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Tried as by Fire: or, The True and The False, Socially by Victoria Woodhull

About the Collection
In 1872, Victoria Claflin Woodhull became the first woman to run for President of the United States, as nominee of the Equal Rights Party, with Frederick Douglass as her vice-presidential running mate. Born in Ohio and spending her youth traveling with her family's mesmeric and spiritualist exhibitions, Woodhull moved to New York in 1868, where Cornelius Vanderbilt set her up on Wall Street as a "lady broker." Her successful brokerage firm allowed her to work on her later political and publishing activities.

With her sister, Tennessee, she published a progressive journal, Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly (1870-1876), in which she wrote an expose of the famous Brooklyn preacher Henry Ward Beecher, as well as the first English-language translation of Marx and Engels's Communist Manifesto. She was involved with some of the earliest organized women's rights movements but was later alienated from them for her radical stances on most every issue under debate.

She lectured widely on women's rights, and this lecture is a stinging attack on marriage as "the most terrible curse from which humanity now suffers," "a fraud on human happiness" that has "outlived its day of usefulness." Her attack on Beecher, who had been committing adultery with a member of his congregation, was, she explained, part of this campaign: "I cast the thunderbolt into the very center of the socio-religio-moralistic camp of the enemy and struck their chieftain, and the world trembled at the blow." Married women, Woodhull concludes, are "like an elephant led by a string,ůsubordinated by a writing drawn up by just those who are most interested in holding them in slavery." Often characterized as a free-love advocate, Woodhull instead advocated a broader, more radical vision of social equality where men and women could coexist on truly equal political and economic levels.

For more information, see one of the books about Woodhull currently available, including:

" Amanda Frisken. Victoria Woodhull's Sexual Revolution: Political Theater and the Popular Press in Victorian America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004. " Mary Gabriel. Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 1998.

-Dr. Patrick Scott and Jeffrey Makala
Rare Books and Special Collections
Thomas Cooper Library
University of South Carolina

Thanks to Rare Books and Special Collections Librarian, Jeffrey Makala for providing this work for digitization. The project could also not have been completed without the work of Tony Branch of the Systems Department, and Kate Boyd, Deborah Green (2007, MLIS Library Science), and Laura Coleman (2006, MLS Library Science) from the Digital Activities Department.

Creating the Digital Collection
The 44 page pamphlet was scanned on a flatbed Epson Expression 1000XL scanner, using Silverfast scanning software. Debbie scanned the images as color TIFFs at 24-bit and 300 ppi. From the TIFFs she created high quality JPEGs and added preservation metadata to the TIFF and JPEG images. Laura Coleman converted the JPEGs to text files using Omni Pro OCR software to provide full-text searchability. The JPEGs and text files were then uploaded to CONTENTdm. The TIFFs will be maintained as the archival masters on a SAN server, backed-up to DVD and tape.

Laura created a home page for the collection, and Debbie created the metadata in an Excel spread sheet. The metadata records follow the Western States Best Practices Dublin Core format and were uploaded as a tab delimited file at the same time as the images. Kate reviewed the collection and uploaded the images to the CONTENTdm database.


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