Strength Without Compromise: Womanly Influence and Political Identity in Turn-of-the-Twentieth Century Rural Upstate New York (2009, The American Classics Company, Ballston Lake, NY) – by Teri P. Gay


Set against the backdrop of the national women’s rights movement at the beginning of the twentieth century, this book focuses on the quest for political equality and suffrage as carried out by the women of the rural areas of Washington, Warren, and Saratoga counties in upstate New York. The Political Equality Club of the small town of Easton is highlighted, as the work of its two most ardent leaders, Lucy Allen and Chloe Sisson, showcases the Easton club’s commitment to “votes for women” – not out of a feeling of male oppression but out of a philosophical belief in their natural rights as citizens of a democratic country. Embracing their womanliness for their noble cause, these women organized brilliantly to educate and inspire each other and their community about the wisdom of including women in the electorate at a time when the fight for enfranchisement was heating up across America.


Strength Without Compromise is based on the author’s thirty years of research on the women’s suffrage movement in the southern Adirondack region and also tells the stories of noted suffragists Elizabeth Wakeman Mitchell of Hudson Falls, Laura Schafer Porter of Fort Edward, Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi and Mary Hillard Loines of Bolton Landing, and Katrina Trask of Saratoga Springs and Lake George. The contributions of Susan B. Anthony and her sister Mary S. Anthony to the women’s rights efforts in the tri-county area are also featured.


This book puts forth the thesis that the victory for suffrage in New York State in 1917 and nationwide in 1920 was, in part, achieved through the tremendous efforts of rural women who saw their lives as women in partnership with men and in celebration of their domestic life as being ingredients for effective participation as citizen voters. The story of the Easton Political Equality Club as a salient example of this grassroots-style of democratic action and women’s rights will move and inspire readers as proof of the momentous possibilities that can occur when gender differences are seen as positive forces for social and civic progress.


To purchase this book, send a check (made out to Teri Gay) in the amount of $30 (includes shipping and handling and tax, if applicable) and shipping information to:

Teri Gay, 1189 Peaceable Street, New York 12020. Allow two weeks for delivery.




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