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Photo of the Week


"How shall we know it is us without our past?"
- John Steinbeck

by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Librarian

Elisabeth Freeman (1876-1942) of Kings Park (upper left photo, and with Rosalie Jones). (Images courtesy of the Library of Congress).

Elisabeth Freeman, born in England, came to the United States as a child with her brother, sister, and mother, Mary Hall Freeman, who was estranged from her husband. Mary worked at St. Johnland, an orphanage located in Kings Park, and the children lived there for some time. Elisabeth’s family was not wealthy, and she did not attend college. But during a chance encounter with the British suffragettes on a trip to England, Elisabeth Freeman's career as a professional speaker and organizer for the American women's rights movement was born.

She worked with many suffrage organizations--the NYS Woman’s Suffrage Assn., the Women’s Political Union, the National Woman’s Suffrage Assn., The Woman’s Journal, the Texas Woman’s Suffrage Assn., the Congressional Union, and the NYC Woman Suffrage Party. In 1912, Freeman toured Long Island and Ohio with Cold Spring Harbor's "General" Rosalie Gardiner Jones (left) in a horse-drawn wagon, speaking and organizing for woman’s suffrage. Freeman was also the official speaker on the 1913 Long Island "Pilgrim's Hike," a March to Washington to deliver the suffrage message to President Woodrow Wilson.

Interestingly, Elisabeth Freeman has the notable distinction of being named in a 1919 U.S. Senate Who’s Who in Pacifist and Radical Movements, which included the names of only 50 individuals and organizations, including clergymen, professors, lawyers, writers, Socialists, labor leaders, architects, and a former New York newspaper publisher.

Suggested Readings: Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement by Antonia Petrash; Women in Long Island's Past by Natalie Naylor; and Long Island Women Activists and Innovators, edited by Natalie Naylor and Maureen Murphy.

100 Years: Votes for New York Women, a Centennial Exhibit Celebrating Long Island Women's Role in New York's 1917 Suffrage VictoryOn display March 11 to end of year. Curated by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell. Gallery Hours: Weds. - Sat., 10:00 am - 4:30 pm.  When New York State women won the right to vote one hundred years ago—making 2017 the centennial of that historic civil rights victory—their success changed the national political landscape and was a critical tipping point on the road to a constitutional amendment. Our "History in the Hall" exhibit celebrates the centennial by narrating the stories of Long Island women activists who dedicated themselves to the powerful grassroots movement.


The Suffolk County Historical Society’s PHOTO OF THE WEEK Series is created by librarian Wendy Polhemus-Annibell using historic primary source materials from our local history library’s extensive archives. To subscribe, visit our website or send an email request to Wendy at wannibell@schs-museum.org.

Interested in seeing more historical photos from the Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society? Spend an afternoon at our Local History Library perusing our extensive archival photography collections. We're open Weds. - Sat., 12:30 - 4:30 PM.

If you've been enjoying our Photo of the Week, please consider becoming a member of SCHS.

From the Civil War to civil rights, revolutions to restorations, spies to Suffragettes, boatbuilders to bootleggers, and whalers to wineries, Long Island's history comes alive at the Suffolk County Historical Society!

The Suffolk County Historical Society, founded in 1886, collects and preserves the rich history of Suffolk County and beyond. We offer a history museum, art galleries, a research library and archives, and a multitude of exhibits, programs, and educational lectures and workshops year-round. Our unique collections reflect more than three centuries of Long Island history. Click here to learn about Member Benefits!


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The Suffolk County Historical Society is a private non-profit organization and an Authorized Agency of Suffolk County.  Public funding provided by Suffolk County.