Shout Out for My Friend’s Book Birthday

image001Hi all. Just a quick note to let you know that my friend Shauna Granger’s book Age of Blood, the final book in the Ash and Ruin trilogy, is out today. You may remember from the cover reveal that I was a beta reader for this book, and in fact each book in the trilogy.

Needless to say, I loved it, or I wouldn’t be strongly recommending that you go buy it. It’s YA dystopian, but not like you’ve seen before (believe me, I’ve read my share). The trilogy has something for everyone: world ending disease, government conspiracies, a bit of the supernatural, a kick-ass female lead, and yes, a love story.

If you missed the first two books in the series, you can get them here: World of Ash (book 1) and Time of Ruin (book 2).  If you stay up past your bedtime reading or have nightmares about poisonous tea like I did, blame Shauna, not me!

Congratulations, Shauna!

Victoria Woodhull’s Early Life

Historical marker in Victoria's home town of Homer, Ohio.

Historical marker in Victoria’s home town of Homer, Ohio.

Victoria is one of these people with such a storied life you could easily devote an entire book to its three phases: early, mid (which is when my book is set, 1868-1873) and later life. But since I’ve chosen to only write about the high point of her public life, I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned about the other areas of her life as well.

I’ve found out through comments to my Huffington Post article that descendants of Victoria’s family do not believe the bad things circulated about Victoria’s early life. Certainly, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and to their own research. All I can say is that my sources, which include many recent biographies (listed at the end of this post; full sources for the book are listed here), include this information and in turn cite their own sources.

Victoria’s Youth and Family Life
Victoria C. Woodhull (nee Claflin) was born the seventh of ten children on September 23, 1838, in Homer, Ohio, to Reuben Buckman (Buck) Claflin and Anna Roxanna (Anne/Annie) Hummel Claflin. Being born in the year Queen Victoria was crowned, the baby was named for her.

Her father may have been affluent early on (some say he worked in law or finance, others that he worked in towns and transported lumber), but he lost the land when she was three, leaving the family with only a dilapidated house and a grist mill. Buck, ever enterprising, turned to crime. He stole horses and ran scams, including insurance theft when the mill mysteriously burned down in 1853. There are conflicting accounts of exactly what happened. Some say the townspeople suspected insurance fraud, especially since Buck was not in town at the time of the incident. They held a fundraiser for the family and gave them a horse-drawn carriage and supplies and asked them to leave. Some sources say the residents talked of tarring and feathering Buck and that’s why he left.

The other side of the story was that a gas lamp overturned, setting the dry grain on fire. A bucket brigade couldn’t stop the flames. Because Buck was out of town, Annie was helpless. The family was then forced to move because of economic disappointment when the Erie Canal didn’t bring in the riches to the area it had promised. Either way, the family suffered from ill fortune.

Victoria’s mother wasn’t very stable. She was erratic, sometimes yelling and assisting he husband in the beating their children, laughing hysterically and clapping as they cried. Other times she would weep with joy over them. Anne was a devout Spiritualist who claimed to see visions and speak in the tongue of angels.

Victoria had very little schooling, only about three years, and was known for her terrible handwriting. But she had one gift her parents could exploit: they believed she was a healer and medium. From an early age (sources differ between age 8 – 14), her father set her to work in these roles, along with her younger sister, Tennessee (Tennie). They worked from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m., charging $1 per séance.

Whether or not their gifts were genuine is up for debate. Her father had plenty of nefarious ways of getting information about local families to feed to his daughters if the spirits weren’t particularly talkative. He knew all about the locals because when he got into town, he would visit cemeteries to get to know the family names, who died, and when. He had a blue book with information about families, so they could appear ready to clients. Other methods of cheating included:

  • Asking the client to think of a letter, then have them recite the alphabet, watching for a reaction at the true letter
  • Watching them write six names on a slip of paper, one of which was a dead relative. They wouldn’t hesitate on the dead person’s name.

Buck also claimed to have an elixir that could cure cancer, which he administered at so-called “clinics” throughout the Midwest. Her dad sold “Miss Tennessee’s Magnito Life Elixir for Beautifying the Complexion and Cleansing the Blood.” It was snake oil, likely composed mainly of alcohol, vegetable oil and possibly laudanum. Eventually, the family was charged with several crimes, forcing them to run from state to state. (The worst came when Tennie was charged with manslaughter after the death of a client in their Chicago clinic. The family was never brought to court on the charges).

Eventually, this life and hard work wore Victoria down and she became extremely ill during the time she was 12-14.  The upside to this was she was treated by a very handsome doctor…but more on him and how he would change her life next week.

Thoughts? Questions? I love hearing from you.

Sources:

Brody, Miriam. Victoria Woodhull, Free Spirit for Women’s Rights.
Fox, Richard Wightman. Trials of Intimacy: Love and Loss in the Beecher-Tilton Scandal .
Frisken, Amanda. Victoria Woodhull’s Sexual Revolution.
Gabriel, Mary. Notorious Victoria.
Goldsmith, Barbara. Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull.
“Hand and Vanderbilt: A Sketch of Grandmother Vanderbilt’s Early Life”  http://longislandgenealogy.com/Surname_Pages/vanderbilt.htm
Havelin, Kate. Victoria Woodhull.
Krull, Kathleen. A Woman for President – The Story of Victoria Woodhull.
MacPherson, Myra. The Scarlet Sisters.
Stiles, T.J. The First Tycoon : the Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
Tilton, Theodore. The Golden Age Tract No. 3 “Victoria C. Woodhull, a Biographical Sketch.” http://victoria-woodhull.com/tiltonbio
Victoria Woodhull®, the Spirit to Run the White House.http://www.victoria-woodhull.com/index.htm
Underhill, Lois Beachey. The Woman Who Ran for President.

We Have Another Final!

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is on fire! It’s now also a finalist in the Fab Five contest in the Single Title Romance category – its third award this year. This one is sponsored by the Wisconsin chapter of RWA. As with the Cleveland Rocks contest, final placement will be announced in June. I’m very excited about the agents and editors who will see it for both contests.

Meet Victoria Woodhull’s Friends and Enemies

Last week I gave you a peek inside Victoria’s family. This week, let’s delve into her friends and enemies. That way when I refer to people in subsequent weeks you’ll know who I’m talking about.

Vanderbilt

Cornelius Vanderbilt

Cornelius Vanderbilt – He was one of the country’s first tycoons and the richest man in America in the mid-to-late 1800s. (If you want a good bio, check out The First Tycoon: the Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T. J. Stiles, though the author is not at all favorable in his portrayal of Victoria and Tennie, nor does he believe they had much of a relationship.) Made his money in shipping, railroads and the stock market. Vanderbilt is said to have been quarrelsome and tyrannical, bullied his sons, and had guilt over a wife he abused and betrayed. Sources say he also believed heartily in the spirits and would support any hack, medium or fortune teller to come his way and had an insatiable sexual appetite, hence his interest in Victoria and Tennie, respectively. Some sources say he was not accepted in society because he acted low class, spitting tobacco onto the carpet and was nearly illiterate, while others claim the exact opposite. It’s possible that he was introduced to the sisters by their father.

Vanderbilt liked Victoria and Tennie’s boldness and intelligence. Victoria transmitted messages to him from his mother, Phoebe Hand Van der Bilt, who died 15 year earlier. Tennie’s magnetic healing, upbeat attitude and sexual prowess attracted him and she liked that he swore and played whist, drank gin and smoked cigars. He was smitten with Tennie, whom he called his “little sparrow.”  She called him “old boy” and “old goat.” After only a few months, he asked her to marry him. Her reasons for declining are debated, as is if he was serious. Some say she couldn’t have married him either way because she never divorced her first husband, gambler John Bartels, whom she married in 1865. It’s possible she and Vanderbilt had an affair after he remarried, but that is the subject of debate.

He is described as having a Roman nose, blue or black eyes, and white hair. He always wore black with a while cravat tied at the throat. He swore a lot, couldn’t spell, had bad grammar and used spittoons, but he was an honest man, though not above occasional exploits.

StephenPearlAndrews

Stephen Pearl Andrews

Stephen Pearl Andrews – He was a friend of Victoria’s whom she met through Horace Greeley at one of the parties she and Tennie hosted at Vanderbilt’s hotel suite. He was twice her age, but Victoria was dazzled by his intellect. He taught social theory and reform, reading, writing and individual rights, Free Love, and equitable commerce. He was a big proponent of the idea of utopian society, and by the time he met her, had already established and disbanded two utopian colonies. Victoria backed him financially and allowed her rooms to be used my his utopian group, Pantarchy. He was the Pantarch. She became good friends with his second wife, Ester Andrews, a herbalist and magnetic healer. Ester participated in séances with the two.

Stephen also helped Victoria be precise in her calls for prison reform, relief for the poor and improvement of management of foreign policy. He may have been the one to poison her against Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, as the two men had a personal feud. He also was a member of the International Workingman’s Association, Section 12, and a contributor to her paper.

He is described as 6’2”, with bright blue eyes, disorderly hair and a full beard he wore in two points.

Theodore Tilton

Theodore Tilton

Theodore Tilton – He was a well known reformer, friends with President Lincoln – whom Tilton didn’t think was progressive enough on slavery – well known for his support of abolition and led the impeachment of President Andrew Jackson. He was also friends with Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Fredrick Douglass. In his off time, he wrote poetry and lectured. He was a big proponent of the women’s suffrage movement.

His wife, Elizabeth (Lib) Tilton, had an affair with well-known preacher Henry Ward Beecher. Tilton was said to not be kind to her, asking her to stay away from him at suffrage conventions.

He may have met Victoria at one of the suffrage conventions, but it is certain they met after she ran an article in her newspaper speaking of Beecher’s affair with Lib in veiled terms. Of all her possible lovers, he is the most likely. He wrote her biography, which even contemporaries said was grossly exaggerated, and was panned by critics in all circles except for Spiritualists, at which it was aimed.

He stood by Victoria for a long time, even introducing her infamous Free Love speech, but eventually he turned against her in favor of Horace Greeley, whom he campaigned for in the election of 1872, hoping to replace him as editor of the New York Tribune, when Greeley became President.

Theodore Tilton went on to sue Henry Ward Beecher for willful alienation of his wife’s affections on January 11, 1875. That trial, which was the O.J. Simpson case of its time, lasted six months, riveting the nation with its tale of sex and scandal. The trial ended in a hung jury and Beecher was never convicted.

Tilton is described as a handsome blond who shaved, which was unusual for the time and usually associated with the Free Love set. He was tall, at 6′ 3″, and known for his good looks, sparkling conversation and many extramarital affairs.

Henry Ward Beecher. Does anyone else see a resemblance between him and Jon Stewart?

Henry Ward Beecher. Does anyone else see a resemblance between him and Jon Stewart?

Henry Ward Beecher – Rev. Beecher was one of the most famous and highly regarded preachers of the late 19th century in America. Despite this, he was widely rumored to “preach to as many as 20 of his mistresses on any given Sunday.” Though he never spoke publicly about Victoria’s accusation of his affair with Lib Tilton, he never sued her for libel, either. As mentioned above, Beecher was never convicted in Titon’s trial against him. In fact, he came out of the matter more popular and richer than ever, with his church members paying for the cost of the trial.

His sister, Isabella, was a great friend of Victoria’s, but his other sisters, Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe (yes, of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) hated Victoria and did everything they could to discredit her.

He is described as melodramatic and is known to have cried a lot. He was around 60 when he met Victoria. He had stringy, graying hair, pensive eyes and flaccid jowls. He weighed over 200 pounds. He loved precious stones, especially opals, which he carried in his pocket and jingled in his hand like most men did with change.

Benjamin Butler -I think he looks like Dennis Franz.

Benjamin Butler -I think he looks like Dennis Franz.

Representative Benjamin Butler – The most powerful man in the House of Representatives – he even had the ear of President Grant – this Republican from Massachusetts was a dear friend of Victoria’s and the reason she was able to become the first woman to testify before Congress about suffrage. He was a strong proponent of the women’s suffrage movement and encouraged the idea that the Constitution already provided women the right to vote, and idea begun by Virginia Minor and carried on by Victoria.

He was a strong advocate of Victoria’s from the beginning. Due to the long hours the two spent together, rumor circulated that the two were having an affair. Supposedly he offered to help her get in front of Congress in exchange “for the opportunity to feast his eyes on her naked person.” When rumors to this effect were brought to his attention, he responded with the enigmatic, “Half truths kill.”

I personally don’t think they had an affair. Benjamin Butler is described as toad-like, short and plump with an overly large head and sunken eyes engulfed in flesh. One of his eyelids drooped and he wattled when he walked. Yet, his vitality and power is said to have attracted many women.

Josie Mansfield

Josie Mansfield

Josie Mansfield – Josie is an interesting person. She and Victoria met when they were both actresses in San Francisco. Later, they reunited in New York, when Josie was a prostitute at a brothel at which Victoria worked as a healer. The story goes that Josie married an actor and moved East. They divorced and she tried to make it in the theatre, but failed, turning to prostitution.

That was how she met Vanderbilt’s business rival, Jim Frisk. Josie began to entertain him in November 1867, withholding her affections for three months. He paid her overdue rent at a room on Lexington and installed her at the American Club hotel in a suite. He bought her a room full of dresses, gave her $50,000 in cash and five times that in emeralds. A year later her bought her a house in her own name at 359 West 23rd and supplied her with servants. Despite this apparent infatuation, he once said she was more temperamental than an opera diva.

He sent messengers to Josie several times a day outlining his plans, so she knew all his business ventures. Eventually, she became Victoria’s informant, giving Victoria the stock tips she got from “the spirits” and fed to Vanderbilt. This continued until early 1872, when Jim Fisk was murdered and Josie fled to Paris under a cloud of suspicion.

Josie is described as buxom and photographs show a woman who would be considered curvy by today’s standards, with long, curly dark hair.

This is by no means a complete list. Victoria was also friends/enemies with suffragists Susan B. Anthony, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Paulina Wright Davis and Laura Cuppy Smith. Other supporters included Jesse Grant and his son, President Ulysses S. Grant, and Frederick Douglass.

Among her enemies: Catharine Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Horace Greeley and Anthony Comstock (of the Comstock anti-obscenity laws).

What do you think about Victoria’s friends and enemies? Did you know about any of them before? What else do you want to know?

Sources:

Brody, Miriam. Victoria Woodhull, Free Spirit for Women’s Rights.
Fox, Richard Wightman. Trials of Intimacy: Love and Loss in the Beecher-Tilton Scandal .
Frisken, Amanda. Victoria Woodhull’s Sexual Revolution.
Gabriel, Mary. Notorious Victoria.
Goldsmith, Barbara. Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull.
“Hand and Vanderbilt: A Sketch of Grandmother Vanderbilt’s Early Life”  http://longislandgenealogy.com/Surname_Pages/vanderbilt.htm
Havelin, Kate. Victoria Woodhull.
Krull, Kathleen. A Woman for President – The Story of Victoria Woodhull.
MacPherson, Myra. The Scarlet Sisters.
Stiles, T.J. The First Tycoon : the Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
Tilton, Theodore. The Golden Age Tract No. 3 “Victoria C. Woodhull, a Biographical Sketch.” http://victoria-woodhull.com/tiltonbio
Victoria Woodhull®, the Spirit to Run the White House.http://www.victoria-woodhull.com/index.htm
Underhill, Lois Beachey. The Woman Who Ran for President.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not Finals Again!

More good news! He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is a finalist in the main stream with romantic elements category of the Cleveland Rocks contest. The contest is sponsored by the Northeast Ohio chapter of RWA. Final placement will be announced in June.

My Huffington Post Article on Victoria Woodhull and the Modern Woman

I have an article in the Huffington Post today: Seven Things America’s First Female Presidential Candidate Can Teach You. It’s all about what modern women (and frankly, men too) can learn from Victoria Woodhull. Please, check it out, share and comment. Thanks!

HuffPo

 

Meet Victoria Woodhull’s Family

As I mentioned last week, I couldn’t make up the story of Victoria Woodhull. She’s one of those people whose life was so storied you would think it outlandish if I did. And part of the reason was the crazy (sometimes literally) cast of characters in her life. So, before I delve into her life in future weeks, I thought I’d introduce you to them so you know who I’m referring to. This is a long list, so I’m going to run it in two installments. Today’s is Victoria and her family.

Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull – From an early age she showed gifts of magnetic healing and being a spiritual medium. She worked for her father that capacity until she was 15, when she married her first husband, Canning Woodhull. She had two children with him, a son, Bryon, who was born brain damaged, and a daughter Zula (or Zulu). When they moved to San Francisco, she worked as an actress and possibly as a prostitute. She left her husband and moved to St. Louis, where she met her second husband, Colonel James Blood. In 1868, her spirit guide, Demosthenes, instructed her to go to New York. She and Tennie went and it wasn’t long before they met Cornelius Vanderbilt, who needed their services as healers and mediums. Eventually, they became involved in the stock market, opening the first brokerage run my women on Wall Street and becoming self-made millionaires. Victoria then set her sights on the White House and the suffrage movement, becoming the first woman to speak before Congress. She and Tennie began their own newspaper, Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly, to get their suffrage and worker’s rights messages out. Her fortunes waxed and waned during the campaign and she ended up in jail for Election Day. Years of trials on trumped up charges followed, of which she and Tennie were found not guilty on all counts. By this time they were tired and nearly bankrupt, so they accepted William Vanderbilt’s (son of Cornelius) offer of money in exchange for moving to England. There, Victoria reinvented herself, distancing herself from earlier radical beliefs. She married a wealthy banker and ran for President of the United States two more times. She lived to see women get the vote in 1920, passing away in her sleep in 1927.

Victoria is described as having light brown hair, which she cut short, gray-blue eyes and high cheekbones. She was of medium stature and build, thin and had ramrod straight posture.

Tennessee Claflin

Tennessee Claflin

Tennesse (Tennie C.) Claflin – Victoria’s younger sister. She spent many years working for her father as a healer, medium, and likely prostitute. She was rescued from that life in the late 1860s by Victoria and Colonel James Blood. Once in New York, she became Cornelius Vanderbilt’s lover. She was Victoria’s partner in the stock brokerage and did the majority of the work there while Victoria focused on her campaign. She also wrote for their paper. Jealous of her sister’s political success, Tennie ran for Congress in 1872, supported by a contingent of German New Yorkers, but had less success than her sister. She also made waves by being named the commander of the Spencer Grays, a unit of black military men in New York.

When the sisters moved to England, Tennie blossomed, becoming an advocate for women’s rights both there and in the US. She did far more than her sister to advance the movement during this time. She eventually married Viscount Francis Cook, becoming a viscountess. She died in 1923.

Tennie was an incorrigible flirt who was linked not only to Vanderbilt, but Tribune editor Whitelaw Reid and journalist Johnny Greene. She was described as plump with a large bosom, full mouth and golden brown or reddish curls, blue eyes and a cleft chin.

Buck Claflin

Buck Claflin

Buck Claflin – Reuben Buckman (Buck) Claflin was Victoria’s father. He may have been affluent early on (some say he worked in law or finance, others that he worked in towns and transported lumber), but he lost their land when Victoria was three, leaving the family with only a dilapidated house and a grist mill. Buck, ever enterprising, turned to crime. He stole horses and ran scams, including insurance theft when the mill mysteriously burned down in 1853. And he beat his children, one of whom ran away and was never heard from again. He put Victoria and Tennie to work as healers and mediums from a young age. He had plenty of nefarious ways of getting information about local families to feed to his daughters if the spirits weren’t particularly talkative. He also claimed to have an elixir that could cure cancer, which he administered at so-called “clinics” throughout the Midwest. Between law suits from disgruntled or injured patients and charges of running houses of prostitution, he was always on the run from the law. He and the family followed Victoria and Tennie to New York, where he may have introduced them to Cornelius Vanderbilt. When the firm was opened, he was given a token job, but never really contributed anything to the firm. He was said to steal checks from them and make a general nuisance of himself.

Anne Claflin

Anne Claflin

Anne Claflin – Anna Roxanna (Anne/Annie) Hummel Claflin was Victoria’s mother and an insane Spiritualist. She sometimes assisted with her husband’s beatings of their children, yelling, laughing hysterically and clapping as they cried. Other times she would weep with joy over them. Anne claimed to see visions and speak in the tongue of angels, both of which appeared like fits where she babbled and foamed at the mouth. Anne was a confirmed blackmailer, which is how she made money, even going after Victoria’s friends and supporters during her Presidential campaign. She hated Colonel Blood, whom she blamed for taking Tennie and Victoria away from her. She accused him of being a thief and even brought legal charges against him in 1871. This ended up being a sensational trial that brought many of Victoria’s well-guarded secrets to light and seriously harmed her campaign.

Utica Claflin Booker – Sister of Victoria and one of Anne’s favorites. She was addicted to alcohol and morphine and frequently disrupted Victoria’s public speeches. The most famous incident was during Victoria’s highly controversial speech on Free Love. Utica, who was sitting on the audience, stood up and challenged Victoria in front of the whole crowd. She was also friends with Canning Woodhull (they shared vices) and after his death, she went to the coroner and said he died under suspicious circumstances, blaming the doctor. This was later proved false.

Canning Woodhull and family; wife Victoria, daughter Zula and son Byron (Portrait, probably 1856)

Canning Woodhull and family; wife Victoria, daughter Zula and son Byron (Portrait, probably 1856)

Canning Woodhull – Canning was Victoria’s first husband. They met when he was 28 and she was 14. He was Victoria’s doctor during a period she was so ill she nearly died. The two fell in love quickly, and her mom and dad were all for the match, believing (thanks to Canning’s lies) that he his father was a well respected judge and his uncle was major of New York. As it turned out, Canning wasn’t much better than Victoria’s father. He was an alcoholic and a womanizer, who was found in a brothel only three days after their wedding. Victoria blamed him and his abuse for their son, Byron, being born brain damaged. When she had their daughter, Zula, the baby nearly bled to death because her drunk father either cut the cord too short or failed to tie it off properly, leaving her and her mother, who was passed out with exhaustion, in favor of the local pub. Victoria finally left him in 1863, divorcing him three years later after meeting Colonel James Harvey Blood.

One would think that was the end of him, but it wasn’t. About a year and a half after Victoria married James, Canning was delirious with illness and called for her. She and James brought him back and took care of him for six weeks. He paid them and they said he was welcome any time. From that day on, when he needed her, he came. After a while, he ended up living with James and Victoria, as he was too ill with drink and morphine to do otherwise. Victoria considered it her Christian duty to take care of him, even though their living arrangements scandalized others when they came out in the trial of 1871. Canning died on April 7, 1872. Though Utica claimed it was a suspicious death, it was later proven to be a lung ailment, likely pneumonia.

Colonel James Harvey Blood

Colonel James Harvey Blood

Colonel James Harvey Blood – Victoria’s second husband. He was a Civil War veteran (shot six times, and once removed the bullets himself), commander of the 6th Missouri Regiment and City Auditor of St. Louis. He met Victoria when he came to visit her as a spiritual physician for his wife for female complaints. According to Victoria, when he walked into the room, she went into a trance, announcing “I see our futures linked. Our destinies are bound together,” whereupon they were betrothed “by the powers of the air.” Soon he frequented her office and the two engaged in a torrid affair. To help pay off his debts in St. Louis so he could divorce his wife and abandon their two daughters, they traveled throughout the Midwest as healers in a brightly colored fringed surrey under the names Dr. J. H. Harvey and “Madame Harvey.” They were married on July 12, 1866 in Dayton, Ohio, but the marriage application was incomplete and never filed by the minister, so there was some lingering question as to whether or not they were legally married.

James was the silent partner in the brokerage firm, using his skills as an accountant and knowledge of the law to keep the business going. He also served as Victoria’s secretary, as her handwriting was said to be terrible. He was also a contributor to Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly and helped Victoria write her speeches. James was very supportive of Victoria’s suffrage and political interests; if fact, he may have introduced her to the ideas of women’s rights and Free Love. (He is said to possibly had a few affairs during their marriage.) He supported Victoria to the bitter end, when she divorced him in 1876.

He was described as having dark eyes, a trim beard and a soldier’s stance. He was spiritual and reflective, a self-chosen recluse, who was very liberal in his views.

These are only a few of Victoria’s family members. She was the seventh of ten children. In order of oldest to youngest, the Claflin children were Margaret Ann, Mary (or Polly), Maldon, Hebern (or Hebren), Victoria California, Utica Vantitia, Tennessee Celeste (or Tennie C.), and Odessa Maldiva who died as a baby. It’s unknown in what order daughters Delia and Hester Ann were born as they, like Odessa, died young.

Next week I’ll profile several of Victoria’s closest friends.

What do you think of her family? Can you see where they would make a good story? Thoughts/questions about them?

Sources:

Brody, Miriam. Victoria Woodhull, Free Spirit for Women’s Rights.
Frisken, Amanda. Victoria Woodhull’s Sexual Revolution.
Gabriel, Mary. Notorious Victoria.
Goldsmith, Barbara. Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull.
Havelin, Kate. Victoria Woodhull.
Krull, Kathleen. A Woman for President – The Story of Victoria Woodhull.
MacPherson, Myra. The Scarlet Sisters.
Victoria Woodhull®, the Spirit to Run the White House. http://www.victoria-woodhull.com/index.htm
Underhill, Lois Beachey. The Woman Who Ran for President.