Pen Woman Karen Pastorello Spearheaded Efforts to Acknowledge Suffragists with Historical Markers
Pen Women Karen Pastorello, Ph. D., a women's suffrage scholar and author, recently led the efforts to acknowledge local suffragists with historical markers. The first marker was unveiled on South Street in Auburn on Friday, June 10, 2022, to recognize the tireless work of suffragist Eliza Wright Osborne who founded the Auburn Branch of the Educational and Industrial Union. The placement is aligned with its proximity to the New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center in Auburn.
Pastorello also led the city to place a second historical marker acknowledging the Cayuga County Political Equality Club,
founded by suffragist Emily Howland. This marker was placed at 9 Exchange Street in the Exchange Street Plaza at old location of the Political Equality Club.
A crowd of over fifty people attended the celebratory historical markers with Larry Bell, historian at the Howland Stone School Museum, and Pastorello present for the unveiling. Auburn City Clerk Chuck Mason coordinated the special commemoration. Pastorello was the main speaker at the event which also saw Auburn City and Cayuga County officials give remarks. Noting Auburn's place in the suffrage movement, Pastorello said, "most early suffragists, including Wright and Osborne, didn't live to see the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, which gave women the right to vote." She added, "Although not common knowledge, the work of Eliza Wright Osborne and Emily Howland can be directly linked to the passage of the 19th Amendment, and by extension,
to women's political and economic rights today."
A descendent of Eliza Wright Osborne, Lithgow Osborne, also spoke at the unveiling event. Other speakers included Tracy DiGenova, a representative of Governor Kathy Hochul, Auburn City Councilor Ginny Kent, Auburn Mayor Mike Quill, and Courtney Kasper, who read a letter from the Pomeroy Foundation.
The designations were timed to align with the National Votes for Women Trail, spotlighting people and organizations involved with U.S. women's suffrage movement. Both of the new markers in Auburn were funded by William G. Pomeroy Foundation and the Federal Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission, as well as other organizations contributing.
Roughly 200 historical markers have been placed throughout the country to honor the sacrifices and dedication of the early suffragists.
In the photo at right, Dr. Karen Pastorello is pictured at the Saratoga marker dedication on July 13th, 2022. Pastorello worked in conjunction with the National Votes for Women Trail to mark sites.