March 1 – Trailblazer: Victoria Woodhull

Victoria WoodhullYou knew I had to start with her, right?

In case you don’t remember, Victoria, the poor daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, was a suffragist in the mid-1800s. She was the:

  • First woman to run a stock brokerage on Wall Street
  • First woman to testify before Congress
  • One of the first women to run a weekly newspaper
  • First female presidential candidate (1872)

Why isn’t she in our history books? Three main reasons I can tell:

  1. She royally angered her former friends Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. They literally wrote the 900+ page book on the women’s suffrage movement, reducing Victoria’s role to an actual footnote. This, then, undermined her importance to future historians.
  2. Not long after her death, a woman named Emanie Sachs published a scathing biography of Victoria that painted her as a harlot and trickster – not the kind of woman anyone would want in the historical record.
  3. She was a woman. (Look at our history. That had to be part of it.)

Victoria Woodhull is the subject of my novel Madame Presidentess, which will be published July 25.

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