A Voice of Their Own: The Woman Suffrage Press, 1840-1910

By Martha M. Solomon | Go to book overview

4
The Una, 1853-1855 The Premiere of the Woman's Rights Press

Mari Boor Tonn

"A Paper Devoted to the Elevation of Woman" "Out of the Great Heart of Nature Seek we Truth"

With these words emblazoned on its masthead, the Una premiered in Providence, Rhode Island, in February of 1853, the brain- child of Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis, a wealthy, young Rhode Island socialite and fervent crusader for woman's rights.1 Although another woman's newspaper, Amelia Jenks Bloomer Lily, had begun publication in 1849 as the organ of the local ladies' temperance society,2 the Una is acknowledged as the first "feminist" newspaper to spring from the fledgling woman's rights movement of the nineteenth century.3

Wright Davis served as the paper's sole editor until Caroline Healy Dall joined her in January of 1855, the same month that the struggling monthly also changed publishers and moved to Boston. In October of that year, the Una ceased publication entirely, three months short of a three-year run. Although the Una's existence was brief and racked with financial hardships, the small periodical broke ground for the myriad of woman's rights newspapers that would follow.

The Una's debut came four and a half years after the benchmark Seneca Falls Convention engineered by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Coffin Mott. A similar convention three years later was largely the result of the organizational efforts and financial backing of Wright Davis, who had emerged as a strong and vibrant voice for female emancipation.4 Although early feminists were buoyed by the relative success of such conventions, Wright Davis recognized that

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