Famous Women – Amelia Bloomer

volunteer firefighters in ColoradoAmelia Jenks Bloomer was born in Homer, New York, in 1818. At age twenty-two, in 1840, she married Dexter Bloomer, a lawyer. He encouraged her to write articles in support of prohibition and women’s rights for his paper, The Seneca Falls Courier

In January, 1849, further encouraged by women’s rights leaders such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Bloomer published the first edition of her own newspaper, The Lily, devoted entirely to women’s issues. She was unusual for her time and many people felt her articles were inflammatory. She did, however, have a following, and she frequently traveled to give lectures. During this time, she became known for wearing billowy, full-length pants, gathered at the ankles, with a short skirt over it. Some thought her attire completely inappropriate for a woman, but Amelia Bloomer defended her clothing choice in The Lily.  She was not the first to wear these pants, but her avid endorsement linked her name to the garb forever. To this day, the name is still volunteer firefighters in Coloradoused to describe this clothing – bloomers.

In 1854, the Bloomers moved to Mt. Vernon, Ohio, where Amelia continued to publish The Lily, and helped her husband publish a paper as well.  Although her articles in her husband’s paper drew outrage from the community, at the same time subscriptions to The Lily rose.

After a few months in Mount Vernon, Dexter Bloomer decided to sell his paper and move westward to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Amelia Bloomer followed the wishes of her husband and sold The Lily to move with him. She spent so much time railing against the treatment of wives by their husbands, and argued against wives being obedient to their husbands (whether they had good character or bad) that her abandonment of her paper seems, to us, to be contradictory. For Amelia though, her decision wasn’t about obedience, it was about love. In her farewell letter in The Lily, she wrote: “But the Lily, being as we conceive of secondary importance, must not stand in the way of what we believe our interest. Home and husband being dearer to us than all beside, we cannot hesitate to sacrifice all for them.”

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One Response to “Famous Women – Amelia Bloomer”

  1. […] Women (laurendukes.wordpress.com)Causes of the civil war (slideshare.net)Famous Women – Amelia Bloomer (thebigchilicookoffevergreen.wordpress.com)Video Credit: Uploaded by dawilli1 on Oct 6, 2006 /* […]

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