Women Leaders and Activists
Experiences of Women Leaders and Activists as told by CGCC Students in partnership with Chandler Museum's Public History Program
Overview of 1800s
 

Domestic women in the 1800's
By Maria-Elena Soto

The 1800's started out having men leaving the farms and ranches and had them breaking out into the world of business in shops, offices and the like. This left the women at home in charge of their own little world. Instead of constantly being under a man's authority the women now had the day to be in charge of the home, children, hired help and a little personal time. As the century moved on women got a little lonely at home and realized that they had some degree of impact in church areas. This excited them and they grew hungry for more say and influence. The clergy had a time trying to put that fire out, but at last the women further realized that they could do what men do: think, do business, work, provide and still be women. These ideas came full force during the Civil War. The men went off to fight, leaving the shops, offices, farms and mills to be tended to by the women. After the Civil War the men returning didn't take nicely to the women and their new found positions. This women's empowerment movement became the beginning of suffrage. Suffrage was the women's movement to gain the right of equal pay for equal work, the right to vote and the right to work in the jobs that she was capable. Not all women agreed with this concept, and many men didn't support it at all.

Education of the 1800's
By Valerie Bagnoli

Education for women in the 1800s was minimal during that period. Schooling was for the male gender, and if a woman wanted to go to school, she was looked down upon. The woman's role was in the house. In the home the women took care of the children and she was the one who set the atmosphere for her offspring. She was the one who would teach them or "train" them in their roles in life. Over time, many were starting to see that women needed some sort of education because they were the ones who raised the children in the home. As a result, many women began to educate themselves in order to better their lives and the lives of their offspring. This was the beginning of all female colleges. These colleges were created to educate the woman and to better themselves in the home enviroment.

Abolition and The Woman's Movement
By Christina Navarro and Steve Kirchner

The 1800's was a pinnacle time for women. Changing social conditions for women during the early 1800's, combined with the idea of equality, led to the birth of the woman suffrage movement. For example, women started to receive more education and to take part in reform movements like abolition, which involved them in politics. Slavery was not uncommon in the United States in the 1800s, especially in the south. Slavery was a way of life for people of this time. However, it was a controversial subject. The treatment of slaves was harsh for trying to escape or for slacking off. It was encouraged for black women slaves to have many children so there will be more labor available for the owner. Slaves often had no rights at all, and they were not even considered human in many cases. It was during the 1800s, however, when certain people, including women, stood up and voiced their opinions about the abuses and hardships slaves have to live with their whole lives.

As a result of their work in abolition, women started to ask why they were not also allowed to vote. The National Women's Suffrage Association was started by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. There were other interests of the women's suffrage movement such as equal pay and legal equality. Suffrage quickly became the chief goal of the women's rights movement. Leaders of the movement believed that if women had the vote, they could use it to gain other rights. The suffragists faced strong opposition; The Society Women of Beacon Hill were among the list of oppositions. They saw politics as corrupt, and if women gained the right to vote, then the women themselves would also become corrupt. The Democratic Party was also against the NWSA and other suffrage groups mainly because they were afraid that if women gained the right to vote then soon the black women would follow. Many others who opposed the movement were the alcohol brewers, President Wilson for his loathing of Alice Paul (another activist), husbands and the media. The nineteenth amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was added to the constitution in May of 1919.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
By: Valerie Bagnoli

One of the most known women in the 1800s was Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She was a strong and political woman of her time and it was not accepted by many. She led several movements, such as, the Women's Rights Convention, and the Anti-Slavery Movement. However, Stanton was most recognizable in the women's movement, along with her colleague, Susan B. Anthony. Stanton was strong in giving speeches that moved not only women but several males also. Stanton was a proponent for equal rights and was in opposition of religious orthodox. That is why she wrote The Woman's Bible, which is her rendition of the bible, but for women. This book caused chaos in this era because it was way too risky for a woman to do something like Stanton did. It was frowned upon by many, and it was idolized by several others who were willing to take a chance. Throughout Stanton's life, she made some very risky moves for her era, but through her efforts, she helped future women stand up for what is right and just like Susan B. Anthony, neither one of them lived to see what a difference they made in women's lives.

Matilda Joslyn Gage
By: Christina Navarro

Among the many women who were working for the suffragist movement, Matilda Joslyn Gage was one of the most important but lesser known. Matilda Joslyn was born March 26th 1826 in Cicero, New York. Her upbringing was considered unconventional; dinner conversations consisted of abolition, women's rights, temperance and free thought. Their home was a meeting place for reformers and for members of the Underground Railroad. In 1852 she made her first public address for the rights of women at the National Women's Rights Convention in Syracuse, New York. She was the youngest speaker there and completely unknown. In 1869 Matilda Joslyn Gage joined the NWSA with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and became the vice president of the New York Woman Suffrage Association. In 1893 Gage wrote Woman, Church and State which gave her views on women's rights and on the Christian religion. In her book she tried to prove that the Christian religion had stripped women of their power and that the biggest wrong made was that God did not create woman as man's equal. The book was widely read but offended many women in the suffrage movement. She was written off by the mainstream leadership of the women's movement and taken out of history. Matilda Joslyn Gage stopped her public speeches due to declining health.

Harriet Beecher Stowe
By: Steve Kirchner

During this time period, it was not popular for women to be active in public, especially when it came to writing books. Women were seen as housekeepers, their role was to do all the domestic roles and to take care of their offspring, so it was very uncommon for women to have their books and other writings published. If a woman wanted their book published she would use a pen name or her initials to hide the fact that she was female. Harriet Beecher Stowe is a great example of this. She was in fact the author of the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. Since this novel was written by a woman it brought up heated issues during her time. Harriet Beecher was born on June 14, 1811. She was the seventh child of a protestant preacher. Harriet worked as a teacher with her older sister Catharine: her earliest publication was Geography for Children, issued under her sister's name in 1833. In 1836, Harriet married widower Calvin Stowe and ended up having seven children together. Stowe helped to support her family financially by writing periodicals for her church and other local papers. Throughout her lifetime she wrote several poems, travel booklets, and children/adult oriented novels. She met and corresponded with people as varied as Lady Byron, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and George Eliot who were other important women in the 1800s. While she wrote at least ten adult novels, Harriet Beecher Stowe is predominantly known for her first, Uncle Tom's Cabin. This book was deeply controversial because it discussed the issue of slavery. Stowe was very familiar with the slavery issues and she put her knowledge and strong opinions in this novel. She died at the age of 85, in Hartford Connecticut.

Elizabeth Blackwell
By: Maria-Elena Soto

Elizabeth Blackwell was an extraordinary woman in history. She lived her amazing life within 89 years. She was born on February 3rd 1821 in Bristol, England into a wealthy family. When she was eleven years old she and her family moved to America and settled in New York City. When she was 17 they moved to Ohio. During that year Elizabeth's father died and she and her four sisters opened a school to make money for the family. Elizabeth knew very early on in life that she didn't want to do "girly" things including raising children of her own, so running the school was more of a necessity rather than a life's passion for her. Before her father died, she was involved with abolitionist groups against slavery, along with the rest of her family. She applied to medical school 29 times before finding a school that would have her. No American school would let her in so she went to Paris, to the Geneva Medical College. In 1949 she went blind by catching an eye infection from one of her patients. Two years later she went back to New York City and opened up a medical practice. She also lectured and published papers. Her specialty was women and children, now known as 'Obstetrics/Labor and Delivery/ Pediatrics'. In 1854 she was declared a Medical Doctor, the first in America. She was 33 years old and it had taken her 7 years to accomplish. In 1859 she also was declared the first woman doctor listed in the British Medical Registry.

When the American Civil War broke out, Elizabeth and her sister Emily (who worked at Elizabeth's different medical practices throughout the years) helped to train many women to be nurses in New York City. Later Elizabeth became known as the professor of hygiene at her Woman's Medical College within her Infirmary in New York City that she opened in 1857. In 1869 she moved back to England for good, semi retiring but continuing to speak and write for woman's rights and opening up the medical field to women. Elizabeth died in 1910 in England. In the London Times her obituary read: "She was in the fullest sense of the word a pioneer who, like all pioneers (when discouraged) heard but did not listen." Women's rights were being fought for, blacks and slavery issues were being toiled, the American Civil War happened and the United State's and even Europe's social, economical, political and religious subjects were being put on their ends, teetering on which way to go. It is people like Elizabeth Blackwell that pushed the edge of the envelope and defied what is done and developed a way for what should be. She not only accomplished her goals, helped the world progress in its way of thinking but helped to pave the way for blacks and women to accomplish their goals for generations to come.

Annotated Bibliography: Elizabeth Blackwell
Blackwell, Elizabeth. Pioneer work in opening the medical profession. London:
Longmans, Green and Co., 1895.
This is an autobiography that goes into extreme detail of her life. She covers it all from the beginning to the end. She is relaying documentation of what happened, how she felt about it, and what she wants to leave behind as a legacy to history.

Grace, Pierce. "First among women. (first woman doctor)" Thomas Gale, British Medical
Journal
v303.n6817 (Dec 21, 1991): pp1582 (2).
This article is what I would call short tongued. It gets straight to the bare minimum facts and that is it. There are no personal details of her life, just what happened. The article has a sharp way about it verses the other readings, almost jaded.

Kline, Nancy. Elizabeth Blackwell, A Doctor's Triumph.
Berkeley, California: Conari Press, 1997.
A Doctor's Triumph is about Elizabeth's whole life not just when she was a doctor. It describes her young life and all of her family's dynamics and her inner struggles from pressure and decisions of what to do during a very difficult time period. Woman's rights, abolition and the Civil War were the biggest world happenings during her time. Other things she was dealing with were all of her personal issues, family, feelings, struggles and the like. This book covers it all.

Procida, Mary A. "Blackwell, Elizabeth." Women in World History.
Volume Two, Pgs 585-590, Collections: Blackwell Family Papers at the Schlesinger Library,
Radcliffe College, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and The Library of Congress, Washington,
D.C.
This information is an overview. It reminds me of a resume, giving little detail but hitting on all the big historical events in her life that contributed to history and women. It sums her life up pretty well also including a few little personal tidbits.

Annotated Bibliography: Harriet Beecher Stowe
Amons, Elizabeth. "Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1811-1896". May 2003. 29 October 2006.
http://www.womenwriters.net/domesticgoddess/stowe1.htm.

This article is mostly about her controversial anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. It poses several questions that are still being asked today in regards to the book. It is an informative article on the overview of this novel.

"Harriet Beecher Stowe". Lakewood Library Online. 29 October 2006.
http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/stow-har.htm.

This article gives a basic outline of Harriet Beecher Stowe's biography. It lists information such as birth date, education, accomplishments, and death. It also has a list of sources at the bottom.

"Harriet Beecher Stowe Center". Harriet Beecher Stowe House and Library. 2005. 29 October
2006. http://www.harrietbeecherstowe.org/index_home.shtml.

This is a website dedicated to collecting information on Harriet Beecher Stowe. It has several links and gives information about every aspect of her life from birth to death and everything in between.

Annotated Bibliography: Matilda Joslyn Gage
Commire, Anne. Women in History. Waterford Ct: Yorkin Publications, 2000.
This source is a reference encyclopedia. It has information on all the women who have made an impact on the world in the last hundred years and a brief description of Matilda Joslyn Gage and her achievements in the women's movement.

Gage, Matilda Joslyn. Women, Church and State. Amherst NY: Humanity Books,
2002.
This is a book written by Matilda Joslyn Gage. She wrote it to share her views about the women's suffrage efforts and her views on the conservative religious movements.

Matilda Joslyn Gage page. 2005. www.matildajosnlyngage.org.

This website I found from reading Woman, Church and State. The woman who does the introduction for the book is the executive director for the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation. The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation is dedicated to educating current and future generations about Gage's work and its power to drive contemporary social change.

"Matilda Joslyn Gage." Excluded from suffrage history. VOL182. 2000.

This book was written to give more information about Matilda Joslyn Gage that might have been left out of other history books that mainly focus on Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

"Matilda Joslyn Gage." Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady
Stanton. Narr. Sally Kellerman. Dir. Ken Burns. PBS Network.
This is a documentary that was done in honor of the suffragist movement. It is not soley on M.J.G. but it does touch on her and what she was fighting for. This gave a better insight to what was happening around her.

Annotated Bibliography: Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Women's Rights Speech. 19 July 1848. 26 Sept. 2006.
http://www.libertynet.org/edcivic/stanton.html.
This was the speech that Elizabeth Stanton herself wrote and gave at the first Women's Rights Convention. It was given on July 19th, 1848.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton. 26 Sept. 2006.
http://www.nps.gov/archive/wori/ecs.htm.
This is a three page biography on the life of Elizabeth Stanton. It goes through all of the major issues she brought up and fought for.

"Elizabeth C. Stanton." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia.
DuBois, Ellen C., Griffith, Elizabeth, and Lutz, Alma. 14 vol.
This encyclopedia broadens the view points of Elizabeth C. Stanton's life. It goes into great detail of her successes.

Stanton, Elizabeth C. The Woman's Bible. 1895. Northeastern University Press. 1993.
The Woman's Bible is a book that Elizabeth Stanton wrote. She basically took the original bible a made a "few" major changes.

"Woman's Bible ,The". (excerpts)." Free Inquiry 19.4 (fall 1999): 57. Infotrac Onefile.
Thomas Gale. Chandler-Gilbert Community College. 26 Sept. 2006.
http://find.galegroup.com/itx/infomark.
This is an article that takes specific examples from The Woman' Bible, and evaluates what was written by Ms. Elizabeth Stanton.

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Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Mr. President How long do we have to wait?!

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Matilda Joslyn Gage

Women Protesting