The Woman's Journal, 1870-1890 The Torchbearer for Suffrage
Susan Schultz Huxman
The Woman's Journal has always been the organ of the suffrage movement, and no suffragist, private or official, can be well informed unless she is a constant reader of it. -- Carrie Chapman Catt, 1916
It was called "The Suffrage Bible" and "The Torchbearer of the Woman Suffrage Cause." Asked about its role in securing enfranchisement for women, Carrie Chapman Catt, then president of the National American Woman's Suffrage Association (NAWSA) for the second time, flatly remarked: "It is impossible to imagine the suffrage movement without it."1 The glowing tribute was deserved. The Woman's Journal, which ran continuously from 1870 to 1920, was the most visible and widely distributed suffrage periodical in the nation.
Despite the abundant accolades, the Woman's Journal has received little scholarly attention.2 No scholar has fully explored the Journal to determine the reasons for its longevity or to describe its role within the suffrage cause. This essay will examine the Journal with an eye to understanding its rhetorical importance. My purpose is twofold: to identify the factors that led to the Journal's formation and threatened its duration during the paper's early struggling years, and to account for its rhetorical significance both as a reform newspaper and as a suffrage voice for the conservative wing of the woman suffrage movement.