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history web assignment

For at least three decades, historians have paid increasingly more attention to women's role in history. Women make up approximately half the human race. Women have had an impact on and been affected by every major historic event and trend, sometimes as key players. This web assignment focuses on Victoria Claflin Woodhull Martin, an extraordinary social reformer - and one who is absent from many American history survey texts.

your assignment

  • read
    • the article "Legal Contender: Victoria C. Woodhull," an historical profile written by your professor
    • the other two short Online Woodhull Biographies
    • at least 6 website listed below in the Woodhull Herstory Sites
      • eyePrimary source documents written by Woodhull or her contemporaries during the 1870s
      • pencilSecondary source materials about Woodhull written by historians, librarians, journalists, novelists, and playwrights
      • Examine these sites, reading at least one link about each aspect of Woodhull's career.
  • questions for thought and discussion
      • What have you learned about Victoria Woodhull from these websites?
      • Compare and contrast the Internet-based information with the library-based information in Dr. Kullmann's article.
      • Based on this experience, how would you evaluate the Internet as a source of information about history? about women's history?

secondary source - pencilLegal Contender: Victoria C. Woodhull....: historical profile from The Women's Quarterly written by Dr. Kullmann (Puz).

online Woodhull biographies

pencil - secondary source Information about Victoria Woodhull from the Distinguished Women of Past and Present web site.

pencil - secondary sourceUMD's Women's Studies Reading Room Biography: From the Women's Studies Picture Gallery, newspaper illustration of Woodhull trying to vote in 1871 with a short biographical sketch.

Woodhull herstory sites

Woodhull the politician
suffragist and first woman to run for President

eye - primary sourceLibrary of Congress American Memory Collection primary source document: A lecture on constitutional equality, delivered at Lincoln hall, Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 16, 1871, by Victoria Woodhull.

eye - primary sourceLOC American Memory Collection book, A history of the national woman's rights movement, for twenty years.... from 1850 to 1870, with an appendix containing the history of the movement during the winter of 1871, in the national capitol, the memorial of Victoria Woodhull to Congress, 19 December 1870, and her "Great Secession" speech before the NAWSA at Apollo Hall, May 11, 1871.

Progressive Era reformer

 pencil - secondary sourceWeb (lecture) notes from the University of Wisconsin, "Women, Feminism and Sex in Progressive America," From a History 102 television-lecture course.

Bourgeois feminist
Woodhull as a Marxist

eye - primary source Excerpted from Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, "Notes on the American Split" of the 1870s First International Workingmen's Association; From the 1st International Internet Archives.
Also see: "Resolutions on the Split of the U.S. Federation," published in Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, May 4, 1872.

eye - primary sourceLetter from Karl Marx to Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly: Marx sent a letter that provides an interesting glimpse into the personal life of the Marxes after the Paris Commune, written by his daughter Jenny(age 27), along with a cover letter by Marx himself. September 23, 1871.

eye - primary sourceInterview with Karl Marx, head of L'Internationale: Revolt of Labor against Capital...., reprinted Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly, August 12, 1871

Newspaper editor
and social reformer:
Woodhull and
the Beecher-Tilton Scandal

eye - primary source Library of Congress American Memory Collection primary source document: "And the truth shall make you free," A speech on the principles of social freedom, delivered in Steinway hall, Nov. 20, 1871, by Victoria Woodhull.

secondary sourceBrown University Library page on the Beecher-Tilton Scandal, "an example of a nineteenth-century sexual scandal that did not involve murder." From the Library's 1996 exhibit, "She is More to be Pitied than Censured: Women, Sexuality and Murder in 19th Century America."

pencil - secondary sourceSIU's short overview of The Terrible Siren, Emanie Sach's 1928 biography of Woodhull, from the perspective of freedom of the press.

pencil - secondary sourceWoodhull from a late 20th-century perspective

 Play: Spirit and Flesh

 Site includes a description and excerpt from Spirit and Flesh, a Horton two act (7-15 character) play about Woodhull's life

 Woodhull as critic
of unsafe late 19th-century abortion

 Voices of our Foremothers Prolife Feminism: anti-abortion quotes from feminists including Woodhull

Equal Rights Party History Project -- collaborative history from University of Toledo. This site does not seem active anymore, so the above description of The Scout Report is included here.

The Equal Rights Party History Project, provided by Professor Timothy Messer-Kruse of the University of Toledo, is an "experiment in participatory research" on the 545 women and men who founded the Equal Rights Party in May of 1872. Members such as Victoria Woodhull and Belva Lockwood are well known, but most are anonymous to history. This site attempts to address that oversight by encouraging interested Internauts to adopt a founder of the ERP who once lived in a place close to their hometown as a subject, research that subject, and report the findings back to the ERP project. At present the site contains a geographical database of ERP members, a brief history of the Party, research tips, and an explanation of how to send your information to the site. The ERP page is an interesting attempt at collaborative primary history that hopes to "level the ivory tower walls that have long isolated professional historians and the history they write from everyone else who make it and live it."

Original lesson developed Spring 1997 at Cal Poly Pomona.

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