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Notes from the Dress Reform Convention of 1856

Victorian dress reform was an objective of the Victorian dress reform movement (also known as the rational dress movement) of the middle and late Victorian era, comprising various reformers who proposed, designed, and wore clothing considered more practical and comfortable than the fashions of the time. Dress reformists were largely middle class women involved in the first wave of feminism in the United States and in Britain, from the 1850s through the 1890s.

Dress Reform Convention

(The Lily, May 1856)  Thursday and Friday, the 21st and 22d of February, were pleasant, happy days in Glen Haven. Pleasant days! Happy days! Not merely that winter had relaxed his suilen benumbing grasp, that the merry sunshine and genial warmth filled the air, that gentle zephys whispered of coming spring, but because the hearts and souls of many people were filled with noble aspiration, bounding hope and generous resolve. The great heart of Nature and the heart of man beat in union.

On those days there met together noble men and women, who with one accord lifted their voices in praise of God and his handiwork—man; thanking God for his blessings of life, health, happiness, and the promise of an eternal progression, and who, not content with depreciating the evils that “Mar the harmonies of life,” bound themselves in fraternal bond to work steadily, cordially, and unremittingly for their overthrow.

That on the pallid cheek of woman, the rose of health again may bloom; that the lifeless, hopeless glance of her eye may give way to the sparkling cheerfulness which betokens a poor soul in a sound body; that lassitude, languor, vacillation, and inefficiency shall no longer sit enthroned in the temple of the soul, but in their stead hope and power, vigor, and a wisely-tempered resolution; these are the ends to which their actions tend. Is there one who does not bid them God speed?

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Women’s Suffrage Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily (1849-1856), National Citizen and Ballot Box (1878-1881), The Revolution (1868-1872), The New Citizen (1909-1912), The Western Woman Voter (1911-1913), and the antisuffrage newspaper, The Remonstrance (1890-1913).

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silkworms

The Origin of the Mother of Silkworms as Told to Chinese Children

Retold by Alice Hamilton Rich

(Frank Leslie’s Weekly, May 15, 1902) ONCE THERE was a King who had no sons and but one daughter. It was a great disappointment not to have a son, but those who cast the horoscope of the daughter told him that his daughter would be a great blessing to the kingdom while she lived, and at her death would bequeath untold riches. As this story was widely known, the princess had many admirers who sought betrothal with her. And the King was greatly distressed as to choice of the right one. When she was grown she was very beautiful—so beautiful that myriads of pilgrims came to the temple to beg for the gift of beauty, and to burn incense. This brought prosperity, and thus the prophecy at her birth was fulfilled. But the King could no longer delay the betrothal of his daughter, as so many princes desired her that the kingdom was continually in trouble with other kingdoms. One day the princess’s father was out hunting, when a powerful King surprised him and carried him captive to a far-away kingdom. The prime minister and privy councilors met and issued an edict saying the hand of the princess would be given to the man who rescued the King.

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.
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voting-machines-1911-og

Voting Machines in the United States (1911)

(The Western Woman Voter, April 1911) Voting machines are in use in nearly one thousand cities and towns in the United States. These machines count the ballots as they are cast, so that twenty minutes after the close of the election the result is known. There is, moreover, a much smaller percentage of lost votes than by the ballot method. In San Francisco, where the machines were in use before the fire, the percentage of the votes cast that was recorded and counted was 99⅞. No large city ever showed such high percentage of the ballots cast actually counted.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Women’s Suffrage Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily (1849-1856), National Citizen and Ballot Box (1878-1881), The Revolution (1868-1872), The New Citizen (1909-1912), The Western Woman Voter (1911-1913), and the antisuffrage newspaper, The Remonstrance (1890-1913).

The laws of New York, California, Indiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, Minnesota, New Jersey, Iowa, Connecticut, Utah, Ohio, Nebraska, Michigan and Montana permit the use of voting machines and in all of these states they are gradually taking the place of the paper ballot. (more…)


easter-eggs-1902

What Easter Means to the Egg (1902)

(Frank Leslies Weekly, March 27, 1902) Perhaps you don’t know that the egg, which is such an important part of the interest in Easter Day, the egg which is stained blue or scarlet or yellow or which is decorated with the face of a Chinaman or something of that sort, has gone through a long and tedious course of inspection before it reaches you. So that the dealer who sells the egg, if he is informed in his calling, can tell whether it is old, whether its shell is slightly cracked, whether it has been touched with the frost, or whether there is water inside. For the egg business, having become one of the most important industries of the country, has been the subject of great thought and study by men who have made huge fortunes from the product of the hen.

I visited, the other day, one of the largest egg houses in New York when the rush of their Easter business was on. The Easter time is the very busiest time in all the year for the produce men. In the spring, of course, the traffic in eggs is the heaviest, because it is then that the hens, delighting in the warmth of the first, spring sunshine, lay the largest quantity. And the biggest, day among the egg merchants of New York is always the Friday before Easter, when the grocers are buying their eggs for Easter Sunday. In the commission house where I called there was great hurry among the men, who were unloading cases of eggs from some of the wagons and loading other cases on to other wagons. Many of the eggs had come in by express and were delivered by the express companies. After they had been received at the office the new arrivals were sent at once to the inspection department.

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.
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Easter-OG

The Origin of Easter by Jane A. Stewart [1906]

(Frank Leslie’s Weekly, April 12, 1906) To the student of the world’s history there is great interest and food for reflection in the facts concerning the origin of the religious observance of Easter. Strange though it may seem, this popular church festival dates back to a heathen custom. Our twentieth-century celebration is the modern evolution of heathen ideals and the transformation by Christian usage and environment of a great popular pagan festival of olden time—that of the goddess Ostara. In the Anglo-Saxon language this festival was termed “Eastre,” and the name was applied to a celebration which the Saxons of old were wont to observe about the same season at which the Christian festival of Easter takes place.

The goddess Ostara seems to have been regarded as the personification of the morning, or of the east, and also of the opening year, or the beginning of spring. Apropos of this heathen representative of the east, it is to be noted that from very early times the east has been held in certain distinction above the other points of the compass and enveloped with a sort of sacred halo. The ancient worshipers of the sun used to place their altars in the eastern part of their temples facing the rising orb of day. That the east had a certain sacred character is evidenced in the Scriptures, which contain several noteworthy references: “The glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east” (Ezekiel xliii., 2); “There came wise men from the east to Jerusalem” (Matthew ii., 1); “And, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them” (Matthew ii., 9.) A high regard for the east was manifested by the early Christians, who perpetuated the idea handed down from their ancestors. Looking toward the sun in the east, in praying or repeating the creed, was thought to put worshipers in remembrance that Christ is the sun of righteousness, and such was the attitude in olden times during devotion —a custom now obsolete.

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.
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