Reformers

The Marriage Protest: The Wedding of Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell

In May 1855, American newspapers were abuzz with talk of a wedding. The bride and groom were not society folk or European royalty: they were Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell, abolitionists and women’s rights activists. Although in many ways their wedding ceremony was typical of the time—the bride wore a lovely dress, a clergyman performed the […]

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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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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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Robert Dale Owen’s “Marriage Declaration.”

On April 12, 1832, in New York City, thirty-year-old Robert Dale Owen married nineteen-year-old Mary Jane Robinson. The son of reformer and socialist Robert Owen, Robert Dale Owen shared his father’s views and was a writer and a publisher. He also served in the Indiana legislature and Congress, was the American ambassador to the Kingdom

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