Accessible Archives subscribers have access to three of America’s oldest newspapers published by and for women: The Lily, The Revolution, and National Citizen and Ballot Box.
The Lily, the first newspaper for women, was issued from 1849 until 1853 under the editorship of Amelia Bloomer (1818-1894). Published in Seneca Falls, New York and priced at 50 cents a year, the newspaper began as a temperance journal for “home distribution” among members of the Seneca Falls Ladies Temperance Society, which had formed in 1848.
Bloomer felt that as women lecturers were considered unseemly, writing was the best way for women to work for reform. The paper encountered a number of early obstacles and the Society’s enthusiasm died out, but Bloomer felt a commitment to publish and assumed full responsibility for editing and publishing the paper.
Originally, the title page had the legend “Published by a committee of ladies“, but after 1850 only Bloomer’s name appeared on the masthead.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (seated) and Susan B. Anthony
The Revolution, a weekly women’s rights newspaper, was the official publication of the National Woman Suffrage Association formed by feminists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to secure women’s enfranchisement through a federal constitutional amendment.
Published between January 8, 1868 and February, 1872, it was edited by Stanton and Parker Pillsbury and initially funded by George Francis Train, a wealthy and eccentric Democrat, and David Melliss, financial editor of the New York World newspaper. Coincidentally, The Revolution was run out of a small office in the same building that housed the New York World.
The Revolution’s motto, printed on the masthead of the first edition’s front page, was, “Principle, not policy; Justice, not favors.” Beginning with the second edition, the following was added: “Men, their rights and nothing more; Women, their rights and nothing less.” Later editions had this motto: “The True Republic–Men, their rights and nothing more; Women, their rights and nothing less.”
Although its circulation never exceeded 3,000, The Revolution’s influence on the national woman’s rights movement was enormous.
Matilda Joslyn Gage
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.
Gage bought The Ballot Box, a publication of a Toledo, Ohio suffrage association, in 1878 when its editor, Sarah R.L. Williams, decided to retire.
Gage renamed it the National Citizen and Ballot Box, and included her intentions for the paper in a prospectus: “Its especial object will be to secure national protection to women citizens in the exercise of their rights to vote…it will oppose Class Legislation of whatever form…Women of every class, condition, rank and name will find this paper their friend.”
Gage became the National Citizen and Ballot Box’s primary editor for the next three years (until 1881), producing and publishing essays on a wide range of issues. Each edition bore the motto “The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword”, and included regular columns about prominent women in history and female inventors.