Victoria California <I>Claflin</I> Woodhull


Victoria California Claflin Woodhull Famous memorial

Homer, Licking County, Ohio, USA
Death 9 Jun 1927 (aged 88)
Bredon, Wychavon District, Worcestershire, England
Cenotaph Tewkesbury, Tewkesbury Borough, Gloucestershire, England
Memorial ID 8616083 View Source

Suffragist, Social Reformer. One of the best known women in America in her day, she was the first woman stockbroker on Wall Street, a leader in the woman's suffrage movement, one of the first two women to speak before a Congressional committee, and the first woman to run for the office of President. She and her younger sister, Tennessee, told fortunes, conducted faith healings and sold patent medicines to as young women; and their interests grew to eventual involvement with the spiritualism movement. It was through their activities in fortune telling and faith healing that she and her sister became acquainted with Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was interested in spiritualism. Commodore Vanderbilt is purported to have funded Victoria Woodhull’s brokerage venture as a silent partner and in February 1870, the sisters became the first women to have a bank and brokerage on Wall Street. The economic freedom and independence opened the door to further groundbreaking activities. The May 13, 1870 issue of the Brooklyn “Eagle” carried a lengthy letter to the editor written by "A Woman." The letter, entitled "Woman's Right to Work and Vote and to be Our Next President," concluded with the words, "We will have a Sixteenth [woman's suffrage] Amendment and Victoria C. Woodhull may fill the Presidential chair." In the same issue of the Brooklyn “Eagle”, an article appeared which announced her candidacy for President of the United States. The Equal Rights Party nominated and confirmed the ticket of Victoria Woodhull as the first female Presidential candidate, with Vice Presidential running mate, former slave and orator Frederick Douglass (who did not accept the nomination.) Soon after she announced her candidacy, she and her launched a newspaper, “Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly”, which espoused socialism, woman suffrage, the Free Love Movement, and Victoria's Presidential bid. The newspaper carried the first English translation of Karl Marx's “Communist Manifesto” and featured exposes on stock swindles and insurance frauds. A national furor erupted when the journal carried a detailed account of a scandalous affair between Rev. Henry Ward Beecher and the wife of his friend, Theodore Tilton. Ironically, the first female Presidential candidate spent Election Day 1872 in jail. Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin were arrested for using the United States mail to "utter obscene publication" in an article reporting explicit details of debauchery by a stockbroker named Challis. After several arrests, more than a month in custody, and thousands of dollars of bail, they were acquitted two years later. In 1871, her compelling argument of the women's rights position before the House Judiciary Committee prompted the era's newspapers to proclaim her a leader of the suffrage movement. She and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were the first two women to address Congress. Although she received early encouragement from Susan B. Anthony and other suffragists, Anthony withdrew her support because she was too outspoken and radical even for them. Her disdain for convention was evident in her personal life. First married at age 15 to Dr. Canning Woodhull (who was an alcoholic), she divorced him 9 years later. She married and divorced Colonel James H. Blood at least once, probably twice. After the divorce, Victoria moved with Tennessee to England and eventually married John Biddulph Martin, a wealthy English banker. Their later years were spent in quiet philanthropy and comfort in England. They lectured occasionally, continued to publish, and even returned to the United States briefly in an attempt to refute the negative rumors that continued to circulate about them. A cenotaph at Tewkesbury Abby commemorates the woman who "devoted herself unsparingly to all that could promote the great cause of Anglo-American friendship." She was cremated, her ashes scattered near New Haven, Sussex, England.

Bio by: Shiver

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: RPD2
  • Added: 9 Apr 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8616083
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Victoria California Claflin Woodhull (23 Sep 1838–9 Jun 1927), Find a Grave Memorial ID 8616083, citing Tewkesbury Abbey, Tewkesbury, Tewkesbury Borough, Gloucestershire, England ; Maintained by Find a Grave .