Obscura Society IL: The Amazons of Edwardian London - Atlas Obscura
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Obscura Society IL: The Amazons of Edwardian London

Discover the hidden history of the suffragette Amazons, super-heroines of King Edward’s London, and witness a demonstration of "suffrajitsu" self defense techniques

In 1913/14 the fugitive leaders of the radical English suffragettes were protected by a secret society of martial arts-trained female bodyguards. Who were these women, and why have they been forgotten?

Join us for a fascinating immersion into the hidden history of the suffragette Amazons, including their origins in Edwardian-era feminism and the "physical culture" craze, their increasing militarism in response to government and police crackdowns, and their sometimes spectacular confrontations with authority, including the infamous "Battle of Glasgow."

We will also discuss the Amazons' increasing popularity in modern fiction and will witness an exciting demonstration of "suffrajitsu" self defense techniques! This unique presentation will be illustrated with a gallery of rare prints and photographs and will be held as an Edwardian style, after-dinner salon, complete with your choice of teas and tasty finger foods.

Presenter Tony Wolf is the author of the children's nonfiction biography Edith Garrud: The Suffragette Who Knew Jujutsu (2009) and the graphic novel adventure trilogy Suffrajitsu: Mrs. Pankhurst's Amazons (2015). His interviews on the subject of the radical suffragette bodyguards have been featured on BBC news, radio, and TV.

Notes for this adventure:

- The address of the Hutton Lounge is 4437 N. Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640. The sign above the door reads "Forteza Fitness and Martial Arts."

- The Hutton Lounge is only accessible by climbing a flight of 13 steps. Not ADA-accessible. 

- In the "secret society" spirit, guests will be asked to repeat the password "suffrajitsu" to gain access to the presentation. 

- Guests are welcome to attend in Victorian or Edwardian-era garb if they wish.

- Please be aware that this presentation will be held in a private lounge attached to a martial arts school. When you arrive you may see a number of students practicing sword fighting, etc. Don't be alarmed – they're very friendly! 

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