We the Women: Career Firsts of Nineteenth-Century America


Victoria Woodhull is remembered as the first woman to run for the presidency of the United States- in 1872- and as an advocate of a single standard of morality for both sexes. We the Women describes a side of Woodhull less well known: the first woman stockbroker in America, she was successful on Wall Street while lambasting in her journal the railroads, insurance companies, and other special-interest groups.

Stern offers biographical sketches of Belva Ann Lockwood, who fought for the right to practice law before the Supreme Court; Isabel C. Barrows, the first woman stenographer in the State Department; Rebecca Pennell Dean, criticized for not "knowing her place" when she joined a college faculty; Ellen H. Richards, the first university-trained chemist and a relentless worker for public health; Lucy Hobbs Taylor, who led women into the field of dentistry; Sarah G. Bagley, the first woman telegrapher; Rebecca Lukens, a premier captain of industry whose vision helped shape America's iron age; Mary Ann Lee, the ballerina who introduced Americans to revolutionary dances from abroad; Ann S. Stephen, the author of the first Beadle Dime Novel; Candace Wheeler, who brought women into the profession of home interior decoration; and Harriet Irwin, Louise Bethune, and Sophia G. Hayden, who paved the way for women to become professional architects.

These nineteenth-century American women were the first to succeed in professions previously open only to men. Madeleine B. Stern has restored them richly to life in We the Women. The determination and intelligence of these women won for women a place in the arts, science and technology, education and the law, and business and industry. Among Stern's other books are Louisa May Alcott and The Life of Margaret Fuller.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Lincoln, NE
Publication year:
  • 1994