Bringing History to Life

NEWS FLASH: Melinda is the randomly selected winner! Please send your snail mail address to me at edith at edithmaxwell.com. Congratulations!

Edith here, delighted that Turning the Tide came out from Midnight Ink yesterday!

This is my third Quaker Midwife mystery, and my fourteenth published novel, in which Rose Carroll, midwife, becomes involved in murder once again. I’m so grateful for my editors at Midnight Ink for believing in my stories and making them better: Amy Glaser, Terri Bischoff, and Nicole Nugent. And to talented cover artist Greg Newbold for rocking cover number three.

In celebration, I’m most pleased to give away a signed copy of the book to one commenter here today.

Turning the Tide.jpg

The story has a background theme, as every book in the series does. In book time the season was rolling around to the fall, so I decided to explore issues of women’s suffrage in 1888. The Amesbury Woman Suffrage Association (fictional as far as I know, but it could have existed) turns out in force across from the polling place on Election Day to protest not having the vote. Here’s one of the placards I found online, and it’s my favorite. WomenbringallvotersIn a book featuring a midwife, you can see why I love this sign.

I read that proponents of women’s suffrage wore sunflower yellow sashes, to represent hope. Quaker women were in the forefront of the movement for decades, both before and after this book takes place. Rose’s mother is an ardent suffragist, and in Turning the Tide she comes to town to support the protest.

I love slipping bits of my own family history into the books. Rose’s mother Dorothy Henderson Carroll is named after my paternal grandmother, Dorothy Henderson Maxwell. We called her Momma Dot, and Rose’s nieces and nephews call the fictional Dorothy Granny Dot. My grandmother was the first woman to drive an automobile halfway across the United States in 1918, and I imagine she didn’t hesitate to vote the following year.

I decided to bring Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Amesbury, too. Historically I don’t know if she did, but she might have, and writing fiction gives me permission to portray her rallying the women, with her white curls and comfortable, corset-free figure.

Elizabeth-Cady-Stanton

Stanton was a real intellectual. In the book I took the liberty of paraphrasing a few sentences from her essay, “The Solitude of Self,” which was not published until 1892, for her to speak in person in this book (at Rose’s friends’ salon gathering). I couched it as Stanton developing her thoughts on the topic, and I trust her departed soul will approve.

So, dear readers, who is your favorite suffragist? Any family stories about your feminist foremothers, or the first time you yourself voted?

70 thoughts on “Bringing History to Life

  1. I have voted in every election in which I was eligible to vote, but had to be careful that I met the residency requirements.

  2. That is indeed a wonderful placard, and I understand why you love it.
    I don’t know of any women in my family who participated in the suffrage movement, but both of my grandmothers voted and enjoyed politics. Local politics was very social, and both Grom and Ma-Ma (my grandmothers) loved a party, no matter the reason.

  3. Congrats on the new book. Cant’ wait. And loved reading how you include your family history. The grandmother I knew best came to the US as a child in 1901, so by the time she was an adult, she could vote. But! Although she only had about 5 years of US education, she read politics and biography,subscribed to serious newspapers, and participated in a number of civic groups including League of Women Voters. It tells everything about her to know she greatly admired Eleanor Roosevelt and Golda Meir. What a great role model she was.

  4. I look at the women in my family, though I don’t know that they were part of the suffragette movement. One of my great-great aunts was an MD, graduating from medical school in the 1890’s and practicing as a physician until the 1940’s. Her niece was a chemist who worked on drug development. They were all encouraged to go to college and had the same advantages as their brothers.

  5. Always been an admirer of Alice Paul – firebrand suffragette (and another Quaker!). Veteran of many marches and movements in the UK and the US and leader of the 1917 Women’s March to the White House. Her hunger strike, forced feeding and fortitude under the brutality she and other suffragettes suffered while imprisoned influenced President Wilson to support the 19th Amendment. Even in advanced old age, she advocated for women’s rights in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Amazing woman.

  6. Hmm I don’t know if any of my female forebears were ardent Suffragettes (I would like to think they were mind you!) as for myself as soon as I hit 18 I registered to vote and have done so ever since (although these days it is by postal vote as I find it hard to get to the polling station).

    Oh and already got the book on kindle 😀

  7. I’m the outlier in my family. They were all very conservative, so no suffragettes, although my mother did always vote. I understand my grandmother was also an outlier but I never knew her. I admire all the women who suffered so greatly to give us the right to vote. Really looking forward to reading your new book, Edith. I love your writing!

  8. Looking forward to reading your new book! The first year I was old enough to vote, my grandmother insisted on going to vote despite problems with mobility and vision. I later realized that she had been an adult before women were allowed to vote, and I regret not asking her about it.

  9. I remember my first presidential election in 1992. I was away at college, so I felt very important getting my absentee ballot.

    My daughter will be eligible to vote in her first election this fall.

  10. My first vote was cast for McGovern. My grandparents came from Poland, so no suffargests there. I think my favorite is ‘Dr.’ Ann Preston. I’m from New England and we had a quaker community here in town. Some of their house’s still remain.

  11. Well my parents came to America from Austria just after the war. They came with my brother and sister when they were only 2&3, no money,and couldn’t speak any English. Moving forward, I was born, they learned how to speak the new language,worked in factories, raised 3children,bought a house,all with only saving money…never had or used a credit card ! I think both of my parents were courageous in going to a new life and making it with hard work.

  12. I’ve voted in every election I was eligible, but I just missed the 1992 Presidential election.

    Congrats on the new book. (Review from me coming tomorrow.)

  13. Congrats on your new book!
    The first time I voted was in elementary school. They brought in real machines, just like ones that the adults used. I was so excited. They announced on the PA system who the school voted for, however I can’t remember if Bush or Dukakis won.

  14. Voting age was still 21 and my birthday is in December so my first time voting was at the local level in our small county in the spring of 1968. I voted in the primary and my 1st presidential election that same year. It was a few years before anyone I voted for on any level won so it was a little discouraging. lol Have had the same bad lack the last couple of years. I hope 2018 is more positive. My parents used to always joke that their votes cancelled each other out but I don’t think they really did.

    • I know what you mean, Diana. ;^) My parents used to say one was registered as a Democrat and one as a Republican so they would get all the literature and be able to make an informed decision – but I know they voted Democrat.

  15. Congratulations on the new release! If any of my family were involved in the suffrage movement, I never heard any stories. I have voted in every election since I turned 18. Thank you for the chance to win.

  16. Loved this book. I found the historical sufferage information was wonderful. Although no fore-mothers of mine in the movement, I am probably the one in my family who honors history and thinks about things like this the most! Thanks so much for all your work and sharing your personal connections to the story!

  17. Congrats on the new book.

    I joke that I came from a mixed marriage. Dad was a Democrat; mom a Republican. There were many lively political debates at our house.

    I have voted in every election since I turned 18.

  18. Congratulations on the new book. One of my themes is the Suffragettes in 1915-1920. It is so good to hear of so many women who believe in voting. It is a privilege and a duty. Democracy is a participant sport!

  19. Congratulations on your new book. I hope I will be reading about Rose Carroll for a long time. I absolutely love the series. I didn’t start voting until I was about 44 years old and have been voting since. I don’t know why I didn’t start voting when I turned 18, maybe it had to do with my father (a full Democrat) demanding that I get out there and vote. I didn’t really listen to him growing up, only my mother. Or maybe, I just didn’t want any of those running for office to win. I vote now every year and I still don’t like who runs, they are all liars and crooks. I hope someday, someone will get into office who really cares about the middle and lower class people and not give the rich people more money and less taxes.

  20. Congrats on the new release! You write so much from the heart that is comes straight through. No one particular person comes to mind. My oma was a true inspiration though. She saved her family and many others by taking on the job of translator in a concentration camp when most women would never be able to speak any other languages besides their own. She spoke 7 and was never educated in a school.

  21. Congratulations on the new book. I voted in all the fall elections. I missed one primary when I was sick, and one when my party had no choices.

  22. Congratulations, Edith on this newest release! I am interested in the topic of suffrage and explored it in my own historical mystery, Whispers of Warning. I am looking forward to reading the story you have crafted involving such an important issue!

  23. My son’s first time to vote always makes me smile. He came home and said there were a lot of names that he did not recognize. So I asked what did you do? His answer “I voted for the women”.

  24. Loved your first book. Look forward to second and this one. Gillian Linscott writes great books about women’s suffrage as well. Re. voting, is it worthwhile when you only have tweedle dee and tweedle dum……

  25. The beauty of storytelling, she may have been there; if not, she should have been.
    I don’t know if I have a favorite, but Susan B. Anthony, as a soft doll from the history museum, does accompany me to the polls . . . in hope last November and for moral support since. I wore a white shirt over my Obama t-shirt last fall and was told to cover it up. I pointed out that he was not a candidate and opened the white shirt wider . . . 😉

  26. Hi Edith,
    My great aunt was a suffragette, one of the women arrested for picketing the white house. My great grandmother was in the Women’s Party. I found pictures of both of them in the library of congress collection.

    Glad you’ve got another book out. Sorry I’m coming to this a tad late.

    Angie

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