Ballots, Bloomers, and Marmalade: The Life of Elizabeth Smith Miller

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ballots bloomers and marmalade book coverAcross the street from the home where Elizabeth Smith Miller designed the bloomers – the “most important dress reform of the 19th Century” according the historic marker in the yard, a biography of Miller will be presented.

At 2 pm on Sunday, September 25, 2016, at the Smithfield Community Center (5255 Pleasant Valley Road Peterboro, NY) Norman K. Dann PhD will speak about his research for his latest book on Peterboro history. Author of Practical Dreamer: Gerrit Smith and the Crusade for Social Reform, Dann has now turned to research on Smith’s daughter with the Log Cabin Books’ publication of Ballots, Bloomers, and Marmalade: The Life of Elizabeth Smith Miller.

This is Dann’s first program in Peterboro on the new book, having previously presented at Libby Smith MIller’s other home site in Geneva.  Jody Luce, the Tailor of Peterboro, will join Dann in the program. Luce, who lives in the house behind the historical marker surrounded by a garden of equality colors, has studied and fabricated the work of Miller’s reform contribution to women’s rights. Dressed in one of her many reproductions of the bloomer costume, Luce will describe the benefits of the outfit. The pair will also share the magic of Fossenvue, the Seneca Lake camp where Libby Smith Miller pursued intellectual enlightenment with six other people.

bloomers nys signDann will cover the early life of Elizabeth in Peterboro with her reform-minded parents, her education, and her residences, and then focus on her suffrage activities to gain the ballot for women, and her marmalade activities to support women’s education. A book signing will follow.

The program will conclude with plans for the Ballots, Bloomers, and Marmalade Weekend September 22 – 24, 2017 to celebrate the New York State Women’s Suffrage Centennial in 2017. The National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, which is situated in the same building, will open at 1 pm with contemporaries of Miller among the inducted abolitionists.

The public is encouraged to attend the program and participate in plans for 2017. Admission is $3 and free for students. For more information call (315) 280-8828, email, or click here.

2 thoughts on “Ballots, Bloomers, and Marmalade: The Life of Elizabeth Smith Miller

    1. Dorothy Willsey

      Marmalade represents Miller’s domestic sphere. In 1875 Elizabeth published IN THE KITCHEN, a 592 page cookbook which included the importance of THE TABLE: “No silent educator in the household has higher rank than ‘the table.'” The cookbook includes five recipes for marmalade – which she made and sold to raise money for young women’s education.


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