SARATOGA SPRINGS – Two National Votes for Women Trail historic suffrage markers were unveiled in Saratoga Springs Wednesday.
The two historic markers commemorate the role women in Saratoga Springs had in getting women the right to vote.
A group of about 50 people gathered at the first marker on honoring the work of Kathryn Starbuck outside of her childhood home on Fifth Avenue in Saratoga Springs. The group consisted of mostly women and girls who dressed in all white, with yellow sashes which read, “League of Women Voters” or “Votes For Women.” They paraded about a half-mile to Congress Park – carrying flags and holding signs discussing women’s rights – to the second marker, which was celebrating Matilda Joslyn Gage and her work starting the New York State Women Suffrage Association in Saratoga Springs.
The physical markers are funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, a private grant-making foundation based in Syracuse.
“It’s been a long time coming, it’s really exciting to finally see it in the ground,” Saratoga County historian Lauren Roberts said. “I am so happy that Holly Grande allowed us to put this sign here.”
Grande is the resident of 11 Fifth Ave. The marker for Kathryn Starbuck was placed outside the home next to the sidewalk. Roberts explained the marker was put here because it was the home Starbuck grew up in.
“It was in her teenage years that she was so instrumental in the Saratoga County women’s suffrage party,” Roberts said. “So its a great place to have this sign. Now that its here the Kathryn Starbuck memory will have a constant reminder so her contributions will not be forgotten.”
Starbuck was born in 1887. In her life she served as a district leader of the New York State Women’s Suffrage Party. She was one of the first women to graduate from Albany Law School and ran for state Assembly in 1918. She became known for giving speeches and organizing events for the women of Saratoga County. She later became the first chairperson of the Saratoga County League of Women Voters.
“A primary objective of the National Votes for Women Trail is to shine a light on underrepresented heroes of the women’s suffrage movement,” said Nancy Brown, chairperson of the National Votes for Women Trail and board member of the National Collaborative of Woman’s History Sites.
The National Votes for Women Trail has a growing number of over 2,300 sites and a physical trail with over 200 historic roadside markers, Brown said.
The group made its way to the intersection of Broadway and Congress Street just outside Congress Park for the unveiling of the marker honoring Matilda Joslyn Gage.
“We know that we stand on the shoulders of great women who walked the walk before us,” Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, said after unveiling the marker dedicated to Gage. “And we know that there are young people who are counting on us. We need to walk the walk again. We need to do the hard part. We need to make our voices heard, and this is an inspirational moment for us here in Saratoga Springs.”
Born in 1826, Gage was a writer and an activist. She called for a convention on July 13, 1869, to create a state’s women’s suffrage association. The convention was held at Congress Hall, a hotel in Saratoga Springs. Chaired by Susan B. Anthony, it led to the formation of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association. Their goal was to get women the right to vote.
Tisha Dolton, librarian and historian from Crandall Library’s Folk Life Center, sang traditional suffrage songs at the marker unveilings. After the markers were unveiled, remarks about the historic women were made inside the Canfield Casino. There the city of Saratoga Springs and Saratoga County made proclamations recognizing Wednesday, July 13, 2022, as Women’s Suffrage Day.