Against the Tide: Women Reformers in American Society

By Paul A. Cimbala; Randall M. Miller | Go to book overview

Catharine Beecher and Domestic Relations

KATHLEEN C. BERKELEY

Four years before her death in 1878, Catharine Esther Beecher, who once had ranked among the "most famous women in America," decided to take stock of her life's accomplishments and present them, for the last time, to her public. 1 Her achievements had been legendary: founder of several institutes of higher education for women, including the once prestigious Hartford Female Seminary; the driving force behind the American Woman's Educational Association; and the author of close to thirty publications on such pressing social issues as educational reform, religion and ethics, slavery and abolition, the condition of women's health, dress, diet, calisthenics, the principles of domestic science, and the rights and duties of American women. With her place in the limelight increasingly usurped by the fame of her sister Harriet Beecher Stowe; the growing notoriety surrounding her brother Henry Ward Beecher; and the budding career as a woman's rights advocate of her half sister Isabella Beecher Hooker, she issued her carefully crafted autobiography as a reminder of her "integrity of purpose and her professional commitment to the cause of women." 2

Fearful, perhaps, that Isabella's brand of feminism was gaining ground, Beecher wrote her memoir also as a call to arms. Several years before, in public lectures and in print, she had castigated the woman's movement for "uniting all the antagonisms that are warring on the family state" and had characterized the movement as a dangerous mix of spiritualism, free love, free divorce, family limitation, and agitation for the ballot. 3 By 1874 her concern for the rising tide of feminism seemed no less urgent. By dedicating Educational Reminiscences and Suggestions to those "who as Housekeepers, Mothers, and Schoolteachers, are to decide the Safety and Prosperity of our country," Beecher exhorted her constituency of middle-class white women to continue advocating the philoso-

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Against the Tide: Women Reformers in American Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Catharine Beecher and Domestic Relations 1
  • Notes 16
  • Bibliography 17
  • Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Black Abolitionism 19
  • Notes 38
  • Bibliography 40
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Woman's Rights Movement 41
  • Notes 51
  • Bibliography 53
  • Dorothea Dix and Mental Health Reform 55
  • Notes 69
  • Bibliography 71
  • Frances Willard and Temperance 73
  • Notes 82
  • Bibliography 83
  • Jane Addams and the Settlement House Movement 85
  • Notes 97
  • Bibliography 98
  • Ida Wells-Barnett and the African-American Anti-Lynching Campaign 99
  • Notes 110
  • Bibliography 111
  • Jessie Daniel Ames and the White Women's Anti- Lynching Campaign 113
  • Notes 123
  • Bibliography 123
  • Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement 125
  • Notes 136
  • Bibliography 137
  • Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement 139
  • Notes 151
  • Bibliography 152
  • Betty Friedan and the National Organization for Women 153
  • Notes 164
  • Bibliography 165
  • Index 167
  • About the Editors and Contributors 171
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