Amelia Bloomer

Amelia Bloomer and the Birth of The Lily

Mrs. Bloomer herself tells the story of the newspaper’s beginnings and her connection with it as follows:

Up to about 1848-9 women had almost no part in all this temperance work. They could attend meetings and listen to the eloquence and arguments of men, and they could pay their money towards the support of temperance lecturers, but such a thing as their having anything to say or do further than this was not thought of.

They were fired with zeal after listening to the Washingtonian lecturers and other speakers on temperance who then abounded, and in some instances held little private meetings of their own, organized societies and passed resolutions expressive of their feelings on the great subject.

It was at a meeting of this kind in Seneca Falls, N. Y., which was then my home, that the matter of publishing a little temperance paper, for home distribution only, was introduced. The ladies caught at the idea and at once determined on issuing the paper. Editors were selected, a committee appointed to wait on the newspaper offices to learn on what terms the paper could be printed monthly, we furnishing all the copy.

The president was to name the paper, the report to be made at next meeting by committee. And so we separated, satisfied and elated with our doings. But on my reporting my proceedings to my husband on my return home he threw cold water on the whole thing.  He said we women did not not know what we were talking about, that it cost a good deal of money to print a paper, and that we could not carry on such an enterprise and would run ourselves into debt, get into trouble and make a failure of it.

Printing PressHe advised that I counsel the ladies to abandon all thought of such a movement. At the next meeting I reported all he said, but it was of no avail. The ladies had their hearts set on the paper and they determined to go ahead with it. They were encouraged thereto by a temperance lecturer who was traveling over the state. He promised to get subscribers for them and greatly help them. He kept his word so far as sending us a goodly list of names, but the money did not accompany them and we never saw the man or the money afterwards.

This was very discouraging, and the zeal of the ladies abated wonderfully, They began to realize that they had been hasty in incurring a great responsibility for which they were not fitted, and very soon the society decided to give up the enterprise altogether, But meantime we had been getting subscribers and money, had issued a prospectus, and every arrangement was made at the printing office for bringing out the paper January 1849. We had even ordered a head from New York.

I could not so lightly throw off responsibility. Our word had gone to the public and we had considerable money on subscriptions. Besides the dishonesty of the thing, people would say it was ‘just like women ‘ ; ‘ what more could you expect of

them ? ‘ As editor of the paper, I threw myself into the work, assumed the entire responsibility, took the entire charge editorially and financially, and carried it successfully through.”

The following is taken from the first editorial in the new paper, written by Mrs. Bloomer:

The First issue of the The Lily

The First issue of the The Lily

It is woman that speaks through The Lily.

It is upon an important subject, too, that she comes before the public to be heard. Intemperance is the great foe to her peace and happiness. It is that above all which has made her home desolate and beggared her offspring. It is that above all which has filled to its brim her cup of sorrow and sent her moaning to the grave.

Surely she has a right to wield the pen for its suppression. Surely she may, without throwing aside the modest retirement which so much becomes her sex, use her influence to lead her fellow-mortals away from the destroyer’s path. It is this which she proposes to do in the columns of this paper.

Like the beautiful flower from which it derives its name, we shall strive to make the Lily the emblem of ‘sweetness and purity’ and may heaven smile upon our attempt to advocate the great cause of Temperance reform!

Learn More

Learn more about Amelia Bloomer in Life And Writings Of Amelia Bloomer.

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