Monday, February 1, 2016

The Battle Raging a Hundred Years Ago

The search of Hudson newspapers from a hundred years ago seeking an account of the creation of Oakdale Lake has been yielding much information on a completely different topic: the battle in Hudson and elsewhere in the county between suffragists and "antis" in the months preceding the 1915 referendum on woman suffrage in New York. The most recent finds are this pair of letters to the editor, which appeared in the Hudson Evening Register on May 21, 1915. The first, signed "A Mere Man," complains about the "vemon" and hostility of "our obsessed suffrage friends."

The letter writer's reference to "the yellow cause" alludes to the suffragists' choice of yellow as their color. We can assume that the hats worn by the suffragists in this picture, those who marched from New York to Albany in the winter of 1912, were yellow. The "antis" also had their colors. Sharon Hazard, in The Ultimate History Project, reports: "Delicate colors and pastels representing the demure nature of women were often worn by anti-suffragists as opposed to the bold gold and yellows worn by the suffragettes."

Published with the letter from "A Mere Man" in the Register was the following letter from a local suffragist, who signs her name, protesting the inaccuracies in the Hudson Republican's report about an anti-suffrage meeting that had taken place in Philmont.


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