Beyond Domesticity: U.S. Women Writers, 1770-1915


Introduction l True Womanhood l New Women l Growing Up Female l Political Women l Suffrage l Abolition l Women and War l Work Outside the Home l Cookery and Fancy-Work l Work Inside the Home l Mothering l Marriage l Marriage and Divorce l Regionalism l Travel l Bestsellers l Highlights l English 437: Students Research Rare Books




lucy boston

“The rightof citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied
or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

The nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed in 1920, after nearly 80 years of struggle for – and against – female suffrage. Writing was a crucial weapon in this battle. Activists wrote novels, poems, songs, essays, plays, biographies, and more, trying to persuade the American public that women, too, held the inalienable right to political voice.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1902,
Suelizabeth cady stantonsan B. Anthony, 1820-1906, and
Matisusan b anthonylda Joslyn Gage, 1826-1898.
matilda joslyn gage






The History of Woman Suffrage.
Rochesthe history of woman suffrageter, NY: Charles Mann, 1887.

Stanton, Anthony and Gage labored for a decade to produce this massive work, anthologizing speeches, biographies, and recollections by key figures from the women’s rights movement about the early years of organizing. After Stanton’s death, the History would be doubled in length by additional volumes compiled by her protégé, Ida Harper. This particular volume was a gift: the inscription reads: “To the Political Study League of Columbia, SC from Susan B. Anthony. Rochester, NY. Jan 10/95.”





“The great subject of Wimmin’s Rites”

Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1811-1896.

My Wife and I: or, Harry Henderson’s History.
New York: J.B. Ford and Company, 1871.
my wife and i or harry henderson's historyAnd:
Fred Folio [anonymous].
Lucy Boston; or, Woman’s Rights and Spiritualism, illustrating the Follies and Delusions of the Nineteenth Century. Auburn and Rochester: Alden and Beardsley, 1855.suffrage meeting

Women’s rights advocates made easy targets for satire, as in this slapstick rendition of a suffrage meeting by the pseudonymous “Fred Folio.” Stowe never committed herself to either suffragism or antisuffragism – though both sides lobbied for her support. But she often expressed a concern that women would sacrifice their moral superiority by involving themselves too directly in political life.

Women’s Social and Political Union Cup, ca. 1903-1915.
English porcelain, Williamsons (manufacturer).
Gift of Dr. Ann Kelly.
women suffrage teacup
The transfer seal on this commemorative teacup shows the Women’s Social and Political Union seal with an angel blowing a horn and waving a flag with the word “freedom.” The WSPU was founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia to recruit more working-class women into the struggle for the vote. The group engaged in demonstrations, which sometimes turned violent, and active protest. After the declaration of war in August 1914, the WSPU entered into negotiations with the British government and agreed to end their militant activities and to support the war effort.

“Votes for Women Souvenir Program.”

London:Mrs. S. Burgess, 1910.
Gift of Dr. Ann Kelly.
votes for women souvenir program
This thin crepe paper commemorative program, printed in 3 colors at a woman-owned print shopin London and a rare surviving copy, lists the order of a grand suffrage parade from Whitehall in central London to the Royal Albert Hall on June 18, 1910, where the assembled crowd heard addresses from Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst, Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, and Lord Lytton. The parade, which was composed of 10,000 women and their supporters, was in support of the Women’s Suffrage Bill, which had just been introduced into the House of the Commons the previous week.


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