Susan

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker

For Women’s History Month, here’s a short piece I posted on Facebook about dress reformer, army surgeon, author, and eccentric Dr. Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919). (She doesn’t appear in The Queen of the Platform, as I have no evidence that she and Ernestine Rose ever met, but it would have been fun to overhear a […]

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From the Underground Railroad to the Water-Cure: David Ruggles

(This post originally appeared as a guest post on Linda Bennett Pennell’s blog, History Imagined.) In researching my historical novels set in nineteenth-century America, I have come across a number of people, now obscure, who deserve to be remembered for their heroism. One is David Ruggles, a black abolitionist. Born in Lyme, Connecticut, on March

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An Unlikely Escort: The Dentist Who (Maybe) Helped Mary Lincoln Out of Frankfurt

In 1870, the widowed Mary Lincoln and her son Tad, who had already been in one war zone in Washington, D.C., found themselves in another as France and Prussia faced off. After her husband’s assassination, Mary refused to return to Springfield, Illinois.[1] Although the Lincolns owned a home at Eighth and Jackson Streets there, and

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The Bloomer Movement

In 1851, a new word entered the fashion lexicon: the “Bloomer.” It referred not to undergarments but to what had been known previously by such names as the “reform dress” and the “Turkish dress”: essentially, a short dress paired with pantaloons, in place of the constricting women’s garments of the day. It would become associated

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Stanton and Anthony Caught Up in the Draft Riots

In July 1863, the infamous “draft riots” roiled New York. Among those caught up in the violence were the two people most associated with the nineteenth-century women’s rights movement: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s husband, Henry Stanton, had been appointed Deputy Collector of the New York Custom House in 1861.

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Within the Golden Ball of St. Paul’s

In nineteenth-century London (and apparently into the 1960s), it was possible for the venturesome to climb all the way to the interior of the golden ball surmounting St. Paul’s Cathedral in London (right below the cross). One of those who made the effort was the intrepid feminist Ernestine Rose, who along with her husband was

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