Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Book Tour Blogging, Stop One

Official tour kicked off this week with a reading at a Border's near Philly, hosted by the South Jersey Alice Paul chapter of NOW. Proceeds from the day went to the chapter -- I hope they collected oodles! The audience was my ideal group, and I'm afraid they set the standard, now, for this tour. The president of the chapter was in her late 20s, and there were members there in their 60s as well.

Before the event, my host, the amazing, inspiring, long-time activist Judy Buckman, brought me to visit Paulsdale, the birthplace of Alice Paul. Apparently, during the long, hard suffrage campaign, Alice occasionally came there to recharge. Surrounded by acres of beautiful country, Paulsdale was her personal retreat. Judy told me about the more recent fight circa 1991 to register the place as a historic landmark ("Now it'd be easier if, say, you were talking about the home of Thomas Jefferson," the Paulsdale crusaders were told.) The gorgeously restored farmhouse (above) is now home to the Alice Paul Institute, complete with leadership programs for young women and girls. I can't wait to introduce the Woodhull (yes, as in Victoria) Institute to Alice's Institute, if they aren't friends already. I find it intensely moving the way first-wave heroines are being reclaimed by women's institutions today.

In a stroke of perfect timing, Iron Jawed Angels arrived from Netflix last night. Can't wait to check out Hilary Swank's impersonation of Alice. Yeah, like I'm now on first-name basis with the author of the ERA. Guess that's what happens when you visit Paulsdale. There's something truly magical and inspirited about the place. Go there. You'll see what I mean.

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