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On Wisconsin Women: Working on Their Rights from Settlement to Suffrage

On Wisconsin Women: Working on Their Rights from Settlement to Suffrage
On Wisconsin Women: Working on Their Rights from Settlement to Suffrage
Paperback: $26.95
376 pages, 6 x 9"
ISBN:9780299140045
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Price: $26.95
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By Genevieve G. McBride

Wisconsin is known as the home of the Progressive Party. But in the words of a suffragist as late as 1912, "the last thing a man becomes progressive about is the activities of his own wife." On Wisconsin Women traces the role women played in reform movements, both in the state's politics and especially in its press.

Women's news and opinion often appeared anonymously in abolitionist journals, "temperance sheets," and other reform newspapers published under a woman's name, Mathilde Franszizka Anneke, was boycotted by Milwaukee printers and failed in 1853. But from the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1866 to Wisconsin's historic ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1919, women in Wisconsin were never at a loss for words nor a newspaper to print them.

Among the women who would be heard were Lavinia Goodell, Emma Bascom, Belle Case La Follette, Ada L. James, and Zona Gale. Genevieve G. McBride brings their voices and others vividly to life. Emma Brown, for example, served women for forty years with her temperance sheet, the Wisconsin Chief, until Olympia Brown founded the Wisconsin Citizen, which served the Wisconsin Woman Suffrage Associationfor the next three decades.

Women's news, McBride reveals, won a new respectability under the byline of Theodora Winton Youmans, a writer for the Waukesha Freeman and the last president of the WWSA. Known as the "first lady of the Wisconsin press," Youmans led the WWSA in a brilliant battle for public opinion that resulted in the historic victory for women's suffrage.