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More Women’s History: The Woman’s Tribune, 1883-1909

The Woman’s Tribune, with its motto in the masthead: “Equality Before The Law,” was launched by Clara Bewick Colby from her home in Beatrice, Nebraska in August 1883. The Woman’s Tribune and Colby as publisher – also editor, typesetter, and correspondent — would become one of America’s most outspoken proponents of Women’s Suffrage and political rights.

Clara Bewick Colby

Clara Bewick Colby

The Woman’s Tribune’s audience included many of the leading activists within the Women’s Suffrage movement, as well as potential suffragist converts among women in the trans-Mississippi West. Colby worked hard to establish the newspaper’s philosophical identity at a time when the Suffrage Movement was characterized by opposing, often vitriolic, factions.

Susan B. Anthony, on more than one occasion, considered The Woman’s Tribune as the organ of the National Woman Suffrage Association, even though the Tribune was never formally affiliated with any national group.

As the second-longest-running woman suffrage newspaper, it was significant for several reasons –

  • Unlike many other Suffrage newspapers, the Tribune was designed as a general circulation newspaper.
  • Colby believed that her newspaper should connect suffrage to other issues of importance and interest to women, particularly to the rural women of the Midwest and West.
  • Political and international issues were presented in the newspaper – Colby was the first officially-recognized woman war correspondent representing a woman’s newspaper during the Spanish-American War.
  • The Tribune was probably the first woman’s paper fully published by a woman.
  • Highly regarded by Suffrage Movement leaders. Elizabeth Cady Stanton considered it “the best suffrage paper ever published” and allowed it to serialize two of her most important works, her autobiography and The Woman’s Bible.

This collection comprises the complete run of all 724 issues subdivided into five parts by date range:

  • The Woman’s Tribune, Part I: 1883-1887
  • The Woman’s Tribune, Part II: 1888-1892
  • The Woman’s Tribune, Part III: 1893-1897
  • The Woman’s Tribune, Part IV: 1898-1902
  • The Woman’s Tribune, Part V: 1903-1909

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Won’t You Help Shun that “Spanish” Bug? (1918)

Surgeon General’s Office Tells How To Make the Influenza Germ Die of Loneliness

Washington, Oct. 11.—“What is Spanish influenza ?”

Army Medical Department officers on duty at the Surgeon General’s Office when asked this question the other day pointed out that the disease known as “Spanish Influenza ” is identical with influenza and that the prefix “Spanish” came to be used on the supposition that it had started in Spain this year.

The symptoms of influenza are, a severe headache, pains in the bones and muscles, especially in the back and legs; marked prostration; fever running as high as 104; sometimes nausea; also a seeming sore throat. There is a little running from the nose and eyes and some sneezing and coughing.

Our collection, America and World War I: American Military Camp Newspapers, addresses a topic and period that continues to be of the widest interest and importance to scholars, students, and the general public – America in the World War I Era. Camp newspapers make important original source material—much of it written by soldiers for soldiers—readily available for research.

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Reading Aloud for Better Health (1861)

Reading aloud is one of those exercises which combine mental and muscular effort, and hence has a double advantage.

To read aloud well, a person should not only understand the subject, but should hear his own voice, and feel within him that every syllable was distinctly enunciated, while there is an instinct presiding which modulates the voice to the number and distance of the hearers. Every public speaker ought to be able to tell whether he is distinctly heard by the farthest auditor in the room; if he is not, it is from a want of proper judgment and observation.

Reading aloud helps to develop the lungs just as singing does, if properly performed. The effect is to induce the drawing of a long breath every once in a while, oftener and deeper than of reading without enunciating. These deep inhalations never fail to develop the capacity of the lungs in direct proportion to their practice.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

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The Search for Family after the Civil War

The Christian Recorder was first published in 1854 under the editorship of the Rev. J.P. Campbell. This early edition was short-lived, however, and in 1861, under the editorship of Elisha Weaver, the New Series, Volume 1 began. Under this new leadership the Recorder was introduced into the South by distribution among the negro regiments in the Union army. Benjamin T. Tanner became editor in 1867, and was followed in that position in 1885 by the Rev. Benjamin F. Lee who served until 1892.

The Christian Recorder embodied secular as well as religious material, and included good coverage of the black regiments together with the major incidents of the Civil War. The four-page weekly contained such departments as Religious Intelligence, Domestic News, General Items, Foreign News, Obituaries, Marriages, Notices and Advertisements.

After the war, this nationally distributed weekly paper contained hundreds and hundreds of personal ads like the ones below under the heading of Information Wanted.

December 26, 1863: Can any person inform me of the whereabouts of Miss Rebecca Dowden, of Philadelphia, formerly of Baltimore, Md. She has been residing in Philadelphia. Her sister-in-law, Mrs. Elizabeth Field, died in Woodstown, N.J., about three years ago. Her daughter, Harried Dowden, is deceased. The estate of the parties is to be settled, and the presence of Elizabeth Dowden is necessary. Any information concerning her can be left in Montcalm street with Mr. Alexander Toscos, or at No. 619 Pine Street. (Signed,) Mrs. Mary Dowden, Baltimore, Md.

January 2, 1864: Can any one inform me of the whereabouts of Miss Susan Onely, who came from Virginia, in the year 1847, to the City of Philadelphia, Pa., and was raised principally by a Quaker family, by the name of Willets, who reside on the corner of 5th and Callowhill Sts., Phila. The last account we heard of her, was, that she had gone somewhere in the State to live. Any information of her whereabouts will be thankfully received by her brother, John E. Onely, No. 33 Chapel St., Brooklyn, L.I., or at the office of the Christian Recorder, 619, Pine Street, Philadelphia.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.
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General Jesup: Treachery – Vile and Unblushing (1838)

(The Colored American/February 3, 1838) The conduct of General Jesup (see note) in decoying the Indians within his power by means of “the flag of truce,” and then sending them to a dungeon, is in the highest degree abominable. It must and certainly will bring down the indignation of heaven. It is not enough that the solemn treaties made with the poor red man, by which their lands were guaranteed, are ruthlessly violated, and the Indians, by the white man’s rapacity, driven far away from the graves of their fathers.

But now TREACHERY is added to COVENANT BREAKING. The doctrine that MIGHT MAKES RIGHT is practiced again. What a miserable wretch this called General Jesup must be, deliberately to plan such treachery upon the poor unsuspecting Indian.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.
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