tv Melanie Kirkpatrick Lady Editor CSPAN November 14, 2021 11:00pm-12:02am EST
wi-fi enabled lift zones so students from low income families can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. >> comcast along with these television companies supports c-span2 as a public service. >> up next on booktv, hudson institute senior fellow melanie kilpatrick talks about her biography of the influential and popular 19th century godey's lady's book editor sarah josepha hale. for more schedule information visit booktv.org or consult your program guide. and now here's melanie kilpatrick on the importance influence of the 19th century godey's lady's book periodical. >> life can change in a single
instant but sank so doesn't make it any less shattering instant strikes in your own life. for the pregnant young mother at home and a village in the center hills, in the hills of center and have shown the moment arrived in mid september 1822 when it began to snow. sarah was in new england are born and bred and snow didn't faze her but this was different. it was too early in the season for the first snow. leaves were still on the trees only a few had turned red or golden and she stood at her front door watching the snow transfer in the village green into a sheet of white while she was filled with worry about her husband. david left home on horseback heading for an appointment with the legal client eight miles away. he was lightly dressed and prepared for the storm that no one expected or when he finally staggered into house that evening he was soaked through to the skin shivering with the cold. sara helped them undressing did into bed. the cold quickly turned a fever
of them ferociously to to pneumonia. by september 25 her beloved husband was dead. his funeral was held at the baptist meetinghouse in a ceremony conducted by one of david's fellow freemasons. a month after her husband to death sara brought their fifth child into the world. little william joint is now fatherless brothers and sisters david and horatio, francis and josephus. the boys were seven and five, the girls free and not quite two. the new widow had no illusions about what came next. david had made a good living as a lawyer like many young married couples they have no savings to speak of. until the boys old enough to go out to work or until she remd and unthinkable prospect she and her children would have no choice but to rely on the charity the family and neighbors might offer. his brother freemasons would provide assistance. even so it would be a struggle. that was the opening few paragraphs of "lady editor," a
biography of sarah josepha hale and the making of the modern american woman. i'm ann marie hauser, vice president of public affairs at hudson institute and joined here today with my colleague and senior fellow 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 the was opera or martha stewart, 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, a patriot, an educator, a style setter and the godmother of thanksgiving. you are 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 then we'll have a curated conversation back and forth and then we look forward to taking your questions to discuss this further. so without further ado, melanie,
welcome. >> thank you, ann marie. it's wonderful to be here and i think you and hudson institute for hosting this wonderful event and giving me the chance to talk about the woman i think is the most for one of the most important influential women in american history. i'll make one correction to your introduction. in the persona of mrs. hale, she i think would've liked for you to have called me and author asks, and you would have been a vice president this. >> okay. >> she loved words that designated fashionable women as women. so here we are. you mentioned she's mostly forgotten today, and that's true. if she's remembered it as the
godmother of thanksgiving or as the author of mary had a little lamb, which i bet you didn't know. i always thought mother goose had written that but it turned out sarah josepha hale did in 1830. but i learned about hale when i was writing my book on the history of thanksgiving, and i was really blown away by her. i learned she was editor of the most widely circulated magazine the first half of the 19th century, and she had enormous influence over the culture of our country, over the idea of educating women, and she was as she said the godmother of thanksgiving, modern day holiday that we still celebrate.
>> that's terrific. i wanted to open up with your writing and the opening paragraphs because it really sets the stage for this woman is extraordinary for all the reasons you mentioned but she was 33, debt ridden, a mother of five and widowed and chechen decision she had to make. it's fascinating if she had ever we married we wouldn't have had this huge impact i think potentially. she had in this country. you think that's fair to say? >> it is. she was motivated because of the need, our passion for educating her children. she was probably one of the best, she was certainly one of the best educated women of the 19, early 19th century. this was an era when she started her magazine in 1828 can 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 daughters
should be as well educated as her signs. then by her brother horatio the went off to dartmouth and, of course, sarah couldn't go with him because dartmouth didn't accept women into the 1970s. but horatio would come home and teach her everything he had learned, and then when hale got married she and her husband had a ritual of every evening he would sit together at the sitting room table after dinner and for two hours they would study not just literature but also science and french and bought me in mineralogy, subjects were not usually considered women's subjects. >> right, right. i love what you said about her mother. she was profoundly influenced by her mother who was her first schoolteacher. my mom is in the audience, i can attest that, she's also schoolteacher so i felt seen by
mrs. hale when she said that but she said there's so influenced so powerful as that of her mother the next in rank is that every schoolmaster. seems like that setter on this trajectory of just her mothers influence and also her husband that maybe you could speak to some of these influences in her life that really had this impact? >> i think you're right, her family influences were enormous. another influence on it was her father who was a revolutionary war veteran. she was a deep hatred. she was 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 many, i mean, almost a century of enormous changes in american history.
i think that this background influenced her writing enormously. after her husband died the mason's in town center up in a millinery shop, and she hated it. so she decided that the millinery shop kept going, but she started to write, and she already published, her husband have 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 it came out in 1827. and it caught the eye of a man in boston who are starting an magazine for women, and out of the blue he wrote and asked her to be the founding editor.
she had to make a tough decision about whether or not to move to boston. >> maybe you could speak to that. explain some of the difficult decision she had to make. >> well, , this was a tough one because she had five kids and she 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 could join hale eventually in boston at her boarding house. >> i find that so excruciating, i can imagine what that must of been like but she had to make a salary. >> she had to make choices, and she decided that the only way she is going to be able to afford to educate the kids, as she and her husband had dreamed, was for her to take this job and succeed at it. >> right, right. an magazine startups are not known for being a sure thing in
succeeding. >> yeah, and this was an early one. there were not many magazines and american till the beginning of the 19th century, and there were some for women but they were fluffy, and she was determined to do something very serious. >> yeah. you write that should really kind of change the genre of women's magazines. a lot of the magazines at that time were geared towards female readers were trashy and vapid, is what she said, she called them. still true today in some ways. you write that she wanted it to be and she started the magazine in boston that an advocacy of female education, encouragement of american writers, and american subject matter, , a promotion female leadership in charitable causes. here you see the women's education piece of it but you mentioned her patriotism. i think you said it was dave ramses book that made her a patriot for life.
it's very clear how they were infused. where did that come from and why was she so different of others at the time? >> well, her patriotism extended to the idea he believed that while america had been unified politically by the revolution it was not unified culturally. she set out to change that. in her magazine she did something that was surprising and different for the day. she decided to publish american authors writing on american topics. from our point of view this would seem of course, ordinary, obvious people want to read about american topics and american fellow americans. but it was unusual for the day where cut and paste journalism was the norm. 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 magazines herself, and then when it merged with godey's lady's book, mr. godey 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 should published yol have heard of, edgar allen poe, for example, who called her a woman of genius, and excuse the sexism, masculine energy. and nathaniel hawthorne was another, and many -- longfellow, and she also published many women. she was able to jump start their careers by publishing them in
the ladies book, and people like the young harriet beecher stowe, a quarter of a century before she wrote "uncle tom's cabin," and lydia security who was a very famous poet of the day, and many others. >> i think that's extraordinary. it wasn't just come to us he will education but she believes women need to be educated so they can better instruct their children with the new republics civic virtue. she called this the doctrine of republican, small r republican motherhood. you want to expand on that? >> this is an important point i think. as a mentioned earlier when she started her magazine on half of american women were literate. she deeply believed that women have the same intellectual capabilities as man, but the difference was that men were educated and women weren't. so she believed that education
was lifelong process. she wanted women to be educated, to read and write and study subjects that previously had been considered too taxing for the female mind, but she considered it a lifelong process and she would publish reading lists and articles about science and 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 an essential reason was that as you read earlier, a mother is the first teacher of a child, and she thought women needed to be educated in order to teaching their children about everything. >> right. >> particularly religion and particularly civic virtues.
this is also part of the reason she wanted a national thanksgiving day. she sought as a way of bringing the country together. >> right which after the war we were in, and this is from, she was born right after the revolutionary war and then lived through the civil war and so she lived through this time where there was, we worked 50 united states. we were very torn apart in many ways today in our country but i just wonder if our country now would benefit from reading, obvious he the from reading this book but with a be receptive to the efforts she made to unify the united states? >> i like to think so, ann marie. the virtues of our american political system which she touted and which were very deeply held by her, i think they haven't changed. as the nation progressed towards
civil war, she accelerated her campaign for a national thanksgiving day. and i guess i should give a little bit of history. >> i was going to see if you -- >> in the early part of the 19th century, many of the states but not all celebrate thanksgiving, but they didn't do it on the same day. the governor we decide when to call a thanksgiving day, and so there was an old saying, which i love, which is that if you were a traveler and you plan your itinerary carefully, you could have a thanksgiving dinner every week between election day and christmas. >> sounds delicious. >> sounds pretty good. it's a lot of turkey though. but as the civil war approached, she accelerator campaign and she had, she talked about how she wanted to unify the country and
prevent it from going to war. >> okay. we'll come back to that and her later on, the president who she funny convinced to make a special proclamation. you spoke about her believing that men and women were electrical in. she didn't think they were physical. she was happy to concede men are built to be stronger than women but she believed that the moral superiority of women was, we were morally superior and that was our purpose in life. unlike much of the feminism i think you seen in modern day she didn't put men down for i can tell from your biography. as a matter fact in her first magazine of boston were just talk about the latest magazine she appealed to the men because she recognize the reality come understanding they were going to be the ones who are going to buy this magazine because they control the finances so she
appealed to husbands, fathers, lover pick you say she wrote to the parents, basically the way nothing in the magazine to weaken parental authority, nothing found on the pages of this publication shall cause his wife to be less assiduous in preparing for his reception or less sincere and welcoming his return. that sounds crazy to our modern ears but in in a way i see ay savvy. >> very savvy and i think her tongue was in her cheek a little bit there. but she was practical. >> she understood that men,, fathers and husbands had the authority that just the financial authority but they could ban the magazine. they were the deciders. but this idea of women and moral exemplars is a very interesting one. obviously today we don't think of one sex is being more moral than the other but i think
there's something to us because women are mothers, and women usually manage the households. according to hail, they had, and i think i agree with this even today, had 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 the dignity of housekeeping she very much salt, she taught her children sewing and how to take care of the house is much is 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 she said just as a farmer needs to know something about how to grow good wheat, a
farmers wife needs to learn about how to bake good bread. but the whole idea of come this go back to the whole idea of teaching. when she started in 1828, 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, the education to teach older kids. her campaign for many, many years was to change the national conversation about women as teachers. and by the '40s, by the 1840s, as the country was expanding and little villages and towns all around and the
frontier were looking for teachers, women entered the teaching profession in large numbers, and by the 50s, the 1850s, there were more women than men as schoolteachers in america. the last i looked which was i think about a month ago, 76% of k-12 teachers today are women. >> yeah, you don't think that's not how it always used to be, right? that was pretty astounding that it was her who worked to push it hard. >> she also opened the first day care women for working women in boston. >> that's right. >> she opened what is considered one of the first kindergartens for kids, infant school, infant schools. then she worked very hard to support women's colleges and the
coeducation of men's colleges. >> and she was big on women being educated to be doctors. they were nurses and bankers. >> yes. this is interesting because she wanted women to be doctors, and she had a kind of a variation on the theme of separate spheres for men and women. you always read about the separate spheres for men and women in the 19 century with women belong in the domestic sphere and man being in the workaday world. she was different. she thought that women could go out into the world and work, but she wanted him to be designated by these suffixes. and she thought when it came to doctors that female doctors should treat children and women.
no men allowed picture did want men to treat women or children. she wanted only women to do it because women had the compassion, and she thought necessary concerns i guess that naturally made them better qualified than men. this is true for some other professions. during the civil war she urged the government to appoint, to appoint women as post mistresses because she made the obvious point that a lot of women who were widowed by the war or were single and couldn't find husbands, and they needed jobs, and so she pressed him she really wanted the whole profession to become female only. it was a job you could do at home which i think made a difference as well.
>> she really seemed of an empathy towards widows, as a widow herself. sadly there was a surplus of windows during the civil war which coincided with the popularity of the magazine and reaching them, which i think is significant. on the topic of women, she was a patriot, but we've got to bring up the question about the women's right to vote. >> yes. >> and she was actually anti-suffer get. i'd love for you to talk more about that. >> from the point of view of the 21st century, being against suffrage for women seems abominable. in fact, i think the reason that she's not so well known today as she deserves to be is in large part because she was anti-suffrage to her reading though fascinating. number one, remember she started her work in the jacksonian period pic she thought politics was a dirty business.
who can argue with that today? she thought 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 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 out, fight about in the halls of congress. these were the days when men went at each other. >> caning on the senate floor. >> yeah. after the civil war she got into the suffrage movement a little bit, the anti-suffrage movement a little bit. i i should point out that at this three the vast majority of women in america were against suffrage. so in a way she was speaking for
women whose voices were not being heard. i liked to think that maybe she was beginning to 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 our government. it's down right at the lowest level. >> very grassroots. >> very grassroots. and she thought women in long on school boards. >> that makes sense. for one book we talked about earlier the woman's record it's come what is a, 2500 women biographies, this book is a compilation of 2500 biographies. she was prolific and she called women's god appointed agent of morality. she was 65 when she wrote this book? >> yeah. according to the yale
bibliography of american literature, hale wrote, edited or contributed to 129 books, which is pretty amazing. but the one that she thought was her masterpiece was called women's record. it was a 900 page tome, took her three years to write, and it was the biographies of 2500 women, as you said, as the subtitle rather a modestly said from beginning of time until the present day. she was very proud of this book and deservedly so. it's the first work of history to put women at its center. in that sense it was i think the precursor of the women's studies movement which didn't begin until the mid-20th century. there's a wonderful story with having do with women's records.
she became good, took her a while at self-promotion, and she decided to send copies of women's records to notable women, and among them was queen victoria. she asked james buchanan who would be, president, but at the time here 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 at influential. >> she was at influential. he said yes, i'll take copies to victoria. rather more amazingly, queen victoria wrote back through her secretary saying thank you for the book. and i have to say this, i've always thought since then come since i read that if i get asked the american ambassador to the
uk to get a copy of "lady editor" to queen elizabeth but i don't have chutzpah by the way. >> speaking of queen victoria, she also was a train center in her country nation but there were some certain influences and we've got some pictures up here and these were incorporated into the godey's lady's book. we were talking about hale's influence and you write because this is preeminent, mrs. hale says, now we have over is listed you can hear people say this is how we talked. but these are two things i didn't realize that because of her promotion of these in the magazine, took off in the country, we've got the christmas tree and then a wedding dress but it is a white wedding dress which is not standard back in. >> that's right. queen victoria wore white at a wedding in 1840, and it caught on in britain.
.. she was saying that the white wedding gown is a symbol of young american womanhood et cetera et cetera. and the christmas tree is even more interesting. a london newspaper published a picture of christmas at windsor castle and hale like this idea and decided to publish it and she did with two alterations. she removed the queens tr-- tr and she removed the mustaches of prince albert and kind of the photo shopping of the day.
she hated whiskers on man and made-- thought it made men look sneaky. [laughter] that was one battle she didn't win, but those are the two examples that she was very influential in other areas such as recipes. she introduced the first recipe into an american publication, a recipe column and then she published a couple of books of her collected recipes. clothing was another example besides the wedding dress, she invaded against corsets that were too tightly laced and shoes that would be flimsy for cold-weather. >> bonnets. >> yeah, some bonnets and all along though she hated fashion. >> she really railed against fashion because she was in no serious writing. >> but i think she eventually saw the benefits of it because
also would say american fashion, very much even though queen victoria she wanted to establish american identity. >> she actually railed against british and french fashion is saying we are americans, when will we start promoting a republican lowercase r statute. >> interesting. she was very savvy with her time, i mean, i think we take so much for granted and you realize her influence-- on our country she's like a founding mother of our country. do you think she would be canceled today? >> for sure. i think she has been canceled before canceling was popular. the 20th century scholarship on her and because of her anti- suffrage, in my view, has dismissed her. >> instead of taking her whole life into account. >> yes. also, after her death, she died
in 1879 at the age of 90 and after her death the magazine deteriorated and 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 as they did about giving them-- giving us stash. >> that's interesting. one last question and then we will go to the audience and maybe you can put a bow on thanksgiving and her impact on the president. >> well, she loved thanksgiving and in her 1827 novel "northwood, there was the best
description of american thanksgiving day that i have read in american literature. >> which i think you put an expert in the book. >> yes. and so in the 1840s, she decided that she wanted to try to get to 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 could see a date when every american all around the world would stop and give thanks the same day and this certainly was true one i was in japan and in hong kong. americans got together on thanks giving day. so, she had-- besides talking about this in the ladies book she also had a private letter writing campaign. she would write personal letters
to important influencers of the day, governors, mayors and others in the united states to urge them to call a national thanksgiving and her being hailed the presidents roback and they all said no until lincoln. they said no just 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, in other words, and i don't remember reading the word thanks giving in the constitution, so that's probably right. anyway, in 1863 she wrote to lincoln and he liked the idea and he called in 1863, for national thanks giving day in a beautiful proclamation which i urge you to go back and read which it was just after the battle of gettysburg and the
tide of the war turned and looked like the union was going to win and lincoln talked about americans coming together as one people and celebrating with one voice. it's a lovely image and one that we could heed today. >> totally needed it then and need it now. >> that's right. >> then after lincoln's death hale did not give up. she just continued to write to the presidents for the rest of her life and that was johnson, grant and then hayes, i believe, and they all followed suit and and by then the tradition had caught on. >> powerful woman. that's terrific. let's take questions from the audience. we have a couple questions appear, kiersten has the microphone.
>> thank you very much. that was wonderful. you begin by talking about yourself as an author. is this on? in the book you talk about the influence that says just hale had on what it means to be an author in america and i'm wondering if you could talk a little bit more about that. >> yeah, before hale, being an author of a book was usually a private undertaking that it was -- you either self published or you would find someone who would publish. for example, pose first book of poetry was published by contributions from his fellow cadets at west point. hale's first book was published because the freemasons who had been brothers of her husband came up with the money.
hale thought that being an author could be-- [inaudible] she believed you should be paid for your work and this was the idea she took as she started her magazine in the 1820s. of course, as we know the idea of independent authors male or female really took off and people were indeed professionals you could also see this idea in the 1840s when mr. gaudi, the owner and publisher decided to copyright magazine. i believe it was under her influence, but i couldn't find any direct evidence of that and he and she were widely
criticized that because he wanted to stop the practice of newspapers stealing articles from the ladies book and publishing them before the magazines could even reach their subscribers and again that supported the ideas that authors should be paid for their work and of course i like this idea. [laughter] >> a lot of copy and paste and stealing. julia? >> thank you for joining us today. fascinating talk. you mentioned she published stowe and i know she was a firm abolitionist. can you speak about the extent of her involvement in the abolitionist movement? >> she was not an abolitionist. she was against slavery. she thought it was morally wrong and i don't know if she never-- ever knew any slaves when she died.
a couple years after her birth showed there was one place in her little town in new hampshire , but she certainly had visited-- i believe it's not proven, documented, i think she visited the south so she encountered slavery and her first book was kind of the imagined view of slavery. 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 the time that the country could peaceably get rid of slavery. she supported what was known as colonization and that is sending
the freed slaves to africa to a colony that became the country of liberia. she did this because she thought that freed slaves wouldn't be able to succeed in america. she wrote a book called mr. payton's experiments that came out the 1850s in which mr. payton a slave owner wanted to free his slaves, but he wanted them to be successful, so he didn't know where to send them and 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't make a living, so in the end he decides to send them all to liberia.
again, from our perspective i think that was her attitude towards a slavery. she certainly supported the union during the war, no 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 reasonable idea. she didn't write at all about the war after the work-- by then she was in her 70s. she didn't write, that i could tell, anything about the moral duties of white people to ease the way and help freed slaves, so i think that is a shame deficiency in her work. >> nina?
>> melanie, congratulations for this book and for reviving or introducing her to our generation and she's amazingly 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 suffered issue in the civil war, was she controversial in her day and it did she was her work in her advocacy for women's work or women's role in society and education, was that considered controversial? did she have a fan base and opponents? headed the other regions of the
country treat her like the south >> the south loved her magazine. she had about a third of the subscription in the south. that tells you something. >> they love fashion. >> they love fashion, right. [laughter] she was very very popular and i think anne-marie referred earlier to the phrase missus hale said when there was a domestic matter or whatever, but also i found newspapers of the day that would quote her on serious issues as well as frivolous ones, so she was on authority. she did not support the women's rights movement, she didn't like the idea of rights. she liked-- preferred
opportunities as a way of expressing the fields that should be open to women. she was very convivial and gracious woman and there's a wonderful letter-- it was an article, i guess i found written about the feminist leucine bok made to her home in philadelphia and talking about a gracious reception that she had received and she was sorry that hale didn't fully support their cause, but that was okay. everyone could think differently , but she got into trouble a few times and one which i think we really haven't talked about has to do with philanthropy. she was living in boston in the 30s.
a group of men come together to raise money to build the bunker hill monument. it was going to be a monument in memory of the first battle of the revolution. they couldn't raise enough money. so, hale stepped forward and said she would ask your readers and the women of new england to contribute. she was public about this and she did make calls and her magazine for women to send in money and she was criticized by some men in a public way for doing this because they said that men control the money in the 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, but gave up their gold ornaments in order to fund something or other-- >> the temple. >> yeah, i think that's right, so she got into trouble over that. in the and her fundraising campaign didn't work, didn't raise enough money, but a couple of years later it was revived and she started a fair, a big fair in boston that raise enough money to complete the monuments. 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 as a side mount vernon are often referred to as this is the first major women's philanthropy, but bunker hill
proceeded it and in a woman who spearheaded the mount vernon reconstruction was advised by hale and had a similar structure and how she went about raising money. so, she got into trouble over that and i'm trying to think if there's anything else. i can't remember if-- of anything else off the top of my head. >> thank you for bringing back-- >> can you make sure that's on? >> sorry. i said first, thank you for being back of the life of this great american to readers today and i hope it gets attention. i went to do ask, from your discussion it appears to me that when you say she would have been canceled but today it sounds like she didn't push equality in
absolute terms of suffrage and movements today would do it both gender-based and non- gender-based movements. i wonder if-- is the reason she didn't engage in that kind of, well this is the principal and that is the-- 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 is it her republicanism that you see as important here that you have to do-- that you have to persuade people, they have to consent, i mean, the discussion you had about abolition and holding things together seems to imply that she's waiting for a principal at people have to agree they cannot-- there cannot be this demand placed on them that overrides their decision that persuasion is more important than enforcing
whatever you may believe is a just principal. how do you understand her understanding of how to properly create change or engage in these kinds of-- you said she's not political, but of course she is post- political and cultural stuff is in a zone that's political and private, so how does she understand the parameters of proper action? >> i've never thought of it in those terms, john and i would like to reflect on it, but she certainly was not-- what's the word? she didn't believe in sort of top-down government or top-down edicts. she expressed her point of view, but she was certainly open to what her readers had to say and she would publish letters from her readers.
i don't know if she thought of it in terms of lowercase republicanism. you have to remember that the 18th century mentality about women was very different than what we would think of today. i think she overcame huge social cultural roles just in pressing for education to the extent that she did and in pressing for women to be involved in the workplace in the same way that she is as she did. there's 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 that
was more for men. how do you explain that? [inaudible] maybe that was to political. so, in her own life she said she afford ambition and women, but yet look at her life. [laughter] surely 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, so i don't know, but she certainly did not believe in making demands on people. she wanted to open doors to women. >> that's a good difference.
>> thank you so much, melanie. fascinating. one thing that came to mind is that when she started they were in a sense to reform movements in the country. there was abolition-- [inaudible] and the other was temperance was also getting started and i'm wondering, it seems that she didn't really want to get into the abolition issue in a political sense. sounds like she didn't. [inaudible] did she push the temperance issue? >> she was very early supporter of the temperance movement. starting in the late 1820s and she wrote a lot and published
the most anti- temperance writer of the day, a man and she wrote books about the dangers of alcohol and how it impacted women. there is one 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 mary. [laughter] she ended up very unhappy, but also in her cookbooks she would inveigh against drinking also and said that the reader would find no recipes for alcohol in her cookbooks, though, she included recipes that included alcohol--
>> for beer? >> yeah, and it was bided that the alcohol would be burned off before you ate the product. one of her big philanthropy 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-- part of me. this was to help the wives of semen who it off to see and in many cases never came back because there ships 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 harking back to her personal story and she would write about how sometimes a
seaman would come home and they would take the money that their wives had earned and use it to drinks and under the system of the day maybe you have heard of the system called covert sure, which was 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 her work has some influence there, but a part of-- some of the stories she tells about women whose finances were
ruined by their husband was because the husband drank. >> okay. if there is no more questions i will let melanie have the last word, but before we break i went to mention to everyone her first book, thanksgiving the heart of the american-- it's out on paper back and maybe you have seen her in interviews around thanksgiving every year. melanie is kind of the authoritarian on this holiday and now this with missus hale. >> i will conclude by saying november 25, i hope you think of missus 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 a better place. thank you. [applause].
>> book tv, every weekend features leading authors discussing the latest nonfiction books. watch our coverage of the brooklyn book festival with a conversation with heather mcgee author of the some of us what racism because everything and how we can prosper together and george packer author of last best hope to offer ways to overcome inequality of division in the country. then between the lines, recollection of interview she discussed with over 170 people she met on the new york city subway in a conversation between paul auster and joyce carol oates on the writing life. later a discussion whose posthumous nonfiction work about the last living survivor of the atlantic slave trade was published in 2018. the oldest imprint by a major public pain company devoted to
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by denise harper. next is georgetown university sociology professor michael eric dyson examination of the role of race in america in entertaining race. wrapping up our look at some of source booksellers best-selling nonfiction books is the dead are arising, a recount of the life of malcolm x. some of these authors have appeared on book tv and you can watch them any time at book.org. >> some people say artificial intelligence will make the human race obsolete and a lot of people don't really want to think about a guy artificial intelligence as is kind of intimidating subject but the thing about ai is even if you don't want to think about it, it's thinking about you or is it? well, that's the kind of question we will discuss today on this episode of independent conversations. greetings to eve