Why is Natalie smiling?
Because this beautiful dress is only a costume, it's not 1913, and she's not a real suffragist. She's already got the right to vote, thanks to the women who came before her.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, allowing women the right to vote. To commemorate the anniversary, Heritage Square Museum presents Their Rights and Nothing Less, an exhibit of information and ephemera from the suffragist era. The exhibit is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to September 26th.
It's a quiet exhibit, one you'll want to contemplate, as there are plaques to read and ideas to consider. I found myself especially interested in the biographies of Los Angeles- and Pasadena-area women who fought for the cause, and I was touched by the small buttons they wore to support their efforts. I got nostalgic when I saw the items related to the Equal Rights Amendment. They brought back my own memories of the march on Springfield, Illinois in the early 1980's. My friend who attended the exhibit with me said, "Whatever happened to the Equal Rights Amendment?" We both looked at each other and said, "Nothing."
I like voting. I vote every chance I get. You know the teeny, tiny elections you hear of where only 18% of the population showed up to decide the fate of everyone else? That was me.
It's not that I'm power-mad, though I like having my say. It's not that I'm fond of hanging out with election officials in cleared-out schoolrooms. But a while back I read about the suffragettes/suffragists. They didn't just march for the vote. They didn't just argue with their husbands. They went to jail. They went on hunger strikes. They were force-fed, ridiculed, vilified and beaten so we women could have the vote. So I just really appreciate the opportunity.
We met Mitzi March Mogul, the curator of Their Rights and Nothing Less, who told us no other museum in the U.S. is commemorating this anniversary. I note the Autry Musem is featuring an exhibit entitled Home Lands: How Women Made the West, which is timely. Since the museums are close together, the two might make a nice day trip.
Our beautiful model Natalie, by the way, has been volunteering at Heritage Square for 17 years. She was all smiles, and believe it or not she made that gorgeous dress and hat herself. You might have guessed that at Heritage Square, she's in charge of costumes.
vintage images courtesy of Heritage Square Museum