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Mrs. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper
Miriam Follin had a penchant for diamonds, the demimonde, and the dramatic. She also possessed the business acumen to become one of America’s leading publishers in the nineteenth century
October 1975 | Volume 26, Issue 6
But a million dollars remained, and it was sufficient to alter significantly the course of history. Mrs. Leslie’s money was quite enough to give the suffrage movement renewed impetus. It was used to set up a publicity bureau, to finance historical and statistical research, and to put out a women’s magazine. During the hectic days of the First World War, when the Nineteenth Amendment was being proposed and ratified, such projects helped keep the suffrage issue in the forefront. When the vote was won, suffragists credited Mrs. Leslie with having advanced the hour of victory.
That she financed the final suffrage drive is not surprising when viewed against the background of her business achievements. From what she had done with the Leslie publications, she knew about female equality, even in areas that society regarded as male preserves. Against a larger hackground, however, it would be oversimple to see her will only that way. If a single thread connects the diverse parts of her story, it is her idea that one should live in ways as intensely romantic as any novel, poem, or play. The skills she learned on the stage as Minnie Monte? she expanded and cultivated when she was Miriam Squier, when she was Frank Leslie, and when she was the Baroness de Bazus. Gi and gestures became a way of life with her, as did the spotlights of publicity and the satisfactions of center stage. Her final act needs to be fitted into that framework too, for certainly it rounded out her performance with a fittingly dramatic conclusion.