Tag Archives: Women’s History
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 Those which give to the husband the sole ownership of a wife’s personal and real estate; those are in part repealed—at least as for as old property not given to the wife by the husband, he concerned—by the 304th section of the statutes for 1858.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


Women-Testifying

Suffrage: The Women in Washington (1870)

A Deputation from the National Woman’s Suffrage Association consisting of Mrs. M. E. Joslyn Gage, Charlotte B. Wilbour, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Paulina Wright Davis, Madam Anneke, Martha C. Wright, Rev. Olympia Brown, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Phoebe Couzens, Josephine S. Griffiing, and Susan B. Anthony, was appointed from the Convention to wait on the District Committees and ask a hearing, which was granted for Saturday, Jan. 22, 1870.

The Deputation attended by a large number of distinguished friends of the cause appeared at the Capitol, crowding one of the large committee rooms. The Joint Committees from the Senate and the House consisting of Honorables Hamlin, Sumner, Patterson, Rice, Vickers, Pratt, Harris, Cook, Welcker, Williams, Cowles, Bowles, Gilfillen, were punctual to the minute, and gave the ladies a respectful hearing of two hours.

Hannibal Hamlin

Hannibal Hamlin, United States Senator from Maine

Senator Hamlin, Chairman of the Senate Committee on the District of Columbia, called the meeting to order and spoke as follows:

We have met this morning for the purpose of considering two petitions which have been presented, I believe, only to the Senate Committee of the District of Columbia. The first one is a petition, very numerously signed, I think, by both ladies and gentlemen of this city; and, in a few brief words, it adds that: “The undersigned, residents of the District of Columbia, earnestly, but respectfully request that you extend the Right of Suffrage to the women of the District of Columbia.” The other memorial, very nearly as brief, is in these words: “The undersigned citizens of the United States pray your honorable body that in the proposed amendments to the Constitution which may come before you in regard to Suffrage, and in any law affecting Suffrage, in the District of Columbia or in any Territory, the right of voting may be given to the women on the same terms as to the men.

Some of the testimony was reported in The Revolution on January 27, 1870.

Mrs. HOOKER: The fifth commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother,” could not be obeyed while boys are taught by our laws and constitutions to hold all women in contempt. She felt it was not only woman’s right but duty to assume responsibility in the government. She thought the importance of the subject demanded its hearing.

Madam ANNEKE: You have lifted up the slave on this continent; listen now to women’s cry for freedom.

Mrs. GAGE: Liberty is an instinct of the human heart, and men desirous of creating change in governments or religion have led other men by promising them greater liberty, more freedom, and better laws. Nothing is too good or too great for humanity—nothing is too sacred for humanity—and, as part of humanity, woman as well as man demands the best that governments have to offer. Woman demands the ballot equally with man. Honorable gentlemen have spoken of petitions. For twenty years we have petitioned, and I now hold in my hand over three thousand names of citizens from but a small portion of the state of New York asking that justice shall be done women by granting them suffrage. But people have become tired of begging for rights, and many persons favoring this cause will not again petition. We but ask justice, and we say to you that the stability of any government depends upon its doing justice to the most humble individual in it.

Mrs. DAVIS: We are tired of petitioning. It is time our legislators knew what was right and gave us justice.

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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Women of the War-OG

Twelve Women of the Civil War

These are just a few of the women whose work and character are celebrated in Frank Moore’s 1867 book Women of the war; their heroism and self-sacrifice. The full text and illustrations from this book can be browsed or searched in The Civil War Collection: Part II: The Soldiers’ Perspective by Accessible Archives users.

From the Introduction

Mrs. Fanny Ricketts

Mrs. Fanny Ricketts

The story of the war will never be fully or fairly written if the achievements of women in it are untold. They do not figure in the official reports; they are not gazetted for deeds as gallant as ever were done; the names of thousands are unknown beyond the neighborhood where they live, or the hospitals where [Page vi] they loved to labor; yet there is no feature in our war more creditable to us as a nation, none from its positive newness so well worthy of record.

It is the object of this book to gather and present narratives of the services in the war of some of the women who shared its perils, and ought to inherit its glories. Their experiences are varied, and include both sufferings and adventures, the narration of which cannot fail to warm the heart and excite admiration wherever they are read. They may be taken as representatives of the thousand others whose good deeds are a crown to the national glory.

The Women

  • MRS. FANNY RICKETTS — More than once was her husband mangled under the iron wheel of battle. Once he was reported dead, and his dying words and his sword were brought to the agonized wife. But she overcame all obstacles, penetrated the hostile lines, reached the side of his bloody stretcher, went into captivity with him, and made his spared life and recovered health the monument of her unwavering and heroic devotion
  • MRS. MARY A. BRADY — On the 28th of July, 1862, Mrs. Brady was elected president of an association with the goal of creating committees, who, in turn, should visit the different wards of the United States Hospital, for the, purpose of ameliorating the condition of the sick and wounded soldiers, and to establish a depot of sanitary supplies. From that day to the hour of her death – not quite two years after -her labors were unceasing, her devotion unbounded, and her discretion unerring in the great enterprise of the sanitary well-being of the soldiers of the republic.
  • KADY BROWNELL THE HEROINE OF NEWBERN — Accustomed to arms and soldiers from infancy, she learned to love the camp; and it was not strange, years later, when she had come to America and married a young mechanic in Providence, that the recollections of the camp fire in front of her father’s tent, as well as the devotion of a newly-married wife, and loyalty to the Union, prompted her to follow her husband, stand beside him in battle, and share all his hardships.
  • MARGARET E. BRECKINRIDGE — In April, 1862, Miss Breckinridge left her home in Princeton for the West, and with the full intention of devoting herself to the soldiers for the war. Remaining some weeks in Baltimore, she there commenced her hospital labors; and the letters she wrote from that place show the hearty satisfaction she took in the work, and the deep interest she felt in the individual cases committed to her care.
  • MRS. ELIDA RUMSEY FOWLE — From the fall of 1861, till after the battle of Gettysburg, and near the close of the war, Miss Rumsey gave herself unremittingly to labors for the good, the comfort, the social, moral, and mental well-being of the soldier. She was as wholly devoted and absorbed in such voluntary labors as though she had enlisted, and was in duty bound, and under a military oath of consecration.
  • BRIDGET DIVERS — In the commencement of the war, she went out with the first Michigan cavalry, and through the war continued to act with and for that organization. She knew every man in the regiment, and could speak of his character, his wants, his sufferings, and the facts of his military record. Her care and kindness extended to the moral and religious wants, as well as the health, of the men of her regiment, as she always called it. In the absence of the chaplain she came to the Christian Commission for books and papers for the men, saying that she was the acting chaplain, and appearing to take a very deep interest in the moral and religious well-being of them all.
  • MRS. ISABELLA FOGG — When her son enlisted, Mrs. Fogg thought her duty no longer obscure, and offered her services, without compensation, to the governor and surgeon-general of the state, and under their direction spent several weeks in preparing and collecting sanitary and hospital stores.
  • MRS. MARY W. LEE — Her first efforts in behalf of the soldiers in our great war were in the hospital of the Union Refreshment Saloon, in Philadelphia. When the conflict assumed the serious and bloody proportions that we saw in the summer of 1862, Mrs. Lee felt that she could do more good nearer the field of action. She went down to Harrison’s Landing on the Spaulding, a hospital transport, and there she found that enterprising and indefatigable army worker, Mrs Harris, with whom she gladly cooperated in the arduous duties and melancholy scenes that attended the disastrous finale of the Peninsular campaign.
  • MISS MAJOR PAULINE CUSHMAN — A brilliant and impulsive actress, whose life, if it could be fully written, would sound like some tale of romance, is of French and Spanish descent, and was born in New Orleans, in 1833. Early in the year 1863, while playing in Wood’s Theatre, she received many attentions from paroled rebel officers. Upon reflection, it occurred to Miss Cushman that here was afforded her an admirable opportunity of serving her country, and at the same time gratifying her own love of romance and wild adventure. She at once sought and obtained an interview with Colonel Moore, the provost marshal, who, after serious consultation, and becoming convinced of her genuine loyalty, received her proposition to enter the secret service of the United States.
  • MRS. JOHN HARRIS — If there were any such vain decorations of human approbation as a crown, or a wreath, or a star for her, who in our late war has done the most, and labored the longest, who visited the greatest number of hospitals, prayed with the greatest number of suffering and dying soldiers, penetrated nearest to the front, and underwent the greatest amount of fatigue and exposure for the soldier, — that crown or that star would be rightfully given to Mrs. John Harris, of Philadelphia.
  • MISS MARY E. SHELTON — During the year 1864, and all the early part of 1865, for some time after the war ended, Miss Shelton was constantly in the field, acting a portion of the time as secretary to Mrs. Wittenmeyer; at other times taking charge of special diet kitchens in the different hospitals.
  • CARRIE SHEADS — The name of Carrie Sheads, besides its association with that great battle-field at Gettysburg, will be remembered as of one who, being summoned, by the terrible boom of hostile cannon, from a life of quiet and scholastic seclusion, met the terrible demands of the hour with the calmness of a heroine, and, amid the roar and crash of battle, and the fierce hate of the fiery belligerents, acted with a discretion and genuine courage which entitle her name and her act to be held in perpetual remembrance by the daughters of America.

Part II of our Civil War collection, The Soldiers’ Perspective, provides an in-depth look at the day-to-day actions of the troops themselves primarily in the form of regimental histories.

MADAME VIOLET LE BRUN Portraits

Women Past and Present (October 1879)

This list appeared in National Citizen and Ballot Box in October 1879. 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.

Women Past and Present

KADIJAH, the first wife of Mahomet, and the only one during her life, was celebrated by him, as the “Woman of Faith,” she having embraced his doctrines and believed in him, when he was poor, unknown and without power. Kadijah was a rich widow of noble family, much older than Mahomet. She was engaged in commerce; her caravans traversed the desert, the camels laden with tissues and Indian pearls. She gave to Mahomet the direction of her business, which he conducted so much to her satisfaction that she sent, according to Arab custom, an old man to him to explain her feelings and suggest marriage. Mahomet treated her ever with the greatest deference, taking no other wife while she lived; neither did he absorb her property, not touching it without her permission. Two sons, who died in their infancy, and four daughters who lived and accepted his faith, were the results of this union.

AISHE (Ayesha) was of marvellous beauty and the favorite wife of Mahomet. He married her when she was but eight years of age. She was endowed with all the charms of mind and body most esteemed by the Arabs; elegant figure, majestic gait, lustrous humid eyes, “like a star in a well,” abundant dark hair. She was Mahomet’s counsellor and his confidant. Although the charms of Aiche were sung by poets and celebrated in Arab traditions, she is said to have retained the love of Mahomet by the power of her intellect, her wise counsels and her faithfulness. In his old age, she alone knew the secrets of his heart.

ZAYNAH, another of Mahomet’s wives, was distinguished among all his wives for her benevolence and charity. She was called “the Mother of the Poor.”

FATIMA was the youngest daughter of Kadijah and Mahomet. From her are descended the green-turbaned Musselmans who style themselves sherife, and claim to have in their veins some of the blood of the prophet.

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.
Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

MARIE ANTOINETTE, the lovely queen of France who was sacrifieed during the Reign of Terror, is described as tall, admirably proportioned, with lovely arms, perfectly shaped hands and charming feet, holding her head very upright, with a majesty which did not detract from her sweetness, and walking better than any woman in France,—a very elegant and beautiful woman. Her complexion is described as extremely brilliant, and delicately tinted. But as sweet and as gracious and as beautiful as she was, she failed to gain the French people’s heart, who named her in derision, “The Austrian.” and who at last guillotined her.

MADAME Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun was a celebrated portrait painter who died in Paris in 1842, at the age of 87. She inherited her talent from her father, and before she was fourteen her work had introduced her to the public and brought her the notice of eminent artists. At twenty, she married a man who dissipated her large earnings in low company and gambling. Soon after her marriage, her rooms were the evening resort of noblemen, great ladies, courtiers, townsfolk, men of mark in letters and art, and so crowded that the marshals of France had to sit on the floor. The best musical composers often performed portions of their work in her salon before public representation, and poets recited their verses at her little suppers. To the close of her long life, her home still possessed attractions to all classes of persons. Hers is among the statues of celebrated women to be set up in the new Hotel de Ville. (more…)


Cornell-University

Should the Sexes Study Together? (1868)

My Dear Mrs. Stanton: Allow me to say in reply to the Many queries on the subject of educating the sexes together, and particularly in reference to a desire you expressed to me, when passing some time in your society under the roof of a mutual friend at Peterboro, that the Cornell University should commence its labors with an organization of both sexes, that the Cornell University as I understand it, is neither a college nor a school, but a combination of both: in which every liberal art and science is to be, not exclusively, but universally taught. The mental as well as the physical and material. Indeed, the word University signifies an assemblage of colleges and schools. It is a body selected from the head of these colleges and schools to govern the whole. It is a mistake, then, to call it a “Free Agricultural College.” This is only one of its many departments, of which you can easily satisfy yourself by a careful perusal of a “Report of the committee on organization, presented to the Trustees of the Cornell University, October 21, 1866, by the Hon. Andrew D. White. “That an University founded upon the liberal principles of the Cornell, would be of great service in the cause of woman’s higher education, I admit; but I am not in a position to state whether an association of the sexes, in the pursuit of such education, would be an advantage either to society or the country at large. In the study of poetry, music and dramatic literature, in which I am especially interested, I think it would be an advantage to include the presence and association of the fair sex, whether in the schools or at the public lectures. Indeed, should a professorship of these refining branches of education be established at Cornell University, it would, I think, necessitate the admission of ladies to that especial course.

I have no objection to the development of the mind, to the utmost, in either sex, but in the woman, I would very much prefer that the heart should be thoroughly cultivated. There is, in both sexes, too little stress laid on the education of the heart and the affections, in preparing for a life which is to be spent in personal aggrandizement or in developing the physical resources of a new country. Yet, a cultivation of the moral and intellectual sides of both man and woman’s nature has much to do with the formation of a pure domestic and social life, and of their ultimate rest and happiness.

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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