Historical Society of Woodstock hosts women’s suffrage centennial exhibit

(L-R): Edna Buckman Kearns and Elisabeth Freeman.

The exhibit “Standing on Their Shoulders: Passing the Women’s Rights Torch to the Present Day” opens on Sunday, September 19 with a presentation by women’s rights activist Marguerite Culp Kearns from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Eames House Museum at the Historical Society of Woodstock (HSW), located at 20 Comeau Drive in Woodstock. The display of early-20th-century photographs and artifacts based on the lives of social justice campaigners Edna Kearns (1882-1934) and Elisabeth Freeman (1876-1942), with interactive videos and music, will run until October 24 on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

The exhibit is the culmination of the Historical Society’s yearlong women’s rights centennial series, a project made possible by a grant from Humanities New York with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The presentation by Culp Kearns (suffrage descendant, journalist and editor of the Woodstock Times newspaper during the 1970s and 1980s) will highlight how activism in one branch of her family influenced four generations. Kearns has spent a lifetime researching and writing her book from SUNY Press, An Unfinished Revolution: Edna Buckman Kearns and the Struggle for Women’s Rights (2021). The memoir begins when she was ten years old asking grandfather Wilmer about the suffrage campaigns of his past. She describes her years at the Woodstock Times and ends with her carrying a banner in a 2019 women’s rights parade.

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An online presentation by Kearns is scheduled for Thursday, October 14 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The event includes the premiere showing of Passing the Torch, a short video that Kearns produced with videographer Barton Friedman, which will be posted later on the HSW’s YouTube channel. To register for this event, contact HSW at historicalsocietyofwoodstockny@gmail.com and write “activism” in the subject line. You will receive a Zoom link by e-mail prior to the event.