From Seneca Falls to Philadelphia: Fourth of July 1876 and the Women of the Centennial

March 13 2013
As part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts 2013, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Center for the Book are presenting an exhibit of artists' books which celebrate and commemorate the Fourth of July in 1876.  On that day, Susan B. Anthony and other activist women interrupted the opening ceremonies to present the bewildered chairman with their Declaration of the Rights of Women of the United States, a document which chastised the government for refusing to grant voting rights, equal treatment and other "human rights" to women.  They wrote:  "While the Nation is buoyant with patriotism, and all hearts are attuned to praise, it is with sorrow we come to strike the one discordant note, on this hundredth anniversary of our country's birth....We ask of our rulers, at this hour, no special favors, no special privileges, no special legislation.  We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever."

I am very pleased that one of my books will be included in this exhibit.  "The Needle and the Sword: The Early Women's Movement in Twenty-Four Hankies" is a fabric book, comprised of 24 handkerchiefs and doilies,mounted on cotton and calico, and embellished with embroidery, heat-transfer images, fabric collage, buttons, beads, etc., to depict passages from the Declaration and vintage photos of the brave women who fought so hard for these rights.  The exhibit will open on April 1 and run through May 18, 2013, at the Athenaeum.