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tv   Melanie Kirkpatrick Lady Editor  CSPAN  November 14, 2021 8:00am-9:01am EST

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readers. on "after words" children's hospital of philadelphia infectious division chief director doctor paul offat talked about the risks associated with medical innovation . authors discuss the american essay and book publisher, stop and much more. find a full schedule of programs airing today in your program guide or by visiting and right now hudson institute fellow melanie kirkpatrick talks about book editor sarah joseph hale. >> life can change in a single instance but saying so doesn't make it any less shattering when an incident strikes in your own life. for the pregnant young mother at home in the central hills of new hampshire the moment
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arrives in mid-september 1822 when it began to snow. sarah was a new englander and snowed it usually phaser but this wasdifferent . it was too early in the season for the first snow. leaves were still on the trees and only a few had turned red or gold and she stood at her front door watching the snow transform the village green into a sheet of white she was filled with worry about her husband. david had left home on horseback heading for an appointment with a legal client eight miles away. he was lightly dressed, unprepared for the storm and when he finally staggered into the house he was doped through to the skin, shivering with the cold. sarah helped him undress. the cold turned to beaver and to pneumonia. by september 5 her husband was dead. her funeral was held in a ceremony inducted by one of
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david's fellow freemasons. after her husband's death sarah brought his fifth child into the world. little william joined his father was brothers and sisters, frances and josefina. the boys were seven and five, the girls three. the new window had no illusions about what came next. david made a good living as a lawyer but like many couples that hales had no savings to speak up and until the boys were old enough to go to work or until she remarried, and unthinkable prospects she and her children wouldhave no choice but to rely on the charity family and neighbors might offer . david's fellow freemasons would provide assistance but even so it would be a struggle . that was the opening paragraphs of melanie kirkpatrick's book lady editor, i've a biography of sarah josephahale and the making of a modern american woman . i'm the vice president of public affairs at hudson institute joined here today
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with my colleague melanie kirkpatrick and the biographer of this book. she was a longtime journalist at the wall street journal and we have the pleasure of hearing more from her today about this book and why she wrote it . before there was oprah or martha stewart or online influencers there was sarah josepha hale. she is probably one of the most famous women but mostly forgotten from the 19th century. she was a writer, apatriot, and educator at a godmother . you're in for a treat. this book is terrific. this woman is fascinating. i'm going to have melanie open up with a few comments and we will have a curated conversation back and forth and we look forward to taking your questions to discussthis further. so withoutfurther ado , melanie, welcome . >> it's wonderful to be here and i thank you and the
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hudson institute for hosting this wonderful event and giving me a chance to talk about a woman i think is the most or one of the most important and influential women in american history. i'll make one correction to your introduction. in the persona of mrs. hale. she i think would have liked for you to have called me and authoress and you would have been a vice-presidentess. she loved the words that designated professional women as women. here we are, authoress and vice-presidentess. >> you mentioned she's mostly forgotten today and that's true. if she's remembered it's as the godmother of thanksgiving or as the author of mary had a little lamb which i bet you
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didn't know. i always thought mother goose had written that but it turns out sarah josephahale did in 1830 . but i learned about hail when i was writing my book on the history of thanksgiving. and i was really blown away by her. when i learned that she was editor of the most widely circulated magazine of the first half of the 19th century and she had in norma's influence over the culture of our country. over the idea of educating women and she was as you said the godmother of thanksgiving . the modern day holiday that we still celebrate or try to. that's terrific. >> i wanted to open up in this opening paragraph because i think it sets the stage for this woman is extraordinary for all the reasons you mentioned she was
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a mother of five and widowed. and she had decisions she had to make. it's fascinating, if she ever remarried she wouldn't have had this impact. >> she was motivated because of the need, her passion for educating her children. she was probably one of the best, certainly one of the best educated women of the early 19th century. this is an era when she started a magazine in 1828. only half of american women were literate and there was no institute of higher education that would admit women, yet she sarah hale had been educated first by her mother who believed that her daughter's should be as well-educated as her sons. and then by her brother horatio who went off to dartmouth and of course sarah couldn't go with him because
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dartmouth didn't accept women until the 1970s. but horatio would come home and teach her everything he had learned. and then when hale got married she and her husband at a ritual. every evening they would sit together at the sitting room table after dinner and for two hours he would study not just literature but also science and french and botany and mineralogy and subjects that were not usually considered women's subjects. >> i love what you said about her mother. my mom's in the audience, i can attest to that. i felt seen by mrs. hale when she said that but she said there's no influence so powerful as that of her mother . it seems like that set her on this trajectory of just for
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her mother's influence and also her husband but maybe you could some of these influences in her life that had this impact. i think you write her family influences were enormous. another influence on her was her father who was a revolutionary war veteran. and she was a patriot, born in 1788, the year before washington was sworn in as president of the united states. and she lived through the terms of 19 presidents so she had a very long and diverse life encompassing almost a century of enormouschanges in american history .and i think that this background influenced her writing in honestly. after her husband died she
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the masons in town set her up in a millinery shop and she hated it. show so she decided that millinery shop kept going but she started to write and she had already published her husband had had her published a couple of poems in local publications before his death and then she managed to get poems published in boston publications and then she wrote a novel called northwood which was an anti-slavery novel. and came out in 1827. it caught the eye of a man in boston who was starting a magazine for women and out of the blue he wrote and asked her to be the founding editor. this, she had to make a tough decision about whether or not to move to boston because you could that. explain some of the difficult decisions she had to make.
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>> this was a tough one because she had five kids and couldn't afford to take all of them. so she took the baby with her and the other four children were parceled out to relatives with whom they lived for quite a few years before they joined hale eventually in boston at her boarding house. i find that so excruciating i can't imagine what that must've been like but she had to make a salary. >> she had to make choices. >> she decided that the only way she was going to be able to afford to educate the kids as she and her husband had dreams was for her to take this job and succeed at it. and magazine startups are not known for being a sure thing and succeeding. >> this was an early 12. there weren't many magazines in america at the beginning of the 19th century. there were some for women but they were fluffy and she was
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determined to do something very serious. >> you write that she changed the genre of women'smagazines . in fact a lot of magazines at that time were geared towards female readers were trashy and vapid is what she said. >> you write that she wanted it to be when she started the ladies magazine of boston, the encouragement of american writers and subjectmatter and promotion of female readership and charitable causes . you see the women's education piece but you mentioned her patriotism. you said it was dave ramsey's book that made her a patriot for life and it'sclear how they were confused.why was she so different from others at the time ? >> her patriotism extended to the idea that she firmly
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believed that america had been unified politically by the revolution. it was not unified culturally and she set out to change that. so in her magazine she did something that was surprising and different for the day. she decided to publish american authors writing un-american topics. from our point of view that would seem of course, obvious . people want to read about american topics and fellow americans. it was unusual for the day. where cut and paste journalism was the norm and an editor would literally cut out an article from a british or other magazine or newspaper and paste it into the dummy for his publication . and she set out to do something different. at the beginning she had to write half or more of the
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magazines herself. and then when it merged with mister cody's lady's book, he had the money to extend her vision and pay the authors. she had a very good eye for talent and some of the people who she published you will have heard of. edgar allen poe for example who called her a woman of genius and excuse the sexism, masculine energy. nathaniel hawthorne was another. longfellow, yes. she also published many women . she was able to jumpstart their careers by publishing them in the ladies book. and people like the young harrietbeecher stowe , a quarter of a century before she wrote uncle tom's cabin and videos sigourney who was
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a famous poet of the day and many others . i think that's extraordinary. and it wasn't just it was female education but she also believed him and needed to be educated so they can instruct theirchildren with a new republic of civic virtues . she called this the republican the doctrine of motherhood. do you want to expand onthat ? >> this is an important point i think. as i mentioned earlier when she started her magazine only half of american womenwere literate . she deeply believes that women have the same intellectual capabilities as men. but the difference was that men were educated. and women works. so she believed and that education was a lifelong process. she wanted women to be educated, to read and write and study subjects previously had been considered too taxing for the female mind
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but she considered it a lifelong process and her in her magazine she would publish reading lists and articles about science and a very serious stuff but for 50 years every issue of every magazine that she edited talked about the importance of educating women. and yes one reason was, a central reason was as she read earlier that the mother is the first teacher of the child and she thought women needed to be educated in order to teach their children about everything. particularly religion and civic virtues. this was also part of the reason that shewanted a national thanksgiving day . she saw it as a way of bringing the country together .
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which after the war, she was born right after the revolutionary war and lived through the civil war so she lives at the time where there was, we weren't 50 united states. we were very torn apart in many ways in our country but i wonderif our country now would be , would benefit from reading this book but maybe perceptive the efforts that she made to unify the united states . >> i like to think so. there's the virtues of our american political system which she counted and which were very deeply held by her. i think haven't changed. and as the nation progressed towards civil war, she accelerated her campaign for a national thanksgiving day. i guess i should give a little bit of history.
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in the early part of the 19th century, many of the states but not all celebrated thanksgiving but they didn't do it on the same day. the governor would decide when to call a thanksgiving day so there was an old saying which i love. is that if you were a traveler and you plan your itinerary carefully, you could have a thanksgiving dinner every week to election day and christmas. sounds pretty good. and by as the civil war approached, she as i said accelerated that campaign and she talked about how she wanted to unify the country and prevent it from going to war. >> we will come back to that and her later on.
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you spoke about her believing that men and women were intellectual equivalents. she didn't think they were physical which she was happy to concede men are built to be stronger than women but she believed that the moral superiority of women or what it meant to be a woman that we were morally superior and that was our purpose in life. unlike much of the feminism you see in modern day sheep wouldn't get didn't put men down. as a matter of fact in her first magazine in boston where she's talking about the ladies magazine she appealed to the men because she recognized the reality that they were going to be the ones who were going to buy this magazine because they controlled the finances for the life so she appealed to husbands, fathers, lovers. you say she wrote to the parents basically that there's going to be nothing in this magazine to weaken rental authority. nothing found on the pages of this publication shall cause
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the wife to be less assiduous and welcoming his return. i know that sounds crazy in a way i see it as verysavvy . >> i think her tongue was in hercheek a little bit there . but she was practical. men, fathers and husbands had the authority and they could ban the magazine. they were the designers. but this idea of women as moral exemplars is a very interesting one. obviously they don't think of one sex as being more ethical or moral than the other but i think that there's something to it because women are mothers and women usually manage the households. they according to hale had
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and i think i agree with this even today at a certain status that and a certain responsibility to teach their children how to be good citizens and how to be good people. >> in the chapter good dignity in housekeeping she taught her children how to take care of the house as much as being educated but she created this idea of a professional housewife. >> she did. she created the term domestic science because she wanted to elevate the status of housekeeping . she also spoke a lot about educating housewives. educating mothers because as she said just as a farmer needs to know something about how to grow good week, a farmer's wife needs to learn about how to bake the bread. but the whole idea of just
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going back to the whole idea of teaching. when she started in 1828 or started her magazine in 1828, women were considered not to be qualified to be teachers. they could teach small children their letters but they didn't have the moral authority or the learning or education to teach older kids. so her campaign for many years was to change the national conversation about women as teachers and by the 40s, by the 1840s as the country was abandoning little villages and towns all around amazon were looking for teachers , women entered the teaching profession in large numbers by the 50s the 1850s there
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were more women than men schoolteachers in america. and the last i looked which was i think about a month ago , 76 percent of k-12 teachers today are women. that's not how it always used to be that was pretty astounding that it was her. she also opened the first day care center for working women in boston. she opened what is considered one of the first kindergartens for kids. they were called instant schools. and so then she worked very hard to support women's colleges and the coeducation of men of college and she was big on women being educated to be doctors.this is interesting to because she
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wanted women to be doctors and had a kind of variation on the theme of separate spheres for men and women. you always read about the separate spheres for men and women and the domestic sphere and men in the workaday world . she was different. she thought that women could go out into the world and work but she wanted them to be designated by these suffixes. and she thought when it came to doctors that female doctors should treat children and women. no man allowed. she didn't want men to treat women or children. she wanted only women to do it because women have the compassion and that she
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thought necessary concerns i guess that naturally made them better qualifiedthan men . and this is true for some other professions. during the civil war she urged the government to appoint a lot of women as post mistresses because she made the obvious point that a lot of women were widowed by the war or were single and couldn't find husbands and they needed jobs. so she really wanted the whole profession to become female only. it was a job that you could do at home to which i think made a difference she seemed to have an empathy towards widows as a widow herself and there were a surplus of widows during the civil war which coincided with the
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popularity of her magazine in reaching themwhich i think is significant . on the topic of women she was a patriot . we brought up the question about the women's right to vote and she was actually an anti-suffragette. i'd love for you to talk about that. >> from the point of view of the 21st century being against suffrage for women seems abominable. and in fact i think the reason that she's not so well-known today is she deserves to be is in large part because she was anti-suffrage. the reasoning though is fascinating. number one remember she started her work in the jacksonian period. she thought politics was a dirty business and who can argue with that today ? she thought that women were above the rough-and-tumble of politics and that they deserved to be able to stay out of it and look at the
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moral issues that were involved and advise the men in their lives on the higher issues that they should keep their eye on instead of kind of the nasty compromises that they would literally fight about in the halls of congress. these were the days when men went at each other. and so after the civil war, she got into the suffrage movement a little. the anti-suffrage movement a little. i should point out at this period the vast majority of women in america were against suffrage. and so in a way she's speaking for women whose voices were not incurred. and so i'd like to think that maybe she was beginning to
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change her mind a little bit because at the end of her life she began to support women on school boards. and that of course is the lowest level and in some ways the most powerful level of ourgovernment . it's down at the lowest level, very grassroots. and she thought women should serve along on school boards. >> that makes sense. >> one that we talked about earlier, the woman's record. it's a 2500 women biographies that this book is a compilation of 2500. she was prolific and she called women god's appointed agent of morality. she was 65 when she got this book. according to yale's big bibliography of american literature she contributed to 129 books which is pretty amazing. but the one that she thought
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was her masterpiece was called woman's record. it was a 900 page poem. took her three years to write and it was the biographies of 2500 women as you said and the subtitle rather immodestly said from the beginning of time until the present day. and she was very proud of this book. and deservedly so. it's the first work of history to put women as its center. and in that sense it was i think the precursor of the women'sstudies movement which didn't begin until the mid-20thcentury . there's a wonderful story . she was good at, she became good, it took her a while at self-promotion and she tried to send copies of women's records to notable women. among them was queen
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victoria. so she asked james buchanan who would become president but at the time he had just been appointed the ambassador to the uk. she asked him to take queen victoria a copy of her book. now amazingly, he agreed. she was that influential. he just said yes, i'll take a copy. and rather more amazingly, as queen victoria roback. through her secretary saying thank you for the book. and i have to say i've always thought it was since i read that i've asked the american ambassador to the uk to give a copy but i don't have hails . .
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>> speaking of queen victoria she also was the center of her nation but there were concerns influences. we got pictures appear and these were incorporated into the meeting book . we were talking about hails influenced and people you write that because she was this preeminent social influencer people say mrs. hale says which now we have oprah's list . >> .. and this caught on in britain. she liked the idea and started promoting it in godey's lady's book including publishing many, many drawings. this one was from 1859 and she published the first i think in
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the '40s, something like that. so it can't on. by 1850 she was saying a white wedding gown is the symbol of young american womanhood, et cetera, et cetera. and the christmas trees even more interesting. a london newspaper published a picture of christmas at windsor castle, and hail like this idea, thought, i decide publish it in godey's lady's book. so she did. with two alterations. she removed the queens kiera and she removed the mustaches of prince albert. kind of photo shopping of the day. she hated whiskers on men. she thought it made men look sneaky. [laughing] that was one battle she didn't
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win. those are just two examples but she was very influential in other areas such as recipes. she introduced the first recipes into an american publication, a recipes column, and then she published a couple of books of her collected recipes. clothing was another example besides the wedding dress. she inveighed against corsets that were too tightly weaved, laced, and shoes that were too flimsy for cold weather. some bonnets. all along though she hated fashion. >> she really railed against fashion. this is a serious magazine come series writing but it sounds like she eventually saw the benefits of it as because it is also an american fashion she very much even though she won to establish an american identity. >> indeed, indeed. she actually railed against british and french fashion,
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saying where americans. when will we start promoting a republican r-lowercase-letter fashion. >> it's interesting. she was very savvy with her time. i think we take so much acquainted and look back and realize her influence is really on our countries is almost like a founding mother of her country. you think she would be canceled today? >> yes, for sure. i think she has been canceled before canceling was popular. the 20th century scholarship on her has, because of her anti-suffrage of you, in my view, has dismissed her. >> instead of taking whole life into account. >> yes. i also think after her death, she was editor for 50 years and she died in 1879 at the age of 90. and after her death the magazine
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deteriorated. i think that maybe she was falsely associated with that less powerful version of the magazine, and her intellectual accomplishments were forgotten. and certainly by the end of the 19th century the whole idea of suffrage had taken over the women's movement, and people didn't talk as much about educating women will as they did about giving them, giving us the right to vote. >> that's interesting. one last question and then we'll go to the audience. maybe you can put a a bow on thanksgiving at her impact on the president. >> she loved thanksgiving, and in 1827 novel northwood there is what i think is the best description of an american thanksgiving day that i've read in american literature, which -- >> you put an excerpt in the back of the book.
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>> yes. so in 1840s she decided that she wanted to try to get the president to call a national thanksgiving day. that is a day when every american would celebrate on the same day. in america and abroad. she said she would see a day when every american all around the world would stop and give thanks the same day. this certainly was true when i was in japan and then hong kong. americans got together on thanksgiving day. she had, besides talking about this in godey's lady's book she also had a private letter writing campaign and she would write personal letters to very important influencers of the day, , governors, mayors and president of the united states. urging them to call a national thanksgiving.
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and hale being hale, the president's wrote back and they all said no until lincoln. they said no just as a brief aside because they thought that the constitution did not give that power to presidents. they thought it belonged to governors. it wasn't enumerated in the constitution. i don't remember reading the word thanksgiving in the constitution so that's probably right. anyway in 1863 she wrote to lincoln and you like the idea and he called in 1863 for a national thanksgiving day in a beautiful proclamation i urge you to go back and read, which it was just after the battle of gettysburg and the tide of the war had turned and looked like the union was going to win. lincoln talked about americans coming together as one people in
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celebrating as one voice. it's a lovely image in one that we could heed today. >> right. we . we desperately needed then and we need it now. that's terrific. >> and then after lincolns death, hale was indefatigable. she didn't give up. she continued to write to the president's for the rest of her life and that was johnson, grant and then hayes i believe, and that all followed suit. and by then the tradition had caught on. >> a powerful woman. that's terrific. why don't do we take somes from the audience? we have a couple questions appear. kirsten has the mic. >> thank you very much that was wonderful. she began by talking about yourself as an author, and in the book you talk about the
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influence that sarah josepha hale had being an influence on offer. what if you talk more about that? >> before hale, being an author of the book was usually a private undertaking. you would either self publish or you would find somebody who would stake you and publish. for example, poe's first book of poetry was published by contributions from his fellow cadets at west point. hale's book was published because of the freemasons who had been brothers of her husband, came up with the money. but hale thought that being author could mean a profession and she believed that she should be paid for your work.
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this was -- the idea she took as she started her magazine in the 1820s and, of course, as you know the idea of an independent author, male or female, really took off in people were indeed professionals. and you can also see this idea in the 1840s when mr. godey, the owner and publisher of godey's lady's book decide to copyright the magazine. i believe it was under influence but i couldn't find indirect evidence of that, and he and she were roundly criticized for this, because he wanted to stop the practice of newspapers stealing articles from godey's lady's book and publishing them
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before the magazines could even reach their subscribers. and again that supported the idea that authors should be paid for their work. and, of course, i like this idea. [laughing] >> a lot of copying and pasting and stealing. julia? >> thank you so much for joining us today. fascinating talk. you mentioned she published harriet beecher stowe and in no she was a fervent abolitionist. could you speak about the extent of her involvement in the abolitionist movement? >> she wasn't an abolitionist. she was against slavery. she thought it was morally wrong, and i don't know if she ever knew any slaves. when she was born, , the censusa couple years after her birth showed there was one slave in her little town in new hampshire, but she certainly had
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visited this -- i believe, again it's not proven, documented, i think she visited the south should she encountered slavery and her first book was kind of an imagined view of slavery in which it was clear she was against it and supported the arguments against it. but she being a great i guess being a woman of the 18th century thought that the bargain that the founders had made over slavery should continue until a time that the country could peaceably get rid of slavery. she supported what was known as colonization, and that is sending freed slaves to africa to a colony that became the country of liberia. she did this because she thought
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that freed slaves wouldn't be able to succeed in america. she wrote a book called mr. payton experiments they came out in the 1850s and which mr. payton, the slaveowner, wanted to free his slaves but he wanted them to be successful so we didn't know where to send them, how to help them. so when the novel he sends one group to a northern city, another group to a rural town, and a third group to canada. and they all had terrible experiences. they faced racism, discrimination and they can make a living. so when the end he decides to send them all to liberia. again, from our perspective i think that was her attitude towards slavery. she certainly supported the union during the war, no
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question about that, but it's hard to wrap my head around this idea, but there were many people of the day who thought that this was a responsible idea. she didn't write at all about the moral, after the war, but by then she was in her 70s. she didn't write, that i could tell, anything about the moral duty of white people to ease away and help freed slaves. i think that is a shame and a deficiency in her work. >> nina and then john. >> congratulations for this book and for reviving her or introducing her to our generation. she is an amazingly
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accomplished, influential woman and holds many lessons i think in a timely way for our own issues of national unity and cultural unity and civic education. i wondered if she was leaving aside this suffrage issue and the civil war, when she controversy over in her day? was her work and her advocacy for women's work or women's role in society and education, was at considered controversial? did she have a fan base and opponents? how did the other regions of the country view torture, like the south? >> the south loved her magazine. she had about a third of the
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subscription of godey's lady's book was in the south. so that tells you something. >> they love fashion. >> they love fashion, right. she was very, very popular and they think anne-marie referred earlier to the phrase, mrs. hale says when those who dispute over a matter or whatever. but also i found newspapers of the day that would quote her on sears issues as well as frivolous ones, more frivolous ones. so she was an authority. she did not support the women's rights movement. she didn't like the idea of rights. she preferred opportunities as a way of expressing the fields that should be open to women.
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she was a very convivial and gracious woman, and there's a wonderful letter i found -- no, it was an article i guess, i found written about a visit that the feminist lucy mott may to her home in philadelphia and talking about what a gracious reception she had received, and she was sorry that hale didn't fully support their cause, but that was okay. everybody, you know, could think differently. but she got into trouble a few times, and one which i think that we really have talked about has to do with philanthropy. when she was living in boston in the early 30s, a group of men had come to raise money to build the bunker hill monument. it was going to be a monument in memory of the first battle of
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the revolution, and they couldn't raise enough money so hale stepped forward and said she would ask her readers and the women of new england to contribute, and she was public about this. and she did make calls in a magazine for women to send in money, and she was criticized by some men in in a public way r doing this because they said that men control the money in a house and anything that a woman gives really is coming from her husband, to which she replied, citing a biblical passage, that women could -- again, , i can't remember this exactly, the women give up their gold ornaments in order to find something or other -- >> the temple. >> i think that's right.
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she got into trouble over that. in the end for fundraising campaign didn't work. it didn't raise enough money, but a couple of years later it was revived and she started a fire, a big fair in boston that raised enough money to complete the monument. i think this is the first example of a woman in america as the leader of a major philanthropy, the women of mount vernon, the ladies society of mount vernon are often referred to as come this was the first major women's philanthropy, but bunker hill preceded it. and, in fact, a woman who spearheaded the mount vernon reconstruction was advised by hale and had a similar structure
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and how she went about raising the money. so she got into trouble over that, and trying to think if there's anything else. i can't remember anything else off the top of my head. >> thank you for bringing back the light of this great american -- >> can you make sure that on? sorry. >> oh, sorry. first, thank you for bringing back the life of this great american to readers today, and hope it gets wide attention. i wanted to ask come from their discussion it appears to me that when you say she would be canceled today, it sounds like she didn't push the quality in the kind of absolute terms that both suffrage and movements today would do it both gender-based and non-gender-based movements. but i wonder if, is the reason
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that she didn't engage in the kind of, , well, this is a principal and that's, that trumps or that dominates everything? is it a matter of her judgment about what was prudent in these kinds of social change for the country, or visit her republicanism that you see as important here that what you have to do is you have to persuade people, they have to consent? i mean, the discussion you had about abolition and holding the country together seems to imply that she's waiting for a principal that people have to agree they cannot, there cannot be this kind of demand placed on them that overrides the decision, the persuasions more important than enforcing whatever you may believe is just principal. how do you understand her understanding of how you properly create change or engage in these kinds of -- usage is not political but, of course,
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she is political and the cultural stuff is in the zone that is political, and private. how does she understand the parameters of proper action? >> i haven't ever thought of it in those terms, john, and i'd like to reflect on it. she certainly was not -- what's the word? she didn't believe in sort of top-down government or top-down edex. she expressed the point of view but she certainly was open to what her readers had to say and she would publish letters from our readers. but i don't know if she thought of it in terms of r-lowercase-letter
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republicanism. you have to remember that the 18th century mentality about women with very different than what we would think of today. she i think overcame huge social, cultural hurdles just in pressing for education to the extent that she did, and pressing for women to be involved in the workplace in the same way as she did. there were a lot of contradictions in her work though. she was happy for women to be doctors or waitresses or teachers, but then she wasn't crazy about women becoming lawyers because she just thought that area was more for men. how do you explain that? >> beneath some what politician. >> may be, that it was too
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political. in her own life she said that she aboard ambition in women but yet look at her life. shirley at some point after kids had all been educated and left the nest, she could have retired but she didn't. she just wanted to keep climbing to new heights. i don't know but she certainly did not believe in making demands on people. she wanted to open doors to women. >> yeah, that's a good difference. >> thank you so much, fascinating. one thing that came to mind is at when she started there were in a sense to big reform movements in the country.
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there was abolition and the whole beginning of the debate about the slavery issue and so forth. and the other was temperance. she was also getting started and i was just wondering, it seems that she didn't really want to get into the abolition or slavery issue in a political sense and it sounds like she didn't. did she push the temperance issue? >> absolutely. she was a very early supporter of the temperance movement, starting in the late 1820s, and she wrote a lot about temperance and she published the most popular anti-temperance writer of the day, a man, and she wrote books about the dangers of alcohol and how it impacted women.
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there's one novella called my cousin mary, which is about mary who makes the fatal decision to marry a man who drinks, and you know what happens to marry. she ended up very unhappy. she also in her cookbooks would inveigh against drinking, too, and said that the reader would find no recipes for alcohol in her cookbooks, though she did include recipes that included alcohol. >> for beer? >> yet. the idea was the idea was the outcome would be burned off before you ate the product. one of her big philanthropies
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along with the bunker hill monument, for which she was remembered, is the siemens aid society which started in boston and then grew around the world, around the country, i mean. this was to help the wives of seamen who went off to see and in many cases never came back because their ships failed, sank. she started a vocational school for the women. she deplored charity. she wanted women to have the dignity of being able to work for a living and take care of their families. again, i think harken back to her personal story. and she would write about how sometimes seamen would come home and they would take the money that their wives had earned and use it to buy, drink, and under
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the system of the day, maybe you've heard of the system called coverture, which was a legal, a common-law legal practice whereby a woman who married was forced to give all of her property rights to her husband and the husband had the right to take everything she earned, everything she inherited, and decide what to do with it. she wrote many, many editorials trying to get that lifted, and i think the work had some influence there. but you know some of the stories she would tell about women whose finances were ruined by their husbands were because the husband drank. >> great. okay, if there's no more questions, i will let melanie
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have the last word but before we break i want to mention it won her first book, thanksgiving is out on paperback as of yesterday. yesterday. this is a tremendous book. maybe you've seen her interviews around thanksgiving area. melanie is kind of the authoritarian on this holiday, and now the spin off with mrs. hale. >> well, i guess i will conclude by saying on november 25 i hope you will think of mrs. hale and also think of her hope that thanksgiving will work to bring people together and to bring our country together and help take us to better place. >> thank you all. [applause] >> booktv and the weekend features leading authors
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discussing their latest nonfiction books. watch our coverage of the brooklyn book festival with the conversation with heather mcghee. and george packer as they offer ways to overcome divisions within the country.
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>> watch booktv of you weaken and find a full schedule under program guide our watch online any time at >> some people say that artificial intelligence is going to make it the human race obsolete, and a lot of people don't want to think about ai artificial intelligence, kind of an intimidating subject, but the thing about ai is even if you want to think about it, it's thinking about you, or is it lacks that would be the kind of question we will discuss today on this episode of independent conversations. greetings everybody who is joined us. i'm graham walker coming to from the independent institute here in oakland, california. we try


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