Tag Archives: Women’s History

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…)


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.



Adam was first formed, then Eve

A Sermon on Women by a Lay Preacher

“Adam was first formed, then Eve.” 1st Timothy 2:13.

Among those who evince more conceit than good sense, and more effrontery than wisdom, are to be found some who profess to believe that man is endowed with an intellectual capacity superior to that of woman; and contend that, as Adam was first in primogeniture, and constituted lord of this lower world, so was he made superior in intellect to Eve, who, being the second in creation, was also second in mental power. They also attempt to substantiate the claims of man to greater intelligence than woman, on the ground that husbands are commanded to give honor unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel. And furthermore, that it was owing to the feebler intellect of Eve that Satan, in the great temptation, assailed her, instead of Adam, expecting an easier victory.

Having assumed these facts, most complacently do they fold their arms and, with a compassionate, pitying look on woman, enjoy their fancied superiority! We will now examine these claims, and see if they are tenable.

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.

 In the first place, then, we admit, that Adam was first formed, for it is so stated in the text; but we nowhere find it stated in the record that he was formed greater than Eve. Now, concerning the whole creation, wisdom marks its progress at every step, and wisdom we are commanded to follow and embrace. What man, therefore, if he be wise, and desirous of building a house perfect in all its parts, would not first prepare a model or design of such house, in order to obtain a satisfactory and perfect plan, before the erecting of his edifice? So Adam was first formed. The model being approved, Eve was then made after that model; and as no man, in building a model for his house, uses the same valuable materials that he employs in erecting the house itself, so Adam was made of that coarse material called earth, while Eve was not formed until that substance had undergone a powerful change—had become purified, refined, and sublimated—and then, in the perfection of beauty and excellence, was she produced and given unto Adam, “to be an help, meet for him.” Mark the modesty of Eve: she puts in no offensive claim of superiority, on the score of a more refined nature, but seems content to live with Adam as his equal—and for a while, all was harmony in Paradise.



Woman as Lawyer – The Bar has Surrendered

And now the Bar has surrendered. Woman carried Medicine and Ministry long ago. And now the Legal profession is hers. Some of the newspapers not long since thought the woman question was dying out. They even interpreted the President’s prayer, “ Let us have Peace,” as a hushbaby to the Woman question, with others. When this country has peace again, it will be in the name of justice and liberty, not despotism. Woman is going to possess the land in common with man. The whole land and all that appertains. Province after province surrenders. Here is what the Mount Pleasant (Iowa) Journal says of the admission of a lady lawyer to the bar:

During the term of the District Court, held in this city the fore part of last week, Mrs. Bell A. Mansfield, A. B., (Arabella Mansfield – May 23, 1846 – August 1, 1911 – born Belle Aurelia Babb) of this city was admitted to the bar and authorized to practice in the courts of the state.

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.



What Shall Women Wear? (1869)

by A. K. Gardner, M. D.

Women are born slaves. From their very birth they are fettered, and till they are laid in their coffin their limbs are never free. Petticoats float around their forms in airy fetters, which prohibit any free movement, which debars them from running, jumping, ascending hills or stairs, riding, active walking—in fact, of any prolonged movement requiring freedom of limb and unconstrained action. The only species of mankind that can be compared to her is the Turk, who fetters his limbs in almost an equal manner, but otherwise he is free.

Woman, additionally, however, restrains the use of her arms almost as much as her lower extremities. Often she envelops them with a flappy covering, which is constantly in the way, getting into one’s soup-plate, catching on every hook, nail, knot and projection. But if by chance of fashion it be tight and less obnoxious at a dinner party, the sleeve commences so low down upon the arm that it is impossible to elevate the hand even up to the head, far less to be able to reach to turn on the gas, to put a book on a shelf, to open a window, even to arrange a stray lock upon the head, and all hairdressing must be done before the garments are put on, or devolved upon an assistant waiting-maid.

As if this were not sufficient restraint, the fabrics from which her garments are made are of such flimsy material that they can ill suffer the slightest contact with the ordinary objects that surround them—a thorn, a splinter, or a nail brings desolation and incapacity; a drop of rain or a spark of fire are alike fearful, and the care and time necessary to safely pass a splash upon the sidewalk is only less than the difficulty man experiences in getting around the voluminous trains of the lady herself.

It would be useless to inquire “What shall women wear?” if the question had reference to the decrees of fashion, for, besides the fact stated already, that woman so dresses herself that she is rendered incapable of any active employment, she is also so completely under the thralldom of fashion, that it would be useless for me to make any attempt to interfere with or regulate the style of her external apparel.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.