*I honor this historical week in August with a story about my home office. It's about generations of women, paint colors, decorations, and the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
On August 18, 1920 the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted by the 36th state (Tennessee) and guaranteed my great grandmother's right to vote. Since then, her very independent daughter, granddaughter and now great granddaughter have participated at the polls and influenced our current choices. Every maternal generation in my family has been strikingly unique as cultural norms around a "woman's' place" changed over the next century. In the late 1940's my grandmother assumed a traditional role in the home raising three children- foregoing her college education and halting a career in hospital administration. My mother forged ahead raising two children in the 1980's, but also started her own business that flourished for nearly 30 years in rural Montana. That business employed up to 6 people at it's peak and maintained clients around the world. Her example was paramount in my decisions to go to college an then pursue a graduate degree. Her woman-owned business legacy inspired to me move forward with an independent equine nutrition consulting business of my own in 2020.
I honor this week in August because I believe that the 19th Amendment and my current lifestyle are related. It is unlikely that one could have existed without the other. One hundred and one years after Congress made a woman's vote law, a common horse girl in an unassuming city in Montana, started her own business. Mid-winter she was inspired to paint and furnish her small home office rather than allow it to remain the cluttered, box filled room it had been since moving in. She started with a paint color that spoke to her called “Expressive Plum” and highlighted the room decor with white and gold. The room was hers- not to be shared - so she went bold spray painting every metal furniture piece with gold paint and hanging paintings in gaudy gold frames. This office is of course...the one that I am typing in now.
---The really cool part of this story is what came next!---
When I brought home that gallon of “Expressive Plum” paint and ordered every gold accessory that I could find, I did so with no grand plan and certainly no knowledge that my color choices stood for anything. I only knew that my husband hated gold so I wanted to use the crap out of it in my office. But then, as I was wrapping up the final room projects, I happened upon an artist named Maneese Wall. Her portfolio included a collection of bold and beautiful women’s suffragist prints. They spoke to me, and I knew that my office design would not be complete without them! My favorite piece in her collection was a poster simply called "The Woman Voter". When the poster arrived, it came wrapped in a plastic cover sheet and included a large notecard with a description of the print and a storyline. The notecard revealed that I had unknowingly painted and decorated my office the exact colors of the women's suffragist movement- purple, gold and white!
“Purple, the color of loyalty and steadfastness to the cause; White, the emblem of purity, symbolizing the quality of their purpose; and Gold, the color of light and life, the torch that guides the suffragists purpose- pure and unswerving”. - Maneese Wall "The Woman Voter"
It seems appropriate, doesn’t it, that these prints hang next to me as a do the work of a sole proprietor. I am so grateful for those women that, 101 years ago, accomplished something so great and so pivotal in the lives of my grandmother (the artist of the desert painting), my mother (also a business owner) and now me. This room, filled with my grandmothers artwork, my grandfathers cedar chest, and Maneese Walls prints, is very special to me.
To learn more about the ratification of the 19th Amendment which guaranteed ones' vote regardless of gender, CLICK HERE. You will be taken to the National Park Service's website titled State-by-State Race to Ratification of the 19th Amendment.