The Woman’s Journal & Education, Law and Depression…

January 28, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

On the front page of a late 1800’s issue (Vol. XVII) of The Woman’s Journal three different topics caught my eye — and studying those prevented me from even opening up the issue.  Not included in my collection is the second entry of the column on the far right, entitled “Concerning Women”.  It reads, “Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe has just passed her seventy-fifth birthday.”  One of the most appealing things about old newspapers is that they put human details on the outline sketches of history, as with President Lincoln’s “little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”

Of the more substantive things reported on June 26, 1886, a third of a column is devoted to the passage of legislation in Massachusetts that made it illegal for a man to seduce a woman, even if he was under 21 years of age.  With a bit of research I found that the crime described, “the making of a false promise of marriage as a way of luring a previously chaste unmarried woman into having sex.”  It baffles me that senators argued to keep this form of fraud legal for younger men since, “they did not think it is wise to punish a minor who might commit an offense in a moment of indiscretion.”

In the medical arena, Dr. John B. Gray addressed a group at Utica and focused on the malady we currently term postpartum depression.  He classifies this as a “preventable cause of insanity”, and urges the organization of private support for women after they have delivered babies, to take the form of home and personal care.  He claims that the burdens of “toil and worry” overwhelm a new mother, in some cases to the point of losing their sense of reason.  The article concludes with his plea, “I have heard the wail of sorrow come up from too many households to keep silent.  I have looked into the meaningless eyes of too many, lost by neglect, to stay my voice.”

Finally, I will let the first editorial note speak to the frustration that fueled the fire to grant women the right to vote in this country.  And, as always, I calculate the length of time over which this energy had to be sustained until the final passage in 1919 of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

College degrees are just now being given to men and women without any public outcry against the fair sex, or even a hint that they are out of their sphere or usurping the rights of the other sex.  So much is gained.  But these young women, who in the world of letters hold B.A. and M. A. and even LL.D., are under the law held as equals of lunatics and idiots, and of male felons in prison.  Such men and such women are alike denied the right to vote!

You know of Molly Pitcher. Do you know of Betsy Doyle?

November 5, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

On November 22, 1812 the British, at Fort George, were cannonading the Americans at Fort Niagara. George McFeeley was the American commander and several days later made his official report to Brigadier General Smyth.
Within the report McFeeley noted: “…An instance of extraordinary bravery in a female (the wife of one Doyle, a private in the United States Artillery, made a prisoner at Queenston,) I cannot pass over. During the most tremendous cannonading I have ever seen, she attended the six-pounder on the mess-house with red hot shot, and showed fortitude equal to the Maid of Orleans…”.
In an act of female heroism during combat, much like the work of Molly Pitcher (although considered folklore by many historians), Betsy Doyle played a notable role. A mother of four whose husband was captured at the Battle of Queenston & held as a prisoner by the British, after some gunners were wounded Betsy stepped in to help. The Americans were loading “red hot shot” into their guns to fire at Fort George. Betsy helped bring the shot from the fireplaces downstairs to the guns.
The December 16, 1812 issue of the “Boston Patriot” is one of few newspapers which reported this event.

Acts of female involvement in combat are rarely reported. Here is a nice one.

Snapshot 1926… They said she would never make it…

February 24, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

We recently came across an August 6th Leominster Daily Enterprise which had an article stating that a young woman was attempting to swim across The English Channel, and while acknowledging her spirit, made it clear she was soon to fail as many woman had done so prior to her effort. Of course this inspired us to check the issue for the following day to see whether this young girl, or her doubters would come up short. The headline tells it all.

I’m New Here: A Few Changes…

January 31, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

This week has gone by in a blur.  The (exciting) new catalog ships out tomorrow, and all the attendant hoopla has filled our schedules.  It’s always a juggling act to maintain regular work around special projects, because there is plenty of the latter to pack our days.

A seasoned collector was filling gaps prior to an approaching exhibit, and he called to have me check a New York Times obituary in 1898.  We didn’t have the date it ran, and I exhausted all the other major papers.  However, the deceased was an abolitionist who also contributed to the effort to gain the vote for women.  As a last ditch effort I pulled a volume of the Woman’s Journal from Washington DC, and found a lengthy tribute to Robert Purvis.  Mr. G was quite pleased, and I felt triumphant with my find, particularly as it led me to delve into my favorite category – publications in which women played an important role.  Although much content pertains to suffrage, there seems to have been an effort to provide a platform for intelligent discussion that encompassed many other aspects of life in the 1800’s.  These journals are a valuable resource for a look into the 19th Century, and I am always glad to fulfill an order with one of these gems.

As I begin this second year here at Rare & Early Newspapers, I am planning to dedicate my last post each month to a look at our titles, beginning with the Woman’s Journal.  Hopefully, I can unearth enough nuggets that you will all start to consider that a collection cannot possibly be complete without containing at least an issue or two from the Woman’s Tribune, The Woman’s Journal, The North Shore Review, the Ladies Magazine or Womankind.

Thank you for the kind comments and encouragement in this first year.  I beg your continued forbearance as I wade more deeply into the water.

Cheers!

They put it in print… living Tammy Wynette’s anthem “Stand By Your Man”…

October 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-10-12-2015-Jack-DempseyThe News” from Cleveland reports in its September 30, 1926 issue comments of the wife of famed boxer Jack Dempsey following his unexpected loss to Gene Tunney in one of the more noted fights in boxing history. In defense of her husband she noted: “…I didn’t marry the heavyweight title – I married Jack Dempsey.” and later: “I have never taken an interest in boxing… Jack didn’t bring the ring into the home… But fighting is Jack’s business. That is the thing he loves to do, and I have no more right to influence him with regard to it…”.

She put into practice the anthem Tammy Wynette would make famous some 42 years later with her song “Stand By Your Man”.