Tag Archives: The Lily

“Male Bloomers” in The Lily, 1854

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Under this head many of our brother editors are aiming their wit and ridicule at those gentlemen who have donned the Shawl as a comfortable article of wearing apparel in cold weather.

There is a class of men who seem to think it their especial business to superintend the wardrobes of both men and women, and if any dare to depart from their ideas of propriety, they forthwith launch out into all sorts of witticisms and hard names, and proclaim their opinions, their likes and dislikes, with all the importance of authorized dictators. As to the Shawl, it would be well if it could be banished from use entirely; as it is an inconvenient and injurious article of apparel, owing to its requiring both hands to keep it on, and thereby tending to contract the chest, and cause stooping shoulders.

American Fashions, 1849-50

American Fashions, 1849-50

But if worn at all, men have the same right to it that women have. If they find it comfortable, that is enough; and no one has a right to object to their wearing it because women wear shawls. The sack coats of the men, and the sacks of the women at the present time are cut very nearly after the same pattern. Both find them comfortable and convenient, without being burdensome. The hands are left free to swing at the sides, or use at pleasure, and the form may be carried erect, with shoulders thrown back and chest expanded. This is the most comfortable and useful garment for the street, for both men and women, ever introduced; — and must either dispense with this comfortable garment because it is worn by the other?

In the judgment of these teachers of propriety, one or the other sex should relinquish this coat, and some new style of overcoat be introduced for the party which is deprived of the privilege of wearing this one. There is the same reason for raising a cry about this garment, as about the shawl. Indeed, we think the shawl of right belongs to the men; as it answers so well to the description of the garment prescribed for them in Duet. 22. 12: “Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture wherewith thou coverest thyself.” True, men have departed from this injunction in former years, and resigned to woman the dress prescribed for themselves, and worn by their fathers in olden times. But that is no reason why they should not again resume it.

In our opinion people have a right to wear about what they please — what may suit their own wants, or their fancy; and while we claim the right to decide for ourself in our own case, we accord the largest liberty to our brothers and sisters in the same matter. Let each one study to please himself and herself, and –let other people mind their own business.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.
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Lieutenant Madame Brulon: A Modern Heroine

The brilliant lady who writes to the Tribune from Paris over the signature of “Au Revoir,” expresses very naturally the force of habit in a kiss, by describing an embrace she received from a woman in masculine attire, the famous Madame Brulon, of the Hotel des Invalides. She says, “I feel a blush creeping to my cheeks as she kisses me and holds me in her cordial embrace, so much are we in the habit of believing that man walks in coat and pantaloons. If there is ‘safety in numbers,’ however, (as we are assured of there being, in kiss-dom) the lady is safe enough;” for in the same letter she says, “The Hotel des Invalides embraces what would compose quite an American village.” But this Madame Brulon is indeed a celebrity. Of such a heroine on pension it is well to repeat the history:

Madame Brulon, though eighty-three years of age, retains all the vivacity of youthful expression, and assured us that she felt no faculty missing but that to guide well her feet, the right leg having become more refractory than the wounded one.

She wears the uniform of the Invalides, and since her first adoption of military dress, has never left it but once, and that for a moment’s amusement to her grandchildren, when she assumed female attire. But the children, instead of being amused, burst into tears, and begged their grandpa-ma to go back again to her soldier’s clothes.


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News for Women, by Women

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.


Amelia Bloomer

Amelia Bloomer

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

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

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.

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Making Biscuits

The Lily: Aunt Dale’s Letter

March 15, 1855

Dear Editor:

My spectacles have been brightened; the nice escritoire, your brother presented to me, lies open. I cannot be contented with all these accidental circumstances so favorable, without presenting you a sketch of my last observation I promised you something about the lady round the corner.

Three years ago she lived in a large building and had her kitchen girl and chambermaid: now she has to do her own work, for a few boarders and hardly feeds her own little family at that. Three years ago she called on the ladies of this village, and proposed that only those who were able to keep help, should associate together. Much credit to the common sense still left, the proposal was rejected and she had to float along, a tolerated gentility.

As for evincing the least interest in the girls who worked for her, it was not to be thought of. At one time her girl was attacked with the measles, and it was the fourth day before she visited her in her hot bed room, off from the kitchen. Poor Jane was taken away by one of those unpretending ladies, whose quiet philanthropy is generally all sufficient for any affliction.

Time passed on, and this very girl married her good friend’s son, which at once raised her to opulence, while her former mistress was reduced to comparative poverty by the death of her husband and the confused state of his affairs. She is now happy if she can but get a bow from her former housemaid. Still, like all coarse minds, under lace and satin, she maintains, that all “adversity to herself, is an affliction, and to her friends, a judgment.”

For my part, I like to see “pride have a fall.” I came from Yankee land where conscience is not a scarce article of commerce in society; where, if woman bears down unjustly upon those whose sphere is a little different, straight way she feels the neglect of her friends, and, if she has any heart, the gnawings of self accusation. I never could see why, if woman wanted to have the name of Christian, she should act far beneath the heathen.

Ah! we have the heathen in our own country when man forgets man, and woman forgets woman. But I will close, for age and scandal makes me garrulous.

You may hear again from,

Lizzy Dale

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Newspapers Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily, The Revolution, and the National Citizen and Ballot Box.
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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.


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