History of Woman Suffrage - Vol. 1 (1848-1861) - Chapter 2

History of Woman Suffrage

Volume 1

1848 - 1861

In Six Volumes

Edited by 
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Susan B. Anthony and
Matilda Joslyn Gage

Chapter 2


In newspaper literature woman made her entrance at an early period and in an important manner. The first daily newspaper in the world was established and edited by a woman, Elizabeth Mallet, in London, March, 1702. It was called The Daily Courant. In her salutatory, Mrs. Mallet declared she had established her paper to "spare the public at least half the impertinences which the ordinary papers contain." Thus the first daily paper was made reformatory in its character by its wise woman-founder.
The first newspaper printed in Rhode Island was by Anna Franklin in 1732. She was printer to the colony, supplied blanks to the public officers, published pamphlets, etc., and in 1745 she printed for the colonial government an edition of the laws comprising three hundred and forty pages. She was aided by her two daughters, who were correct and quick compositors. The woman servant of the house usually worked the press. The third paper established in America was The Mercury, in Philadelphia. After the death of its founder, in 1742, it was suspended for a week, when his widow, Mrs. Cornelia Bradford, revived it and carried it on for many years, making it both a literary and a pecuniary success. The second newspaper started in the city of New York, entitled the New York Weekly Journal, was conducted by Mrs. Zeuger for years after the death of her husband. She discontinued its publication in 1748. The Maryland Gazette, the first paper in that colony, and among the oldest in America, was established by Anna K. Greene in 1767. She did the colony printing and continued the business till her death, in 1775. Mrs. Haasebatch also established a paper in Baltimore in 1773. Mrs. Mary K. Goddard published the Maryland Journal for eight years. Her editorials were of so spirited and pronounced a character that only her sex saved her from sound floggings. She took in job work. She was the first postmaster after the Revolution, holding the office for eight years. Two papers were early published in Virginia by women. Each was established in Williamsburg, and each was called The Virginia Gazette. The first, started by Clementina Reid, in 1772, favored the Colonial cause, giving great offense to many royalists. To counteract its influence, Mrs. H. Boyle, of the same place, started another paper in 1774, in the interests of the Crown, and desirous that it should seem to represent the true principles of the colony, she borrowed the name of the colonial paper. It lived but a short time. The Colonial Virginia Gazette was the first paper in which was printed the Declaration of Independence. A synopsis was given July 19th, and the whole document the 26th. Mrs. Elizabeth Timothee published a paper in Charleston, South Carolina, from 1773 to 1775, called The Gazette. Anna Timothee revived it after the Revolution, and was appointed printer to the State, holding the office till 1792. Mary Crouch also published a paper in Charleston, S. C, until 1780. It was founded in special opposition to the Stamp Act. She afterward removed to Salem, Mass., and continued its publication for several years. Penelope Russell printed The Censor in Boston, Mass., in 1771. She set her own type, and was such a ready compositor as to set up her editorials without written copy, while working at her case. The most tragical and interesting events were thus recorded by her. The first paper published in America, living to a second issue, was the Massachusetts Gazette and North Boston. News Letter. It was continued by Mrs. Margaret Draper, two years after the death of her husband, and was the only paper of spirit in the colony, all but hers suspending publication when Boston was besieged by the British. Mrs. Sarah Goddard printed a paper at Newport, R I., in 1776. She was a well-educated woman, and versed in general literature. For two years she conducted her journal with great ability, afterward associating John Carter with her, under the name of Sarah Goddard & Co., retaining the partnership precedence so justly belonging to her. The Courant at Hartford, Ct., was edited for two years by Mrs. Watson, after the death of her husband, in 1777. In 1784 Mrs. Mary Holt edited and published the New York Journal, continuing the business several years. She was appointed State printer. In 1798, The Journal and Argus fell into the hands of Mrs. Greenleaf, who for some time published both a daily and semi-weekly edition. In Philadelphia, after the death of her father in 1802, Mrs. Jane Aitkins continued his business of printing. Her press-work bore high reputation. She was specially noted for her correctness in proof-reading. The Free Enquirer, edited in New York by Frances Wright in 1828, "was the first penodical established in the United States for the purpose of fearless and unbiased inquiry on all subjects." It had already been published two years under the name of The New Harmony Gazette, in Indiana, by Robert Dale Owen, for which Mrs. Wright had written many leading editorials, and in which she published serially " A Few Days in Athens."
Sarah Josepha Hale established a ladies' magazine in Boston in 1827, which she afterward removed to Philadelphia, there associating with herself Louis Godey, and assuming the editorship of God-ey's Lady's Book. This magazine was followed by many others, of which Mrs. Kirkland, Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Ellet, Mrs. Sigonrney, and women of like character were editors or contributors. These early magazines published many steel and colored engravings, not only of fashions, but reproductions of works of art, giving the first important impulse to the art of engraving in this country.
Many other periodicals and papers by women now appeared over the country. Mrs. Anne Royal edited for a quarter of a century a paper called The Huntress. In 1827 Lydia Maria Child published a paper for children called The Juvenile Miscellany, and in 1841 assumed the editorship of The Anti-Slavery Standard, in New York, which she ably conducted for eight years. The Dial, in Boston, a transcendental quarterly, edited by Margaret Fuller, made its appearance in 1840; its contributors, among whom were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, Theodore Parker, Win. H. Channing, and the nature-loving Thoreau, were some of the most profound thinkers of the time. Charlotte Fowler Wells, the efficient coadjutor of her brothers and husband for the last forty-two years in the management of The Phrenological Journal and Publishing House of Fowler & Wells in New York city, and since her husband's death in 1875 the sole proprietor and general manager, has also conducted an extensive correspondence and written occasional articles for the Journal. The Lowell Offering, edited by the "mill girls" of that manufacturing town, was established in 1840, and exercised a wide influence. It lived till 1849. Its articles were entirely written by the girl operatives, among whom may be mentioned Lucy Larcom, Margaret Foley, the sculptor, who recently died in Rome; Lydia S. Hall, who at one time filled an important clerkship in the United States Treasury, and Harriet J. Hansan, afterward the wife of W. S. Robinson (Warrington), and herself one of the present workers in Woman Suffrage. Harriet F. Curtis, author of two popular nov-els and Harriet Farley, both "mill girls," had entire editorial charge during the latter part of its existence. In Vermont, Clarina How.
ard Nichols edited the Windham County Democrat from 1843 to 1853. It was a political paper of a pronounced character; her husband was the publisher. Jane G. Swisshelm edited The Saturday Visitor, at Pittsburg, Pa., in 1848. Also the same year The True Kindred appeared, by Rebecca Sanford, at Akron, Ohio. The Lily, a temperance monthly, was started in Seneca Falls, N. Y., in 1849, by Amelia Bloomer, as editor and publisher. It also advocated Woman's Bights, and attained a circulation in nearly every State and Territory of the Union. The Sybil soon followed, Dr. Lydia Sayre Hasbrook, editor; also The Pledge of Honor, edited by N. M. Baker and E. Maria Sheldon, Adrian, Michigan.
In 1849, Die Frauen Zeitung, edited by Mathilde Franceska An-neke, was published in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1850, Lydia Jano Pierson edited a column of the Lancaster (Pa.) Gazette ; Mrs. Prewett edited the Yazoo (Miss.) Whig, in Mississippi; and Mrs. Sheldon the Dollar Weekly. In 1851, Julia Ward Howe edited, with her husband, The Commonwealth, a newspaper dedicated to free thought, and zealous for the liberty of the slave. In 1851, Mrs. C. C. Bentley was editor of the Concord Free Press, in Vermont, and Elizabeth Aldrich of the Genius of Liberty, in Ohio. In 1852. Anna W. Spencer started the Pioneer and Woman's Advocate, in Providence, R. I. Its motto was, "Liberty, Truth, Temperance, Equality." It was published semi-monthly, and advocated a better education for woman, a higher price for her labor, the opening of new industries. It was the earliest paper established in the United States for the advocacy of Woman's Rights. In 1853, The Una, a paper devoted to the enfranchisement of woman, owned and edited by Paulina Wright Davis, was first published in Providence, but afterward removed to Boston, where Caroline II. Dall became associate editor. In 1855, Anna McDowell founded The Woman's Advocate in Philadelphia, a paper in which, like that of Mrs. Anna Franklin, the owner, editor, and compositors were all women. About this period many well-known literary women filled editorial chairs. Grace Greenwood started a child's paper called The Little Pilgrim; Mrs. Bailey conducted the Era, an anti-slavery paper, in Washington, D. C, after her husband's death.
In 1868, The Revolution, a pronounced Woman's Rights paper, was started in New York city; Susan B. Anthony, publisher and proprietor, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Parker Pillsbury, editors. Its motto, "Principles, not policy; justice, not favor; men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less." In 1870 it passed into the hands of Laura Curtis Bullard, who edited it two years with the assistance of Phebe Carey and Augusta Larned, and in 1872 it found consecrated burial in The Liberal Christian, the leading Unitarian paper in New York. From the advent of The Revolution can be dated a new era in the woman suffrage movement. Its brilliant, aggressive columns attracted the comments of the press, and drew the attention of the country to the reform so ably advocated. Many other papers devoted to the discussion of woman's enfranchisement soon arose. In 1869, The Pioneer, in San Francisco, Cal., Emily Pitts Stevens, editor and proprietor. The Woman's Advocate, at Dayton, O., A. J. Boyer and Miriam M. Cole, editors, started the same year. The Sorosis and The Agitator, in Chicago, 111., the latter owned and edited by Mary A. Livermore, and The
Woman's Advocate, in New York, were all alike short-lived. L'Amirique, a semi-weekly French paper published in Chicago, HI., by Madam Jennie d'Hericourt, and Die NeueZeit, a German paper, in New York, by Mathilde F. "Wendt, this same year, show the interest of our foreign women citizens in the cause of their sex. In 1S70, The Woman's Journal was founded in Boston, Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and Henry B. Blackwell, editors. WoodhuU and Clqjlin's Weekly, an erietic paper, advocating many new ideas, was established in New York by Victoria Woodhnll and Tennie C. Claflin, editors and proprietors. The New Northwest, in Portland, Oregon, in 1871, Abigail Scott Duniway, editor and proprietor. The Golden Dawn, at San Francisco, Cal., in 1876, Mrs. Boyer, editor.
The Ballot-Box was started in 1876, at Toledo, O., Sarah Lang-don Williams, editor, under the auspices of the city Woman's Suffrage Association. It was moved to Syracuse in 1878, and is now edited by Matilda Joslyn Gage, under the name of The National Citizen and Ballot-Box, as an exponent of the views of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Its motto, "Self-government is a natural right, and the ballot is the method of exercising that right." Laura de Force Gordon for some years edited a daily democratic paper in California. In opposition to this large array of papers demanding equality fur woman, a solitary little monthly was started a few years since, in Baltimore, Md., under the auspices of Mrs. General Sherman and Mrs. Admiral Dahlgren. It was called The True Woman, but soon died of inanition and inherent weakness of constitution.
In the Exposition of 1876, in Philadelphia, the New Century, edited and published under the auspices of the Woman's Centen-nial Committee, was made-up and printed by women on a press of their own, in the Woman's Pavilion. In 1877 Mrs. Theresa Lewis started Woman's Words in Philadelphia. For some time, Penfield,
N. Y., boasted its thirteen-year-old girl editor, in Miss Nellie Williams. Her paper, the Penfield Enterprise, was for three years written, set up, and published by herself. It attained a circulation of three thousand.
Many foreign papers devoted to woman's interests have been established within the last few years. The Women's Suffrage Journal, in England, Lydia E. Becker, of Manchester, editor and proprietor; the Englishwoman's Journal, in London, edited by Caroline Ashuret Biggs; Woman and Work and the Victoria Magazine, by Emily Faithful, are among the number. Miss Faithful's magazine having attained a circulation of fifty thousand. Des Droits des Femmes, long the organ of the Swiss woman suffragists, Madame Marie Goegg, the head, was followed by the Solidarite. L'Avenir des Femmes, edited by M. Leon Richer, has Mlle. Maria Dairesmes, the author of a spirited reply to the work of M. Dumas, fils, on Woman, as its special contributor. L'Esperance, of Geneva, an Englishwoman its editor, was an early advocate of woman's cause. La Donna, at Venice, edited by Signora Gualberti Alaide Beccari (a well-known Italian philanthropic name); La Cornelia, at Florence, Signora Amelia Cunino Foliero de Luna, editor, prove Italian advancement. Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands must not be omitted from the list of those countries which have published Woman's Rights papers. In Lima, Peru, we find a paper edited and controlled entirely by women ; its name, AJborada, i. c, the Dawn, a South American prophecy and herald of that dawn of justice and equality now breaking upon the world. The Orient, likewise, shows progress. At Bukarest, in Romaine, a paper, the Dekebalos, upholding the elevation of woman, was started in 1874. The Euridike, at Constantinople, edited by Emile Leonzras, is of a similar character. The Bengalee Magazine, devoted to the interests of Indian ladies, its editorials all from woman's pen, shows Asiatic advance.
In the United States the list of women's fashion papers, with their women editors and correspondents, is numerous and important. For fourteen years Harper's Bazaar has been ably edited by Mary L. Booth; other papers of similar character are both owned and edited by women. Madame Demorest's Monthly, a paper that originated the vast pattern business which has extended its ramifications into every part of the country and given employment to thousands of women. As illustrative of woman's continuity of purpose in newspaper work, we may mention the fact that for fifteen years Fanny Fern did not fail to have an article in readiness each week for the Ledger, and for twenty years Jennie June (Mrs. Croly) has edited Demorest's Monthly and contributed to many other papers throughout the United States. Mary Mapes Dodge has edited the St. Nicholas the past eight years. So important a place do women writers hold, Harper's Monthly asserts, that the exceptionally large prices are paid to women contributors. The spiciest critics, reporters, and correspondents to-day, are women—Grace Greenwood Louise Chandler Moulton, Mary Clemmer. Laura C. Holloway is upon the editorial staff of the Brooklyn Eagle. The New York Times boasts a woman (Midi Morgan) cattle reporter, one of the best judges of stock in the country. In some papers, over their own names, women edit columns on special subjects, and fill important positions on journals owned and edited by men. Elizabeth Boynton Harbert edits "The Woman's Kingdom" in the Inter-Ocean, one of the leading dailies of Chicago. Mary Forney Weigley edits a social department in her father's—John W. Forney—paper, the Progress, in Philadelphia. The political columns of many papers are prepared by women, men often receiving the credit. Among the best editorials in the New York Tribune, from Margaret Fuller to Lucia Gilbert Calhoun, have been from the pens of women.
If the proverb that "the pen is mightier than the sword" be true, woman's skill and force in using this mightier weapon must soon change the destinies of the world.