Tag Archives: Women’s History
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What is Cruel Treatment? (1878)

CRUEL WORDS AS MUCH A GROUND
FOR DIVORCE AS PHYSICAL INJURIES.

Judge Sedgwick, of New York, has filed in a divorce suit an opinion that is novel as well as important to wives. Cruel and inhuman treatment forms one statutory cause for limited divorce, with alimony and care of children; but hitherto the current of opinion has been that this phrase signifies treatment of an exclusively physical nature.

The judge in referring to the allegations and evidence against the ill-treatment of the wife by the husband in Kennedy vs. Kennedy, said: “This constitutes cruel and inhuman treatment as meant by the statute, even if no bodily injury was done to her. There was sleeplessness and the consequences of nervous shock and derangement, which things are as definitely ‘bodily’ as the results of a blow, and last longer unless the blow is murderous. The plaintiff should have judgment for a separation.”

In this case the husband had employed his tongue as the sole weapon instead of his hand, a knife or stick.

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 rapid advance in public sentiment is truly wonderful. What a change from the time a man might beat his wife with a club or whip her with a stick as big as his thumb, down to this decision which forbids abusive language toward her. Great pains were taken in olden time to save a man from his wife’s tongue, in case she felt like using that little instrument in retaliation. There were stocks and the ducking stool for scolding wives, little implements of wife subjugation brought along by our puritan fathers to keep in due subordination the puritan mothers.

All honor to Judge Sedgwick for his decision against a husband’s cruel words, from which many a woman suffers whose husband prides himself upon the kindness with which he treats her; killing kindness, for no more “cruel and inhuman treatment” is possible than the tongue can give. Words kill.

Source: National Citizen and Ballot Box, September 1878


The Colored Woman of Today - 1897

The Colored Woman of Today: Some Notable Types (1897)

By Fannie Barrier Williams

There is something very interesting and wonderfully hopeful in the development of the woman side of the colored race in this country, yet no women amongst us are so little known as the thousands of bright, alert, cultured, and gracious colored women of to-day.

Mrs. Fannie Barrier Williams.

Mrs. Fannie Barrier Williams.

A little over a century ago colored women had no social status, and indeed only thirty years ago the term “womanhood” was not large enough in this Christian republic to include any woman of African descent. No one knew her, no one was interested in her. Her birthright was supposed to be all the social evils that had been the dismal heritage of her race for two centuries. This is still the popular verdict to an astounding degree in all parts of our country. A national habit is not easily cured, and the habit of the American people, who indiscriminately place all colored women on the lowest social levels in this country, has tended to obscure from view and popular favor some of the most interesting women in the land.

Mrs. Josephine Bartlett, Chicago.

Mrs. Josephine Bartlett, Chicago.

But in spite of these prejudicial hindrances and a lack of confidence the young colored women of this generation are emerging from obscurity in many interesting ways that will happily surprise those who have never known them by their womanly qualities and graceful accomplishments. Such women seem to have no relationship to the slavery conditions of the yesterday of history. In a surprisingly brief period of time they have been completely lifted out of the past by the Americanism which transforms and moulds into higher forms all who come under the spell of American free institutions.

It should also be noted that the thousands of cultured and delightfully useful women of the colored race who are worth knowing and who are prepared to co-operate with white women in all good efforts, are simply up-to-date new women in the best sense of that much-abused term. If there be one virtue that is conspicuous in the characters of these women it is the passion to be useful and active in everything that befits high-minded and cultivated women.

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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Men for Women’s Suffrage (1911)

(The Western Woman Voter/October 1911) An incident full of meaning at the Sixth Congress of the International Suffrage Alliance which convened this summer at Stockholm was the formation of an International Men’s League for Woman Suffrage.

Fraternal Delegates from Men’s Leagues of five nations sat in the Congress waiting to make their addresses. They attracted the attention of the International President, and deploring the loss of so much power, she remarked early in the congress that they might put in time to good advantage by starting a Men’s League in Sweden. It was a spark to powder. The League was formed forthwith, with literary, university, parliamentary and other lights combining in one blaze of suffrage enthusiasm, and from this national league the men went on to an international one.

Another noteworthy event was the unanimous vote of the Alliance that it should not ally itself with any political party but should keep the suffrage issue single. This decision was reached after a debate covering two days, and in spite of the fact that some of the delegates were, personally, strong partisans, so that the unanimous vote was the more significant. The Americans, from the first, supported this policy.

At this Congress for the first time in the history of woman suffrage the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (American) sent a fraternal delegate to a “women ‘s rights” meeting. Mary Garrett Hay of New York bore the greetings.

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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Woman In Japan – Godey’s Lady’s Book (1886)

This profile on the women of Japan appeared in the March 1886 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

By Helen H.S. Thompson

There are two distinct types of physiognomy strongly indicated among the Japanese women. The higher classes possess clearly cut features, on fine, long, oval faces, deep sunken eye sockets, oblique eyes, with long, drooping lids, and high arched eyebrows, lofty, narrow forehead, small red lips, pointed chin, and very small hands and feet.

Among the agricultural and laboring class, are seen the round flattened face, level eyes and expanded nose. The grotesque pictures of Japanese life familiar to all, are usually drawn from this class. The ladies of Japan are noticeable for taste in dress, and when occasion requires are attired in elegant and splendid costumes. The grace and richness of the attire worn by the women of rank and wealth is a frequent surprise to the traveler. In our travel through the empire we were not infrequently guests in an ex- damio’s home, and among the samarai class, where we beheld long, trailing robes of exquisitely embroidered silks, chiefly of white, crimson or ashen hues, open bodice crossed and filled in with soft, rich laces, that would delight a connoisseur; luxuriant hair flowing over the shoulders, or bound in one beautiful tress, or formed into an elegant and indescribable coiffure upon the head, each indicating age and condition, whether maiden, wife or widow, with picturesque fan, flowing, open sleeve, punctilious etiquette and charming manners.

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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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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