great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She and I had several pleasant conversations while making arrangements to use her family photos, and each time I learned a bit more of the family history. Finally Coline suggested I call her mother, a spry octogenarian, to get her account of the "New York State Horseback crusade" pictured above.
Rhoda Barney Jenkins told me two stories about her mother Nora, the granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Nora was the third generation from her family to fight for woman's suffrage, or a woman's right to vote. As a young women during the final years of the campaign she traveled by horseback across New York State to promote the cause. At one small town, suffragists had hired a church to use during Nora's visit. Interested townspeople gathered to hear her and others speak. The local minister opened the program with a few words of greeting and then collapsed unexpectedly on the floor.
Concerned citizens moved the man to the private vestry room of the building in order to better tend to his condition. But, alas, they found the man had died. The meeting organizers knew that such news, if reported to the gathering, would bring their meeting to an end before they'd achieved their purpose. Instead someone announced: "The minister is in no pain, so the meeting will continue." And it did. Everyone heard the speeches in support of woman's suffrage, and news of the minister's death did not become known until after the program concluded.
The second story Rhoda Jenkins shared about her mother concerned Nora's custom of open-air speaking in Union Square, New York City. On one occasion Nora was walking toward the park when a young man fell into stride with her. He struck up a conversation and offered to carry the collapsible table she planned to use during her speech. Nora started to object, noting that she was perfectly capable of carrying the table herself, but then thought she might as well take advantage of the young man (who did not know of her speaking plans).
When the pair reached Union Square, the gentleman helped Nora set up her table. She then asked him to excuse her for a few minutes, climbed up onto the table, and began to speak about woman suffrage to the crowd that gathered around her. According to Mrs. Jenkins, Nora liked to describe how the astonished man, once he realized the nature of the woman he'd been visiting with, fled in panic. "You never saw someone disappear so quickly," Nora is reported to have said.
It's hard for such great anecdotes to end up on the "cutting room floor," but there would be no way to keep a book on track if I included so many diverging facts. They make great stories for author visits, though. I love to thread unused photos and facts into programs that give readers a greater understanding about the subjects of my books.
Quotes are another area that require cutting in my books. The "raised quotes" that appear in large print throughout the book are usually taken from much longer texts. I collaborate with my editor and the book's designer on how to feature the most essential part of the quote on our printed pages. Here are extended texts for a few of the raised quotes in With Courage and Cloth. The portion of the quote that we published is printed in boldface type.
From page 19:
SAMUEL A. FOOTE
commenting as a New York State legislator about a petition from 6,000 women seeking increased rights:
"The Committee is composed of married and single gentlemen. The bachelors on the Committee, with becoming diffidence, have left the subject pretty much to the married gentlemen. They have considered it with the aid of the light they have before them and the experience married life has given them. Thus aided, they are enabled to state that the ladies always have the best place and the choicest tidbit at the table. They have the best seat in the cars, carriages, and sleighs; the warmest place in the winter, and the coolest place in the summer. They have their choice on which side of the bed they will lie, front or back. A lady's dress costs three times as much as that of a gentleman; and at the present, time, with the prevailing fashion, one lady occupies three times as much space in the world as a gentleman.
"It has thus appeared to the married gentlemen of your Committee, being a majority (the bachelors being silent for the reason mentioned, and also probably for the further reason that they are still suitors for the favors of the gentler sex), that, if there is any inequity or oppression in the case, the gentlemen are the sufferers. They, however, have presented no petitions for redress; having, doubtless, made up their minds to yield to an inevitable destiny...."
—Source: Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage (editors) History of Woman Suffrage (Volume I). Salem, New Hampshire: Ayer Company, Publishers, Inc., 1985 (reprint). Pages 629-30.
From page 47:
October 13, 1917
describing Alice Paul in a report for the Suffragist:
"....Suddenly that chill avenue vista became vibrant with color, with fluttering banners, wide-striped of purple, white, and gold, borne aloft on tall, imposing, war-like spears. Down the Avenue they fluttered slowly, as if moved by some mysterious force. Then I saw the force that was sending those banners forward through the careless crowds.
"There were eleven women, each bearing high her colored banner. The leader, [was] a woman frail, and slight, and very pale, her eyes and face really lit with exaltation of purpose, carried a white flag on which was printed: 'Mr. President, what will you do for Woman Suffrage?' Then behind them followed the others with the vivid purple and gold flags on the spear-headed staffs. They looked neither to the right nor to the left. They seemed to me to walk so lightly that the great banners carried them; and there was the glow in all of their eyes though their faces were quite unsmiling...."
—Source: Irwin, Inez Haynes. The Story of Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party. Fairfax, Virginia: Denlinger's Publishers, 1964, 1977. Page 252
From page 79:
citing the reasons why he voted for ratification of the 19th Amendment:
"....I want to state that I changed my vote in favor of ratification first because I believe in full suffrage as a right; second, I believe we had a moral and legal right to ratify; third, I knew that a mother's advice is always safest for her boy to follow and my mother wanted me to vote for ratification; fourth, I appreciated the fact that an opportunity such as seldom comes to a mortal man to free 17 million women from political slavery was mine; fifth, I desired that my party in both State and nation might say that it was a Republican from the East mountains of Tennessee, the purest Anglo Saxon section in the world, who made national woman suffrage possible at this date, not for personal glory but for the glory of his party."
—Source: Frost, Elizabeth, and Kathryn Cullen DuPont. Women's Suffrage in America—An Eyewitness History. New York: Facts On File, 1992. Page 335.
Vote! How Women Won the Fight
Available as a program for children, teens, or adults
by Ann Bausum
The award-winning With Courage and Cloth introduces readers to the under-told story of how American women fought for and won the right to vote. This illustrated program conveys the scope of that struggle and the variety of its leaders—women for whom cloth served as the weapon of choice during the extended campaign.
Stories, readings, and historical photos convey the drama of the battle. Meet Elizabeth Cady Stanton, sparkplug for the first Woman's Rights Convention, held in 1848 at Seneca Falls, N.Y. Stand with Susan B. Anthony when the nation celebrates its centennial in 1876—yet women are still denied the right to vote. March with Alice Paul and her militant suffragists during the 1910s as tensions mount over the enfranchisement of women. Anticipate the tallying of votes at the Tennessee statehouse in 1920 during the ratification fight for the 19th Amendment. These stories and more convey the heartache and humor, commitment and courage that brought women the right to vote.
Length: 45 minutes for program, 10-15 minutes for questions.
Technical requirements: LCD projector and projection screen.
Audience feedback on this program:
"Great program. Well presented. Engaging with information and great flow, clear speaking. The public who came were very interested in your presentation."
—Museum host, Illinois
Armed with Nonviolence:
Stories from the Fight for Human Rights
A program for teens and adults
by Ann Bausum
This program draws from Marching to the Mountaintop, Freedom Riders and With Courage and Cloth to show parallel uses of nonviolent resistance in the fight for human rights. During the 1910s women picketed the White House and went to jail in their quest for the right to vote. Fifty years later participants in the Civil Rights Movement used nonviolent protests to break down the barriers of segregation. Using stories from these campaigns and quotes from the times, I show how qualities like courage, ingenuity, camaraderie, and the influence of the news media have made the difference in winning fights for human rights. The program includes examples of how music played a part in each of the featured struggles, as well.
Length: 50 minutes, 10-15 minutes for questions.
Technical requirements: LCD projector and projection screen.
Audience feedback on this program:
"The topic [Armed with Nonviolence] was of interest to all age groups. Anyone old enough to go to school and read would be able to comprehend what Ann was explaining. It was not "too simple," [but] just right. You caught and held people's attention! Your connections and ways of comparing the events was fantastic. Ann is a gracious and humble author. She was easy to work with and made it easy to host her program."
—Public school librarian and conference program chair, Wisconsin
"Ms. Bausum was a most interesting and informative speaker She held the audience's attention and took plenty of time to hear all opinions and answer all questions. A great night! Ms. Bausum was definitely one of the best presenters we've hosted! The next time...we will be sure to set her up in a larger room!"
—Public librarian, Delaware
"Program was very interesting and really held the students' attention. Pictures really enhance the program. Several teachers commented on how good the program was."
—School librarian, Tennessee
"Very well organized and informative. Good use of images to tell the story...the different pieces (suffrage, Freedom Riders, and MLK) fit together very well."
—Wisconsin Book Festival host
"Bausum peels back the layers of the story of the women's suffrage movement, exposing grit, fiery determination, and radical tactics....[Her] careful research is evident throughout, with sources thoroughly cited and a text studded with original source quotations....[A] vivid presentation."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"Bausum's lucid and nuanced study focuses on 1913-20....She makes the history live as she explains, exhorts, and lets nothing drop by the wayside. The entire volume is put together wonderfully, using some never-before-published photos and a lively layout....Excellent."
—Kirkus, starred review
September 1, 2004
"Students will be easily drawn by the details of the American women's suffrage movement....[The author's] personal interest drives the detailed history, written in an objective but anecdotal fashion. The design is thoughtful and attractive....The timely release of this title will make every woman more appreciative of the Nineteenth Amendment, as well as the tremendous sacrifices that made it happen."
October 15, 2004
"Vivid descriptions of violent mob responses to suffragists' pickets and marches give a sense of a true battle....Similarly, grim descriptions of the harsh treatment the activists faced in jail...underscore the women's dedication."
—Wisconsin State Journal
November 2, 2004
"Focuses on the riveting twentieth-century run-up to the passage of the 19th Amendment....At Bausum's hands this is no genteel account of high-minded ideals and quaint but earnest ladies—it's a down and dirty melee with jail, rats, hunger strikes, and force feeding, with nail-biting tension as votes are laboriously mined and deadlines loom....Valuable end matter."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"An accessible and unflinching look at the final stage of the 72-year struggle and the activists at the center of the movement. Archival photographs of the ardent friends—and passionate foes—of the crusade enliven this outstanding history."
—Library Journal, Curriculum Connection
April 1, 2005
School Library Journal
Jane Addams Children's Book Award
2005 Best Book for Older Readers
Sponsored by the Jane Addams Peace Association and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom to honor books of excellence that promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races
2005 Notable Children's Book
American Library Association
Best Books for Young Adults 2005
American Library Association
Best Books 2004
School Library Journal
2005 Amelia Bloomer List
Named by the American Library Association's Amelia Bloomer Project of the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table
One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing in 2005
New York Public Library
2005 Books for the Teen Age
New York Public Library
Best of the Best in 2005
Chicago Public Library
Noteworthy Books for Children in 2005, Washington, D.C.
Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
National Council for the Social Studies and the Children's Book Council
Orbis Pictus Awards
Cooperative Children's Book Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2005 Juvenile Nonfiction Book Award
Council for Wisconsin Writers (shared awarding)
Outstanding Books by Wisconsin Authors and Illustrators for 2005
one of three children's books chosen by the Wisconsin Library Association
Library of Congress
Photographs from the collections of the National Woman's Party
Encyclopedia Britannica—300 Women Who Changed the World
Primary sources of notable documents and quotes from women's history
Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument
National Park Service site
Alice Paul interview
Recorded November 1972 and May 1973
"Iron Jawed Angels"
A 2004 HBO movie dramatization about Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party directed by Katja Von Garnier and starring Hilary Swank as Alice Paul.
• With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote
• Published 2004
• National Geographic Society
• 112 pages, hardcover
• 56 photos, 2 maps, profiles of key suffragists, chronology, resource guide, sources, bibliography, index
• ISBN 0-7922-7647-7
• Audio edition available from Recorded Books