tv Melanie Kirkpatrick Lady Editor CSPAN November 25, 2021 8:00pm-9:01pm EST
discusses risks associated with medical information innovation. now, here is melanie kirkpatrick on the influence of the 19th century "godey's lady's book" ladies periodical. >> life can change in a single instant, this is a cliché. but saying so doesn't make it any less apparent in your own life. for pregnant young mother at home in the central hills of new hampshire, -- arrived in 1822, when it began to snow. there was a new england are. it was too early in the season for the first snow. leeds were still on the trees and only a few had turned red or gold. and she stood at her front door, watching the snow transform to a sheet of white. she was filled with worry about her husband. david left on horseback heading for an appointment with illegal
client eight miles away. he was lightly dressed, unprepared for the storm. when he finally staggered into the house that evening, he was soaked through to the skin, shivering with the cold. sarah helped him undress. the cold quickly turned to fever and then, ferociously, to pneumonia. by september 26th, her husband was dead. the funeral was held in a ceremony was conducted by one of david's fellow free masons. sour brought his fifth child into the world soon. this trial joined siblings francis and joseph a. the new widow had no illusions about what came next. david had made a good living as a lawyer, but like many young couples, the hails had no savings to speak of. until the boys were old enough to work, or until she remarried, an unthinkable prospect, she and her children had to rely on
the charity of family and neighbors. david's fellow free masons also provided assistance. even so, it would be a struggle. that was the opening paragraph of melanie kirkpatrick the's book, "lady editor", a biography of sarah josepha hale. i am vice president of public affairs at the hudson institute. i am joined by melanie kirkpatrick, a long writer at the wall street journal. i am pleased to learn more about this book and why she read it. before there was oprah there was sarah josepha hale, probably one of the most famous women's from the 19th century. she was a patriot and educator, a godmother of thanksgiving, and style setter.
the book is terrific. this woman is fascinating. i'm going to have melanie open up with a few comments. then we will have a conversation back and forth. then we look forward to taking your questions. so, without further ado, melanie, welcome. >> thank you, it's wonderful to be here. and i think the hudson institute for hosting this wonderful event and giving me this chance to talk about this woman that i think is the most or one of the most influential women in american history. i make one correction to your introduction. the persona of ms. hale, she, i think, would have liked to be called an author s. >> [laughs] >> and you would have been a vice the and a designated
professional woman walk and advice presidentess. -- you mentioned she is mostly forgotten today. if he's remembered, it's as the godmother of thanksgiving or as the author of mary had a little lamb. which i bet you didn't know. that you thought mother goose had written that. but she wrote it in 1830. but i learned about hale when i was writing my book on history of thanksgiving. and i was really blown away by her when i learned that she was editor of the most widely circulated magazine of the first half of the 19th century. and she had and norma's influence over the culture of
our country. and over the idea of educating women. and she was and she is said as the godmother of thanksgiving. the holiday that we still celebrate. >> that's terrific. >> i wanted to open up with that opening paragraph, because i think it speaks to what is extraordinary, for all the reasons you mentioned. she was a mother of five and without. she had some decision she had to make. it's fascinating. if she ever had remarried she wouldn't have had this impact, i think. -- >> she was motivated because of the need and her passion for educating our children. she was probably one of the best -- she was certainly one of the best educated women of the early 19th century. this is an era when she started her magazine in 1828, when only
half of american women were literate. and it was no institute of higher education that would admit women. yet she, sarah hale, educated first by her mother, who believe that her daughters should be as well educated as her sons -- and then by her brother horatio, who went off to dartmouth. and of course, sarah could not go with, him as dartmouth did not accept women. he became her teacher. and when hale got married, she and her husband had a ritual. they would get married. and in two hours i it would not just be literature but also science. and french and botany and meteorology and subjects that were not usually considered
women subjects. >> right, right. i love what you said about her mother. she is profoundly influenced by her mother. she is her teacher. my mom is in the audience, i can attest to that. she's also a schoolteacher. so i felt seen by mrs. hale when she said that. but next in rank and efficacy is the schoolmaster. and so she's on this trajectory of her mother's influence. but maybe you could speak to some of these influences in her life that really had this impact. >> i think you write her family influences were enormous. another influence on her was her father, who was a revolutionary war veteran. he was a patriot. she was born and 88. this was the year before washington was sworn in as president. she lived through the terms of
19 presidents. so she had a very long and diverse life, encompassing almost a century of enormous changes in american history. and i think that this background influenced her writing enormously. after her husband died, the masons in town set her up in a military shop and she hated that. and so she decided that the military shop would keep going but she had already published a couple of poems in local publications and she managed to get some published in boston. then she wrote a novel. this novel was an anti slavery
novel. it came out in 1827. it caught the eye of a man in boston who was starting a magazine for women. and out of the blue, he wrote and asked her to be the founding editor. so, this woman, she had to make a tough decision about whether or not to move to boston because -- and maybe you can speak to. >> explain some of the difficult decision she had to make. >> this was a tough one, because she had five kids. and she couldn't afford to take all of them. so she took the baby with her. and the other four children were parceled out to relatives with whom they lived for quite a few years. before they joined her in boston eventually. at a boarding house. >> i can't imagine what that must have been like. that she had to make a salary. >> well, she had to make choices. she decided the only way she
was going to be able to educate the kids, as she and her husband had dreamed, was for her to take this job and succeed at it. >> right. >> and magazine start-ups are not known for being a sure thing and succeeding. >> this was an early one as well. this was the beginning of the 19th century. there were's some for women but there were fluffy. and she was determined to do something very serious. >> you write that she really kind of changed the genre of women's magazines. in fact, that a lot of the magazines at that time were trashy and that did, is what she said. that's what you call them. you write that -- to see a female education and
american public matter and promotion of the male leadership and causes -- so here you see, the women's education piece of it. but you mentioned her patriotism. you said it was dave ramsey's book that made her a for life. and it's clear how they were confused. where did that come from? why was she so different from others at the time? >> well, her patriotism extended to the idea that she firmly believed that america had been unified politically by the revolution. yet it was not unified culturally. and she set out to change that. and so in her magazine, she did some things that was surprising and different for the day. she decided to publish american authors writing on american topics. from our point of view, that would seem, of course, ordinary. obvious. people want to read about
american topics and fellow americans. but it was unusual for the day. this was where cut and paste journalism was the norm. an editor would literally cut out an article from the british or other magazine or newspaper and paste it into the dummy for his publication. and she set out to do something different. at the beginning, she had to write half or more of the magazines herself. and then when it emerged when mr. godey had the money to extend her vision, she had a very good eye and some of the people whom she published, you would have heard of. edgar allen po. he called her a woman of -- and excuse the sexism.
masculine energy. >> [laughs] >> nathanael hawthorne was another. and she also published many women. she was able to jump-start her career by publishing them in the -- and people like the young harriet beecher stowe. it was a century before she wrote uncle tom's cabin. and lidia -- a very famous poets and many others. >> i think that's extraordinary. she also believed that women needed to be educated so they can better instruct their children. she called is the doctrine of republican -- do you want to expand on that? >> this is a very important point, i think. as i mentioned earlier when she started her magazine, only half
of american women were literate. she deeply believed i women have the same intellectual capability as men. but the difference was that men were educated. and women worked. so she believed, and she believed education was a lifelong process. she wanted women to be educated, read and write and study subjects that have previously been considered too taxing for the female mind, but she considered it a lifelong process, and in her magazine she would publish reading lists and articles about the science and a very serious -- serious stuff. for 50 years every issue of every magazine and she edited talked about the importance of educating women, and yes, when reason was, essential reason was, was that a mother is the first teacher of a child, and
she thought women needed to be educated in order to reach -- to teach their children about everything. particularly religion and particularly civic virtues. this was also part of the reason that she wanted a national thanksgiving day. she saw it as a way of bringing the country together. >> right, which after the war, and she was born right after the revolutionary war and lifted the civil war. so she lived through this time where we work 50 united states. we were very torn apart in many ways as we are today in our country, but i just wonder if our country now would be, would benefit from reading this book,, but would they be receptive to the efforts she made to unify the united states? >> i'd like to think so. the virtues of our american
political system, which she counted, and which were very deeply held by her. i think it hasn't changed. and as the nation progressed towards civil war, she accelerated her campaign for a national thanksgiving day. i guess i should give a little bit of history. east in the early part of the 19th century, many of the states, but not all, celebrated thanksgiving, but they didn't do it on the same day. the governor would decide when to call a thanksgiving day, so there was an old saying, which i loved. it's that if you worry traveler and you plant your itinerary carefully, you could have a thanksgiving dinner every week between election day and christmas. act >> sounds pretty good.
>> that's a lot of turkeys. and as the civil war approached, as i said, accelerated their campaign, and she talked about how she wanted to unify the country and prevented from going to war. east >> okay. we will come back to that and her later on. how she made this national proclamation. you spoke about her believing that men and women were intellectually equivalents. she didn't think they were physical, that she was happy to concede that men are built to be stronger than women, but she believed not the moral superiority of women -- would it meant to be a woman. we were morally superior and that was our purpose in life. unlike much of the feminism i think you see in modern-day's, she did not put men down from what i could tell from your biography. as a matter of fact and who
first magazine where she's talking about the ladies magazines, she appealed to the men, because she recognize the reality that they were going to be the ones who are going to buy this magazine, because they control the finances for the wife, so she appealed to husbands, fathers, lovers. you say that she wrote to the parents, that basically there's going to be nothing in this magazine to weaken parental authority. nothing found on the pages of this publication shall cause this wife to be less deciduous and preparing for his reception or welcoming his return. i know that sounds crazy to our modern years, but in a way i see it is very savvy. >> i think her tongue was in her cheek a little bit there when she wrote that. but she was practical. men, fathers and husbands had the authority. not just the financial authority, but they could than some of the magazines. they were the deciders.
but this idea of women as moral exemplar's is a very interesting one. obviously they don't think of one sex as being more ethical are more than the other, but i think that there's something to it, because women are mothers and women usually manage the households. and women they, according to hale, had, and i think i agree with this even today, had a certain status and a certain responsibility to teach their children how to be good citizens and good people. >> in the chapter, the dignity of housekeeping as one, she very much taught her children how to so and take care of the house as much as being educated, but she created this idea of a professional housewife. >> yes, she did. she created the term domestic style, because she wanted to elevate the status of
housekeeping. she also spoke a lot about educating housewives. educating mothers. because she said just as a former needs to know something about how to grow good wheat, a former's wife needs to learn about how to make good bread. but the whole idea, and this goes back to the whole idea of teaching. she started in 1828, or started her magazine in 1828. women were considered not to be qualified to be teachers. they could teach small children their letters, but they didn't have the moral authority or the learning, education to teach older kids. so her campaign remain many years was to change the
national conversation about women's teachers, and by the 40s, about 18 40s, as the country was -- a little villages and towns all around and the frontier were looking for teachers. women entered the teaching profession in large numbers, and by the 50s, the 1850s, there were more women than man as school teachers in america. and the last i looked, which was a think about a month ago, 76% of k-12 teachers today are women. >> yeah, you don't think that that's not how it always used to be, that is pretty astounding. it was her that wanted -- >> she also opened the first day care center for wet -- for working women in boston. she opened what is considered
one of the first kindergartens for kids. they were called instant schools. and so then she worked very hard to support women's colleges and the coeducation of men of college education. >> and she was big on women being educated to be doctors. bankers. >> this is interesting, to, because she wanted women to be doctors and she had a kind of a variation on the theme of separate spheres for men and women. you always read about the's efforts fears for men and women in the 19th century where women belong in the domestic sphere and men in the work in a world. she was a different person. she thought that women could go out into the world and work, but she wanted them to be
designated by he's suffixes. and she thought when it came to doctors that female doctors should treat children and women. no men allowed. she didn't want men to treat women or children. she wanted only women to do it because women have the compassion, and that she thought necessary at concerns, i guess, that naturally made them better qualified than men. and this is true for some other professions. during the civil war she urged the government to appoint a lot of women as post mistresses, because she made the obvious point that a lot of women who
were widowhood by the war or were single and couldn't find husbands and they needed jobs. though she really wanted the whole profession to become the male only. it was a job that you can do at home to, which i think made a difference. >> she really seemed to have an impact the towards windows because she was a little. herself as there were lots of little during the civil war which coincided with a magazine and reaching the. i think it's significant. >> on the topic of women, she was a patriot. we've got to bring up the question about women's right to vote. she was actually anti suffragette. i'd love you to talk about that. >> from the point of view of the 21st century, being against suffrage for women seems abominable. and in fact, i think the reason that she is not so well known today as she deserves to be, is
in large part because she was anti-suffrage. her reasoning though is fascinating. number one, remember, she started her work in the jacksonian period. she thought politics was a dirty business, and who can argue with that today? she thought that women were above the rough and tumble of politics, and that they deserved to be able to stay out of it and look at the moral issues that were involved, and advise the men in their lives on the higher issues that they should keep their eye on instead of kind of the nasty compromises that they would literally fight about in the halls of congress. these were the days when men went at each other. and so after the civil war, she got into suffrage a little.
the anti-suffrage movement a little. i should point out that at this period, the vast majority of women in america were against suffrage. and so in a way, she's speaking for women's voice who were not incurred. being heard. and so i'd like to think that maybe she was beginning to change your mind a little bit, because at the end of her life she began to support women on school boards. and that, of course, is the lowest level and in some ways the most powerful level of our government. it's down at the lowest level. >> very grassroots. >> very grassroots. and she thought women should serve along on school boards. >> that makes sense. one book we talked about earlier, the women's record.
it's a 2500 women biographies that -- a compilation of 2500 biographies. she was prolific and she called women gods appointed agent morality. she was 65 when she wrote that book? according to >> according to the yale bibliography of american literature, she contributed to 129 books, which is pretty amazing. but the one that she thought was her masterpiece was called women's record. it was a 900-page poem. took her three years to write it and it was the biographies of 2500 women, as you said, and the subtitle, rather a modestly said, from the beginning of time until the present day. and she was very proud of this book. and deservedly so. it's the first work of history to put women at its center. and in that sense it was, i
think, the precursor of the women's studies movement, which didn't begin until the mid 20th century. there's a wonderful story. she was good at -- she became good. it took her while itself promotion, but you decided to send copies of women's records to notable women. among them was queen victoria. so she asked james buchanan who would become president at the time he had just been appointed the ambassador to the uk. she asked him. amazingly he agreed. she was that influential. he's she said yes. i'll take time to read it. and rather more raising lee,
the queen of editorial wrote back through her secretary. saying thank you for the book. and i have ti have to say, i've alws thought since then, since i read that, i've been asking the american ambassador to the uk to give a copy. >> [laughs] >> but i don't have hale's chutzpah. >> speaking of queen victoria, she was also a trendsetter. there were certain influences -- we've got pictures up here -- these were incorporated into the meeting book. we were talking about hale's influence. and mrs. hale says, we've got oprah's list, this is how we can talk -- these are two things i didn't realize -- because of her promotion of
these, the christmas tree and a wedding dress, but a white wedding dress. which was not -- then. >> that's right. victoria wore white at her wedding. this caught on in britain and hale liked the idea and started promoting this in "godey's lady's book", including publishing many drawings. and in 1859, -- i think this was the late 40s. something like that. and by 1850, she was saying that a white wedding gown is the symbol of young american womanhood, etc, etc. and the christmas tree is even more interesting. a london newspaper published a picture of christmas at windsor castle. and hale liked this idea. she thought, i'll publish it in
"godey's lady's book" and she did. she did so with two alterations. she removed the queens tiara. and she removed the mustache of prince albert. >> [laughs] >> kind of the photo shopping of the day, she hated whiskers on man. she thought it made them look sneaky. that was one battle she didn't win. those are two examples. other areas were recipes. >> oh, right. >> she introduced recipes to the american public. a recipes column. and then she published a couple of books of her collected recipes. clothing was another example besides the wedding dress. she invade against courses that were too tightly weaved, laced. and shoes that would be too flimsy for cold weather.
but on its. so, all along, she hated fashion. >> right, she really railed against fashion -- >> right, serious riding -- >> but i think she saw the benefits as well. even though she took some things from queen victoria she wanted to establish an american identity. >> indeed. she actually railed against british and french fashion, saying, we are americans. when will we start promoting a republican? lower case are -- >> it's interesting, she was very savvy. and we take this for granted. we look back and we realize that her influence on our country, she is almost like the founding mother of our country. do you think she would be canceled today? >> yes, for sure. i think she has been canceled before canceling which popular.
the 20th century scholarship on her has been, because of her anti-suffrage view, in my view, it has dismissed her. instead of taking her whole life into account. >> yes. i also think that after her death -- >> she was editor for 50 years and she died in 1879 at the age of 90. and after her death the magazine deteriorated. i think that maybe she was falsely associated with that less powerful version of the magazine. her intellectual accomplishments were forgotten. and certainly by the end of the 19th century, the whole idea of suffrage had taken over the women's movement. people didn't talk about it as much, about educating women as much. giving them the right to vote.
>> that's interesting. one last question and then we will go to the audience. maybe you can put a bow on thanksgiving. she loved thanksgiving. in her 1827 novel, north would, there is what i think is the best description of an american thanksgiving day that i've read in american literature, which -- i think you put an excerpt in the back of the book -- >> yes. so, in the 18 40s, she decided that she wanted to try to have the president call a national thanksgiving day, a day when americans would celebrate on the same day in america and abroad. she said, a day when every american all around the world would stop and give thanks for the same day. when i lived in japan and then
hong kong, americans got together on thanksgiving day. she had, besides talking about this in "godey's lady's book", she also had a private letter writing campaign. and she would write personal letters to very important influencers of the day. governors, mayors and president of the united states. urging them to call a national thanksgiving. and hale being hale, the president wrote back. and they all said no until lincoln. they said no, just as a brief aside, because they thought that the constitution did not give that power to presidents. they thought it belonged to governors. it wasn't enumerated in the constitution. i don't remember reading the word thanksgiving in the constitution. so that's probably right. anyway, in 1863, she wrote to
lincoln and -- like the idea. and he called in 1863 for a national thanksgiving in a beautiful proclamation that i urge you to go back and read. it was just after the battle of gettysburg. and the tide of the warhead turned and it looked like the union was going to win. and lincoln talked about americans coming together as one people in celebrating as one voice. it's a lovely image and one that we could heed today. >> right. that's really terrific. >> hale was indefatigable. that was johnson, grant, and haze i believe.
she continued to write them. >> what a woman. why don't we take some questions. a couple of questions up here, we have mics. >> thank you so much, that was wonderful. you begin by talking about yourself as an author. and in the book you talk about the influence that josepha hale had on what it means to be an author. i was wondering if you talk more about that. >> before hale, being an author of a book was usually a private undertaking. it was -- you would either self publish or you would find somebody who would take you and publish. for example, the first book of
poetry by poe was published with contributions from his fellow i graduates at west point. -- her husband came up with some money. but hale i thought that being unhealthy could be a profession. and she believed that you should be paid for your work. this was someone who thought that -- as we know, the idea of being an independent author, male or female, this -- they were indeed professionals. you can also see this from the
1840s, where mr. godey, owner and publisher of "godey's lady's book", decided to copy the magazine. i believe it was under her influence. but i couldn't find any direct evidence of that. he and she were roundly criticized for this. because he wanted to stop the practice of newspapers stealing articles from "godey's lady's book" and publishing them before the magazine could even reach their subscribers. again, that supported the idea that authors should be paid for their work. of course, i like this idea. >> [laughs] >> a lot of copying and pasting. >> thank you so much, a fascinating topic. you mentioned that she published harriet beecher
stowe. could you talk about her involvement with abolitionism? >> well, she wasn't an abolitionist. she thought that slavery was morally wrong. she died when -- the census was a couple of years after her birth, it show that there was one slave in her little town in new hampshire. she certainly had visited this -- i believe, again, it's not proven, documented. i think she visited the south. and she and countered slavery, and it was clear that she was against it. and she supported the arguments against it. but she, being a great, i guess, woman of the 18th century, the bargains that the founders had
made over slavery should continue until a time that the country could possibly get rid of slavery. she supported what was known as colonization. and that is, sending freed slaves to africa. to a colony that became the country of liberia. she did this because she thought that freed slaves wouldn't be able to succeed in america. she wrote a book called mr. peyton's's experiments, in which a slave owner wanted to free his slaves. he wanted them to be successful. and he wanted to help them. and in the novel, he sends a group to a northern city, another group to a rule rural
town, and a third to canada. they all had terrible experiences. they face racism, discrimination and they cannot make a living. so he decides to send them all to liberia. and from our perspective, that was her attitude. she certainly supported -- during the war. but it's hard to wrap my head around this idea. there were many people who thought that this was a reasonable idea. she didn't write at all about the moral -- after the war by, then she was in her 70s -- she didn't write, that i could tell, anything about the moral duty of white people too he's a
way and help freed slaves. i think that is a shame and a deficiency and her work. >> nina, then john. >> congratulations for this book and for reviving her or introducing her to our generation. she is an amazingly accomplished, influential woman and she holds many lessons, i think, in a timely way for our own issues of national unity. and cultural unity and civic education. i wondered if she was leaving aside this suffrage issue and the civil war? was she controversial in her day? and was her work and her
advocacy for women's work or women's role in society and education, was that considered controversial? did she have a fan base and opponents? how did the other regions of the country view her, like the south? >> the south loved her magazine. she had about a third of the's description of "godey's lady's book" from there. so that tells you something. >> she was very, very popular and. we referred earlier to the phrase -- and there was a dispute over. but also, i find, he's papers of the day that would quote her,
frivolous ones. she was an authority. she did not support the women's rights movement. rights movement. she didn't like the idea of she preferred opportunities. it's a way of expressing fields. -- it was a wonderful literally. found an article about the feminist lucy moths came to her home in philadelphia talking about a gracious reception she had received and she was sorry that hail did not fully support their cause. that was okay. everybody could think
differently that she had gotten into trouble if you times. one of the things we really haven't talked about has to do with philanthropy. a group of men had come together to raise money to build the bunker hill monument. hail stepped forward and said she would ask reader and women of new england to contribute. she was public about this when she did make calls in her magazine for women's -- and she was criticized by some man in a public way for doing this, because they said that man control the money in the
house and anything a woman gives really is coming from her husband, to which she replied citing a biblical passage, that anne women could -- again, i can't remember this exactly, but women gave up their gold ornaments in order to fund something or other. >> the temple? >> yes, the temple. i think that's right. she got into trouble over that. any and her fundraising campaign did not work. it didn't raise enough money, but a couple of years later it was revived, and she started a fire. a fair. a big fare in boston. that raised enough money to complete the monument. i think this is the first example of a woman in america as the leader of a major
philanthropy. the women of mount vernon, the lady societies of mount vernon are offered referred to as this is the first major women's philanthropy, but bunker hill proceeded it. in fact, a woman who spearheaded the mount vernon reconstruction was advised by hail and had a similar structure and how she went about raising the money. so she got into trouble over that. and i'm trying to think there was anything else. i can't remember anything else off the top of my head. >> thank you for bringing back the light of this great american -- >> can you make sure the microphone is on? >> sorry. i said first, thank you for bringing back the life of this
great american to readers today. and i hope it gets wide attention. i wanted to ask, from your discussion, it appears to me that when you say she would have been canceled today it's not like she didn't push equality in that kind of absolute terms, for both suffrage and movements today -- are both gender based and non gender based movements. but i wonder if is the reason that she didn't engage in that kind of, well, this is the principal and that trump's or dominates everything? is it a matter of her judgment about what was prudent in these kinds of social change for the country, or is it her republicanism that you see is important here, that you have to do is you have to persuade people. they have to consent? i mean the discussion you had about abolition and holding the country together seems to imply
that she's waiting for a principle that people have to agree they cannot -- there cannot be this kind of demand placed on them and overrides their decision. that persuasion is more important than enforcing whatever you may believe is just principle. how do you understand her understanding of how you properly create change or engage in these kinds of -- is that she's not political, but of course his post political and a cultural stuff is in the zone that is political, and private. how does she understand the parameters of proper action? >> i hadn't ever thought of in those terms, john and i'd like to reflect on it. but she certainly was not -- what's the word? she didn't believe in sort of
top down government or top-down edicts. she expressed her point of view, but she was certainly open to would her readers had to say and she would publish letters from her readers. but i don't know if she thought of it in terms of lower case are republicanism. you have to remember that the 18th century mentality about women's very different than what we would think of today. i think she overcame huge social, cultural hurdles big. [inaudible]
-- to be doctors are waitresses, or teachers. but then she wasn't crazy about women becoming lawyers because she thought that area was more for men. how do you explain that? it's beneath that politician thing. >> yes, maybe it's political. in her own life she said that she aboard ambition in women, but yet, look at her life. surely at some point, after her kids had all been educated and left the nest, she could have retired but she didn't. she just wanted to keep climbing to new heights. so i don't know, but she
certainly did not believe in making demands on people. she wanted to open doors to women. >> yeah. >> thank you so much. fascinating. one thing that came to mind is that when she started there were innocents, big reform movements in the country. abolition and the whole beginning of the debate about the slavery issue and so forth. the other was temperance. she was also getting started and i was just wondering, it seems that she didn't really want to get into the abolition slavery issue and a political sense. it's not like she didn't. did she push the temperance
issue? >> absolutely. she was a very early supporter of the temperance movement starting in the lady teen 20s, and she wrote a lot about temperance and she published the most popular anti temperance writer of the day. a man. and she wrote books about the dangers of alcohol and how it impacted women. there's one novella called my cousin mary, which is about mary who makes the fatal decision to marry a man who drinks, and you know what happens to marry? she ended up very unhappy. but also in her cookbooks, she would invade against drinking to, and said that the reader
with find no recipes for alcohol in her cookbooks and so she did include recipes and included alcohol -- the idea was that the alcohol had to be burned off before you actually ate the product. and one of her big philanthropies along with the bunker hills monument for which she was remembered, is the scenes eight society which started in boston and group around the country. this was to help the wives of semen who went off to sea and many never came back because they're shipped failed and sank. she started a vocational school for the women and she deplored
charity. she wanted women to have the dignity to be able to work for a living and take care of their families. so she would write about how sometimes would come home -- seamen would come home and take the money that their wife had earned and use it to by drinks. and in the system of the day, maybe you've heard of the system call covert, which is illegal common illegal practice whereby a woman who marries was forced to give all of her property rights to her husband. and a husband had the right to take everything she earned. everything she inherited act. he and decide what to do with
it. she wrote many editorials trying to get that lifted, and i think her work had some influence there. but some of the stories she would tell about women whose finances were ruined by their husbands were because the husbands drink. >> great. okay, if there is no more questions i will let melanie have the last word, but before we break i want to mention to everyone her first book, thanksgiving, the holiday at the heart of the american experiences out in paperback as of yesterday. this is a tremendous book. maybe you've seen her in interviews around thanksgiving every year. melanie is kind of the authoritarian on this holiday, and now the spinoff with mrs. hale. >> well, i guess i will conclude by saying on november 25th i hope you will think of misses hale and also think of her hope that thanksgiving will
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