Fair Suffragettes of New York Outdone by Husbands of Warsaw, Indiana., in Demanding the Rights of Sex---Unique Organization Throws Down Gauntlet of War to All Women's Clubs---Some Remarkable Obligations Imposed Upon Its Members
We won't walk the floor at night with the baby.
We won't wear socks with holes in 'em.
We'll not be jawed when we come home late and have a good excuse.
Our meals must be regular.
We'll smoke at any time and any place
We'll go to church only once each Sunday.
We'll have our own way at least every other time.
Thus reads the new Declaration of Man's Independence as it has been declared by the valiant men of the good city of Warsaw, on the shore of Lake Winona.
With the fair sufragettes marching in New York city and the husbands of this Indiana town in revolt, one may well ask to what dire straits this Nation is coming. Will the suffragettes of Warsaw be compelled to seek assistance from the suffragettes of New York to put down the rebellion that threatens their very existence?
It seems that these signers, numbering over a score, have organized for the purpose of furthering their rebellion against the husband's traditional bondage, a Society known as "The Suffering Papas' Club of Warsaw." The members are all prominent in the business and professional life of Warsaw. While many of them differ in politics they are united on the subject of "man's rights."
Demand That Club Women Use Names of Husbands
According to one of the leaders, year after year these men have been forced to stay at home while wives, mothers and sisters went to club and lodge meetings or social events. If they didn't stay at home they invariably found something wrong upon returning, a house either as cold as a refrigerator or on fire, a supposed burglar in the cellar, the family cat acting strangely on top of the piano, etc. But all is to be peace and tranquility in the golden future, and applications for membership in the Suffering Papas' Club are pouring in at the rate of ten a day.
"We are here to express our troubles straight;
Our married life is anything but great.
For protection, consolation, we are here tonight."
The opening ode of the ritualistic work of the Suffering Papas' Club tells briefly why the society was organized. The wife of nearly every Warsaw business and professional man belongs to some club, society or lodge, possibly six or eight of them. There are some fourteen clubs or reading circles, the membership of which is exclusive. A woman who lives in Warsaw and does not belong to one or more of these clubs is a failure in the eyes of the members and after a time she is convinced of the fact herself. This thing has been going on for years, so long that the members of the various women's clubs have forgotten that their husbands had given names or initials. That's one reason the Suffering Papas' Club was organized.
The Warsaw newspapers have for years been devoting a column each week to the reports of the various clubs and reading circles. The newspaper reports, as compiled by the secretaries of the various clubs, contain the maiden names of the members, but the first name of the husband is never mentioned. The men say that their own names should be good enough at any time and place.
There is one Warsaw club, however, that has always done away with this peculiar idea, and that society is the Mothers' Study Club, which has a large membership. As an appreciation of the fact that the Mothers' Study Club has recognized man's individuality and consented to use his name at all times, the members of this club were invited to attend the recent meeting of the Suffering Papas' Club at which the organization was perfected. The meeting was held at the home of W. F. Maish, a Warsaw manufacturer, and the degree work was exemplified on one candidate, Charles H. Ker.
Stringent Oath of Allegiance to the Suffering Papas' Club
Master of Ties Bertrand Shane, a lawyer, read the following oath of allegiance, which the candidate was sworn to observe:
"I do soberly, sorely and sincerely profanitate, in the presence of the witnesses here assembled, that I will obey the Constitution of the United States, the State of Indiana and of this great order, the Suffering Papas Club-in fact, I will obey everything and everybody, and my wife sometimes.
"I promise and agree to fully perform my sacred duties as a husband at all times. I shall ever love, cherish and obey and carry wood, water and ashes and mow the lawn whenever the state of my wife's health will not permit her to do so. I will faithfully and regularly build the fires in the furnace and heating stoves whenever required between the first day of July and the first day of September of each and every year and further deponent sayeth not. I will never scowl, scold or swear within the sacred confines of my sweet home if my wife doesn't first: or if she doesn't make me carry the baby at night, get the baby a drink, go for the doctor, build a fire in the furnace, button her new dress, go out calling, burn the chicken, get the pie crust too wrong, the fried potatoes too short or the applesauce too sweet, lend my pipe and tobacco to the laundry boy, tell me of her other beaux, how her mama wants things done, what troubles she has with the hired girl, washwoman or butcher; how tired she is of the humdrum of country life; how she would like to have a sealskin coat, Parisian gown or net hat a la mode, or do any of the ten thousand other things which it is said that some women do.
"I promise to give my undivided attention to the care of the children and to the other duties which all faithful and kind husbands and fathers do outside of business hours, when there is nothing doing at this club, any of my other lodges, the vaudeville or other theaters, the baseball park or other places of amusement; provided always, and it is hereby understood, that my political duties, precinct, city, state and national, shall take precedence over everything on earth, barring breakfast, dinner, supper and lunch.
"I further promise that I will ever stand for and defend the good name, honor, integrity, fairness and faithfulness of a brother of this order, knowing as I do the worth and manliness of its members, and will ever resist and resent the merest suggestion of guilt or wrongdoing on the part of any of them, if by any chance vile gossip, that slimy, evil-eyed, foul-tongued monster, should lurk upon their trails.
"I shall stand for the happiness of the home and the pleasures of its mothers and daughters so far as they do not too seriously interfere with those of myself or my brothers aforesaid, and, if need be, I will occasionally take them, or any of them to the threater or for a trip to the sea shore, but this should not be too often, and never in a year of financial panic or national campaign.
"I will continue to love my neighbor, but not my neighbor's wife, as myself, and do all the good I can in the world, even to encourage my wife to give away my old clothes. To the faithful performance of this tie, I pledge my sacred honor."
Minister Instructs Candidate in Use of Defensive Weapons
The Rev. E. H. Montgomery pastor of th First Presbyterian Church of Warsaw, then impressed the seriousness of the obligation upon candidate Ker, saying, in part:
"Dear Brother in Distress-Now that you are about to be initiated into the rites and admitted to the privileges of this sublime and august order of the Suffering Papas' Club, it would seem to be a timely and auspicious occasion for an exhaustive comprehensive promulgation of the principles of our ancient order. From the day of the organization of the Suffering Papas' Club away back there in that shady Eden nook where the first mama essayed to lay the burden of the whole apple proposition upon the bare shoulders of the first papa on through the ages, this papa has felt upon his threadbare shoulders the burden of having to keep a sealskin wife and Teddy bear babies upon a muskrat salary. He has felt the ever-evoluting law of gravitation tugging at these bare soulders until in his enlightened estimation this burden has become unbearable.
"Certain weapons offensive and defensive in character have been devised, and in the use and abuse of these weapons the members of the Suffering Papa's Club have become skilled to an alarming degree. Prominent among the articles or utensils or weapons, as the emergency may be, is this piece of mechanism, a broom, which, because of its ready adaptability, has become world renowned. It is my duty to define the uses to which this instrument may be put. Most suffering papas have somewhere in their place of domicile a little nook or corner which is conceded by all parties to be their own peculiar property; a place which is his very own to have and to hold. Most every suffering papa knows what it is to be seated happily and comfortably in his cozy corner and hear in the distance the clatter of dainty footsteps, and looking up to be surprised by a sudden apparition concealed in an all-around apron and an all-over dusting cap and armed with a broom. Before he can collect himself or begin to collect his correspondence, out go the rugs through the window, over go the chairs into a corner as if struck by a hurricane. The dust begins to fly and the suffering papa begins to sneeze. What shall he do?
"Now if this thing happened once in a fortnight or so it might be endured, but when it comes regularly every Friday and as many times between Fridays as there are meetings of the Mothers' Study Club it has manifestly come to be entirely too numerous and is simply unbearable. What may be helped must not be endured. If, in the midst of his own den, the suffering papa should be surprised and with provocation or premeditation should be attacked with a volley of hot shot from the mouth of some lesser gun about the domicle he may ward off all such fiery darts by a quick readjustment of this self-same instrument, or broom. If you are to be a worthy member of this club you must make this your constant companion. In time of peace you will find it most comforting, in time of war simply indispensable.
"Another article necessary to the perpetuity of our club and the successful prosecution of our work is the rolling pin. This is the leveler, the smoother down, the roller over.
"In a well-known woman's journal we find the following valuable information on child training: 'the child must be kept in a horizontal position until it is 18 months old, or until, by its own unaided efforts, it can assume some other position.' Now we suffering papas know that sometimes at the midhour of night, to the utter discomfiture of the mother, the child may, all unbeknown to itself, assume a position at variance with a horizontal. It will expedite matters if we have at hand or down at the foot this instrument with which to smooth it down and roll it over."
Officers Wear Regalia Prepared for the Occasion
The officers of the Suffering Papas' Club were attired in regalia prepared for the occasion. A sumptuous banquet was a feature of the evening. On seating themselves at the tables the guests and members of the Suffering Papas Club found at their plates ribbons with the printed inscription, "The Suffering Papas' Club of Warsaw, First Annual Open Season, 1908," Large safety pins were used in pinning these to the coats and waists.
The officers of the Suffering Papas' Club of Warsaw are:
Master Suffering Papa - W. F. Maish
Senior Suffering Papa - L. C. Wann
Junior Suffering Papa - Dr. C. Norman Howard
Suffering Papa Guard - J. E. Graves
Suffering Papa Leaders - E. E. Hickman and Houton C. Frazer
Suffering Papa Tester - F. E. Bowser
Suffering Papa Lecturer - The Rev. E. H. Montgomery
Suffering Papa Inquisitor - Prof. J. T. Hawks
Suffering Papa Secretary - J. C. Schade
Suffering Papa Master of Ties - Attorney Bertram Shane
Suffering Papa Choir Master - J. W. Cott
The charter members of the club are F. E. Bowser, J. W. Scott, H. C. Frazer, D. H. Lessig, J. E. Graves, Bertram Shane, Charles Grabner, W. F. Maish, L. Wymond, J. W. Steinbach, J. D. Kurtz, Dr. C. N. Howard, Charles Ker, L. C. Wann, Conrad Schade, Elmer Funk, C. W. Chapman, the Rev. E. H. Montgomery, E. E. Hickman, Dr. John White and Prof. J. T. Hawks.
The Indianapolis Sunday Star, February 23, 1908
J. Conrad Schade