Theodore Roosevelt, Feminist

“Viewed purely in the abstract, I think there can be no question that women should have equal rights with men …I would have the word ‘obey’ used no more by the wife than by the husband.”

”I first saw her on October 18, 1878, and loved her as soon as I saw her sweet, fair young face. …” Thus Theodore Roosevelt wrote of Alice Hathaway Lee, the girl he married in 1880 when he was twenty-two and she nineteen—tall and lithe, with curly light hair and “dovegray” eyes; “beautiful in face and form,” he said, “and lovelier still in spirit.…” T.R. wooed her with all the impetuous gusto for which he was later famous, and the wedding took place soon after he graduated from Harvard. Read more »

“a’n’t I A Woman?”

Sell the Shadow to Support the Substance.
SOJOURNER TRUTH

In the violent, restless decade before the Civil War some close ties were forged between the woman s-rights movement and abolitionism. The great feminist Susan B. Anthony, for instance, was a paid agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society, while Frederick Douglass, the black abolitionist, was a frequent speaker at woman’s-rights conventions. But if the relationship was occasionally a close one, it was rarely tranquil.Read more »

Myth America

IMAGES OF SWEETHEARTS, WIVES, AND MOTHERS HAVE OFTER BEEN USED TO INSPIRE PATRIOTIC FERVOR

“O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation…” Read more »

The Unsinkable Abigail

In forty years of scraping and scrapping for women’s rights, Abigail Scott Duniway never lost her nerve or wicked tongue

Man is, or should be, woman’s protector and defender. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for many of the occupations of civil life.” Thus spake the United States Supreme Court in 1872 in upholding an Illinois statute barring women from practicing law, which a feminine aspirant to the bar had dared to challenge. Read more »

“I Was Arrested, Of Course…”

American women won the right to vote in 1920 largely through the controversial efforts of a young Quaker named Alice Paul. She was born in Moorestown, New Jersey, on January 11, 1885, seven years after the woman-suffrage amendment was first introduced in Congress. Over the years the so-called Susan B.
 

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“all Hail To Pure Cold Water!”

Beset with ailments, Victorian women found solace, in more ways than one, in a new panacea—hydropathy

A century and a half ago American women faced a very different life prospect than today. Without dependable birth-control techniques they could expect to spend their prime years bearing children. Without modern medicine they frequently could anticipate painful and debilitating disorders arising from the rigors of repeated childbirth. Moreover, they lived in a world where the facts of life and the processes of pro-creation were shrouded in secrecy and not thought fit topics for female conversation. Read more »

The Unexpected Mrs. Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe, an extraordinary member of an extraordinary family, always claimed that God wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin

She had been brought up to make herself useful. And always it suited her. Read more »

Beyond Mother’s Knee

EARLY AMERICAN MALE CHAUVINIST PIGS REGARDED LITERACY FOR WOMEN WITH SCANT ENTHUSIASM. LEARNING TO READ WAS THE FIRST FEMINIST TRIUMPH

Could I have died a martyr in the cause, and thus ensured its success, I could have blessed the faggot and hugged the stake.” The cause was state support for female education, the would-be Saint Joan was Emma Willard, and the rhetorical standards of the 1820’s were lofty and impassioned. Themost militant feminists rarely scale such heights today. For one thing, dogged effort has finally reduced the supply of grand injustices; and today’s preference for less florid metaphor has deprived the movement of such dramatic images.Read more »

It All Began In Wyoming

One day in 1869 the gentlemen of the territorial legislature amused themselves by enacting the first woman-suffrage law. They trusted in a veto from the governor

Wyoming. The name itself recalls the Old West, where a man was a man. The virile pioneer, eyes squinted against the prairie sun or mountain snowstorm, muscles tense, ready to overcome any human or elemental opposition. The rough, tough cowboy, drawing fast, drinking hard, dying young. Read more »

Mary Cassatt

“I do not admit that a woman can draw like that,” said Degas when he saw one of her pictures

At eight o’clock on the evening of June 14, 1926, a very old woman—blind and suffering from advanced diabetes—died in her chateau on the edge of the tiny village of Mesnil-Theribus, some thirty miles northwest of Paris. At her funeral, because she held the Legion of Honor, there was a detail of soldiers, and because she was chatelaine of the manor house, the village band played and most of the townspeople followed her coffin to the cemetery. There was nothing extraordinary in this; it is a not uncommon ritual in the villages of France.Read more »