Women’s History

Honoring the Hard-Won Fight for Votes for Women

Alice Paul, national chairman of the Woman's Party unfurled the ratification banner from suffrage headquarters in Washington, DC when Tennessee, the 36th state, ratified on August 18, 1920.
Library of Congress

American women won the right to vote only 100 years ago – and only after a struggle lasting more than 70 years. This exhibit explores the origins of women’s suffrage and modern feminism -- an outgrowth of women’s critical involvement in the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War. Both White and African American abolitionists saw the need to expand the push for freedom for Black people with a movement to enable all women to exercise their rights as citizens.

History has long overlooked the role of African American women in the fight for women’s suffrage. Both before and after the Civil War, Black women had to struggle not only with the entrenched sexism faced by white women, but also with racism. They met the challenge, engaging in political activism and significant reform efforts from the earliest years of the suffrage movement.

Some of the most prominent women’s suffrage activists lived in New Jersey, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the founders of the movement, Lucy Stone, Florence Spearing Randolph, and Alice Stokes Paul.

Click on the sections below to view the exhibit:

Shuttles, Spindle and Flyer Wheels: Hand spinning and Weaving in the 21st Century

April 28, 2019, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

The Essex County Hand Spinners Guild will demonstrate the magical art of spinning fibers into yarn on hand spindles and spinning wheels, some antique or traditional in appearance, and some contemporary that have a modern look. Weavers will also demonstrate how cloth is made on a variety of looms. Visitors will also be invited to try their hands at spinning and weaving.

In the Revolutionary Style

March 17, 2019, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Join Durand-Hedden for this wonderful event for mothers, daughters, fashionistas, home sewers, history lovers, and all those who wonder how clothing provides a window into the past. At 2pm, clothing historian Pat Sanftner will reveal the high style changes that took place in the 1700s in Europe and then the American Colonies, and the fashion mavens who made them, using 100 illustrations to demonstrate four significant style changes during the time period.


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Maisie Brews a Business- 1920 Tea Rooms

March 11, 2018, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Tea rooms were enormously popular in the first half of the 20th century and are a fascinating aspect of women’s history. Most were owned or managed by women and in the 1920s especially, tea rooms became the fashionable places for women to meet friends in small towns, big cities and suburbs. Several flourished in Maplewood and South Orange including the well-known Washington Inn. At 2:00, historic interpreter Maureen OConnor Leach will take on the voice of a 1925 matron who is planning to open a Tea Room and will provide the audience with a view into the challenges faced by women who were stepping out of the home and into the business world.

Meet Harriet Tubman, a First-Person Historical Interpretation

March 5, 2017, 2:00 - 4:00 PM

Inspiring actress and educator, Dr. Daisy Century of the American Historical Theater, will vividly portray Harriet Tubman, the well-known escaped slave, American abolitionist, humanitarian, and armed Union scout and spy during the Civil War. Tubman was a remarkable woman who found freedom for herself and then made sure others were brought to freedom.

Jefferson School, 518 Ridgewood Road, Maplewood

Meet Eleanor Roosevelt: The Early Years

March 20, 2016, 2:00 - 4:00 PM

Did you ever wish you had known Eleanor Roosevelt? You will swear you have this day as Rene Goodwin of the American Historical Theater portrays Mrs. Roosevelt during the years before her husband Franklin becomes President. In the Public sphere Eleanor Roosevelt exuded a zest for life and carved out a career and reputation as First Lady by championing the equality of people of all nations. Through her efforts the world began to look anew at human rights.

The performance will take place at The Woodland, 60 Woodland Road.

A Taste of History: Cooking at the Open Hearth

January 25, 2015, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Durand-Hedden welcomes a new cook skilled in 18th and 19th century foodways to our annual historic cooking program honoring late longtime trustee, Irene Kosinski. For over 20 years Carlotta Defillo has demonstrated open hearth cooking with flair and dedication at Historic Richmondtown in Staten Island. On the menu this year will be a chicken roasted in a tin reflector oven, crumpets fried on a griddle, tasty “cobblestones” and preserved foods from the fall harvest. Children will be able to try their hand at old-fashioned cooking chores like kneading dough and making butter.

Someone Must Wash the Dishes: An Anti-Suffrage Satire

March 30, 2014, 2:00 - 4:00 PM

Pro-Suffragist Marie Jenney Howe wrote this tongue-in-cheek caricature, Someone Must Wash the Dishes in 1912, eight years before women won the vote. Reviewers have called the production being performed for Durand-Hedden during Woman’s History Month, and directed by the late Warren Kliewer, “wicked” in its wit.

A Taste of History at the Open Hearth

January 26, 2014, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Skilled 18th century cook Mercy Ingraham returns to the kitchen fire at the Durand-Hedden House this year as we remember our late longtime trustee Irene Kosinski.

The Woman’s Club of Maplewood — A Century of Service

The Woman’s Club of Maplewood, established in December 1916, was a product of a growing movement in America that had begun after the Civil War. Across the nation, women organized clubs to develop common interests and work together to improve their communities.

Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry’s Extraordinary Ride

Until 1894 there were no female sport stars, no product endorsement deals, and no young mothers with the chutzpah to circle the globe on a bicycle. Annie Kopchovsky changed all of that.

Washday Blues

The bottles, bars and boxes of soft and hard soaps and detergents that line supermarket and drugstore shelves today give little hint of the smelly and laborious processes that were once required to keep people and their belongings clean and fresh.

The Long Battle to Vote: Women’s Suffrage in America

At a time when America is beginning to realize that it lags far behind many other countries in electing women to positions of political leadership, it is appropriate to consider the long, dark history of women’s suffrage in our nation.

Her Story – Quilts and the Women Who Made Them

Quilts are among the few traditional household objects that bridge utility, communal activity and art, but they have always been made with consideration to their aesthetic value.

Well Heeled and Pumped Up: The Rise of Women’s Shoes

January 27, 2013, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Rachelle Bergstein, author of Women From the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us will present this stylish illustrated talk on shifting footwear trends through the 20th century that examines the growing prominence of shoes in American culture, and how it affects everything from price tags to heel heights

Perfect Ladies

May 13, 2012, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

In a 2:00 p.m. slide talk, Kristina Haugland, Associate Curator of Costumes and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will examine the social background behind the evolution of Victorian fashions such as corsets, hoop skirts and bustles as well as attempts to reform women’s dress and redefine their social position. Actual undergarments and also examples of Durand-Hedden’s Victorian clothing collection will be on view.

The Spirit of Maplewood: The History of the Maplewood Woman’s Club

November 21, 2010, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Find out the untold story of this volunteer service organization whose beginnings in our community go back to the early 20th c. At the opening of their clubhouse in 1930 Mayor DeHart noted that the Woman’s Club was always at the forefront of progress in Maplewood.

Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonberry’s Extraordinary Ride

March 22, 2009, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Author Peter Zheutlin vividly retells the story behind his popular book about his audacious great-grand-aunt who became part of what a newspaper called

The Suffragette Movement: How Woman Won the Vote

March 9, 2008, 1:00 - 4:00 PM

This lecture and slide demonstration uses humorous and not so humorous picture postcards and memorabilia to offer insight into how American woman were regarded as the struggled to win the right to vote.

Next Event

October 17, 2021, 1:00 PM

The Forgotten Victory: The Battle of Springfield of 1780

Come to the Durand-Hedden House on Sunday, Oct. 17 to learn about the critical Revolutionary War battle of 1780 that was fought just down the road from here, in Vauxhall, the Short Hills, Springfield and Connecticut Farms (Union).

Historian John Kieser will bring to life this often-overlooked conflict, in which the New Jersey militia held off the British and prevented them from getting to Washington’s troops in Morristown.

House and Country Store open 1:00 to 4:00 pm

Presentation at 2:00 pm

Proof of vaccination and masks required.


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