DEEDS NOT WORDS: 100 Years of the Vote for Women

Series sponsored by CT Humanities

Presented by: Avon Historical Society, Avon Free Public Library and Avon Senior Center, November 2019 – November 2020

The trio of Avon’s Historical Society, Library and Senior Center has received a $4,030.00 grant from CT Humanities to help fund the first half of a year-long series entitled DEEDS NOT WORDS: 100 Years of the Vote for Women. This series will focus on events that contributed to the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  It will run from November 2019 to November 2020 with events at the Library and Senior Center; this grant funds the first six months of events.

PREVIEW EVENTS: All will be held at the Avon Free Public Library, except for the field trip!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019  9AM – 4PM: Tour and Lunch at Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Norwalk, CT. Trip via motorcoach to visit their “From Corsets to Suffrage: Victorian Women Trailblazers.”  The lunch will be at the Post Road Diner. Cost is $55.00 per person with lunch paid on your own. RSVP as soon as possible to www.avonrec.com Any questions, please call:  860-675-4355. 

Wednesday, October  23, 2019, 6:30 PM: A presentation entitled “Taverns, Temperance, Teetotalers, and Tommy Guns: The Long History of Prohibition” by Dr. Francis Coan of Tunxis Community College and Stephen McGrath, adjunct history professor at Central Connecticut State University. This event is designed to give background and context as to what was happening nationally that gave rise to women’s concerns about society. Learn about the ubiquity of alcohol consumption in early America, the rise and influence of the temperance movement during the nineteenth century, and the progressive roots of Prohibition.  

Prohibition was one facet of old-stock American, rural, Protestant rule in the 1920’s that brought about severe restrictions on immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, and the rise of organized crime. By the election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, the nation acknowledged prohibition to have been a colossal failure; against this backdrop rose the suffrage movement. 

Movie! 1:30 pm, November 6, 2019: Suffragette  In 1912 London, a young working mother is galvanized into radical political activism supporting women’s right to vote. Starring Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep, and Helena Bonham Carter (2015 ; PG-13 ; 1 hr. 46 min)

Movie! 1:30 pm, December 4. 2019:  Iron Jawed Angels  The story of Alice Paul and Lucy Burns played by Hillary Swank and Frances O’Connor (2004 ; NR ; 2 hr. 3 min.)

“DEEDS” SERIES LAUNCH EVENT – Saturday, November 16, 2019 3:00 PM – A distinguished lecture presentation by Susan Ware, author of Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote (May 2019). A pioneer in the field of women’s history and a leading feminist biographer, Susan Ware, an Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecturer, is the author and editor of numerous books on twentieth-century U.S. history.  Her newest book, Why They Marched, uncovers a broader and more diverse story of suffrage, providing a fresh account of one of the most significant moments of political mobilization in American History. Feminism and women’s rights are an ongoing struggle with no clear endpoint in sight and the women’s suffrage movement is a vital part of that story.  Books will be available at this event.

December 9, 2019 6:30 PM:  A lecture entitled “Fashioning Women’s Suffrage,” a discussion on how suffragists used dress and other outward symbols to promote their cause, by Professor Heather Prescott, History Department, Central Connecticut State University and member of the Connecticut Commission on Women’s Suffrage.

In addition, the art gallery of the Avon Library will offer an exhibit from November through December 2019 showcasing highlights of the suffrage movement. 

Movie! 1:30 pm, January 8, 2020: The Divine Order  The Suffrage movement in Switzerland where women got the right to vote in 1971 (2017 ; NR ; 1 hr.36 min.)

Movie! 1:30 pm, February 5, 2020:  Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan  B. Anthony  Two women, one allegiance (2004 ; NR ;  3 hrs.)

Movie! 1:30 pm, March 4, 2020: One Woman, One Vote  PBS documentary chronicles the 70 year struggle leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment   (2005 ; NR ; 1 hr.) shown with : Equality Contemporary women introduce women of the past (2007 ; NR ; 30 min.)

Movie! 1:30 pm, April 1, 2020: Susan B. Anthony Archival photographs and dramatic recreations of Anthony’s fight for women’s rights (1995 ; NR ; 50 min.)

Movie! 1:30 pm, May 6, 2020: America’s Victoria: Remembering Victoria Woodhull Chronicles the life of one of the most important and unrecognized women in US history (2007 ; Rated G ; 2 hrs.)

Movie! 1:30 pm, June 3, 2020: Mary Poppins  Walt Disney’s classic film provided the first exposure to the suffrage movement for many children (1964 ; Rated G;    2 hrs. and19 min.)

All events in the DEEDS series are free and open to the public.  A full listing will be posted on the Library’s website, www.avonctlibrary.info and throughout social media of all three organizations.  In addition, all Avon events will be posted on the Connecticut Commission on Women’s Suffrage (www.votesforwomenct.com) & CT Humanities (www.cthumanities.org) websites.

Call for original suffrage items!  If anyone has any original suffrage items they are willing to share for our exhibits, please let us know.  We are looking for personal items such as sashes, signs, letters, photos, etc. In 2020 there will be space available in locked exhibit cases in the Library for two suffrage exhibits.  Please let the Avon Free Public Library (860-673-9712) or Avon Historical Society (860-678-7621) know if you are willing to loan items for display.

The Avon Newsletter, a World War II collection, is now available online!

The Avon Newsletter- WWII newsletter headlineExplore 14 pieces of WWII history.

Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Avon Library, Katie Kukiolczynski, CCSU MA History graduate, was hired to process, scan, and summarize the World War II newsletter collection with the Marion Hunter History Room of the Avon Library.

This collection consists of 14 resident-created newsletters spanning the years 1943-1946. The newsletters were intended for Avon soldiers, and were sent to them wherever they were stationed, either at home or abroad, as well as to their families in Avon.

In addition to uploading the actual newsletters, Katie detailed military commendations and created highlights of each issue. Some of these highlights include personal accounts from soldiers experiences in battle, their military training, details of what it was like where they were stationed, and even their experiences to how drastically things changed after the war ended in places like Germany.

The newsletters also included some local town gossip and news for soldiers to stay up to date on current happenings around town, so Avon was always a part of them wherever they were.

View the collection here!