Tag Archives: Women’s History

Woman’s Great Needs in The Lily, October 1856

This essay by Mrs. E. P. F. B. of Michigan appeared in the October 1856 issue of The Lily.

Published in Seneca Falls, New York and priced at 50 cents a year, The Lily began as a temperance journal for “home distribution” among members of the Seneca Falls Ladies Temperance Society. Although women’s exclusion from membership in temperance societies and other reform activities was the main force behind the The Lily, it was not initially a radical paper.

The editor, Amelia Bloomer, was greatly influenced by Stanton and gradually became a convert to the cause of women’s rights. She also became interested in dress reform, advocating that women wear the outfit that came to be known as the “Bloomer costume.”

Woman’s Great Needs

A self-sustaining Independence is the great good which is to emancipate woman — mental, moral, physical independence. She must assert her right to self, that God-given right which it is a blasphemy to desecrate. Until she respects this right, and successfully defends it, she will be the humble victim of abused power — a hopeless, helpless slave.

We talk of purity? There can be no purity without freedom. We may have a forced chastity — a forced purity never.

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.



Strong Women Past and Present

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

Miss Delia Bacon

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.

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.



Universal Suffrage and an Earnest Zeal for the Right

Sarah A. Talbot’s letter was published in The Revolution on November 4, 1871, almost fifty years before women won the right to vote throughout the country.

To the Editor of the Revolution:

What the cause of Universal Suffrage most needs, is the co-operation of both sexes to improve the condition of humanity everywhere by manifesting an earnest zeal for the right, and a strong determination to oppose wrong in all its forms. The ministration of good women is needed in our jails and asylums. Their influence is particularly required in the temperance cause and in the cure of the social evil.

I sometimes ask myself will the women of America, when admitted to the ballot, have the courage to attack these monster evils? When I heard Susan B. Anthony hissed while in the act of uttering wholesome but unpalatable truths to a Sin Francisco audience, I realized as never before what the women of this land might expect if they dared attack the evils of society! 



Elizabeth Cady Stanton on Slavery in America

This speech was given during the Twenty-seventh Anniversary of the American Anti-Slavery Society at the Cooper Institute in 1860. The large hall was well filled at the commencement of the exercises, and before the close of the session the number was largely increased, the hall being nearly full.

Mrs. Stanton, on rising, was greeted with loud and hearty applause. She read the following resolution, as containing the thought which she was anxious to urge upon the attention of those whom she was about to address.

Resolved, That the crowning excellence and glory of the anti-slavery enterprise is that, while its first grand design is the redemption of the Ethiopian of the South from chattel bondage, it is also, through the genius and power of Eternal Truth, liberating and elevating universal humanity above all the behests of custom, creed, conventionalism or constitution, wherever they usurp unrighteous authority over the individual soul; and thus, while our first care is the emancipation of the Southern slave, we are, under the Divine economy, at the same time working out our own salvation, and hastening the triumph of Love and Liberty over all forms of oppression and cruelty, throughout the earth.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Address (Abridged)

MR. PRESIDENT, AND GENTLEMEN AND LADIES: This is generally known as the platform of one idea—that is negro slavery. In a certain sense this may be true, but the most casual observation of this whole anti-slavery movement, of your lives, conventions, public speeches and journals, shows this one idea to be a great humanitarian one. The motto of your leading organ, “The world is my country and all mankind my countrymen,” proclaims the magnitude and universality of this one idea, which takes in the whole human family, irrespective of nation, color, caste or sex, with all their interests, temporal and spiritual—a question of religion, philanthropy, political economy, commerce, education and social life, on which depends the very existence of this republic, of the state, of the family, the sacredness of the lives and property of Northern freemen, the holiness of the marriage relation, and the perpetuity of the Christian religion. Such are the various phases of the question you are wont to debate in your conventions.

But in settling the question of the negro’s rights, we find out the exact limits of our own, for rights never clash or interfere; and where no individual in a community is denied his rights, the mass are the more perfectly protected in theirs; for whenever any class is subject to fraud or injustice, it shows that the spirit of tyranny is at work, and no one can tell where or how or when the infection will spread. The health of the body politic depends on the sound condition of every member. Let but the finest nerve or weakest muscle be diseased, and the whole man suffers; just so the humblest and most ignorant citizen cannot be denied his rights without deranging the whole system of government.

National Anti-Slavery Standard was the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, an abolitionist society founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and Arthur Tappan to spread their movement across the nation with printed materials. Frederick Douglass was a key leader of this society and often addressed meetings at its New York City headquarters.

Lucy Stone

Women’s Rights and The Liberator

The Liberator (1831-1865) was an abolitionist newspaper founded by William Lloyd Garrison and Isaac Knapp in 1831. They published weekly issues of The Liberator from Boston continuously for 35 years, from January 1, 1831, to the final issue of December 29, 1865. Although its circulation was only about 3,000, the newspaper earned nationwide notoriety for its uncompromising advocacy of “immediate and complete emancipation of all slaves” in the United States.

The Liberator also became an avowed woman’s rights newspaper when the prospectus for its 1838 issue declared that as the paper’s object was “to redeem woman as well as man from a servile to an equal condition,” it would support “the rights of woman to their utmost extent.

The paper carried announcements for Women’s Rights Conventions around the North East and often carried detailed reports on the meetings like the one here from September 28, 1855.

1855 Boston Woman’s Rights Convention

Harriot Kezia Hunt, First Woman to Apply to Harvard Medical School

Harriot Kezia Hunt, First Woman to Apply to Harvard Medical School

This convention met in September and the attendance was large, and to those present. Miss Harriot Kezia Hunt read an address on the progress of women in this country, to the women present.

The meeting appointed Paulina W. Davis, of Providence, as President. Miss Harriot K. Hunt, Mrs. Carolina H. Call, Mrs. Sean Harris, Mrs. Harris Carolina, Mrs. Richard Hildreth, and Rev. T.W. Higginson, as Vice-presidents, and Miss Cariton of Dorchester and William H. Fish, of Hopedale, as Secretarians.

Mrs. Davis took the chair with as address on the hopes and purposes of the Woman’s Rights government and incidentally advised that memorials be made to every State Legislature in the loud, asking for woman the right of citizenship, and that petitions must be everywhere circulated for same – urging zeal in the work.

Mrs. Caroline H. Dall read a report relating to the laws of Massachusetts regarding married women, stating their objectionable features which were as follows:

  1. All that give to the husband the custody of his wife’s person; these are fruitful in cruel
  2. Those which give the husband the exclusive central and guardianship of his children.
  3. Those which give to the husband the sole ownership of a wife’s personal and real estate; those are in part repealed—at least as for as old property not given to the wife by the husband, he concerned—by the 304th section of the statutes for 1858.
  4. Those which give the husband an absolute right to the property of his wife’s industry; all repealed by the Legislatures of 1855, but likely to be put in force again by the next Legislature.
  5. Those which give to the widower a larger and were permanent interest in the property of his deceased with, than they give to the widow in that of her deceased husband.
  6. Those which suspend the legal existence of a wife during marriage.

William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator was a weekly abolitionist newspaper published in Boston. The paper held true to the founder’s ideals. Garrison was a journalistic crusader who advocated the immediate emancipation of all slaves and gained a national reputation for being one of the most radical of American abolitionists.

A Harriot Kezia Hunt Quote

A Harriot Kezia Hunt Quote

Addresses were made, before dinner, by Mrs. Lucy Stone Blackwell, who was in favor of woman voting and by T.W. Higginson, of Worcester, who believed the time would come when it would be a disgrace not to be a Woman’s Rights man.

That evening, Dr. Harriot K. Hunt of Boston presented the following regulations:

Resolved, That the present position assumed by Medical schools, precluding Woman from the educational advantages enjoyed by Man, on the ground of delicacy, virtually acknowledges the impropriety of man over being her medical attendant. [Applause and laughter.]

Resolved, That we will do all in our power the sustain those women , who, from a conviction of duty, enter the medical profession, in their efforts to overcome the evils which have accumulated in their path, and in their attacks upon the strongholds of vice, in which women are so effectual.

Resolved, That the present army of snack nostrums and the utter incompetency of physicians to stay them, and the reception of some of them into the Pharmacopeias, together with the varied pathless and of the day, are suggestive of a need of that higher element in medical life, which can only be supplied by the admission of woman.

William Lloyd Garrison and his daughter, January 1875

William Lloyd Garrison and his daughter, January 1875

Miss Hunt mode a few remarks, chiefly in compliment to Dr. Buchanan’s Eclectic Medical School of Cincinnati, the Starling Medical College of Columbus, and the Cleveland College, all of Ohio, and to all of which woman are admitted. “Think of Massachusetts in this contract!” added Miss Hunt.

On Thursday, Mr. William Lloyd Garrison spoke, he began the evening pledging himself to the advancement of women. It was, he said, a reformation that was destined succeed here and over the world. No good argument can be brought against it.

The objections so it are similar to these made against the freeing of the slave. But this rights of a human being does not depend on sex. Wherever the rights of one human being is defended, there are the rights defended for every other human being on the face of the earth.

Mr. Garrison went on to show that all the Objectives, made to the women’s cause are identical with against the cause of the slave; and belong in the community of oppression. Whoever is not for women’s Rights is not for Human Rights. He is not a Republican.

Source: The Liberator, September 28, 1855
Top Image: Statue of Lucy Stone in the Boston Women’s Memorial