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With All Her Might;
the Life of Gertrude Harding, Militant Suffragette

by Gretchen [Wilson] Kelbaugh


Goose Lane Editions, Fredericton, Canada. 1996.

Holmes & Meier. NYC, New York, USA. 1998

Tzalaparta, Spain. 1999. (the Basque region loves rebels).



from the Introduction:

"It is difficult to understand why women felt justified in committing such acts of violence as attacking works of art and setting empty buildings ablaze. Often the women themselves found their acts repulsive. As I contemplate Gert and her comrades, I'm drawn into the mind of the individual woman as she argues with herself over whether to throw her first stone through a window. If she throws the stone, she will be hurtling herself away from comfort and into the world of the Other, of the few people who cross the border of perceived civilization in order to expand it. If she throws the stone, it will be the single most significant act of her life. Lord Frederick Pethick-Lawrence said, of the thousands of suffragists throughout the world, both the famous and the unknown, "their lives are woven into the fabric of human civilization." I say: their lives may be woven, but not many people have seen the cloth. The push for the vote by women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries created worldwide upheaval that eventually changed the way society views women. Without political equality, social equality would never come. Yet the total picture of the struggle for female suffrage has been packaged in short paragraphs in our history books and so has the violent revolt by British women. It was a movement without precedent, yet it continues to be treated without prestige. At seven, all I wanted was the intrigue. Auntie Gert was seventy-four and tired. At seventeen, I bragged with clumsy questions about women's lib. She wouldn't commit herself and hardly spoke. At thirty-seven, I felt that I knew what she wished I had asked."

The book includes Gert's sketches of her childhood, her two fascinating years in Hawaii and her six tumultuous years in London, as well as her own photographs and a hand-written press release given to Gert by Suffragette leader, Emmeline Pankhurst.

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