The City of Glen Cove and The Long Island Woman Suffrage Association dedicated a Woman Suffrage historic marker on Monday on Dosoris Lane, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote in N.Y.
The historic marker, funded by the William G. Pomero Foundation, recognizes the role of Glen Cove Suffragists Helen Sherman Pratt and Florence Gibb Pratt.
The marker was made possible by Antonia Petrash, author of “Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement” and founder of The Long Island Woman Suffrage Association. Through research for her book, she discovered the important role of the Pratt sisters in N.Y. Women’s Suffrage. She reached out to Glen Cove about installing the marker, and the city was happy to put it on display.
“I think it’s important for people to know the history of Women’s Suffrage and how long and hard women had to fight to get the vote,” said Petrash. “Its important for the women for all the work they did . . . it was important to honor them.”
The marker is located near the Glen Cove YMCA, 135 Dosoris Lane, by the Treiber Center outdoor pool.
As the sole woman in Glen Cove City government, Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck spoke about the marker’s importance.
“In my lifetime, I as a woman, have the privilege of not only voting in all elections, but being able to run for an elected office, serving my beloved Glen Cove as an Elected Official— as a Councilwoman,” said Panzenbeck. “I greatly admire the dedication and hard work of the Pratt sisters-in-law and thank them for their contributions to the Suffrage movement, to Glen Cove and to all women here today. Because of women like them, We have been given the right to vote, something we must never take for granted and a right we must always protect.
Two of the most influential leaders of the woman suffrage movement in Glen Cove were sisters-in-laws Helen Deming Sherman Pratt, wife of George Du Pont Pratt, and Florence Gibb Pratt, wife of Herbert Lee Pratt. Helen and George lived at Killenworth on Dosoris Lane (now the Russian Mission), while Florence and Herbert Pratt lived around the corner on Crescent Beach Road at the Braes (now home to Webb Institute).
About Helen Sherman Pratt and Florence Gibb Pratt
Helen Deming Sherman was born in Brooklyn on Oct. 21, 1869 and attended Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn. She also studied in Germany. She married George DuPont Pratt on Feb. 2, 1897 and the couple built their house, Killenworth, on Dosoris Lane that same year.
In addition to her suffrage work, Sherman was one of the founders of the Lincoln Settlement House, which served the needs of the African-American community in Glen Cove. She was a member of the Women’s Trade Union League and later The League of Women Voters. On June 20, 1920 Helen hosted the Long Island Convention of the League of Women Voters at Killenworth.
Florence Gibb was born in Brooklyn on Nov. 3, 1872 and like Sherman, she graduated from Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn. Gibb married Herbert Lee Pratt in 1897, lived in Manhattan and later built their Glen Cove summer home near other Pratt family members in 1906.
Gibb contributed to the founding of Nassau Hospital in Mineola, now Winthrop Hospital, and was the first woman to be elected to the New York State Board of Regents.
She and Katrina Ely Tiffany were part of a delegation that met with President Woodrow Wilson on Oct. 25, 1917 to discuss the suffrage cause. In December of 1917, Gibb held the post of Treasurer of the Woman Suffrage Party of New York City as well as Third Vice-Chairman of the Manhattan Borough. That same month she joined a group of delegates from N.Y. and again traveled to Washington D.C. for the convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
The 100th anniversary of New York women winning the right to vote
Thanks to the efforts of early reformers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, who organized the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., a national movement was begun to gain equality for women and the demand for women having the right to vote was the focal point of their efforts.
N.Y. passed a referendum granting women the right to vote on Nov. 6, 1917. This hard-earned victory was the result of the work of many women who like Helen Sherman Pratt and Florence Gibb Pratt campaigned relentlessly for over 70 years to ensure that women had the same rights as men. Ratified on Aug. 18, 1920 the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote stating: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”