Monday, March 27, 2017

Freed but recaptured, Slave Hannah Richards escaped to Freedom

The Legacy of US Slave Hannah Richards



(The following guest post was written by Beverly W. Brannan, curator of photography in the Prints and Photographs Division.)
Tintype of Hannah Richards from the
Tintype of Hannah Richards from the William Henry Richards Collection
The Library purchased the collection of William Henry Richards (1856–1941), a law professor at Howard University, in 2013. The collection includes manuscript and visual materials, including a tintype of Hannah Richards, William’s grandmother, who was born in captivity but later freed. Research into her life—a story of determination and resilience—suggests she may have motivated William’s successful career. Besides being a law professor, he was a civil rights activist and a supporter of temperance and women’s right to vote and own property in the District of Columbia.
The library edition of Ancestry.com shows that Hannah Richards was born in Virginia, probably near Danville, around 1800. She belonged to Gabriel Richards (1739–1826), who moved to Roane County, Tennessee, in about 1805. He later relocated to McMinn County, Tennessee, where he died in 1826, freeing Hannah in his will. But there is more to the story.
Freed slaves were always at risk of being re-enslaved after being kidnapped or jailed for trivial offenses. Hannah almost lost her freedom for keeping company with a man. She was arrested in 1828, according to databases, and charged with harboring “a certain Negro slave Sandy without either written or verbal authority from . . . the said boy’s master” for two years. Papers filed in McMinn County court stated that Sandy had been “with her at her place of living on Sunday nights.” Hannah was fined $2.20 for “harboring and entertaining” Sandy, $2.00 for her jail fee and $0.75 for the justice of the peace. She was warned that if she did not pay all the costs as well as an additional $2.00, she could be sold into slavery for nonpayment of debt.
Hannah’s appeal went to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which returned the case to the McMinn County court. Fires at the courthouse destroyed any documentation of what happened next, although Hannah’s troubles certainly did not end there. In about 1855, she was abducted and taken to a plantation in Alabama. She escaped and returned to McMinn County.
At some point, Hannah may have married, and she must have had at least one child who remained free: the 1860 census indicates that her grandson, William, whom she raised, was the son of free parents.
Some time in 1860, when William was four, he was abducted. Hannah appealed to friendly white neighbors who found her grandson and returned him to her. Then, with William in tow, she did housework in homes around Athens, Tennessee. Young William learned the alphabet from children in the houses where she worked. Like much of East Tennessee, McMinn County was deeply divided on the issue of slavery. It provided 12 regiments for the Union Army and 8 for the Confederates during the course of the war.
William attended Quaker school until he was 17 and then taught in Quaker schools for five years. In 1878, at age 22, he enrolled in Howard University’s Law School, helped by a loan from a mentor. In 1881, he graduated first in his class and worked at the U.S. Treasury Department for four years to repay the loan. Then he returned to Athens, presumably to be near his grandmother. He practiced law and served as alderman and mayor. Later, he moved to Washington, D.C., to teach law at Howard University.
Records suggest that Hannah died in 1889, having accomplished much. Not only did she maintain her own freedom, but she also shielded her grandson from slavery, educated him and helped him rise to the middle class. She may also have anticipated the social justice issues he would champion and his movement into the emerging black intelligentsia in the nation’s capital, sometimes known, in the parlance of W.E.B. Du Bois, as “the talented tenth.”
The William Henry Richards collection contains 109 visual materials held in the Prints and Photographs Division. A few of the photographs have been digitized. Unprocessed images can be seen by advance appointment through the Ask a Librarian link on the Library’s website. Richards’s personal papers are in the Library’s Manuscript Division.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Researching US Women Fighting for Equality

Library of Congress Collection - Documents Hard-Won Victory


(The following is a guest post by Elizabeth Gettins, Library of Congress digital library specialist.)
“Roll up your sleeves, set your mind to making history.”
Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt
Carrie Chapman Catt
March is Women’s History Month, so what better collection to highlight than the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection?
Formed in 1890, the National American Woman Suffrage Association, or NAWSA, melded together two separate women’s organizations that employed different tactics. The National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, chose to work mainly at the federal level. The American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), led by Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell and Julia Ward Howe, worked at the state level. NAWSA combined both of these methods, securing the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 through a series of well-orchestrated state campaigns under the dynamic direction of Carrie Chapman Catt. She drew on the talents and personalities of many accomplished women to steer the movement toward victory and the hard-won right to vote.
The NAWSA Collection, which resides in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, was based initially on the library of Chapman Catt, which she donated to the Library of Congress on November 1, 1938. Others involved with NAWSA subsequently donated their libraries to the collection, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Alice Stone Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe, Elizabeth Smith Miller and Mary A. Livermore. In total, the collection consists of nearly 800 books, pamphlets, newspapers, scrapbooks and other ephemera dating from 1890 to 1938, a selection of which is available online.
A pamphlet containing a history of “The Woman’s Journal,” the official publication of the American Woman Suffrage Association
A pamphlet containing a history of “The Woman’s Journal,” the official publication of the American Woman Suffrage Association
The online selection of materials was prepared with several user groups in mind: students at the high school and college levels interested in developing a basic understanding of the suffrage movement; teachers of courses at these levels; and advanced scholars engaged in research. In all cases, materials were selected that best represent NAWSA as an organization and its place in the woman suffrage campaign.
Collectively, the materials offer a view of how the suffragists worked diligently to secure the right to vote. Regardless of their approach or temperaments, in the end, we have these firebrands to thank.
Susan B. Anthony once remarked, “Oh, if I could but live another century and see the fruition of all the work for women! There is so much yet to be done.” Indeed, women have come a long way in just under 100 years, and Anthony would likely be quite proud. Yet Chapman Catt did not take victory for granted, stating, “The vote has been costly. Prize it . . . understand what it means and what it can do for your country.” Chapman Catt understood the struggle that was and that it might likely persist into the future.
Additional Digital Resources of Interest
The Susan B. Anthony Collection 
Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” by Mary Wollst
onecraft

Thursday, March 23, 2017

US Women Fighting for Equality - 1917 1st Woman in Congress

Women’s History Month: First Woman Sworn into Congress 


Jeannette Rankin, 1917
Jeannette Rankin, 1917
One hundred years ago this Sunday—on April 2, 1917—Jeannette Rankin was sworn into the 65th Congress as the first woman elected to serve. She took her seat more than two years before Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving women nationwide the right to vote. That alone is remarkable, but Rankin also made history in another way: she voted against U.S. involvement in both 20th-century world wars—and paid a price for doing so.
To commemorate Rankin’s life and career, the Library of Congress is co-presenting a world premiere song cycle on April 7 with Opera America. “Fierce Grace—Jeannette Rankin,” a collaborative work by multiple women composers, will be performed in the Coolidge Auditorium, followed by a panel discussion.
Rankin campaigned in 1916 as a suffragist, pacifist and social reformer, prevailing against seven men in the Republican primary in her home state of Montana, where women had gained the right to vote in 1914. She became a national celebrity when she won a seat in the general election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Rankin arrived in Washington, D.C., to festivities in her honor. Suffrage leaders, including Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul, hosted a breakfast for her, and a procession of suffragists accompanied her to the Capitol. Fellow House members greeted her with applause.
Jeannette Rankin, right, in carriage with Carrie Chapman Catt, center, upon Rankin's arrival in Washington, D.C.
Jeannette Rankin, right, in a carriage with Carrie Chapman Catt, center, upon Rankin’s arrival in Washington, D.C.
But things turned somber quickly. On the evening of April 2, President Woodrow Wilson called on Congress to authorize U.S. entry into World War I. On April 6, after days of debate, Rankin joined 55 congressional colleagues in voting against the war resolution. She did so in opposition to many suffragists, who feared a no vote would hurt the suffrage cause. “I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war,” Rankin is widely quoted as stating.
For the remainder of her term, Rankin advocated for the rights of women and children, worker safety, and equal pay for women, and she played a major role in bringing a suffrage amendment to the House floor, where it passed before the Senate voted it down.
Rankin ran for a Senate seat in 1918, but she failed to win her primary. She returned to private life, moving to Georgia, where she lectured and supported causes dear to her, including women’s rights and peace.
She ran for Congress again in 1939, following the start of World War II in Europe. She felt that she could have the most effect as a member of Congress in keeping the United States out of the war. She returned to Montana to run as a peace candidate, winning handily.
But her time in Congress was once again short lived. She was the only member to vote against U.S. entry into the war on December 8, 1941. “As a woman I cannot go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else,” she reportedly said. An angry mob nearly attacked her when she left the chamber, and she sought safety in a telephone booth, where police rescued her.
At the end of her term, Rankin opted out of national politics for good, although she continued her involvement in peace efforts, speaking out against the Korean and Vietnam Wars. On January 15, 1968, at age 87, she led nearly 5,000 women in a march on Washington, D.C., against the Vietnam War. The marchers called themselves the Jeannette Rankin Brigade. Rankin died in May 1973 at age 93.
In an article published in McCalls’s magazine in 1958, John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. senator, cited Rankin as one of three truly courageous women in U.S. history. “Few members of Congress since its founding in 1789 have ever stood more alone, more completely in defiance of popular conviction,” Kennedy wrote. We may disagree with her stand, he added, but it is impossible not to admire her courage.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

1801 41-year-old Virginia Woman


1801 Jacob Frymire (c 1770-1822). Amelia Heiskell Lauck (1760-1842) of Winchester

Jacob Frymire (c 1770-1821), born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, worked as an itinerant artist in Virginia and Kentucky during the early 19th-century. Amelia was the wife of Peter Lauck, who built the Red Lion Inn in Winchester in 1783. She was just 41 years old when this portrait was painted..

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

19 & 20C Women confront those new propeller aircraft

Those Magnificent Women in Their Flying Machines



This is a guest post by Henry Carter, digital conversion specialist in the Serial and Government Publications Division.
In the first decades of the 20th century, aircraft were new, and flying was exciting. Newspapers, the most powerful media outlet of the time, reported broadly on this new technology and its celebrities as well as the many social changes of the early 1900s—including the advent of women pilots, described in one 1910 headline as “heroines of the air.”
Photo published with story "Brave Women of Europe Risk Their Lives as Aviators,” Grand Forks Daily Herald, Aug. 2 , 1915
Photo montage published with the story “Brave Women of Europe Risk Their Lives as Aviators,” Grand Forks Daily Herald, Aug. 2 , 1915
Thousands flocked to flying exhibitions and air meets to watch the first pilots in action. Thousands more followed their exploits in the newspapers. The new aircraft were fragile and unstable machines with unreliable engines. Added to this was the fierce competition for fame among aviators, which encouraged them to push their machines to the limits. Accidents were common, and many resulted in pilots losing their lives. Yet in spite of the danger, or in part because of it, the sport continued to attract new participants.
The fact that women were among this growing legion of daredevils added sensation to the story, because Victorian ideals of womanhood still had a hold on the public imagination. The birth of aviation coincided with many other changes in the lives of women. Now a few bold women were flying in the face of traditional notions, literally and figuratively. They set their own records for endurance, altitude and speed. Like their male counterparts, some also lost their lives.
Chronicling America, a collection of nearly 12 million historical newspaper pages from more than 40 states and territories, includes many fascinating stories of these “aeroines.” In recognition of Women’s History Month, we’re posting “Women and Aviation” as our 300th recommended topic to research in Chronicling America. Topical guides provide dates, search terms and links to contemporary newspaper accounts for many subjects including women flyers, their achievements and also the controversies.

Monday, March 20, 2017

American Journalist Nellie Bly 1864-1922

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Nellie Bly 1864-1922

Born in Cochran's Mills, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, she began her work as a journalist at the Pittsburg Dispatch. Nellie Bly focused her early work for the Dispatch on the plight of working women, writing a series of investigative articles on female factory workers. But editorial pressure pushed her to the women's pages to cover fashion, society, and gardening, the usual role for female journalists of the day.

Unhappy reporting on women's events, Bly left the Pittsburgh Dispatch in 1887 for New York City. Penniless after 4 months, she talked her way into the offices of Joseph Pulitzer's newspaper, the New York World, and took an undercover assignment for which she agreed to feign insanity to investigate reports of brutality and neglect at the Women's Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell's Island.

After a night of practicing deranged expressions in front of a mirror, she checked into a working-class boardinghouse. She refused to go to bed, telling the boarders that she was afraid of them and that they looked crazy. They soon decided that she was crazy, and the next morning summoned the police. Taken to a courtroom, she pretended to have amnesia. The judge concluded she had been drugged. She was then examined by several doctors, who all declared her to be insane..

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Lady Liberty in 19C America

In the 19th century, as the country grew and faced new challenges, Lady Liberty changed to reflect the times.

 


Lady Liberty with an eagle holding a liberty cap and resting on a shield.

 Lady Liberty & a bald eagle sit in a field of stars, each holding a banner declaring E Pluribus Unum. Lady Liberty is fending off an arrow attack with her American shield, while holding a cache of weapons securely beneath her foot.
>   A seated Lady Liberty holds a liberty cap on a pole & an American shield supported by images of industry & sea power behind her.
 Lady Liberty holds a liberty cap on a pole & an American shield in front of bustling American industry behind her.
Lady Liberty holds the American flag & points toward the future.
 Here is Lady Liberty pointing to the future, while holding an American flag & standing on a pedestal engraved with the year 1776, which also supports an American eagle.
Lady Liberty Civil War
Statue of Liberty 1886
After the Statue of Liberty of 1886
1892 Lady Liberty

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lady Liberty in 18C America

For the first 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Indpendence on the 4th of July, American women would present their appreciation of the nation's hard-won liberty as handiwork in the form of banners, flags, or standards to groups of soldiers of the United States military. These Independence Day presentation ceremony would allow the women to speak about what the new nation & its defenders meant to them, even though they would not be allowed to vote until 1920.  These female orators could be viewed as the embodiment of Lady Liberty herself.

Symbols, like those of Lady Liberty illustrated here, are visual shorthand. The English and the colonists had begun depicting America as a lady even before the American Revolution. Americans in the 18th & 19th centuries invented or adopted emblems (images accompanied by a motto either understood or written) and personifications (usually historical allegorical figures) to express their political needs & beliefs.

These symbols were propaganda tools to draw together the country's diverse peoples, who spoke many languages, in order to promote national political union & purpose. Lady Liberty evolved throughout the decades of the early republic to meet the propaganda needs of the current situation.

 
This 18th century Lady Liberty freeing a bird from its cage, giving political liberty to the United States from Britain, while holding a liberty cap hung on a pole. Lady Liberty was almost always depicted in a classical costume. Before the Roman Empire, similar felt caps were worn by liberated slaves from Troy & Asia Minor to cover their previously shorn heads, until their hair grew back. Here the cap symbolized a more intimate emancipation from personal servitude as a subject of the British Empire rather than united, national liberty. The caps were sometimes referred in Latin as pilleus liberatis. In classical literature, the cap atop a pole was a symbol of freedom evolving from the period when Salturnius conquered Rome in 263 BC; and he raised the cap on a pikestaff to show that he would free the slaves who fought with him. The cap was such a popular symbol that it was also depicted on some early US coins.


Lady Liberty is holding a musket & powder horn, ready to fight for freedom. 1779 Broadside. New York Historical Society. SY1779 No. 2.


Venerate the Plough, 1786, etching Columbian Magazine


1790 Design on an American Coverlet Winterthur Museum


1792 Genius of Lady's Magazine kneels before Columbia (Lady Liberty) with a petition for the rights of women. Lady's Magazine. Library Company of Philadelphia


Edward Savage Liberty in the Form of the Goddess of Youth Giving Support to the Bald Eagle, 1796


Liberty in the Form of the Goddess inspired by Edward Savage's print in Embroidery by a young woman.


Abijah Canfield Liberty in the Form of the Goddess of Youth Giving Support to the Bald Eagle, a painting after Edward Savage. 1800


Enoch Gridley Pater Patriae Memorial for George Washington with Lady Liberty at the base holding a spear and a sword as she weeps. 1800


Lady Liberty 1800 Brown University

Friday, March 17, 2017

America depicted as a Woman - The earliest Lady Liberties

Early depictions of America as a woman appeared before the Revolutionary War.


Allegory of America - Theodor Galle (Flemish engraver, 1571-1633) after Johannes Stradanus (1523-1605) plate 2 from Nova Reperta New Discoveries c.1600 Artist Jan van der Straet, (1523-1605)


Paul Revere's logotype for the 1774 Royal American Magazine, depicts America as an Indian figure offering a calumet (a Native American peace pipe) to the genius of Knowledge.

By 1774, tempers were flaring, and the Boston Port Act & Paul Revere's famous ride were simmering just over the horizon. Taxes on tea were an infuriating issue, especially to women. In 1773, Britain had exported 738,083 pounds of tea to the colonies. In 1774, the figure dropped to 69,830. Imports of tea fell from 206,312 pounds to 30,161 in New England; from 208,385 to 1,304 pounds in New York; and from 208,191 pounds to nothing in Pennsylvania.

1774 Paul Revere's The Able Doctor or America Swallowing the Bitter Draught. Royal American Magazine. June 1774.

In this engraving, Paul Revere (1735-1718) uses what appears to be an Indian woman to depict America being subjugated by British ministers, who are forcing her to drink vile tea for her own good. The engraving comes as close as it dare to depicting the rape of America. Here the lady portrayed as America is wearing a classic draped gown that has been torn away from her body.

Since the 1760s, the British American colonial painters & their subjects, who chose to adopt aspects of ancient looking costumes, were striving for a classic timelessness. Fine artists, thinkers, & artisans, such as Paul Revere, turned to what they understood to be the values of classical Greece & Rome, valuing order, harmony, virtue, balance, & tradition. Portrait painters John Singleton Copley & Henry Benbridge portrayed classical costumes on some of their clients before this depiction by Revere.  By 1772, Charles Willson Peale was painting virtuous mothers in classical gowns holding their innocent children. The props, costumes, and scenery of a portrait declared the values & the attributes by which the subject, and often the artist, wanted to be known.

In this depiction, wearing his wig & judicial costume Britain's Chief Justice William Murray--Lord Mansfield (1705-1793) holds classic lady America down; as English Prime Minister Frederick "Lord" North, (1732-1792) with the punitive Boston Port Act bulging out of his pocket, pours the vile tea down lady America's throat. A leacherous Lord Sandwich--John Montagu (1718-1792) peers under lady America's gown; as cocky John Stuart--Lord Bute (1713-1792) unsheaths his sword inscribed "Military Law."  The bystanders, Spain & France, are horrified & tempted, just tempted mind you, to come to the aid of the ravished American colonies. In the background, Revere depicts his beloved Boston's skyline with the label "cannonaded." A torn & shredded American petition of grievances is thrown to the ground.

1775 Paul Revere's America in Distress. Royal American Magazine. March, 1775.

Boston's Paul Revere once again draws America as an Indian woman clothed in a classical costume, with quiver of arrows, a bow, & a feather head dress resting beneath her near a petition declaring "Petition of all England. America against evil Physicians, corrupt Members, & wicked Councellors." Lord North procliams, "She is mad and must be chained!" Behind Lord North lurks a worried Lord Bute, saying: "Secure her now, or it is all over with Us!" A vindictive Lord Mansfield declares, "She must lose more blood. Petitions are rebellious." A compliant Thomas Hutchinson, royal governor of Massachusetts, agrees, "Right, my Lord. Penalties of that kind seem best adapted."


This anonymous engraving from the beginning of the Revolutionary War depicts "The Female Combatants," an oppulent English woman in an enormous hairdo & stylish clothing, fighting America, a natural Indian woman. The pious, en vogue English woman declares, "I'll force you to Obedience, you Rebellious Slut." Pure, definant America replies: "Liberty, Liberty forever, Mother, while I exist." English printmakers & editorial writers had been attacking the outlandish excesses of British fashions of the period by the time Paul Revere chose this image.

1779 Minerva, or Civic Virtue, W.D. Cooper America Trampling on Oppression from History of North America, E. Newberry. London, 1789, frontispiece.

This English frontispiece depicts a calmer, more controlled, classically dressed America during the middle of the American Revolution accompanied by medals of Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

1782 America Triumphant and Britannia in Distress, Frontispiece, Weatherwise's Town and Country Almanack.

Below this image an "Explanation" reads: 
I. America sitting on that quarter of the globe with the Flag of the United States displayed over her head; holding in one hand the Olive branch, inviting the ships of all nations to partake of her commerce; and in the other hand supporting the Cap of Liberty.
II. Fame proclaiming the joyful news to all the world.
III. Britannia weeping at the loss of the trade of America, attended with an evil genius.
IV. The British flag struck, on her strong Fortresses.
V. French, Spanish, Dutch &c shipping in the harbours of America. 

VI. A view of New York wherein is exhibited the Trator Arnold, taken with remorse for selling his country and Judas like hanging himself.


Here lady America is represented by another classical Minerva figure, seated beneath a dead tree, with a shield of a snake ringed with another snake. The new American flag boasts 13 stars; and the new American lady is evolving into a calmer, more self-assured representation of the new nation. Soon she will be the depiction of the new nation, Lady Liberty.


Adrien Collaert II Personification of America 1765-1775


Thomas Colley The Reconciliation between Britannia and Her Daughter America London 1782


Africa-America, One of a series on the Four Continents. London T. Hinton 1808

Thursday, March 16, 2017

US Women Fighting for Equality - Lucretia Coffin Mott 1793-1880

One of 8 children born to Quaker parents on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, Lucretia Coffin Mott (1793-1880) dedicated her life to the goal of human equality. As a child Mott attended Nine Partners, a Quaker boarding school located in New York, where she learned of the horrors of slavery from her readings & from visiting lecturers such as Elias Hicks, a well-known Quaker abolitionist. She also saw that women & men were not treated equally, even among the Quakers, when she discovered that female teachers at Nine Partners earned less than males. At a young age Lucretia Coffin Mott became determined to put an end to such social injustices.
Lucretia Mott (1793 - 1880), by Joseph Kyle (1815 - 1863)

In 1833 Mott, along with Mary Ann M’Clintock & nearly 30 other female abolitionists, organized the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.  In 1840 she was one of several American women chosen as delegates to the World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in London by the American Anti-Slavery Society & by other abolitionist groups. 

Arriving in England with her husband, she found the convention controlled by the rival American & Foreign Anti-Slavery Society -known to Garrisonians as the “New Organization” & its opposite number, the British & Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, both opposed to public activity by women.  Despite vigorous protests by Wendell Phillips & others, the American women delegates were refused recognition & assigned seats “behind the bar.”  Though Lucretia Mott was deprived of a voice in the proceedings, she was nevertheless described by a journalist as “the lioness of the Convention” (Liberator, Oct. 23, 1840, p. 170).  

It was there, that she 1st met Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was attending the convention with her husband Henry, a delegate from New York. Mott & Stanton were indignant at the fact that women were excluded from participating in the convention simply because of their gender, & that indignation would result in a discussion about holding a woman’s rights convention. Stanton later recalled this conversation in the History of Woman Suffrage:  As Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton wended their way arm in arm down Great Queen Street that night, reviewing the exciting scenes of the day, they agreed to hold a woman’s rights convention on their return to America, as the men to whom they had just listened had manifested their great need of some education on that question. Thus a missionary work for the emancipation of woman…was then and there inaugurated.

Eight years later, on July 19 & 20, 1848, Mott, Stanton, Mary Ann M’Clintock, Martha Coffin Wright, & Jane Hunt acted on this idea; when they organized the First Woman’s Rights Convention.


Two weeks after Seneca Falls,  a 2nd convention was held in the Unitarian Chapel at Rochester, N.Y.  From this time on, woman’s rights claimed as much of Lucretia Mott’s attention as any of the other reforms with which she associated herself.  In a closely reasoned Discourse of Woman (1850) she attributed the alleged inferiority of women to the repressions under which her sex had always labored -unequal educational opportunities, a lower standard of wages, restricted employment, & denial of political rights.  

Throughout her life Mott remained active in both the abolition & women’s rights movements. She continued to speak out against slavery; & in 1866, she became the first president of the American Equal Rights Association, an organization formed to achieve equality for both African Americans & women.


For nearly 20 years the Motts lived & reared their children in a red brick house at 136 North Ninth Street in Philadelphia.  In 1850, they moved to 338 Arch Street, a spacious house; where they entertained on a simple but generous scale during the Quaker Yearly Meeting & the annual sessions of the reform societies & where they sometimes harbored runaway slaves. Unlike some “strong-minded” female reformers, Mott was a conscientious housekeeper who never laid herself open to the charge, that she neglected her domestic duties.  In 1857 she & her husband, now retired from business, moved to Roadside, a plain, rambling country house on the Old York Road, north of Philadelphia, where Lucretia continued her efficient housewife concerns: sewing carpet rags, cooking Nantucket blackberry pudding, raising vegetables in her kitchen garden.

Always a strong believe in the Quaker peace testimony, she regularly attended meetings of the Pennsylvania Peace Society, of which she was vice-president.  She seldom missed a woman’s rights or suffrage convention & seldom failed to be called upon for an address.  At the 1st convention of the American Equal Rights Association in 1866, she was named president at the insistence of Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  When in 1869, the movement split into rival factions, one led by Mrs. Stanton & Susan B Anthony, the other by Lucy Stone, Mary Livermore, & Julia Ward Howe, she sought earnestly but unsuccessfully to overcome the division.

During her last 12 years she was without the faithful support of her husband, for James Mott died on Jan. 26, 1868.  She herself lived to the age of 87,  active to the end, publicly & privately, in good causes.  

National Park Service

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

US Women Fighting for Equality - Mary Ann M’Clintock 1800-1884

Mary Ann M’Clintock (1800-1884) was born to Quaker parents. She married Thomas M’Clintock, a druggist and fellow Quaker, in 1820, and they lived in Philadelphia for seventeen years. During that time Mary Ann gave birth to four daughters, Elizabeth, Mary Ann, Sarah, and Julia and a son, Charles. She was recognized by her fellow Quakers as a minister and leader. By 1833 M’Clintock was a social activist when she along with Lucretia Mott and others, became founding members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.

In 1836 the family moved to Waterloo, New York, where they would join a network of Quaker abolitionists that included Richard and Jane Hunt and George and Margaret Pryor, Mary Ann’s half-sister. They lived in a house owned and built by Richard Hunt at 14 East Williams Street, and ran a drugstore and school in one of Hunt’s commercial buildings behind their house on Main Street in Waterloo. In 1842, at an annual convention of the American Anti-Slavery Society held in Rochester, New York, Thomas and Mary Ann became founding members of the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society and helped write its constitution. They were joined by Frederick Douglass, Jane and Richard Hunt, Isaac and Amy Post, George and Margaret Pryor. Mary Ann became an organizer of the First Woman’s Rights Convention when she joined a group of friends on July 9, 1848, in the front parlor of the Hunts’ home. She hosted a second planning meeting at her house on July 16, where she, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and possibly several others drafted the Declaration of Sentiments that was read, discussed, and ratified in the Wesleyan Chapel. While living in Waterloo, Mary Ann and Thomas M’Clintock became very active in the local Hicksite Quaker community, the Junius Monthly Meeting. In October of 1848, they led several hundred members of the Hicksite community to form the new Progressive Friends or Friends of Human Progress. Thomas and Mary Ann served as clerk and associate clerk at nearly every yearly meeting while they lived in Waterloo. They returned to Philadelphia in 1876. Mary Ann remained active, until her death in 1884.
National Park Service

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

US Women Fighting for Equality - Elizabeth Cady Stanton 1815-1902 - Solitude of Self 1892

Solitude of Self

Address Delivered by Mrs. Stanton before the Committee of the Judiciary of the United States Congress, Monday, January 18, 1892 Reprinted from the Congressional Record
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (seated) with Susan B. Anthony (standing)  Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Born November 12, 1815 in Johnstown and died October 26, 1902 in New York City

Mrs. Stanton's Address

Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee: We have been speaking before Committees of the Judiciary for the last twenty years, and we have gone over all the arguments in favor of a sixteenth amendment which are familiar to all you gentlemen; therefore, it will not be necessary that I should repeat them again.

The point I wish plainly to bring before you on this occasion is the individuality of each human soul; our Protestant idea, the right of individual conscience and judgment--our republican idea, individual citizenship. In discussing the rights of woman, we are to consider, first, what belongs to her as an individual, in a world of her own, the arbiter of her own destiny, an imaginary Robinson Crusoe with her woman Friday on a solitary island. Her rights under such circumstances are to use all her faculties for her own safety and happiness.

Secondly, if we consider her as a citizen, as a member of a great nation, she must have the same rights as all other members, according to the fundamental principles of our Government.

Thirdly, viewed as a woman, an equal factor in civilization, her rights and duties are still the same--individual happiness and development.

Fourthly, it is only the incidental relations of life, such as mother, wife, sister, daughter, that may involve some special duties and training. In the usual discussion in regard to woman's sphere, such as men as Herbert Spencer, Frederic Harrison, and Grant Allen uniformly subordinate her rights and duties as an individual, as a citizen, as a woman, to the necessities of these incidental relations, some of which a large class of woman may never assume. In discussing the sphere of man we do not decide his rights as an individual, as a citizen, as a man by his duties as a father, a husband, a brother, or a son, relations some of which he may never fill. Moreover he would be better fitted for these very relations and whatever special work he might choose to do to earn his bread by the complete development of all his faculties as an individual.

Just so with woman. The education that will fit her to discharge the duties in the largest sphere of human usefulness will best fit her for whatever special work she may be compelled to do.

The isolation of every human soul and the necessity of self-dependence must give each individual the right, to choose his own surroundings.

The strongest reason for giving woman all the opportunities for higher education, for the full development of her faculties, forces of mind and body; for giving her the most enlarged freedom of thought and action; a complete emancipation from all forms of bondage, of custom, dependence, superstition; from all the crippling influences of fear, is the solitude and personal responsibility of her own individual life. The strongest reason why we ask for woman a voice in the government under which she lives; in the religion she is asked to believe; equality in social life, where she is the chief factor; a place in the trades and professions, where she may earn her bread, is because of her birthright to self-sovereignty; because, as an individual, she must rely on herself. No matter how much women prefer to lean, to be protected and supported, nor how much men desire to have them do so, they must make the voyage of life alone, and for safety in an emergency they must know something of the laws of navigation. To guide our own craft, we must be captain, pilot, engineer; with chart and compass to stand at the wheel; to match the wind and waves and know when to take in the sail, and to read the signs in the firmament over all. It matters not whether the solitary voyager is man or woman.

Nature having endowed them equally, leaves them to their own skill and judgment in the hour of danger, and, if not equal to the occasion, alike they perish.

To appreciate the importance of fitting every human soul for independent action, think for a moment of the immeasurable solitude of self. We come into the world alone, unlike all who have gone before us; we leave it alone under circumstances peculiar to ourselves. No mortal ever has been, no mortal over will be like the soul just launched on the sea of life. There can never again be just such environments as make up the infancy, youth and manhood of this one. Nature never repeats herself, and the possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another. No one has ever found two blades of ribbon grass alike, and no one will never find two human beings alike. Seeing, then, what must be the infinite diversity in human, character, we can in a measure appreciate the loss to a nation when any large class of the people in uneducated and unrepresented in the government. We ask for the complete development of every individual, first, for his own benefit and happiness. In fitting out an army we give each soldier his own knapsack, arms, powder, his blanket, cup, knife, fork and spoon. We provide alike for all their individual necessities, then each man bears his own burden.

Again we ask complete individual development for the general good; for the consensus of the competent on the whole round of human interest; on all questions of national life, and here each man must bear his share of the general burden. It is sad to see how soon friendless children are left to bear their own burdens before they can analise their feelings; before they can even tell their joys and sorrows, they are thrown on their own resources. The great lesson that nature seems to teach us at all ages is self-dependence, self-protection, self-support. What a touching instance of a child's solitude; of that hunger of heart for love and recognition, in the case of the little girl who helped to dress a christmas tree for the children of the family in which she served. On finding there was no present for herself she slipped away in the darkness and spent the night in an open field sitting on a stone, and when found in the morning was weeping as if her heart would break. No mortal will ever know the thoughts that passed through the mind of that friendless child in the long hours of that cold night, with only the silent stars to keep her company. The mention of her case in the daily papers moved many generous hearts to send her presents, but in the hours of her keenest sufferings she was thrown wholly on herself for consolation.

In youth our most bitter disappointments, our brightest hopes and ambitions are known only to otherwise, even our friendship and love we never fully share with another; there is something of every passion in every situation we conceal. Even so in our triumphs and our defeats.

The successful candidate for Presidency and his opponent each have a solitude peculiarly his own, and good form forbide either in speak of his pleasure or regret. The solitude of the king on his throne and the prisoner in his cell differs in character and degree, but it is solitude nevertheless.

We ask no sympathy from others in the anxiety and agony of a broken friendship or shattered love. When death sunders our nearest ties, alone we sit in the shadows of our affliction. Alike mid the greatest triumphs and darkest tragedies of life we walk alone. On the devine heights of human attainments, eulogized land worshiped as a hero or saint, we stand alone. In ignorance, poverty, and vice, as a pauper or criminal, alone we starve or steal; alone we suffer the sneers and rebuffs of our fellows; alone we are hunted and hounded thro dark courts and alleys, in by-ways and highways; alone we stand in the judgment seat; alone in the prison cell we lament our crimes and misfortunes; alone we expiate them on the gallows. In hours like these we realize the awful solitude of individual life, its pains, its penalties, its responsibilities; hours in which the youngest and most helpless are thrown on their own resources for guidance and consolation. Seeing then that life must ever be a march and a battle, that each soldier must be equipped for his own protection, it is the height of cruelty to rob the individual of a single natural right.

To throw obstacle in the way of a complete education is like putting out the eyes; to deny the rights of property, like cutting off the hands. To deny political equality is to rob the ostracised of all self-respect; of credit in the market place; of recompense in the world of work; of a voice among those who make and administer the law; a choice in the jury before whom they are tried, and in the judge who decides their punishment. Shakespeare's play of Titus and Andronicus contains a terrible satire on woman's position in the nineteenth century--"Rude men" (the play tells us) "seized the king's daughter, cut out her tongue, out off her hands, and then bade her go call for water and wash her hands." What a picture of woman's position. Robbed of her natural rights, handicapped by law and custom at every turn, yet compelled to fight her own battles, and in the emergencies of life to fall back on herself for protection.

The girl of sixteen, thrown on the world to support herself, to make her own place in society, to resist the temptations that surround her and maintain a spotless integrity, must do all this by native force or superior education. She does not acquire this power by being trained to trust others and distrust herself. If she wearies of the struggle, finding it hard work to swim upstream, and allow herself to drift with the current, she will find plenty of company, but not one to share her misery in the hour of her deepest humiliation. If she tried to retrieve her position, to conceal the past, her life is hedged about with fears last willing hands should tear the veil from what she fain would hide. Young and friendless, she knows the bitter solitude of self.

How the little courtesies of life on the surface of society, deemed so important from man towards woman, fade into utter insignificance in view of the deeper tragedies in which she must play her part alone, where no human aid is possible.

The young wife and mother, at the head of some establishment with a kind husband to shield her from the adverse winds of life, with wealth, fortune and position, has a certain harbor of safety, occurs against the ordinary ills of life. But to manage a household, have a deatrable influence in society, keep her friends and the affections of her husband, train her children and servants well, she must have rare common sense, wisdom, diplomacy, and a knowledge of human nature. To do all this she needs the cardinal virtues and the strong points of character that the most successful statesman possesses.

An uneducated woman, trained to dependence, with no resources in herself must make a failure of any position in life. But society says women do not need a knowledge of the world, the liberal training that experience in public life must give, all the advantages of collegiate education; but when for the lock of all this, the woman's happiness is wrecked, alone she bears her humiliation; and the attitude of the weak and the ignorant in indeed pitiful in the wild chase for the price of life they are ground to powder.

In age, when the pleasures of youth are passed, children grown up, married and gone, the hurry and hustle of life in a measure over, when the hands are weary of active service, when the old armchair and the fireside are the chosen resorts, then men and women alike must fall back on their own resources. If they cannot find companionship in books, if they have no interest in the vital questions of the hour, no interest in watching the consummation of reforms, with which they might have been identified, they soon pass into their dotage. The more fully the faculties of the mind are developed and kept in use, the longer the period of vigor and active interest in all around us continues. If from a lifelong participation in public affairs a woman feels responsible for the laws regulating our system of education, the discipline of our jails and prisons, the sanitary conditions of our private homes, public buildings, and thoroughfares, an interest in commerce, finance, our foreign relations, in any or all of these questions, here solitude will at least be respectable, and she will not be driven to gossip or scandal for entertainment.

The chief reason for opening to every soul the doors to the whole round of human duties an pleasures is the individual development thus attained, the resources thus provided under all circumstances to mitigate the solitude that at times must come to everyone. I once asked Prince Krapotkin, the Russian nihilist, how he endured his long years in prison, deprived of books, pen, ink, and paper. "Ah," he said, "I thought out many questions in which I had a deep interest. In the pursuit of an idea I took no note of time. When tired of solving knotty problems I recited all the beautiful passages in prose or verse I have ever learned. I became acquainted with myself and my own resources. I had a world of my own, a vast empire, that no Russian jailor or Czar could invade." Such is the value of liberal thought and broad culture when shut off from all human companionship, bringing comfort and sunshine within even the four walls of a prison cell.

As women of times share a similar fate, should they not have all the consolation that the most liberal education can give? Their suffering in the prisons of St. Petersburg; in the long, weary marches to Siberia, and in the mines, working side by side with men, surely call for all the self-support that the most exalted sentiments of heroism can give. When suddenly roused at midnight, with the startling cry of "fire! fire!" to find the house over their heads in flames, do women wait for men to point the way to safety? And are the men, equally bewildered and half suffocated with smoke, in a position to more than try to save themselves?

At such times the most timid women have shown a courage and heroism in saving their husbands and children that has surprise everybody. Inasmuch, then, as woman shares equally the joys and sorrows of time and eternity, is it not the height of presumption in man to propose to represent her at the ballot box an the throne of grace, do her voting in the state, her praying in the church, and to assume the position of priest at the family alter.

Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility. Nothing adds such dignity to character as the recognition of one's self-sovereignty; the right to an equal place, every where conceded; a place earned by personal merit, not an artificial attainment, by inheritance, wealth, family, and position. Seeing, then that the responsibilities of life rests equally on man and woman, that their destiny is the same, they need the same preparation for time and eternity. The talk of sheltering woman from the fierce sterns of life is the sheerest mockery, for they beat on her from every point of the compass, just as they do on man, and with more fatal results, for he has been trained to protect himself, to resist, to conquer. Such are the facts in human experience, the responsibilities of individual. Rich and poor, intelligent and ignorant, wise and foolish, virtuous and vicious, man and woman, it is ever the same, each soul must depend wholly on itself.

Whatever the theories may be of woman's dependence on man, in the supreme moments of her life he can not bear her burdens. Alone she goes to the gates of death to give life to every man that is born into the world. No one can share her fears, on one mitigate her pangs; and if her sorrow is greater than she can bear, alone she passes beyond the gates into the vast unknown.

From the mountain tops of Judea, long ago, a heavenly voice bade His disciples, "Bear ye one another's burdens," but humanity has not yet risen to that point of self-sacrifice, and if ever so willing, how few the burdens are that one soul can bear for another. In the highways of Palestine; in prayer and fasting on the solitary mountain top; in the Garden of Gethsemane; before the judgment seat of Pilate; betrayed by one of His trusted disciples at His last supper; in His agonies on the cross, even Jesus of Nazareth, in these last sad days on earth, felt the awful solitude of self. Deserted by man, in agony he cries, "My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken me?" And so it ever must be in the conflicting scenes of life, on the long weary march, each one walks alone. We may have many friends, love, kindness, sympathy and charity to smooth our pathway in everyday life, but in the tragedies and triumphs of human experience each moral stands alone.

But when all artificial trammels are removed, and women are recognized as individuals, responsible for their own environments, thoroughly educated for all the positions in life they may be called to fill; with all the resources in themselves that liberal though and broad culture can give; guided by their own conscience an judgment; trained to self-protection by a healthy development of the muscular system and skill in the use of weapons of defense, and stimulated to self-support by the knowledge of the business world and the pleasure that pecuniary independence must ever give; when women are trained in this way they will, in a measure, be fitted for those hours of solitude that come alike to all, whether prepared or otherwise. As in our extremity we must depend on ourselves, the dictates of wisdom point of complete individual development.

In talking of education how shallow the argument that each class must be educated for the special work it proposed to do, and all those faculties not needed in this special walk must lie dormant and utterly wither for want of use, when, perhaps, these will be the very faculties needed in life's greatest energies. Some say, Where is the use of drilling series in the languages, the Sciences, in law, medicine, theology? As wives, mothers, housekeepers, cooks, they need a different curriculum from boys who are to fill all positions. The chief cooks in our great hotels and ocean steamers are men. In large cities men run the bakries; they make our bread, cake and pies. They manage the laundries; they are now considered our best milliners and dressmakers. Because some men fill these departments of usefulness, shall we regulate the curriculum in Harvard and Yale to their present necessities? If not why this talk in our best colleges of a curriculum for girls who are crowding into the trades and professions; teachers in all our public schools rapidly hiring many lucrative and honorable positions in life? They are showing too, their calmness and courage in the most trying hours of human experience.

You have probably all read in the daily papers of the terrible storm in the Bay of Biscay when a tidal wave such havoc on the shore, wrecking vessels, unroofing houses and carrying destruction everywhere. Among other buildings the woman's prison was demolished. Those who escaped saw men struggling to reach the shore. They promptly by clasping hands made a chain of themselves and pushed out into the sea, again and again, at the risk of their lives until they had brought six men to shore, carried them to a shelter, and did all in their power for their comfort and protection.

What especial school of training could have prepared these women for this sublime moment of their lives. In times like this humanity rises above all college curriculums and recognises Nature as the greatest of all teachers in the hour of danger and death. Women are already the equals of men in the whole of ream of thought, in art, science, literature, and government. With telescope vision they explore the starry firmament, and bring back the history of the planetary world. With chart and compass they pilot ships across the mighty deep, and with skillful finger send electric messages around the globe. In galleries of art the beauties of nature and the virtues of humanity are immortalized by them on their canvas and by their inspired touch dull blocks of marble are transformed into angels of light.

In music they speak again the language of Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, and are worthy interpreters of their great thoughts. The poetry and novels of the century are theirs, and they have touched the keynote of reform in religion, politics, and social life. They fill the editor's and professor's chair, and plead at the bar of justice, walk the wards of the hospital, and speak from the pulpit and the platform; such is the type of womanhood that an enlightened public sentiment welcomes today, and such the triumph of the facts of life over the false theories of the past.

Is it, then, consistent to hold the developed woman of this day within the same narrow political limits as the dame with the spinning wheel and knitting needle occupied in the past? No! no! Machinery has taken the labors of woman as well as man on its tireless shoulders; the loom and the spinning wheel are but dreams of the past; the pen, the brush, the easel, the chisel, have taken their places, while the hopes and ambitions of women are essentially changed.

We see reason sufficient in the outer conditions of human being for individual liberty and development, but when we consider the self dependence of every human soul we see the need of courage, judgment, and the exercise of every faculty of mind and body, strengthened and developed by use, in woman as well as man.

Whatever may be said of man's protecting power in ordinary conditions, mid all the terrible disasters by land and sea, in the supreme moments of danger, alone, woman must ever meet the horrors of the situation; the Angel of Death even makes no royal pathway for her. Man's love and sympathy enter only into the sunshine of our lives. In that solemn solitude of self, that links us with the immeasurable and the eternal, each soul lives alone forever. A recent writer says:

I remember once, in crossing the Atlantic, to have gone upon the deck of the ship at midnight, when a dense black cloud enveloped the sky, and the great deep was roaring madly under the lashes of demoniac winds. My feelings was not of danger or fear (which is a base surrender of the immortal soul), but of utter desolation and loneliness; a little speck of life shut in by a tremendous darkness. Again I remember to have climbed the slopes of the Swiss Alps, up beyond the point where vegetation ceases, and the stunted conifers no longer struggle against the unfeeling blasts. Around me lay a huge confusion of rocks, out of which the gigantic ice peaks shot into the measureless blue of the heavens, and again my only feeling was the awful solitude.

And yet, there is a solitude, which each and every one of us has always carried with him, more inaccessible than the ice-cold mountains, more profound than the midnight sea; the solitude of self. Our inner being, which we call ourself, no eye nor touch of man or angel has ever pierced. It is more hidden than the caves of the gnome; the sacred adytum of the oracle; the hidden chamber of eleusinian mystery, for to it only omniscience is permitted to enter.

Such is individual life. Who, I ask you, can take, dare take, on himself the rights, the duties, the responsibilities of another human soul?