AMELIA BLOOMER

 
Amelia Bloomer.jpg
 

From AMAZINGWOMENINHISTORY.com

  By Keri Engel

Amelia Bloomer was born Amelia Jenks in 1818 to a middle-class family in New York. After graduating school she worked as a teacher for a short time before gaining employment as a live-in tutor and governess for a wealthy family. It was at this job that she met Dexter Bloomer, a local attorney she fell in love with and soon married at the age of 22.

Soon after, she started her own newspaper, The Lily, to write about her views on the subject.  She believed that writing was the best way for women to campaign for suffrage and other rights.

In The Lily, Amelia Bloomer advocated for dress reform for women. She was introduced to a new type of costume invented by Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s cousin, Elizabeth “Libby” Smith Miller: loose, full pants gathered at the ankle and topped with a short dress, or with a skirt and vest. Amelia Bloomer and Stanton found the new outfit charming, comfortable, and most of all sensible, and adopted it immediately.

The look was ridiculed in the press, and wearers were harassed every time they went outside. Amelia said she “stood amazed at the fury I had unwittingly caused”. Stanton soon abandoned the costume under pressure from not only foes, but friends and family. Amelia, however, was determined to stick with it and used The Lily to campaign for all women to adopt the costume, even publishing sewing patterns for it. Though not the inventor, Amelia Bloomer’s efforts led to the costume becoming famous as The Bloomer Costume, or “bloomers” for short

Though Amelia Bloomer is famous today for the article of clothing that bears her name, she accomplished a lot more than that. Her newspaper, The Lily, may have been the first woman-owned and operated newspaper in the United States, paving the way for later women’s suffrage periodicals to emulate her publishing success and educate the public on women’s rights.

Here are some quotes:

"It will not do to say that it is out of woman’s sphere to assist in making laws, for if that were so, then it should be also out of her sphere to submit to them.

"When you find a burden in belief or apparel, cast it off." Amelia Bloomer, rational dress advocate #herstory

HAGS PodcastComment