PDF Free Woman: The Life and Times of Victoria Woodhull

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A beautifully illustrated book for ages The material is original and the author sought out primary sources whereever possible. The book focuses on the public life of Victoria Woodhull from when she was at the height of her fame. The book may be scholarly but it's not boring. There are several illustrations from the tabloids of the 's that illuminate the depiction of Victoria in the media. This book is not as widely read as "Other Powers" but deserves to be because Frisken is hands down a better historian than Goldsmith.

This book should be a companion volume to "Notorious Victoria. For grades 7 and up. German Deutsche language only. Not available on the American Amazon site. Author site on Victoria Woodhull. Part of the Notable Americans series for ages 10 and up. This barely over page biography for young people is based upon the biographies by Gabriel, Meade, and Underhill. Written by a journalist, Notorious Victoria provides a reporter's balanced account of the life of Victoria Woodhull from birth until death. The book explains, rather than condemns, Woodhull's free love advocacy.

The book is enriched by the input of Owen Stinchcombe, a British writer who researched Woodhull's life in England. If you know nothing about Victoria Woodhull, Notorious Victoria is the first book to read. To order from Amazon, click on the cover above. Read an excerpt from Notorious Victoria. The author described it as a social history.

It's the book to consult if you're looking for an intimate view of the times of Victoria Woodhull. It demonstrates the important role spiritualism played in empowering women. In the past this web site praised the book for being extensively researched and for its lengthy bibliography which goes beyond the usual sources. After extensively reviewing the sources, it was discovered that the book is inaccurate, poorly cited, and uses at least two novels as historical sources.

Goldsmith didn't cite her source for the ingredients, but the only known work that said laudanum was in the elixir was "The Vixens: A Biography of Victoria and Tennessee Claflin" by James Brough. Despite the word "Biography" in its title, "The Vixens" is an historical novel and not a non-fiction biography. Goldsmith was the first author to claim that Buck Claflin sexually abused his children.

She provided four sources but none of the four sources support her claim. Her strongest evidence was a quote from the Theodore Tilton biography. Goldsmith wrote, "Years later, Vickie would say Buck 'made her a woman before her time. Tilton's biography actually says "But the parents, as if not unwilling to be rid of a daughter whose sorrow is ripening her into a woman before her time , were delighted at the unexpected offer. She portrayed Congressman John Snyder as a life-long bachelor when he actually has multiple marriage records.

She called Col. Blood's first wife "Isabel" when her name was Mary. She claimed Victoria's four sisters were all single women forced into prostitution by their father when they lived on Wabash Avenue in Chicago. In reality three of them were actually married, and there's no primary evidence they were prostitutes. It would take a book to cover all the mistakes made in this "award-winning" work. The book has been praised for its compelling writing style, but it isn't recommended as an introduction to Victoria Woodhull except for advanced students of history who know how to evaluate sources.

High school students would be better off starting with the biographies by Gabriel, Underhill, or MacPherson.

Victoria Woodhull - Women In History Ohio

Other Powers is available in both hard cover and paperback from Amazon Read an excerpt from Other Powers. Underhill contacted the British family of Woodhull's last husband John Biddulph Martin for previously unpublished material. She also consulted psychotherapists for an analysis of Woodhull's psyche and presents an interesting theory that Woodhull's sister Utica was a dyslexic. Available in both hard cover and paperback from Amazon. The Vixens , James Brough, Stern, reprints.

This is the book to consult for the original speeches of Victoria Woodhull. This is Victoria in her own words, uncensored by the Victorian press. Available by special order from Amazon. Free Woman , Marion Meade, Surprisingly, Meade doesn't hold back on discussing Woodhull's views on sexuality.

She presents the topics of divorce, free love, and prostitution tactfully. Few parents would object to her handling of a difficult subject. On the other hand, if you're an adult you may be disappointed by this bowdlerized version of Victoria's story. This book reprints a portion of "The Garden of Eden," but it is not complete.

Victoria Woodhull

In addition, she hoped it would help end the written attacks from the reverend's two sisters. He did not answer her written appeals, so she insisted on a personal interview, the afternoon of the speech. In her book, Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull an exceptionally well-researched work , Barbara Goldsmith wrote: Beecher was fully aware of the Damoclean sword Woodhull held over his head, but still he resisted. When all of her arguments seemed to fail she told Beecher that his attachment to Mrs.

Tilton would surely be revealed to the public. Your introduction of me would bridge the way. I cannot! I'm a moral coward on this subject and you know it. I am not fit to stand by you, who go there to speak what you know to be the truth. I should stand there a living lie.

He began to weep and to beg her, "Oh, let me off. Let me off. Beecher, if I am compelled to go upon that platform alone, I shall begin by telling the audience why I am alone and why you are not with me. I can never endure such a terror. He finally said he would, but by ten minutes after eight o'clock, he had not shown up. Without planning on it, Theodore escorted Victoria onstage and gave her a grand introduction, saying he would not "deny this woman the sacred right of free speech. But when she reached the part about women's rights in the present day, Victoria began to veer from the prepared speech.

The rapt, overflowing audience of 3, eagerly awaited her every word. As Goldmith wrote, "Victoria could feel the spirits all about her. It was these spirits for whom she spoke, all those suffering souls whose burden she carried on her frail shoulders. And where hate or disgust is present, whether it be in the gilded palaces of Fifth Avenue or in the lowliest purlieus of Greene Street, there is prostitution, and all the laws that a thousand State assemblies may pass cannot make it otherwise.

She began hissing.


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Fueled by laudanum and alcohol, Utica at 30 years old had been drinking half her life. She never garnered the attention or success from fortune-telling that Victoria or Tennesse had had, so she'd been forced by her father to help her mother make the intoxicating "medicine" her father sold. Both Utica and the mother were always inebriated to some degree by this time. Still pretty, however, Utica beamed a beatific smile and called out to her sister on stage, "How would you like to come into this world without knowing who your father was?

She struggled and began to regain command, saying, in part: "I have a better right to speak, as one having authority in this matter, than most of you have, since it has been my province to study Free Love in all its various lights and shades.


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  4. When I practiced clairvoyance, hundreds, aye thousands, of desolate, heart-broken men, as well as women, came to me for advice. The tales of horror, of wrongs inflicted and endured, which were poured into my ears, first awakened me to a realization of the hollowness and the rottenness of society and compelled me In time, I was fully convinced that marriage laws were productive of precisely the reverse of that for which they are supposed to have been framed. I can see no moral difference between a woman who marries and lives with a man because he can provide for her wants and the woman who is not married but who is provided for at the same price.

    The sexual relation must be rescued from this insidious form of slavery. Women must rise from their position as ministers to the passions of men to be their equals. Their entire system of education must be changed. They must be trained like men, [to be] independent individuals, and not mere appendages or adjuncts of men, forming but one member of society. They must be the companions of men from choice, never from necessity. Shouts went back and forth, a policeman appeared to escort Utica out, but an audience members cried, "Leave her alone.

    Woodhull, are you a free lover? Finally, enraged, Victoria tore the signature white rose from the neck of her dress, flung the prepared speech to the floor, and exclaimed: " Yes, I am a free lover! I have an unalienable, constitutional, and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can, to change that love every day if I please! And with the right neither you nor any law you can frame have any right to interfere. The crowd went wild and no one could hear any more of what Victoria had to say. The most inflammatory parts of her speech were printed in the newspapers, and people railed against her.

    The family was evicted from their mansion, closing the salon. Yet she received more speaking engagements than ever and was still supported by the leaders of the NWSA. She also published a page collection of essays, spelling out her campaign position on the problems facing the nation. In January , the NWSA held its annual convention and nominated Victoria to run for president -- men and women applauded their assent. Frederick Douglass a famous orator, newspaper publisher, abolitionist, and former slave was nominated as her vice presidential running mate.

    Susan B. The campaign platform supported women's right to vote, work and love freely; nationalization of land; cost-based pricing to minimize excessive profits; more equal division of earnings between labor and capital; eradicatation of exorbitant interest rates; and free speech and free press. For more on her platform, visit The Woodhull Platform.

    But more than the speeches and publications, Victoria learned, the convention alarmed "cowardly hearts. Unable to secure housing after the eviction, the family slept for weeks on the newspaper office floor.

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    Her year-old daughter took on an alias to attend school without harassment. They even had to suspend publishing the journal for four months, due to financial difficulties. When they did resume publication, they acerbically revealed their personal and financial difficulties and printed two explicit exposes -- one on the Beecher-Tilton affair which Victoria had recently revealed at last during a speech before the National Association of Spiritualists and another on a licentious stockbroker, Luther Challis, who boasted his conquests of innocent young girls.

    The "scandal issue" shocked the nation. Victoria and Tennie were sued for criminal libel and for sending obscene literature through the mail largely the Challis article. They endured weeks in more than one jail, a judge prejudiced against them, and hours of testimony on their private lives, and were found not guilty.

    Grant won. Victoria and Tennie faced multiple charges relating to the "scandal issue" for almost two years, ultimately being found innocent of all charges. The government confiscated their printing press, personal papers and brokerage accounts. They received death threats and blackmail letters. And Victoria become known as "Wicked Woodhull. Her sister Utica died in the summer of an autopsy showed her addicted to "narcotics and stimulants" and that she died of Bright's Disease.

    Areporter found Victoria weeping near the coffin of the sister who had tried to ruin her. She reportedly said: "Dead at thirty-one. Do you wonder that I should feel desperately in earnest to reform the evils of our social life when I remember what I have suffered in my own family? Opposed and misunderstood by my parents and sisters. Compelled to bear an idiot child by a drunken husband.

    Oh, my God! And the world thinks me only ambitious of notoriety. Her plan was to run independently and use the journal to publicize her campaign. Her platform was of social and political reform. She was most dedicated to free love but, as she learned more about how few rights women had, she also made voting rights her mission as well. On January 11, , Victoria appeared before the House Judiciary Committee -- the first women ever -- to deliver a memorial a speech personally presented by a citizen before Congress, to persuade it to enact a law on women suffrage.

    This caused quite a stir. By now a brilliant orator, Victoria stated that women already had the right to vote, since the 14th and 15th amendments granted the right to all citizens. She argued that all women had to do was use their right. It was no surprise when the congressional majority report was not favorable, but the minority report signed by Benjamin Butler gave the strongest official argument to date in favor.

    Victoria's speech was so impressive, the suffragists invited her to speak at their National Women Suffrage Association convention the next day. Actually, her speech pre-empted their convention; they moved it a day later to hear what Victoria had to say. Its leaders, Susan B. Her speech also catapulted her into leadership with the suffrage movement. Victoria's many speeches were not subtle and genteel; they were ablaze with passion and condemnation for Victorian hypocrisies and political inequities. Newspapers cited her as "the ablest advocate on Woman Suffrage, a woman of remarkable originality and power.

    And of course she was judged by different standards than male politicians and reformers. Harriet Beecher Stowe parodied Victoria in a comic novel "My Wife and I" as a brainless free lover who spoke of women's rights without knowing what they were. Another sister, Catherine Beecher, who wrote about women's role within family, lectured Victoria on morality and threatened to bring her down if she continued promoting free love. Unfortunately, family conflicts also created bad publicity when her mother sued her husband James for improperly spending money.

    Actually, her mother abhorred the fact that Victorica and her sister Tennessee were no longer under their parents' control; in particular, that they were not touring and fortune-telling any more.

    Connect with women in history!

    Newspapers revelled in publicizing life in the Claflin house, including lovers visiting and that Victoria's first husband was living in the same house with her and her current husband. Doctor Woodhull had shown up, destitute, ill and addicted to morphine years earlier, and Victoria had taken him in to care for him.

    The public was apalled. At one point, too, her mother had sent a blackmailing letter to Cornelius Vanderbilt, under the guise of it coming from Tennessee. His advice and financial backing naturally was withdrawn. Other people began accusing their brokerage firm of swindling money from them. Victoria was incensed that she should have to defend her character when others lived similarly in private but were held in public as pillars of morality.

    Henry Ward Beecher, a brother of the Beecher sisters of whom two were publicly against Victoria and one was defending her was such a pillar. A fiery evangelical minister, the reverend often railed at the pulpit denouncing sexual activity outside marriage, although he was rumored to have had numerous affairs with women in his parish, and some illegitimate children.

    At some point that year, Victoria found out that he had had an affair with Elizabeth Tilton, wife of Theodore Tilton a former member of Beecher's New York parish and his best friend, as well as a well-known editor of religious and liberal newspapers, author, and titular head of the NWSA. Victoria was hesitant to reveal the affair, knowing it would harm the spouses and children. So she sent vague letters to the newspapers, and wrote editorials in her newspaper, about a love scandal involving "teachers of eminence.

    go

    Victoria Woodhull

    In addition, she hoped it would help end the written attacks from the reverend's two sisters. He did not answer her written appeals, so she insisted on a personal interview, the afternoon of the speech. In her book, Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull an exceptionally well-researched work , Barbara Goldsmith wrote: Beecher was fully aware of the Damoclean sword Woodhull held over his head, but still he resisted.

    When all of her arguments seemed to fail she told Beecher that his attachment to Mrs. Tilton would surely be revealed to the public. Your introduction of me would bridge the way.

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    I cannot! I'm a moral coward on this subject and you know it. I am not fit to stand by you, who go there to speak what you know to be the truth. I should stand there a living lie. He began to weep and to beg her, "Oh, let me off. Let me off. Beecher, if I am compelled to go upon that platform alone, I shall begin by telling the audience why I am alone and why you are not with me. I can never endure such a terror.

    He finally said he would, but by ten minutes after eight o'clock, he had not shown up. Without planning on it, Theodore escorted Victoria onstage and gave her a grand introduction, saying he would not "deny this woman the sacred right of free speech. But when she reached the part about women's rights in the present day, Victoria began to veer from the prepared speech. The rapt, overflowing audience of 3, eagerly awaited her every word. As Goldmith wrote, "Victoria could feel the spirits all about her. It was these spirits for whom she spoke, all those suffering souls whose burden she carried on her frail shoulders.

    And where hate or disgust is present, whether it be in the gilded palaces of Fifth Avenue or in the lowliest purlieus of Greene Street, there is prostitution, and all the laws that a thousand State assemblies may pass cannot make it otherwise. She began hissing. Fueled by laudanum and alcohol, Utica at 30 years old had been drinking half her life. She never garnered the attention or success from fortune-telling that Victoria or Tennesse had had, so she'd been forced by her father to help her mother make the intoxicating "medicine" her father sold.

    Both Utica and the mother were always inebriated to some degree by this time. Still pretty, however, Utica beamed a beatific smile and called out to her sister on stage, "How would you like to come into this world without knowing who your father was? She struggled and began to regain command, saying, in part: "I have a better right to speak, as one having authority in this matter, than most of you have, since it has been my province to study Free Love in all its various lights and shades.

    Connect with women in history!

    When I practiced clairvoyance, hundreds, aye thousands, of desolate, heart-broken men, as well as women, came to me for advice. The tales of horror, of wrongs inflicted and endured, which were poured into my ears, first awakened me to a realization of the hollowness and the rottenness of society and compelled me In time, I was fully convinced that marriage laws were productive of precisely the reverse of that for which they are supposed to have been framed.

    I can see no moral difference between a woman who marries and lives with a man because he can provide for her wants and the woman who is not married but who is provided for at the same price. The sexual relation must be rescued from this insidious form of slavery. Women must rise from their position as ministers to the passions of men to be their equals. Their entire system of education must be changed. They must be trained like men, [to be] independent individuals, and not mere appendages or adjuncts of men, forming but one member of society. They must be the companions of men from choice, never from necessity.

    Shouts went back and forth, a policeman appeared to escort Utica out, but an audience members cried, "Leave her alone. Woodhull, are you a free lover? Finally, enraged, Victoria tore the signature white rose from the neck of her dress, flung the prepared speech to the floor, and exclaimed: " Yes, I am a free lover! I have an unalienable, constitutional, and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can, to change that love every day if I please! And with the right neither you nor any law you can frame have any right to interfere.