Epithets

Even whenseq-14-2-copy-2 I’ve finished a book I keep an eye out for additional information: For example with my most recent book about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, I keep a running record of epithets regarding women’s rights advocates. Recently I found a particular brain-numbing one: “‘main Guyesses’ of the woman suffrage bunch.” The woman under attack was a seventy-two-year old widow, Ellen Clark Sargent, a pioneering suffragist in California, who, in 1901, filed a test case demanding either the right to vote or a refund of her taxes. She and other suffragist attended the trial, while her son George presented her case. The epithet appeared in the caption of a masculinized caricature of her published in “The San Francisco Call,” March 30, 1901. Sargent founded a suffrage organization in 1869. She was a close friend of SBA and ECS. In 1878, her husband, the former U.S. Senator Aaron Sargent, introduced the 16th Amendment that eventually became the 19th in 1920, granting women the right to vote. Ellen Clark Sargent died shortly before women won the right to vote in California in 1911. Thousands gathered at a memorial service held at Union Square in San Francisco, the first ever held for a woman. Flags flew at half-mast.

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