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Broom Brigade (US)

Melissa 17 Feb 10 - 09:49 AM
Melissa 17 Feb 10 - 09:50 AM
Leadfingers 17 Feb 10 - 09:57 AM
artbrooks 17 Feb 10 - 09:58 AM
Melissa 17 Feb 10 - 10:03 AM
Leadfingers 17 Feb 10 - 10:05 AM
Melissa 17 Feb 10 - 10:58 AM
Melissa 17 Feb 10 - 10:59 AM
Melissa 17 Feb 10 - 09:39 PM
Melissa 18 Feb 10 - 04:00 PM
Joe Offer 18 Feb 10 - 04:54 PM
Melissa 18 Feb 10 - 05:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Feb 10 - 05:14 PM
Melissa 18 Feb 10 - 05:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Feb 10 - 05:18 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Feb 10 - 05:26 PM
Melissa 18 Feb 10 - 05:30 PM
Melissa 18 Feb 10 - 05:46 PM
Melissa 18 Feb 10 - 05:58 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Feb 10 - 06:12 PM
Melissa 18 Feb 10 - 06:16 PM
artbrooks 18 Feb 10 - 06:25 PM
Melissa 18 Feb 10 - 06:27 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Feb 10 - 04:54 PM
Melissa 19 Feb 10 - 05:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Feb 10 - 05:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Feb 10 - 06:05 PM
Melissa 19 Feb 10 - 07:47 PM
VirginiaTam 01 Jun 10 - 02:31 PM
Melissa 01 Jun 10 - 02:53 PM
VirginiaTam 02 Jun 10 - 02:54 AM
Melissa 02 Jun 10 - 09:02 PM
Cuilionn 02 Jun 10 - 09:54 PM
LadyJean 02 Jun 10 - 10:57 PM
Melissa 02 Jun 10 - 10:58 PM
Melissa 02 Jun 10 - 11:02 PM
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Subject: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 09:49 AM

There is a picture of a Broom Brigade from my hometown. I am looking for information to see if I can get a solid guess whether that particular group was sweeping some Temperance around, or whether they were more like the earliest Brigades.

It's my understanding that Broom Brigades were started right after the Civil War when college men were doing drills for exercise..the women wanted exercise too and practiced to prove that they could do it. After that, there were women's competitions too--not just men.

If anybody knows anything or can point me toward some good information, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks,
Melissa


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 09:50 AM

here's a non-clicky of the picture:

http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~livcomo/images/brigade.html


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 09:57 AM

Clicky


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: artbrooks
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 09:58 AM

Clickity


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 10:03 AM

The Clicky Kings have arrived!

Thank you


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Leadfingers
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 10:05 AM

Just beat you to it art ! LOL


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 10:58 AM

from: http://www.alumni.umn.edu/The_Broom_Brigade.html

"Word of these happenings at the U spread beyond the campus, but not everyone who heard the legend of Company Q was as charmed as the poet. The Minneapolis Tribune was brutal in its assessment: "The girls [at the University] should be taught to sweep, dust, sew, promenade the floor with twenty-five bundles, build kitchen fires, and other domestic feats, instead of being initiated into the mysteries of military tactics," it published in a December 1888 editorial.

Back on campus, the editors at Ariel took a more sophisticated stance on the matter—and dipped it in sarcasm:

"In spite of all statements to the contrary, and in spite of the fact that the women of our day practice law and medicine, edit newspapers, engage in politics and even teach school, we assert that the equality of the sexes is far from established, even in the advanced civilization which is supposed to permeate the University. If it were, we should not have to record the unjust discrimination which was exercised against the ladies in the matter of military instruction. Of course the ladies are entitled to the advantages of military drill and we are glad that they have made known their wishes to the faculty. A 'broom brigade' will doubtless add materially to the value of the University as an educational center."


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 10:59 AM

from:    http://ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/historical_records/dspDocument.cfm?doc_ID=B6BB754A-D69B-8E6C-CA24357497974682

Broom brigades were women's organizations that spread throughout the United States during the 1880s. Mark Twain observed in his 1883 book Life on the Mississippi that "in the West and South they have a new institution—the Broom Brigade. It is composed of young ladies who dress in a uniform costume, and go through the infantry drill, with broom in place of musket." He described the broom brigade of New Orleans: "I saw them go through their complex manual with grace, spirit, and admirable precision. I saw them do everything which a human being can possibly do with a broom, except sweep."


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 17 Feb 10 - 09:39 PM


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 04:00 PM

up once..then I'll let it drop


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 04:54 PM

Gee, it makes me think of Housewife's Lament. I wonder if there are songs or poems or stories of these broom brigades. How widespread were they?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 05:03 PM

I'm not sure how widespread they were. I am in north Missouri and we had one.

I haven't been able to find much about Broom Brigades other than some pictures on various sites.


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 05:14 PM

A bit about them here. Seem to have been widespread:
Pasadena CA


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 05:17 PM

Page not found, Q.

Was it the lady talking about a picture and thinking it must have been some kind of social group?


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 05:18 PM

My error
Pasadena CA


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 05:26 PM

Seems to have been widespread-
Union, Oregon, Colorado Springs, CO, Branchville, NJ, Ohio- but where did it start?


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 05:30 PM

I think it started in Minneapolis, Q.


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 05:46 PM

My understanding is that the brooms were used as a smart-ass response to a piece in the newspaper about how the ladies ought to be spending their time learning useful skills..like sweeping, tending children and cooking.


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 05:58 PM

I haven't been able to find anything to confirm it, but I suspect the Broom Brigade idea helped feminist/suffragette movements get rolling.

The brooms would have made the women seem harmless and non-threatening..sort of cute..and since the brigades appear to have started as an insistence on equality, it seems natural that like-minded women would have been attracted to the idea.
The progression from broom drills to more openly political goals seems logical.


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 06:12 PM

We need some dates.
-Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi- no specific dates but seem to be the earliest.

-July 4, 1880-
"Dwight Centennial, 1854-1954: a great past- a greater future" Illinois.

-Buckingham IL Broom Brigade, formed to sweep opponents of Harrison out of office- 1888 (History of Norton Twp., IL)

-Salvation Army Broom Brigade- JSTOR "Applying the devil's Works in a Holy Cause," Not seen. Not applicable?

Should be a thesis about this somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 06:16 PM

I haven't been able to find anything before this 1888 announcement. The picture in my hometown is dated 1890--with the guess that it was a temperance offshoot from a christian group in town.
-----

http://www.alumni.umn.edu/The_Broom_Brigade.html

   'A brief note tucked in with some other campus announcements in the back pages of the October 31, 1888, Ariel signaled the coming turn of events: "Lieutenant Edwin Glenn has a battalion of about one hundred and seventy-five volunteers, whom he instructs in military science and tactics every day in the Coliseum," it read. "The ladies of the University have also petitioned for military drill, which will be granted them as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made."


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: artbrooks
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 06:25 PM

Harumph...should never let wimmen have brooms. Next thang ya know, thay'll want...mops!


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 18 Feb 10 - 06:27 PM

..worse yet, a bucket of their own!


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 04:54 PM

The 1880 date I gave from the Dwight Centennial:
http://www.archive.org/stream/dwightcentennial00dwig/dwightcentennial00dwig_djvu.txt

"Many entertainments were given through the years. On the fourth of July 1880, the church [Presbyterian] members gave a festival entitled, "Pinafore," seemingly it was a big success as they were invited to come to Odell and Pontiac and put on the play.
"Some time later they gave a gypsy operetta.
Also an entertainment, the principle feature was the Broom Brigade."
----------------
The Pasadena CA Broom Brigade, which I linked- 1886
------------------------
Before 1883-
In "Life on the Mississippi," Mark Twain wrote:
"In the West and South they have a new institution-- the Broom Brigade. It is composed of young ladies who dress in a uniform costume, and go through the infantry drill, with broom in place of musket. It is a very pretty sight, on private view. When they perform on the stage of a theater, in the blaze of colored fires, it must be a fine and fascinating spectacle. I saw them go through their complex manual with grace, spirit, and admirable precision. I saw them do everything which a human being can possibly do with a broom, except sweep. But I know they could learn. What they have already learned proves that. And if they ever should learn, and should go on the war-path down Tchoupitoulas or some of those other streets around there, those thoroughfares would bear a greatly improved aspect in a very few minutes. But the girls themselves wouldn't; so nothing would be gained, after all.
"The drill was in the Washington Artillery building. ........."

Chap. 44, City Sights [New Orleans]. Unfortunately no date, but before 1883, date of publication of the book.


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 05:19 PM

Ah..thanks, Q! I was paying too much attention to words and not enough to dates.

I guess if the Presbyterian church were involved in providing a Broom Brigade for entertainment, it's highly possible that my pic could have been a Christian Temperance group.

It seems like the information for me to relay is that Broom Brigades existed after the Civil War and weren't isolated to any particular area. They appear to have marched/drilled and were often enjoyed as a pleasant spectacle.


When I searched at archive.org, all I came up with was a set of rhymes for children. How did you word your search?

thanks,
M


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 05:41 PM

The search wasn't easy. I tried "Broom Brigade 1870s," the same for the 1880s. Perhaps some other limits. Lots of 'static'.

You had mentioned Twain 1883, so I just pulled it off the shelf to get the quote.


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 06:05 PM

I'm sure more is out there, but buried in local histories and diaries. Really hard to dig out information on many of these.

I have a collection of some of these local histories for Alberta-Saskatchewan, but settlement in these two provinces was mostly after 1880.
Libraries and museums must be dug into to get local stuff; I don't have time for that nor do most of us.


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 07:47 PM

We don't have a museum...yet.
I thought I would probably try to find something when I go visit the museum in a neighboring county and ask current generations from the women in my picture whether they know anything about the BBB.


You have helped me a lot, Q.
I appreciate the time you've put into this.

I am in the process of trying to gather basic information on several subjects and will pop this one back up if I come up with anything to add.

Thank you,
M


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 01 Jun 10 - 02:31 PM

Wow! Just landed here following link from Linda Allen's new CD thread.

Would love to see a Broom Brigade started here in UK with the groups making guest appearances at the Sweeps Festival in Rochester Kent.

Quite funny that Broom brigade at a Sweeps festival.


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 01 Jun 10 - 02:53 PM

I've been wondering whether I'd have any luck talking folks around here to Broom Brigade for our festivities. I think it could be fun.
I don't think I remember seeing anything about BB anywhere other than the US (and I didn't notice it until your UK/Sweeps idea, VTam) I guess that makes up for us not having the same kind of Sensible Clothing Groups (forgot the name, dang it) in the 20's..I can't remember what the US version was called and I think it was mostly interested in shedding miserable, restrictive undergarments.

While this thread is up, I'll add Bettynh's link from Linda Allen's CD thread. It's a batch of articles/mentions that somebody collected and put together:
YesterYear


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 02 Jun 10 - 02:54 AM

you mean bra burners?


giggle?


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 02 Jun 10 - 09:02 PM

ack, Tam..now you've got me thinking it would be fun to set up an exhibit called BraBurner's Mother!

The Sensible Clothing League (or whatever it was called) and the ladies who balked at wearing restrictive underthings were earlier than bra-burners. Bras hadn't quite been invented yet by then (invented, but not considered worth manufacturing)
I think it was mid-20's before a Manufacturer of Unmentionables came up with the startling discovery that women's bazooms are not all the same size. That's when bras started getting a little bit more popular.

The Sensible League was not in the US. I think I remember reading that some of their ideas were picked up here by our women who were trying to be rid of corsets.

Until the 1920's, the US population was more Rural than City. It's hard to guess how Women's Ideas spread and were adapted to suit each group because there just wasn't much attention paid to how women spread gender-specific communication. There are files of old newspapers and such to track a lot of historical information but there just wasn't much interest in writing down what the ladies discussed while they were baking pies.

Broom Brigades, Temperance, Votes For Women, Corset Resistence..were all going on close enough together in time that any of them could have been the focus of any rural group because of the way women's ideas would have travelled.
I can not figure out how to even put a semi-solid guess on whether my local Broom Brigade was Temperance or something less annoying.



It would be really stinky to burn a corset!
(..plus, whalebone tended to be cherished.)


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Cuilionn
Date: 02 Jun 10 - 09:54 PM

Melissa--

Re: "It's hard to guess how Women's Ideas spread and were adapted to suit each group because there just wasn't much attention paid to how women spread gender-specific communication..."

In my great grandmother's letters, written from her husband's logging camp in the hills of Eastern Washington State in the Nineteen-teens, she mentions a number of "lady's" magazines or journals, most of them related to various Social Reform movements. She laments her isolation from the religious and intellectual discussions of women in town. She then begs her sister-in-law to please gather up various periodicals from among her circle of acquaintances and send them along after they've been read.

I believe these periodicals--many of them published by various church-related organizations--played a major role in the spread of ideas among women. Traveling lecturers were also important, and these intellectual celebrities were much anticipated and much discussed by those who went to hear them or read their published speeches and essays.

--Cuilionn


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: LadyJean
Date: 02 Jun 10 - 10:57 PM

I have seen a broom brigade manual, a reprint. I suspect if you checked a couple of the online booksellers you might find one.

They called corset resistance Dress Reform. Carrie Nation watched a group of belly dancers at a fair, and said she didn't care for the dance, but she liked their costumes better than corsets.


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 02 Jun 10 - 10:58 PM

Cuilionn,
Do you know whether lecturers went to truly rural areas much in the late 1800s? That's something I've never really thought about.

I suspect letters carried as much to talk about as periodicals in some areas..and probably a broader variety when the ladies shared what they'd each been told by various relatives/friends.
There were a LOT of church-related organizations in the early 1900s! Did they do anything other than pray and stamp out demon rum?


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Subject: RE: Broom Brigade (US)
From: Melissa
Date: 02 Jun 10 - 11:02 PM

LadyJean,
..or maybe I could find a manual at gutenberg?! I think I looked there, but I'll give it another shot. Thanks.

Is that the Carry Nation with the hatchet?
If so, her comment about the costumes being better than corsets is the most charming thing I've ever heard about her!


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