Tag Archives: Women’s History
dress-reform-bloomers

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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Who Shall Teach

Who Should Teach our Children? (1856)

(From the Woman’s Department of Indiana Farmer) Much has been said and written upon the subject of schools, and the education of the young. At the present time it seems to occupy and interest deeply the public mind. To parents it is a subject of deep and abiding interest —for upon this rests the future happiness and well-being of their children as well as prosperity and success of our republican government.

It is in the common schools, these nurseries of leaning, the young and impressible mind receives its first impressions of book knowledge in many, indeed most cases. The inquisitive mind of childhood is continually seeking after knowledge—grasping after hidden stores—longing to fathom the mystery which, as yet, it cannot comprehend.

Then of what vast importance that kind, judicious teachers be selected, to unfold the hidden treasures of learning to eager impulsive childhood. Parents should acquaint themselves with the general character of those to whom they entrust the management and control of their children.

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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Post 2019-01-26

Ballots for Women: Giving or Forcing?

Members of the Massachusetts legislature, or of the legislatures of other states, who are urged to vote this winter for suffrage bills or amendments, should remember that what they are really asked to do is not to give the ballot to women, but to force it upon them.

That is what it really amounts to. The suffragists are admittedly a minority among women. As a matter of fact,—though this they do not admit—they are a small minority. Tested in any way one pleases,—by the membership of their organizations, by the signers to their petitions, or by the votes cast at school elections,—they are a small minority.

Actions speak louder than words. If the suffragists do not know that they are a small minority, why do they always bitterly oppose every proposal to submit the question to a referendum of women’s votes?

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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Paris

Paris Gossip and Fashion Notes in Godey’s Lady’s Book (November 1890)

The latest Parisian craze is the stare! A crazier-looking picture it would be hard to find; but the stare is, nevertheless, the fashion. In order to “do it” you must assume a look of utter abstraction and appear to be gazing at something all unseen by your friends and well-wishers; but which, in its contemplation, causes you to open your eyes very wide, and to persevere in doing this strange and uncalled-for thing. What you see apparently appalls you. And yet, the prettiest women are staring persistently in this insane way. What will not fashion’s votaries do?

Fashions are growing more eccentric daily; the more extreme they are, the more popular they become. Lace is regaining much of its past favor, although always popular, it has not been so universally used for the last few years; but now all kinds are in great demand. Black lace flounces have been in oblivion for some time; but the happy possessors can bring them forth, as they are growing in favor for trimming silks and velvets, and Worth has the daring to festoon them on the light cloth gowns now worn in the evening, while some of the famous Paris milliners are trimming felt hats with black lace. There are jetted net flounces that must be scantily gathered to show their beauty, and others lightly wrought with gold, steel or silver, or with tinsels of many colors. Raised figures of gold or of steel are most effective on black laces, others are jeweled in Russian fashion, and some of the prettiest are studded with turquoises amid gold, or pink coral with silver. The three-inch trimming laces with turquoises or corals have also pretty insertions of similar designs.

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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Pews

The 1850 National Woman’s Rights Convention and People of Color

The first National Women’s Rights Convention began on October 23, 1850, in Worcester, Massachusetts in the USA.

The National Women’s Rights Convention became an annual series of meetings that increased the visibility of the early women’s rights movement in the United States.

Parker Pillsbury

Parker Pillsbury

The National Women’s Rights Convention combined both male and female leadership, and attracted a wide base of support including temperance advocates and abolitionists. Speeches were given on the subjects of equal wages, expanded education and career opportunities, women’s property rights, marriage reform, abolition, racial equality, and temperance.

Chief among the concerns discussed at the convention was the passage of laws that would give suffrage to women.

A letter in a Pittsburgh newspaper criticized the convention for statements made for the record to include people of color in the demands for equality.

This is Parker Pillsbury’s response to that criticism. It appeared in the December 5, 1850 issue of Frederick Douglass’s newspaper, The North Star. This paper can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspaper Collection.

Parker Pillsbury (1809-1898) was an American minister and advocate for abolition and women’s rights.


DEAR MRS. SWISSHELM: – In the last Visitor, you say of a resolution relating to people of color, offered by Mr. Wendell Phillips in the late Convention of Women, at Worcester, Mass.

“We are pretty nearly out of patience with the dogged perseverance with which so many of our Reformers persist in their attempt to do everything at once.”

And again:

“In a Women’s Rights Convention , the question of color had no right to a hearing.”

It seemed as though the usually kindly spirit and good judgment of the Visiter were a little wanting in these two utterances. I should not have noticed it at all in most of the public journals – indeed, I neither know nor care what but few of them do say; for I should no more think of having them in my house, political or religious, than I would of inoculating the family with the foulest leprosy that ever unjointed the bones of a son of Abraham. But your Visiter finds a ready entrance and cheerful greeting so that we are a little solicitous about its bearing towards the few other … we have invited.

“Dogged and perseverance ” are two ugly words standing together, and Mr. Phillips has ever been very watchful to prevent any other topic from creeping to whatever platform he occupied, devoted to any particular reform. And those two words look strange indeed to some of us, standing in connection with his name and the resolutions to which you have taken exception.

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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