26 August, 2012

26 August 1945

438th AAA AW BN
APO 513 % Postmaster, N.Y.
26 August, 1945      1700
My dearest sweetheart –

This is an unusual time of the day for me to be writing you, dear, even for a Sunday, but I waited particularly. I’m now in the office of the Nancy Command Area and I’m duty officer from now until 0830 tomorrow. I have to stay in this office, sleep here, answer the phone and any problems that arise and finally, check the guard post at least twice tonight. Actually, there’s very little to do and it ought to be a nice quiet evening. We’re supposed to pull this duty about once every three weeks. After I write this, I’m going to eat at the consolidated mess in the next building. Then I’ll write my folks and I still have several letters I should answer; maybe I’ll catch up on that. I have the latest Time magazine and I’m still reading the “Boston Adventure”.

I haven’t yet heard from you darling – anything more definite about the trip to Canada – other than what I heard several days ago – that it was on the 30th and you hoped to go. If you went – you won’t be reading this of course – until you get back. I sure hope you did go, sweetheart, because I think it will do you a world of good. But I hope you take or took it easy on those Montreal boys. I happen to know they’re a pretty smooth bunch of fellows. Damn it – it’s damned hard to buck competition from way over here – but wait and see, darling. I’ll make up for it – and what’s more important – I’m not afraid of the competition – chiefly because I know you, dear.

Well the officers in our outfit with 85 or over – are taking all rumors as gospel and they’re packing up and sending stuff home. So have I for that matter. I sent another box of excess clothing home – including my summer suit. I never did get to wear it overseas. I’m going to have another box ready so that whenever I do move out – I’ll send another batch of stuff home. The reason for all this, dear, is because once we start moving – we’ll never again have the facilities, transportation and space we’ve had up to now and the less you have to lug around – the less you’ll lose. I’ve still got shaving soap, toothpaste and soap that I brought overseas with me. The supply system turned out to be much better than anyone ever dreamed.

I’m going to have to stop about now, sweetheart. My C.Q. has just come back from chow and I’ve got to go over now. There’s only one more thing I want to tell you before I leave, and that is that I love you more and more each day, dear, with more conviction, with more assurance, with more fervor – and with the wonderful realization that soon we’ll be together again. I feel wonderful, darling! All for now – love to the folks – and

All my eternal love is yours –


about the 25th Anniversary of Women Voting

Eleanor Roosevelt, in one of her "My Day" columns mentioned that 26 August 1945 was
. . . the 25th anniversary of the day on which Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby announced, for President Woodrow Wilson, that the 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States was now the law of the land. This amendment is sometimes called the "Susan B. Anthony" amendment, because she was one of the pioneer workers for women's suffrage, and for 37 consecutive years presented her bill to Congress. The final bill passed in 1920 was identical with the one which she first presented in 1868.
From The New York Times company's About.com's education section on women's history comes this article called "August 26, 1920 - The Day the Suffrage Battle Was Won."
Votes for women were first seriously proposed in the United States in July, 1848, at the Seneca Falls Woman's Rights Convention organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. One woman who attended that convention was Charlotte Woodward. She was nineteen at the time. In 1920, when women finally won the vote throughout the nation, Charlotte Woodward was the only participant in the 1848 Convention who was still alive to be able to vote, though she was apparently too ill to actually cast a ballot.

Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Some battles for woman suffrage were won state-by-state by the early 20th century. Alice Paul and the National Women's Party began using more radical tactics to work for a federal suffrage amendment to the Constitution: picketing the White House, staging large suffrage marches and demonstrations, going to jail. Thousands of ordinary women took part in these -- a family legend is that my grandmother was one of a number of women who chained themselves to a courthouse door in Minneapolis during this period.

In 1913, Paul led a march of eight thousand participants on President Woodrow Wilson's inauguration day. (Half a million spectators watched; two hundred were injured in the violence that broke out.) During Wilson's second inaugural in 1917, Paul led a march around the White House. Opposed by a well-organized and well-funded anti-suffrage movement which argued that most women really didn't want the vote, and they were probably not qualified to exercise it anyway, women also used humor as a tactic. In 1915, writer Alice Duer Miller wrote,
Why We Don't Want Men to Vote
  • Because man's place is in the army.
  • Because no really manly man wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it.
  • Because if men should adopt peaceable methods women will no longer look up to them.
  • Because men will lose their charm if they step out of their natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters than feats of arms, uniforms, and drums.
  • Because men are too emotional to vote. Their conduct at baseball games and political conventions shows this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them unfit for government.
During World War I, women took up jobs in factories to support the war, as well as taking more active roles in the war than in previous wars. After the war, even the more restrained National American Woman Suffrage Association, headed by Carrie Chapman Catt, took many opportunities to remind the President, and the Congress, that women's war work should be rewarded with recognition of their political equality. Wilson responded by beginning to support woman suffrage. In a speech on September 18, 1918, he said,
We have made partners of the women in this war. Shall we admit them only to a partnership of suffering and sacrifice and toil and not to a partnership of right?
Less than a year later, the House of Representatives passed, in a 304 to 90 vote, a proposed Amendment to the Constitution:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any States on Account of sex.

The Congress shall have the power by appropriate legislation to enforce the provisions of this article.
On June 4, 1919, the United States Senate also endorsed the Amendment, voting 56 to 25, and sending the amendment to the states. Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan were the first states to pass the law; Georgia and Alabama rushed to pass rejections. The anti-suffrage forces, which included both men and women, were well-organized, and passage of the amendment was not easy.

When thirty-five of the necessary thirty-six states had ratified the amendment, the battle came to Nashville, Tennessee. Anti-suffrage and pro-suffrage forces from around the nation descended on the town. And on August 18, 1920, the final vote was scheduled. One young legislator, 24 year old Harry Burn, had voted with the anti-suffrage forces to that time. But his mother had urged that he vote for the amendment and for suffrage. When he saw that the vote was very close, and with his anti-suffrage vote would be tied 48 to 48, he decided to vote as his mother had urged him: “Hurrah and vote for suffrage. Don’t keep them in doubt. Be a good boy and vote for ratification.”

And so on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th and deciding state to ratify.

Alice Paul toasting Tennessee's Ratification of the 19th Amendment
Her motto: "Deeds, not words"

That the anti-suffrage forces used parliamentary maneuvers to delay the ratification, trying to convert some of the pro-suffrage votes to their side. But eventually their tactics failed, and the governor sent the required notification of the ratification to Washington, D.C.

And so on August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution became law, and women could vote in the fall elections, including in the Presidential election.
And the suffragettes celebrated their long and well-fought battle.

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