The Woman Question
by Mark Williams
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This site was created by Mark Williams, a history teacher at The Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, Connecticut, under a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council. Some of the materials published here were originally created by Mark Williams as Connecticut Case Studies, under a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council, and printed by the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company. John F. Sutherland of Manchester Community College, Ronald P. Dufour of Rhode Island College, Thomas P. Weinland of the University of Connecticut, Tracey Wilson of Conard High School, Robert K. Andrian of The Loomis Chaffee School, and State Historian Christopher Collier served as consultants. The Connecticut Humanities Council is the State Committee of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The viewpoints or recommendations expressed in the materials on this site of are not necessarily those of the Council or the Endowment. Teachers are encouraged to print and make copies of these materials for their students.
Students take on roles of mid-19th-century reformers who are interested in the rights and status of women. After studying primary sources by and about these reformers, they discuss women's issues from various perspectives to learn about the origins, nature and varieties of perspectives on the woman's rights movement of the 19th century. The unit is focused on the formation of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association, founded in 1869 by Isabella Beecher Hooker. Other characters in the role-play include her husband John Hooker, the Rev. Horace Bushnell, Catharine Beecher, Caroline Seymour Severance and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
State Standards AddressedSt.1: see national standards on historical thinking below St.2: Local and state hist./US and World: see national standards for particular eras below St.3: conflicts, effects of gender on societies St.4: decision making, empathy, relationships to current issues
National Standards Addressed (from the National Standards for History: Basic Edition)
Historical thinking: 2. comprehension, 3. analysis and interpretation, 4. research, 5. decision making
U.S. History: Era 4: St. 4C: changing gender roles and women reformers; Era 5: St. 3C successes and failures of Reconstruction; Era 7: St. 1C Progressivism and other groups
Note: the National History Standards address "the Woman Question," as it continued to be discussed throughout the late 19th century, only indirectly. After mentioning the women reformers of the early 19th century, little is said about women reformers until they are offered as an "alternative" to "mainstream Progressivism" in the early 20th century (even though the Nineteenth Amendment is mentioned as reflecting "the ideals and goals of Progressivism")
Activity Typesprimary source analysis role playing and debate explaining cause/effect, synthesis and writing hypotheses/organizing evidence
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Women, both as a group and individually, are relatively new to American history textbooks. That this is a sore point is not new. Yet, even in this "liberated" age, it is difficult for teachers to find more than token treatment or materials on the history of women in America. All but the newest texts virtually leave women out of history, although some newer editions of old texts have added sections here and there. This, of course, causes some choppiness in the reading, since the experience of women in our history was often far different from that of men (and the experience of women of various social and economic classes was quite diverse as well). We really need to work harder at integrating women more smoothly into our vision of the past.
The Woman Question is about feminism in 19th-century Connecticut. The unit is titled as it is because people who advocated a better position for women in 19th-century American society did not use the term "feminism." Rather they talked in terms of the role of woman, woman's rights, "the woman movement," and differences of opinion on "the woman question."
The unit does not pretend to "cover" the subject of women in Connecticut history. Studying American women, like studying local history, is not the sort of thing that should be done in one unit anyway, but thoroughly integrated into an American history course in all topics where meaningful; and studying American feminism only scratches the surface of studying American women. Furthermore, this unit does not even pretend to offer a comprehensive treatment of Connecticut feminists - an incredibly diverse group whose views differed radically and whose lives spanned two centuries. Instead, it is very specific in looking at the women's rights movement at a particular time - the early 1870's, and at the relationship of a few Connecticut citizens to it. Specific though that approach may be, it offers a great many possibilities for further study and, through the window of a critical juncture in the woman's rights movement, exposes the diversity of American feminism. In a broader sense, such an investigation at this point demonstrates continuing tensions in American culture as the nation struggles to adjust to a changing world while maintaining its republican ideals.
By the 1870's there had been considerable discussion in the United States about the place of woman in society and in the political process. Since the earliest days of the colonial period women had been coming together in groups for mutual support, creating all sorts of informal support networks. During and after the American Revolution thoughtful women had not missed the implications of all the egalitarian and libertarian rhetoric being flung about. In varying ways women demanded changes which the Revolution seemed to promise. The coming of industrialization also raised the issue of woman's place. By offering employment outside the home for some women, by freeing others from drudgery (or, put another way, by stealing away productive tasks women had once considered their own), and by changing lifestyles, the way people related to and did business with each other, and the way people thought about communities, the Industrial Revolution produced a good deal of confusion about woman's "proper sphere." In the wake of all this, women became active in numerous reform movements, including temperance, religious revivals, educational reform, poor relief and abolitionism. Writers such as Catharine Beecher and educators like Sarah Porter, both from Connecticut, struggled to define proper feminine behavior and new ways for women to get control of their turbulent worlds. As for the women's rights movement, the question of seating women at an international antislavery conventions in New York and in London in the 1830's and 1840's was the spark needed to ignite the powder-keg. In 1842 a radicalized Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote, "The more I think on the present condition of woman, the more am I oppressed with the reality of their degradation."
In 1848 a group of women met in Stanton's home town of Seneca Falls, New York, to organize a woman's rights movement. There they identified a whole spectrum of issues, including lack of property rights, marital enslavement, sexual exploitation, lack of political power, inaccessibility of educational opportunity, and inequality in the workplace. The parallel between slavery and the condition of women was clear to these women, who worked the better part of their lives to ensure that the call for the emancipation of women was not ignored. Most of these women were from the upper-middle class, but their relatively comfortable lives should not diminish our assessment of what they did. They were serious rebels with a good deal to lose by their standards. They risked great quantities of money, endured censure and ridicule, and struggled, sometimes tragically, both with the continuing demands placed upon them as wives and mothers and with significant internal differences within their own movement. And even though many of them came to believe the place of woman was the most important issue facing modern America, that did not stop them from continuing to work for other causes during Reconstruction and the Progressive Era.
Some of the most important feminists in American history, both in the women's rights movement and in what historians have identified as a broader impulse toward female autonomy (women who wanted more power over their lives while not necessarily advocating equal political rights), were Connecticut born and bred, many a part of the Beecher family or associated with the community of Nook Farm. Nook Farm was a neighborhood, then on the outskirts of Hartford, which seemed to attract middle-class intellectuals, writers, and professionals. The Beecher family, many of whom lived at Nook Farm at one time or another, is one of Connecticut's most famous, and is, without a doubt, one group of people Connecticut high school students should "know about." So pervasive was their influence in the nation, so diverse were their activities as leaders of all sorts of causes, that it would be a shame to pass through an American history course without some recognition that a good chunk of that history was shaped in this little corner of the nation.
Aside from the Beechers, numerous other women, including Katharine Houghton Hepburn, Alice Paul, author of E.R.A., and Charlotte Perkins Gilman (actually a member of the Beecher family too!) were Connecticut people of national significance. Therefore, it is not only important for students to know how Connecticut responded to the women's rights movement, but to know that some of our native daughters and sons were in the forefront of it!
The people chosen for The Woman Question include Catharine Beecher, a nationally-recognized advocate of improvement of women's education and author of books for women on how to be superior domestic managers (an opponent of woman suffrage); Isabella Beecher Hooker, Catharine's younger sister, founder of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association and self-styled intermediary between rival factions at the national level; John Hooker, Isabella's spouse, 6th generation descendant of Thomas Hooker, lawyer of great repute, and also a leading advocate of woman suffrage; and Horace Bushnell, retired Congregational minister from Hartford, nationally known author of many publications on the Bible, and outspoken opponent of woman suffrage. It would not be uncommon to find these people together in some parlor on Nook Farm discussing pressing issues of the day. Also included are two non-Connecticut women who were, nonetheless, very much a part of the woman's rights movement in Connecticut. These are Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who, one would hope, needs no introduction, and Caroline Severance, a leader in the American Woman Suffrage Association and rival of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony within the woman's rights movement.
Notably absent are Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Henry Ward Beecher, one of the most influential clergymen of his time. Both of these Beechers were part of the woman's rights movement, but I felt that it was important to keep the group small for maximum interaction, and that the people chosen provided adequate representation of differing perspectives of the day. The work of Hepburn and Gilman really constitutes a study of a later generation - a thread that should be picked up at another time, although a brief "aftermath" reading is included in this package to introduce people such as them.
The focus of the unit is on the emergence of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association in 1869 when Isabella Beecher Hooker called a convention for the purpose of setting up the organization and drawing support for resolutions calling for woman's rights. This was at a time when the national woman suffrage movement was bitterly divided. The passage of the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, ensuring black men, but not any women, equal protection of the laws and voting rights, had led some women, like Stanton and Anthony, to take a more militant stand, to condemn the Republican Party for abandoning women, to call for reforms ranging well beyond suffrage, and, consequently, to alienate many of their own supporters of the Boston area, among them Mary Livermore, William Lloyd Garrison, the old abolitionist, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Lucy Stone, and Caroline Severance. In managing to get practically all of these people, as well as her more conservative sisters, together on one stage, Mrs. Hooker was attempting not only to get the movement going in Connecticut but also to bring the national movement back together. For our purposes she provided us with an excellent opportunity to see, all at once, the many faces of feminism both in Connecticut and in the nation. In fact, all these people together demonstrate the diversity of views on the woman question in the 19th Century. It was not just a disagreement between men and women, or between different classes. Even among "advocates of woman," and even within families, there were serious differences of opinion.
Students should have studied the Civil War and its aftermath through 1870. It is also important that in their study of ante-bellum America, they considered the Revolution, industrialization, the emergence of "the cult of domesticity" among middle-class women, and various reform movements as being vastly important for women, who were significant participants in these events and, in turn, were deeply affected by them. In conjunction with "the cult of domesticity" they may have already studied Catharine Beecher, and likewise with reform movements they probably ran into Harriet Beecher Stowe. All of this is referred to in the biographical sketches for the characters under study, and so it is not necessary to have a major review of ante-bellum history. In fact, the unit itself serves as a good review of the aspects referred to above. It also serves to point out the familial connections among reformers, and the great influence of family upon the development of reform ideology.
Teachers could place The Woman Question in the context of the Reconstruction, or under a more general study of the emergence of modern America in the late 19th Century. It may even be used as a "flashback" when teachers are discussing the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The context of the emergence of modern America would be the most useful for addressing broader themes. As implied above, studying these characters' backgrounds is a good way to review many key elements of ante-bellum American history. After looking at their specific views, students could then go on to consider how the Civil War, increased centralization of power, urbanization, the issue of the place of blacks in American society, and the closing up of the frontier continued to push and pull Americans in many different directions. Did the trend toward "domesticity" in the middle class mean exaltation or oppression for women? Was there room for independence in the role of domesticity? Why might women be more powerful outside the realm of politics? Was a new, more stratified, social structure emerging? Was America becoming more or less democratic? Is the reform impulse in America based on self-interest and nostalgia or lofty ideals and self-sacrifice? Was the late 19th Century a time of increasing individualism? Mrs. Hooker's 1869 gathering can inspire a good deal of pondering.
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While each teacher will want to define his or her own purposes in using these materials, depending on the context in which they are used and the overall goals of the course, the following are some possibilities for which these materials are particularly well suited:
1) To know that some of the nation's leading advocates of improved conditions for women were Connecticut citizens, and to understand their various roles in American history.
2) To understand "feminism" not strictly in terms of a suffrage movement or even limited to the broader spectrum of woman's rights, but more generally as a movement led largely by educated, upper-middle class women who disagreed with each other on several issues, but were all striving for greater autonomy and power (not necessarily political) for women. 19th-century feminism was a highly complex phenomenon, far from homogeneous and containing many real and apparent paradoxes.
3) To review some of the major social and economic trends of the early 19th Century and assess their impact on women.
4) To know that the struggle for civil rights and suffrage for black men led to serious divisions within the woman's rights movement after the Civil War.
5) To know that the woman's rights movement of the late 19th Century, in Connecticut as in the nation as a whole, met with considerable opposition and did not achieve many of its goals. This did not diminish the determination of its advocates, nor the impact of their rhetoric on later generations of woman's rights leaders.
6) To appreciate the role that family connections played in the development, not only of woman's rights advocates, but also of reformers in general in the 19th Century.
7) To put oneself into the mind of a reformer of the late 19th century, and, also to practice debating skills.
8) To further develop skills in reading and analyzing primary source material.
9) To begin to see the relationship between thinking on "the woman question" during the Reconstruction period and major social and economic changes of the 19th Century, such as urbanization, industrialization, the development of the west, immigration, the end of slavery (but hardly of racism), changes in family structure, developments in education, and changing notions of "the proper sphere" of women.
10) To appreciate Connecticut's rich past, as well as to gain perspective on the many dimensions of historical inquiry (e.g. the history of American women).
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The student handouts and rubrics for these assessments are described on the assessment page. You may go directly to this unit's assessment by clicking here.
After studying the general documents and participating in the role play, students prepare an in-depth news report on the formation of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association.
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The documents collected for The Woman Question are arranged loosely and may be used in a variety of ways. The techniques suggested in the "Strategies and Activities" section below involve role-playing, and so the list below sorts the documents according to the person for whom the document is appropriate. However, other approaches to the material need not be confined to this arrangement. You may go to particular documents directly by clicking on their names, or go to the page for each group of documents by clicking on the read headings.
"In the Parlor: An Introduction for the Role-Players"
Various pages from three issues of The Hartford Daily Courant describing the October 28 and 29 convention. The resolutions which the convention passed are included in these articles and should be studied by all the characters.
"The Last Word: The Connecticut Woman's Rights Movement in the Late 19th Century" - a followup essay concerning the activities of other Connecticut woman's rights advocates before 1920.
§Isabella Beecher Hooker
Biographical Sketch (composed mainly of selections from various of her memoirs)
"A Mother's Letters to a Daughter on Woman Suffrage" by Isabella Beecher Hooker
Letter from Mrs. S.H. Graves of Norfolk, Ct. to Isabella Beecher Hooker, October 24, 1871, courtesy of the Stowe-Day Foundation, Hartford, Conn.
(See also annotations in Isabella's handwriting in Horace Bushnell's book referred to below.)
Selections from Women's Suffrage: The Reform Against Nature by Horace Bushnell (1869) - the copy used here was a copy of the book that Bushnell inscribed to Isabella Beecher Hooker, and includes her handwritten annotations, courtesy of the Stowe-Day Foundation, Hartford, Conn.
Selections from Woman's Profession as Mother and Educator, with Views in Opposition to Woman Suffrage, by Catharine Beecher (1872)
Biographical Sketch (including some reminiscences in his own words)
"Appeal to the Members of the General Assembly in Favor of the Right of Tax-Paying Women to Vote in Cities, Towns, and School Districts," by John Hooker (1874)
"Correspondence" to The Nation magazine (Nov. 4, 1869): "'The Revolution' and its Conductors," by John Hooker. A response to this article, "Methods of Agitation" was composed by the editor and is also included with this selection.(Reprinted with permission of The Nation.)
§Elizabeth Cady Stanton
"Declaration of Sentiments and "Resolutions" adopted by the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848
"Address of Elizabeth Cady Stanton on the Divorce Bill, Before the Judiciary Committee of the New York Senate, in the Assembly Chamber, Feb. 8, 1861"
Letter from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Isabella Beecher Hooker, September 23, 1869, courtesy of the Stowe-Day Foundation, Hartford, Conn.
Front page of August 10, 1871 issue of The Revolution - this is included more for illustration than for the specific content of the page.
§Caroline Maria Seymour Severance
Letters from Caroline Severance to Isabella Beecher Hooker,August 17, 1869, September 24, 1869, and November 10, 1869, courtesy of the Stowe-Day Foundation, Hartford, Conn.
(See also "Methods of Agitation" article among excerpts from The Nation issue cited above under John Hooker)
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As with many of the units of Connecticut Case Studies, the materials provided in this package are designed to allow students to become as personally acquainted with the makers of history as possible. The setting of this particular role-play is not, however, in a convention hall or a news conference, but more appropriately in a parlor where such figures would have been likely to have met for a "spirited" (yet suitably modest and refined for the Victorian age) conversation. The idea is for each student involved to become acquainted with his or her character through study of the biographical sketch and the related documents. All should read the general introduction and the newspaper articles on the 1869 woman suffrage convention in Hartford. After this preparation, they should be let loose to have their "parlor conversation" on "the woman question," a major issue, as far as middle-class people of the 1870's were concerned.
Depending on the degree of interest, the time available, and the sophistication of students, teachers could elect to divide the class into a number of groups, each with its own Isabella, its own Horace, etc.; or, perhaps, this could be a special project for just one portion of the class which would be assigned to "perform" the conversation for the rest. Also, the teacher may want to be one of the participants in order to ensure that the conversation demonstrates the knowledge objectives noted above.
A sequence for this unit might begin with some discussion of general concepts and issues regarding women in American history. Of course, how you begin depends upon where this unit is taken up in the survey. This sequence assumes that teachers will want to use this unit in conjunction with or immediately after a study of Reconstruction. Use the terms "status," "role," and "political participation" in reviewing some things that students already know about women in early United States history. Here is a good place to discuss briefly the effects of colonial and revolutionary ideology on educated women, of early industrialization in the northeast on women of various classes, of the development of the plantation based society in the south on both planter's wives as well as women who were slaves, of the opening of the western frontier on those who resettled there, and of the reform impulse in the early 19th Century on women all over the nation. The students could then be asked to imagine what sorts of concerns women of the early 19th Century might have. What would have been foremost on their minds? Were most women content with their status and roles in American society? If not, what would they have thought they could do about it?
Perhaps the students are already aware that the place of women was an issue on the minds of both men and women since the earliest days of English settlement, that some women did begin organizations to demand equality in rights and status before the Civil War, or that many women saw their activities in local reform or educational efforts, in moving away from home to work in the mills, or simply as "household managers" as being uplifting. On the other hand, it does not require a great deal of imagination to understand that for most women the early 19th Century did not present a whole lot of options that would seem satisfactory to us today. In fact, it must have seemed to women then that whenever they settled on an activity that they felt would be worthwhile, that activity itself somehow lost its importance to the rest of the society by becoming associated with "women's sphere" (a process known as "feminization"). Many women felt "hemmed in" by society's inability to recognize the value of their contributions or to respect their right to independence in word and deed. These feelings, of course, were not confined to middle-class women. At the same time these women were becoming involved in reform movements, thousands of women were moving into factories; and as the middle-class dominated suffrage movement grew, thousands more (and their children) were exploited in various forms of tenement home work. Society seemed to be speaking "with a forked tongue" to women as well as Indians, saying, on the one hand they were frail beings fit best for domestic work, and on the other, that they could work twelve to fourteen hours a day standing on the hard floor of a textile factory. The subjects of this unit are middle-class reformers whose work would not greatly affect, nor whose minds were not greatly concerned with working women. However, to begin with, students ought to take a broader view of women's issues in order to be in a position to assess the work of the middle-class reformers later on.
If students have not already thought about the concept of "feminism," here would certainly be a good place to start. Aileen Kraditor, in her anthology Up from the Pedestal (1968) provides us with a good working definition of the term:What the feminists have wanted has added up to something more fundamental than any specific set of rights or the sum total of all the rights men have had. This fundamental something can perhaps be designated by the term "autonomy." Whether a feminist's demand has been for all the rights men have had, or for some but not all the rights men have had, or for some men have not had, the grievance behind the demand has always seemed to be that women have been regarded not as people but as female relative of people.
The value of this definition (which you might pass out to students), is that it includes not only women who were involved in the struggle for "woman's rights," but also those, like Catharine Beecher, who may have disagreed with the woman's rights advocates, but still held a vision of a better world for American women. It is most instructive for students to see that a social problem that cries out for a solution may, in fact, have a number of possible solutions and that there can be honest disagreement among those who want to solve the problem. Such was the case with the status and role of American women in the 19th Century, and earlier as well. It is important, however, to caution students that the term "feminism" was not used by woman's rights advocates until well into the Twentieth Century.
While it is good to discuss these concepts briefly, the discussion may be beyond many students and should be limited in order to get into the more active part of the learning as soon as possible. Or the discussion may become more meaningful if the students first read the 1869 newspaper articles on the suffrage convention. It might even be more appropriate to conclude with such thoughts when the role-play is finished. At the very least, students should raise some issues, such as what options, in terms of political participation, employment, education, marriage, etc., were open to women in the 19th Century, to what extent could women determine the course of their own lives, and, most important, how were women (and men) working to improve conditions for women? Today we talk a lot about equality (even though we often do not practice it), and we never question the right of women to vote - why did it take so long after the Revolution to reach this point?
Pass out "In the Parlor" and organize the group or groups into the characters that will conduct the "conversation." While costumes and Victorian furniture may not always be available, at least teacups should be on hand to add to the atmosphere of refined etiquette and proper decorum (one of the real plusses of this unit). The ultimate experience, of course, would be to hold the conversation in Hartford at Nook Farm, which would surely make arrangements.
It may take some time for students to study their individual material, so be sure to allow for that. Some of the reading is hard to comprehend, because of the expression of the day or because of handwriting. That hardly justifies an edited and "modernized" text of the documents, but it will necessitate a helping hand from the teacher (although Elizabeth Cady Stanton's penmanship is nearly unintelligible! -the joys of the profession. Tell the students to treat it like a translation exercise - an effort to unravel an ancient mystery from equally ancient script). If you have a number of groups going at once, you might want to have all the Isabellas, all the Horaces, etc., get together prior to the actual role-play to discuss the ideas of each individual before each joins her or his respective conversation group.
After preparation, let them begin the conversation, as though it is a few years after the 1869 suffrage convention. They are to discuss "the woman question," that is, assess the status of "woman" in America and consider alternatives to the norms of the day. Naturally this will cause some disagreement, and there is no reason to stifle that, even though some of the "characters" may consider outspoken protest on a woman's part to be shocking. The teacher should be sure that all of the participants have the opportunity to make points that were in the documents - a quick reading of the biographical sketches should give the teacher enough background. (Reviewing this before beginning the unit will allow for some type-casting, which would help in this case.) If things develop well, but slowly, the conversation could be adjourned for another class, but probably two classes is about all the material will stand. An interesting twist on the subject might be to have Sojourner Truth make a surprise appearance, demanding to know why she wasn't invited (her "Ain't I a Woman" speech can be found in good collections of American history documents and could be given to a student for preparation).
After the students read "The Last Word," a summary discussion is then needed to put the experience in perspective and relate the issues being discussed to the U.S. History survey. You should attempt to bring out several points in the summary discussion. Be sure to review the points of contention among the conflicting views on the woman question. Also, if the students were not able to portray every background element in their performances, allow some time for each character to talk about things in his or her background that did not come out in the discussion. It is important to take note of upbringing, family and community ties and their impact upon the developing reformer. Thus, you can get into defining the nature of the 19th-century reform impulse itself, its class, ideological, and economic origins, and its peculiar tactics and common goals. The relationship of industrialization to all of this is important to consider too. Here you could get back to the great disparity between these reformers' lives and those of working-class women who benefited little from the suffrage movement. How did industrialization affect different people in different ways?
Certainly an important general process to think about here is that of "modernization", that is the changing of American society as a result of urbanization and industrialization and all of the values and attitudes that go along with those processes. Social and economic changes brought "the woman question" forward just as much as abolitionism and the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. Between 1820 and 1870 the United States had undergone fundamental changes so vast that no one could escape being affected. Thus, it is not surprising that such a fundamental question as the role and status of women should become a matter of widespread discussion. It was a sign of the times, on the one hand, and on the other, it led to even further upheavals in the nation. Even though the suffragists made little headway throughout the end of the century, they clearly defined one of the most prominent items on the social and political agenda for years to come. If students can see the centrality of the woman question to 19th Century change, even though the woman reformers themselves were hardly "mainstream" figures, then they will have understood American history with considerable sophistication.
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It should be noted first that, at the Stowe-Day Foundation at Nook Farm in Hartford, is an excellent research library with large collections of manuscripts and printed material related to the woman question in the 19th Century. The staff is very willing to be of assistance both to teachers and to students who have serious projects. It really is worth a visit, and an able student could do a great project with this library alone.
The American Family in Social-Historical Perspective. Michael Gordon, editor. 2nd Edition. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1978. A series of very interesting and thoroughly researched social history articles which provide excellent background on the effect of social and economic change in American history on the family, and, particularly, on women.
Andrews, Kenneth R. Nook Farm: Mark Twain's Hartford Circle. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1950. A study of the literary and intellectual atmosphere of this part of Hartford. The Beechers are placed in this context.
Anthony, Susan B. and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, et.al. The History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. III. New York: Fowler & Wells, 1881. Chapter XXXII of this volume details events in Connecticut. The multi-volumed work is a mine of information, as well as an historical document illustrating the minds of the two prominent leaders.
Banner, Lois. Elizabeth Cady Stanton: A Radical for Woman's Rights. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1980. Excellent biography, providing full discussion of the context in which Stanton's work is so significant.
Boydsten, Jeanne, Mary Kelly and Anne Margolis. The Limits of Sisterhood: The Beecher Sisters on Woman's rights and Woman's Sphere. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1988. A new collection of some of the best writings of the Beecher sisters.
DuBois, Ellen C. Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergence of an Independent Woman's Movement in America 1848-1869. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978. Good, solid overview of the critical years of development of institutional protest.
The Isabella Beecher Hooker Project: A Microfilm Edition of Her Papers and Suffrage-Related Correspondence Owned by the Stowe-Day Foundation. Anne Throne Margolis, ed. Hartford: Stowe-Day Foundation, 1979. This project has a good introduction booklet that gives detailed background to all of Isabella Beecher Hooker's papers that were microfilmed.
Nichols, Carole. Votes and More for Women: Suffrage and After in Connecticut. New York: Institute for Research in History and the Haworth Press, Inc. Women and History, No. 5, Spring, 1983. A clear, concise discussion of the woman's rights movement in Connecticut. Very good for a complete discussion of the work of feminists in the early 20th Century. "The Last Word" handout was based on the material in this essay, as well as in The History of Woman Suffrage, supra.
Portraits of a Nineteenth Century Family: A Symposium on the Beecher Family. Edited by Earl A. French and Diana Royce. Hartford: the Stowe-Day Foundation, 1976. A helpful collection of biographical essays on various members of the Beecher family by experts Stuart Henry, Katharine Kish Sklar, E. Bruce Kirkham, Anne Farnam and Joseph Van Why.
Sklar, Kathryn Kish. Catharine Beecher: A Study in American Domesticity. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1973. For those who want to further their understanding of this complex woman, this is a fact-filled and very scholarly study.
Women's America: Refocusing the Past (2nd Edition). Ed. by Linda Kerber and Jane DeHart-Matthews. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. This is a neat anthology of both documents and scholarly articles on the history of American women. With its extensive annotated bibliography it serves as a first-rate jumping off point for almost any woman's history issue.
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