The National Citizen and Ballot Box was a monthly journal deeply involved in the roots of the American feminist movement. It was owned and edited by Matilda Joslyn Gage, American women’s rights advocate, who helped to lead and publicize the suffrage movement in the United States.
This recurring segment highlighted the strength and influence of women in the past. This list is from the December 1880 issue.
Women Past and Present
ALLAQUIPPA was a celebrated savage queen residing near Pittsburg, Pa., before the Revolution. Washington is said to have called upon her when a young subaltern of the English army he was sent out to ascertain the designs of the French. Her name has been preserved in a countryseat near Pittsburg.
MISS DELIA BACON, a highly intellectual and eloquent woman, was the first to call in question the authorship of the plays ascribed to Shakspeare. Some twenty-five years ago she made her public appearance in Boston as a lecturer on history. Graceful and dignified in bearing, a fine reader and speaker, lecturing entirely without notes, she produced a marked impression in Boston and Cambridge. In course of her historical studies she became thoroughly convinced that Lord Bacon was the author of the plays attributed to Shakspear. In search of proof she visited England, remaining a year at St. Albans, where Lord Bacon lived in retirement, and where she supposed he wrote those matchless plays. She passed through many humiliations in behalf of her work, and poverty so great that she wrote in bed in order to keep warm, being unable to pay for fire. Hawthorne, then consul at Liverpool, helped her secure the publication of her book. It brought her a storm of abuse and adverse criticism, which following so closely upon her prolonged and exhausting literary labor, drove her insane. She was brought back to America where she soon died. But the theory she started as to the real authorship of Shakspeare’s plays, did not die with her. It has ever since continued to be the most interesting of all literary discussions; the authorship of the Junius letters pales before it. Miss Bacon, during her stay in England, wished, despite the curse, to open Shakspeare’s grave, believing she would there find the most convincing proof as to the authorship of these world renowned literary gems, but this she was not permitted to do. But the doubt she threw upon their Shakspearian authenticity is perennial. In the August Appleton’s Journal, Mr. Appleton Morgan, in a scholarly and convincing article, sustained Miss Bacon’s views. He deems it impossible that Shakspeare could have written the plays, and unhesitatingly ascribes their authorship, where Miss Bacon placed it, i. e., with Lord Francis Bacon.