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!

They Put It In Print (1918)… “The 19th Amendment fails by 1 vote…”

October 26, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Does one vote matter? Does every vote count?

Since the passage of the 19th Amendment, the impact of women on the political climate, and therefore, on both the course and civil fabric of the United States cannot be understated. Since 1964, more women have voted in presidential elections than men – as measured by both actual quantity and as a percentage of their respective genders. While this “right” was not realized until 1920, few know that the (women’s suffrage) Amendment nearly passed two years earlier, but came up short by a single vote. Sadly, not all Senators were present to vote. How do we know? They put it in print in The Christian Science Monitor (Boston) dated  October 2, 1918.

 

I’m New Here…Week Seven

March 29, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

  • This week I decided to spend some of my hard-earned money on an old (& rare) publication.  I’d already processed searches for sports figures and jazz singers and mobsters and indentured servants — so many interests that whizzed past me as I was busy with phone calls and emails and web orders.  The only way I could think to appease my conscience about taking a pause to look around a little bit for myself was to become a customer.  There is an entire collection — shelves of bound volumes — of publications by women.  I want to dig through and “see what’s what”, as my grandmother always said.  But that would probably take more research time just orientating myself than I feel easy about spending.  Still, that inclination narrowed the scope of this first quest a bit, and a search through notable dates in history led me to the NYC women’s suffrage march of 1912.

“THE REMARKABLE DEMONSTRATION IN NEW YORK LAST WEEK WHEN 15,000 WOMEN OF ALL STATIONS IN LIFE MARCHED THROUGH THE STREETS OF THE METROPOLIS TO EXPRESS THEIR DEMAND FOR THE VOTE”.  The headline itself seems shocked by the occurrence, with subsequent captions numbering the onlookers at 500,000.  It’s a grand photo spread highlighting the oldest, the youngest, and crediting 619 men with “heroically joining their womenfolk upon the march.”  This is the purchase for me.

The Women’s Suffrage movement is just one of the stories for justice and equality well documented through historic publications.  Whether an account of invention, discovery, narrative or relationship, these papers are jam-packed with the details of the human experience.  Sometimes there is an encouraging perspective of what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown.  One hundred years after the push began, the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote.  But, this week I also found an eyewitness account of mob riots in Baltimore — including casualty listings — from  1812.  Evidently, much remains to be learned.

My selection (Harper’s Weekly, May 11, 1912) was on the very top shelf, stacked tightly and bound into a volume with Titanic events and many illustrations of William Taft.  I chose an issue with a damaged front cover since I am not very interested in then Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee “…whose proposed amendment to the Constitution will limit the President’s tenure of office to one term of six years.”

The cover price of 10 cents doesn’t hold, but since the average age-expectancy has drastically increased as well, it’s a modest expenditure.  Taking it home with me, opening it up, and dawdling over the columns as much as I like, seems an indulgent treat.  I might even ask the shipping department if they will package it for me…

How things have changed…

December 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-12-28-2015-Blue-LawsIn today’s society when Sunday has become no different than any other day of the week in terms of work, play, and daily behavior, it can be difficult to realize that “blue laws” once existed which prevented–legally–many activities from happening on Sunday.

This article from the October 15, 1883 issue of the “Norristown Register, Pennsylvania, reports a particularly harsh enforcement of the blue laws near New Haven, Connecticut, noting in part: “A score of people …were arrested on the Old Foxon Road….Sabbath breaking was their crime, and the form of their offending was traveling on the Sabbath…” with details of the law and how the offenders were nabbed, including: “…Many of the people out for a ride stopped under the trees & gathered up the scattered nuts. Each person that stopped was arrested. the nuts lay as a trap…” (see images).