Empire State Campaign Com. REPORT 1914
At the State Convention of 1913, it was voted to unite with other organizations in the formation of a State Campaign Committee. Several meetings were held in New York City before a definite union was effected. The Empire State Campaign Committee was formed on November 1st, and hence has been at work eleven months. Its labored at the beginning under the disadvantage of having to establish its headquarters, secure help, divide work and set campaign machinery in motion. It decided to emphasize for the first year the department of ORGANIZATION fortified by press, literature and agitational efforts. Few trained organizers could be found and the qualifications of these had to be tested. It was clear that the most valuable service must be given by local workers; the direct constituents of legislators and the friends and neighbors of the voters to whom we must make final appeal. To arouse such women to activity was the aim of the organization department.
Accepting the plan put into partial operation by Mrs. Livermore, the State was divided into 12 Campaign Districts with somewhat different boundaries. A competent, earnest Chairman was appointed for each District, who together with the elected Leaders of the Assembly Districts, formed a Campaign Committee for the District. In eight of the twelve districts, a local Headquarters existed in the chief city and permission was secured to make this the Campaign District Headquarters. In the 4th and 6th Districts the Chairman makes her own home the headquarters, the administrative work for the 2nd District was done from the Central New York Headquarters, and a new Headquarters was established in Troy with the aid of the State Committee. In January a series of eight Campaign District Conferences and Schools of Methods were held with the view of acquainting the Leaders and workers with the plans of campaign, and to teach them how to carry them out. The total number of workers enrolled in these Conferences was over 1000, a few anti-suffragists here and there being included. The total of the audiences at the evening propaganda meetings was 15,000. These winter Conferences were followed by spring County Conventions. The chief aim of the winter meetings was to teach the Assembly District Leaders of the plans of campaign; the chief aim of the spring meetings was to instruct and encourage the Captains of Election Districts and local workers, in addition to the necessary business of electing officers.
In a number of counties the old county organization was merged into the new Assembly District organization in accordance with the vote of the last State Convention. Many of these conventions were ideally successfully Others were total failures so far as securing delegates from over the county was concerned. But from every one there came some good results. The total number of spring conventions was 51. The number of delegates and workers attending them was about 3000, and the total number of persons gathered for the propaganda evening meetings was 20,000.
Meanwhile, all the Campaign Districts which were financially able to do so, kept organizers in the field working up these large meetings, holding meetings of their own and organizing where possible. Other organizers worked directly under the State Committee in the weaker districts. During the year 28 persons have worked in the field under the direction of the State Committee. One was the Chairman who has visited 50 counties, attending conferences or County Conventions and has contributed her expenses. One was Mrs. Brown, the State President, who has visited many of the Districts and has contributed all her expenses. One was Miss Millie, whose salary was contributed by friends. Seven other persons worked for short periods for expenses only. Five persons have worked in the Campaign Districts whose expense accounts have never entered the Central Office. To sumup, 33 persons have spoken and worked in Districts not their own for which salary or expenses, or both, have been paid or contributed, This it will be understood does not include any Campaign District Chairman or Assembly District Leader, with once exception.
The total results of the year’s organization work plus the many years of continuous agitation which preceded it and whose value we must never forget, is 141 of the 150 Assembly Districts of the State are now organized, the majority well organized, the minority still needing much bolstering.
We began with instructions to appoint Captains of Election Districts, the ideal of our plan. Experience taught us that in the more uninformed districts the Captains were soon discouraged and after some months we replaced this plan in such districts by that of Campaign Clubs. The function of these clubs is precisely the same as the function of the Captain. Of these there are now not less than 400 in the upstate. FINANCE: The State Committee asked each Campaign District to raise all the money it could and to become self-supporting so far as possible. The definite amount of $65,000 was assigned to various districts to be raised with the proviso that when raised a promised $10,000 was to be paid to the State Committee. That amount was raised and the $10,000 was paid.
We had estimated that a fund of $75,000 for State Committee and Campaign Districts combined would be the minimum for the first year. The amount was pledged and paid in at the end of the first eight months. The total amount which has passed through the State Committee Treasury is $27, 608.27. The disbursements have been as follows:
New York Headquarters – Maintenance…………………………..$5369.46
Posters, decorations, buttons………………………………………..1575.62
Loans to Districts………………………………………………….400.00
Miscellaneous including Deposit Carnegie Hall and travelling expenses of some Chairmen to Campaign Committee meeting……………………………………
The amounts expended on field work in the various districts was as follows:
1st – $15.58; 2nd – $20.00; 3rd – $654.62; 4th – $782.54; 5th – $615.63; 6th – $1034.03; 7th – $82.13; 8th – nothing; 9th – $158. 13; 10th – $2063.05; 11th – $1206.32; 12th – $353.32
The 7th, 8th, and 9th Districts have been practically self-supporting and will continue to be so. The 4th District has cost a good deal of money, but by January let we believe will be self-supporting. Several counties have been self-supporting, chiefly Oneida, Cayuga and Delaware. The 5th, 6th, 10th and 11th Districts have been the heaviest burdens and all these must still receive assistance. The amount paid out on field work is in addition to collections taken in the field, which was $609.00, a woefully small sum. The Counties containing the great Cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, have been self-supporting. Albany and troy have had help.
ENROLLMENTS: The Committee has urged upon all occasions that suffrage enrollments should be taken and that systematic canvasses of towns and villages should be made. On October 1st the total number reported for the State was 1339.52 and 1318.31 for the City of New York, making a total of 22657.93.
LITERATURE: The Committee has printed 1,400,000 leaflets and has on hand. Presumably have either been distributed or are in local headquarters for that purpose.
PRESS: A Press Department with Mrs. Harriet Holt Dey and Miss Eva Ward in charge has been maintained. 500 newspapers have been served with weekly news or propaganda bulletins. 175 papers have been provided with a page of plate matter three times. Innumerable anti-suffrage articles have been answered. Many pages of propaganda in the form of write-ups or interviews have been furnished the Metropolitan Dailies. Much effort has been expended in preparing the way for coming organizers over the State by press work in local papers. The Department has grown steadily in usefulness and promises to be one of our most powerful campaign agencies the coming year.
Pairs: We have lent our aid to the big task of covering the State Fairs with speakers and workers. One hundred in all were reached with greater or less completeness. The details will be reported by the District Chairman.
ART PUBLICITY: The Committee has issued under its Art Department window decorations, decorative posters, advertising posters, buttons, etc., for sale and benefit to local workers. 50,000 road posters were sold at cost for posting over the country, the results to be gathered later.
POLITICAL CONVENTIONS: Hearings were asked and willingly granted for our representatives in the Socialist and Progressive State Conventions. Headquarters were maintained at the Republican and Democratic conventions and especial literature printed. Every Campaign District was represented at these conventions, seventy-five of our women attending the Republican and sixty the Democratic Convention. We were assured by delegates of both that our presence was the most interesting incident of the conventions, which lacked their former excitement owing to nominations being taken to the primaries. Every party has given the strongest possible pledge to push our bill through the coming legislature honestly and fairly and every delegate to those conventions went home with an increased respect for the New York suffrage movement.
REPORTS: The usual difficulty of securing accurate and regular reports has been a constant annoyance, but a sufficient acquaintance with the condition of the State warrants three statements:
- The number of active, alert, intelligent workers has been trebled as the result of the year’s work.
- The sentiment for women suffrage in the State has easily been doubled
- The organization of the State inadequate as we know it to be is at least four times stronger than any other campaign State has ever had one year before the vote is to be taken. There are still a good many Leaders and Captains who possess the intelligence and ability necessary to successful campaign workers, but who are not yet as efficient as success in 1915 demands. We must hope their indifferences will become enthusiasm; their future activity, keen enough to make up for lost time.
This in brief is an account of the work of the Empire State Campaign Committee. A good many women have given to it all their time, and all of their ability. Long hours of hard nerve-racking toil, have been put in, day after day, and have no days off have been taken. Apathy and indifference rather than opposition is the condition to be overcome. It is a heavy price we women must pay for our political emancipation, but those who have seen the vision of coming freedom and useful service gladly pay it. There must be more workers another year; and agitation publicity for our cause must be never ceasing.
The Committee has been completely harmonious and a unit in understanding and plans. I wish especially to express my appreciation of the helpfulness of all the members who have each contributed generously of time and money.
I wish also to express my appreciation of the steadfast service, the executive skill and splendid never-failing cooperation of Mrs. Owens, Chairman of the 6th District, Mrs. Clement, Chairman of the 7th District, Mrs. Shuler, Chairman of the 8th District, Mrs. Osterheld, Chairman of the 9th District, Miss Watson, Chairman of the 12th District, who have superintended their District from the organization of the Committee. Mrs. Paddock of the 4th District, a later Chair man, has done and is doing excellent work. The 5th District lost its Chairman Mrs. McDaniel as she found the task too severe a strain for her health. The 10th District has only now found a Chairman for some months, Miss Evanetta Hare, a teacher who not only did her day’s work but turned off monumental tasks of suffrage activities. She found the strain too great and we had to accept her resignation as Chairman of the District, but she still superintends the great County of Rensselaer.
To one and all who have helped, I express my personal gratitude; to those who have done nothing or little the cause extends a call to service. Some of us can work no harder the coming year than we have the last, but as there must be more and ever more work done, it follows that there must be more workers. It is always a glorious thing to work for a great cause. It is a blessed privilege to labor for woman suffrage in the Empire State for when New York is won the United States is won; when the United States is won, the civilized world will soon follow. Come on, fight on, the triumph over worn-out tradition lies just ahead!
*The work of the Campaign Committee has been confined almost exclusively to the 87 Assembly Districts lying outside of Greater New York. The Woman Suffrage Party originally organized for the especial purposes of campaign work has continued its labors in the 63 Assembly Districts of the City with most gratifying results. It has held more than 2000 meetings within the past year, and its four-storied headquarters is a beehive of humming activity. Of course it has entirely financed its own work.