Trolley tour in the Capital Region


Trolley tour in the Capital Region


New York’s most compelling suffrage spokeswomen toured the state in the spring of 1908. They began in Seneca Falls and traveled from town to town by trolley.

Through World War I, electric railways connected the cities and towns of central NY - and much of the nation.🚋 thread

Apparently it was once possible to travel all the way from NYC to Chicago by local light rail. Woulda been a lot of stops - which is why it was perfect for a suffrage campaign.

Harriot Stanton Blatch, Maud Malone, Charlotte Perkins Gilman & Rose Schneiderman stumped 200+ miles.

Albany, the capitol, was a conservative town and an anti-suffrage stronghold. Mayor Charles Gaus tried to quash the gathering.

Troy, across the river, was more welcoming.

Kate Mullany & Esther Keegan founded the Collar Laundry Union in Troy in 1864. It was the first female union in the nation, and Troy remained a stronghold of women’s trade union militancy. The suffragists held a successful open air meeting there.

In Syracuse they found factory workers to talk to because Harriot Blatch knew the wife of the factory owner. They spoke to the workers of the Solvay Process Company.

When they arrived at @Vassar College they found they were barred from campus.

Pres. James Monroe Taylor was educating “not leaders but good wives and mothers,” and he forbade suffrage activity. Inez Milholland - later to lead marches on a white horse - was a student, and she worked with Blatch to organize a mass gathering off campus… in a nearby cemetery. 

At the cemetery, speakers included Charlotte Perkins Gilman, well-known to the Vassar students as a writer and renegade. But according to @ellendubois10, “it was the passionate trade-union feminist [Rose] Schneiderman who was the star.”

In her annual report, Harriot Stanton Blatch wrote: “This campaign fully convinced all those who took part in it that the out-door meeting is the popular method of reaching the people.”

Thanks to @AlbanyMuskrat & Ernie Mann for local & RR info. #Suffrage100 #CenturyofStruggle 


Daily Suffragist






Daily Suffragist, “Trolley tour in the Capital Region,” Daily Suffragist, accessed August 17, 2022,

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