A Dyke on Horseback


A Dyke on Horseback


A Dyke on Horseback

~ One more story from the 1912 New York City suffrage marches~

🐴thread courtesy of @WendyLRouse

Annie Rensselaer Tinker grew up swimming, sailing, and riding on her father’s Long Island estate.

She rode astride, not side-saddle, which was still notable when she was a young woman at the turn of the century. [That means she wore riding pants and could put one leg on either side of the horse, rather than perching on the side of the horse wearing a long skirt. #Equestwitterstorians can explain whether riding astride was scandalous because it involved wearing pants or having a crotch or both.]

Annie put her skill to work in service of the cause. Jun

She joined the Women’s Political Union and created a suffrage cavalry. Before the May 1912 march, newspaper articles breathlessly anticipated “a squadron of mounted suffragists” -- 40 women, riding astride, led by Annie and 2 teenage girls. (One may have been Mabel Ping-Hua Lee.)

Alas, Annie was struck by appendicitis and missed the march! May Bookstaver rode the lead in her stead.

When the war began, Annie joined the British Red Cross. (The US had not yet entered the war.) Annie was running a hospital in Belgium when the Germans invaded.

In 1921 France awarded her a medal for her service. During the war, Annie fell in love with Kate Darling Nelson. Nothing was simple, as Kate later married a hotel baron, but they stayed together. With the war raging, Annie wrote out her will by hand, leaving everything to Kate.

Annie died of tonsillitis, before antibiotics, at just 39. Her family contested the will, bickering for a decade. Kate ultimately got $350,000, and gave ⅓ of it, as Annie requested, to “women who work for a living.” The money was distributed to needy women for nearly 100 years.

Annie Tinker was not a terribly important suffragist, and her legacy is preserved because she happened to be born very wealthy. We have this portrait of her, painted when she was 15 or 16. She chose the clothes, surely. Still, it's worth knowing a queer ancestor. #Suffrage100 


Daily Suffragist and Wendy Rouse







Daily Suffragist and Wendy Rouse, “A Dyke on Horseback,” Daily Suffragist, accessed July 22, 2024, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/407.

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