Guest Author - Brandi Rhoades
Womenís history serves as a portion of the larger historical narrative in this country. Womenís history is not just the story of a woman here and there in the past who should be mentioned as a stand-alone from other historical ideas. Instead womenís accomplishments are an intricate part of the nationís history. These nineteenth-century events are important in the story of our country, and all involve women and their interests.
In 1813, entrepreneurs built the first textile mills in the United States in Lowell, Massachusetts. These mills became womenís primary occupation during the succeeding decades.
Oberlin College, in Ohio, is the oldest co-educational college in the United States. It opened in 1833.
Maria Mitchell became the first woman in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1848. The daughter of an astronomer, Mitchell learned about math and science from her father more than through formal education. She identified a comet early in her career, helping launch her to a coveted position as the nationís first female astronomer.
Also in 1848, a small group of feminist reformers met in New York at the famed Seneca Falls Convention. Many historians consider the convention the birthplace of the womenís rights movement.
Sojourner Truth gives her Ainít I a Woman? speech. Considered the founding document representing the position of African American women, the speech included rousing statements about the mistreatment Truth received as a slave and concluded with her baring her breasts for the audience.
Wyoming extended voting rights to women in 1869. Wyoming was the first state to permit full voting rights, though other states, such as Kentucky, allowed some women to vote in some circumstances earlier.
Several female reformers started the Womenís Christian Temperance Union in 1874. This feminist organization consisted of women (and a few men) who believed alcohol increased domestic violence and left women prey to husbands who spent the familyís earnings on alcohol.
Clara Barton, an activist and nurse, formed the Association of the American Red Cross, in 1881.
Senda Berenson Abbott, born in Lithuania, started the first womenís basketball program at Smith College in 1892. Berenson Abbott worked to fight the stereotype that women should not be permitted to participate in such sports. She altered the rules to make the game more acceptable and then started the Smith College program, advocating for womenís basketball until her death.
Part I of The Womanís Bible came out. The book, by famed suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, covered the impact Stanton saw of the Bible and Christianity on womenís rights issues.