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tv   Melanie Kirkpatrick Lady Editor  CSPAN  November 28, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm EST

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when i was a child and we ended experiencing homelessness. these are things that informed who i am and why i entered medicine in my understanding of public health. but stories i had not previously shared prior to my ã ¦ >> find the rest of doctor leno wends discussion on, use the box at the top of the page to search her name or the title of her book "lifelines"
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when he finally staggered into the house that evening he was ol soaked through to the skin, shivering with the called, sarah helped him undressed and get into bed, cold quickly turned to fever and ferociously 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 owafter her husband's death sarah brought their fifth child into the world little william joined his now fatherless brothers and sisters david and horatio francis and josefa, the boys were seven and five, the girls three and not quite to the new widow had no illusions about what came next
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david had made a good living as a lawyer but like many young married couples the hills had no savings to speak of. until the boys were old enough to go out to work for until sh remarried an unthinkable prospect she and her children would have no choice but to rely on the charity family and neighbors might offer, david's brothers freemasons would also provide assistance, even so, it would be a struggle. that was the opening paragraph of melanie kirkpatrick "lady editor" a biography of sarah josepha hale and the making of the modern american woman. hi, i am anne-marie hauser, vice president of public affairs at hudson institute, and join here 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 oopleasure of hearing more from her today about this book and why she wrote it. before there was oprah or martha stewart and online influencer she is probably one
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of the most famous women but mostly forgotten from the 19th century. she was a writer, patriot and educator, style setter and godmother of things giving. 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 then we will have a curated conversation back and forth and we look forward to taking questions to discuss ilthis further. yoi'll make one correction to your introduction she would
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have liked for you to have called me and off the rest and you would have been a vice president
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is. the modern day holiday that we still celebrate. >> that's terrific. i wanted to open up with your writing an opening paragraphs because i think it really sets the stage for this woman is extraordinary for everything you mentioned she was 33, bedridden, mother five and widowed and had some decisions she had to make. >> she was motivated because of the needs, her passion for
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educating her children. she was probably she was certainly one of the best educated aiwomen in the early 19th century. this is an era when she started her magazine in 1828 only half of american women were literal and ããwere literate. yet she, sarah josepha hale-educated first by her mother, who believe that her daughters should be as well educated as her sons, then by her brother horatio who went off to dartmouth and of course sarah couldn't go with him because 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 every evening they would sit together at the
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sitting room table after dinner and for two hours they would study not just literature but also science. subjects that were not usually considered women subjects. >> i love what you said about her mother, she was profoundly influenced by her mother who was her first schoolteacher she said there's no influence or power is that as her
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mother. this was an early one.there weren't many magazines in america until the beginning of the 19th century. as there were some for women but they were ããshe was determined to do something very serious you write that she really change the genre of women's magazines.
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a lot of the magazines were geared toward female reader readers. you wrote that she wanted it to be an advocacy of female education encouragement american writers and american subject matter and promotion of female leadership and charitable causes. here you see the woman's education piece but you mention her patriotism. i think you said dave ramsey's book made her a patriot for like these of these two things it's very clear how they were infused. where did that come from and why was she so different than others at the time? >> her patriotism extended to the idea that she firmly believed that while america had been unified politically by the revolution it was not unified culturally. she set out to change that so in her magazine she did something that was surprising
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and different for the day. she decided to publish american authors writing on american topics. from our point of view this would seem people want to read about american topics. but it was unusual for the day where cut and paste journalism was the norm and an editor would literally cut out an article from the british and paste it into the dummy for his publication she set out to do something different at the beginning she had the right half or more of the magazines herself, when it merged with ladies book, he had the money to extend her vision. she had a very good eye for
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talent. edgar allan poe who called her a woman of genius. excuse the sexism. masculine energy. nathaniel hawthorne was another. >> longfellow.>> she published many women. she was able to jumpstart their careers by publishing them in the ladies book. lydia security who was a very famous poet at the day and many others. >> i think that's extraordinary. it wasn't just it was female education but she also believe that women need to be educated so they could better instruct
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their children with the new republic civic virtue. she called this the doctor in a republican small our republican mother had. do you want to expand on that? >> this is a very important point. as i mentioned earlier, when she started her magazine only half of american women were literate she deeply believed that women have the same intellectual capabilities as men but the difference was men were educated. and women weren't. she believed education was a lifelong process. she considered it a lifelong process and in her magazine she would public reading lists and articles about science and very serious stuff.
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for 50 years i talked about the importance of educating women. one reason was an essential reason was she read earlier mother is the first teacher of the child she thought women needed to be educated in order to teach their children about everything. particularly religion and particularly civic virtues. she saw it as a way of bringing the country together she was born right after the revolutionary war and lived through the civil war. she lived through a time that we weren't 50 united states we are very torn apart in many ways today i just wonder and our country now would be would
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benefit from reading this book but would they be receptive to the efforts that she made to unify the united states. >> i would like to think so. i think they haven't changed, as the nation progressed toward civil war she accelerated her campaign for national thanksgiving day. i should give a little bit of history 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 thanksgiving ksday so ther was a old saying which i love
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which is that if you are traveler and you planned your itinerary carefully you could have a thanksgiving dinner every week between election day and christmas. >> sounds pretty good. as the civil war approached she talked about how she wanted to unify the country and prevent it from going to war. >> we will come back to that, you spoke about believing men and women were intellectual equivalent. she didn't think they were physical but happy to happy to concede that men are built to trbe stronger than women. she believed that the most superiority of women was what
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it meant to be a woman. we were morally superior and that was our purpose in life. unlike much of feminism you se in modern day she didn't put men down from what i could tell from your biography. she and her first magazine in boston, she appealed to the men because she recognized the reality that they were going to be the ones who are going to buy this magazine because they control the finances for the wife. you say that she wrote there's nothing in the magazine to weaken parental authority, nothing founded on the page of publication i know that sounds crazy to modern years but in a way i see it as very savvy. >> it was very savvy and i think her tongue was in her cheek a little bit.
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but she was practical. she understood that men of fathers and husbands have the authority not just the financial authority but they could ban the magazine they were the deciders. this idea of women as moral exemplars is a very interesting one obviously today we don't think i'm one sex is more ethical or more moral than the other but there is something to it because women are mothers and women usually manage the households they according to hale had, 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 shhow to be good
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people. >> and in the chapter the jet dignity and housekeeping she very much saw she taught her children selling and help women 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 and educating mothers because she said just as a farmer needs to know something about how to grow good wheat farmer's wife needs to learn about how to bake good bread. but the whole idea 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
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but they didn't have the moral authority or are the learning, the education to teach older kids so her campaign for many many years was to change the national conversation about women as teachers. by the 40s about 1840 as the country was expanding and little villages and towns all around and the frontier were looking for teachers women enter the vocation 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.
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>> that's not how it always used to be. it was actually pretty astounding but it was her who works to push that. >> she also opened the first d inday care center for working women. she opened what is considered one of the first kindergartens for kids they were called infant schools 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 she wanted women to be doctors and variation on the themes of separate spheres for men and women. you always read about this separate spheres for men and
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women of the 19th century with women belonging in the domestic spheres and men being in the workaday world she was different. she thought women could go out into the world and work, she wanted them to be designated by these suffixes she thought when it came to doctors that female doctors should treat children and women, no men allowed, she didn't want men to treat women she wanted only women to do it because women had the compassion and she thought necessary concerns. that naturally made them better qualified than men. this is true for some other professions, during the civil
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war she urge the government to appoint a lot of women as postmistress is 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 they needed jobs and she really wanted the whole profession to become female only. it was a job he could do at home which i think made a difference.she really seemed to have an empathy towards widows as a widow herself sadly there was a surplus of widows th during the civil war which coincided with the popularity of her magazine and reaching them. which i think is significant. on the topic of women, she was a patriot. we've got to bring the question about women's right to vote.
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from the point of view of the 21st century being suffrage for women seems abominable. i think the reason she's not so well-known today remember she started her work in the jacksonian period she thought politics was a dirty business, who can argue with that. e she thought that women were above the rough-and-tumble of politics. tathat 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 the nasty compromises that they would
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literally fight about in the halls of congress. these were the days when men t went at each other. after the civil war she got into the suffrage movement, the anti-suffrage movement. the vast majority of women in america were against suffrage. anyway she was speaking for women whose voices were not being heard. i'd like to think maybe she was beginning to change your mind a little bit because at the end of her life she began to support women school boards. that's the lowest, someways the most powerful level.
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it's very aggressive and she thought women belonged on school boards. >> that makes sense. >> one book we talked about earlier the women's record 2500 women biographies this book is a compilation of 2500 biographies, she was prolific she called women god's appointed agent of morality. she was 65 years old i think. >> according to the gales autobiography of literature, she wrote, edited or contributed to 129 books, which is pretty amazing. but she thought was her masterpiece was called women's record it was 900 page tone, took her three years to write it was the biographies of 2500 women, as the subtitled rather
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modestly said from the 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 a precursor of the women's studies movement which didn't begin until the mid-20th century. it's a wonderful story having to do with ããshe became good, it took her a while, self-promotion, she decided to send copies of women's records to notable women and among them was queen victoria. she asked james buchanan, who would become president but at the time he had just been appointed the ambassador to the
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uk she asked him to take queen victoria a copy of her book, amazingly she agreed, she was that influential, she said yes, yes, i will take it. and rather more amazingly queen victoria wrote back to her secretary saying thank you for the book. i have to say, i've always thought since then since i read that if i could ask the american ambassador to the uk to do a copy of the lady editor ããbut i don't have her chutzpah. >> speaking of queen victoria, she also was a trendsetter in her ããthere were certain influences, got the pictures appear and these were incorporated into the goldie's ladybug. we were talking about hales and thorns and you write that
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because she was preeminent cultural influence in the mid-19th century's people say mrs. hale says, which now we have oprah's list you can hear people say this is how we talk. these are two things i didn't realize because of her promotions of these in the magazine got the christmas tree and then the wedding dress but it's a white wedding dress. >> queen victoria wore white and her wedding in 1840. this caught on in britain, hale liked the idea and started promoting and brody's lady's book including publishing many drawings. just one was from 1859 she published the first in the late 40s something like that. so it caught on. by 1850s she was saying that the white wedding gown is the symbol of young american women had etc. the christmas tree is even more interesting, a london
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newspaper published a picture of christmas at windsor castle hale decided to publish it in godey's lady's book so she did with two alterations she removed the queens tiara and she removed the mustaches of prince albert. kind nd of photo shopping of the day she hated whiskers on men. she thought it made men look sneaky. that was one battle she didn't win. those are just two examples but she was very influential and other areas such as recipes. she introduced the first recipes into an american publication recipes call. she published a couple of books
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that of her collected recipes, clothing was another example besides the wedding dress. all along though she hated eafashion. >> she railed against wanting to include fashion she was like this is serious writing. it was also american fashion, even though some things to queen victoria she wanted to establish american identity. >> she railed against the british and french fashion saying we are americans, when we start promoting republican, lowercase fashion. >> it's interesting, she was very savvy with the times.
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he realized that her influence on our country she was the founding mother of our country. do you think she would be canceled today? >> i think she has been canceled before counseling was popular. the 20th century scholarships on her has because of her anti-suffrage view in my view as dismissed her instead of taking her whole life into account.>> i also think that 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 deteriorated. i think that maybe she was falsely associated with the less powerful version of the magazine that her intellectual accomplishments were forgotten.
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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 us the right to vote. >> that's really interesting. one last question then we will go to the audience. >> she loved thanksgiving. in her 1827 novel northwood there is what i think is the best description of an american thanksgiving day that i've read in american literature. >> i think you put an x or in the erbook. in the 1840s she decided she wanted to try to get the president to call a national thanksgiving day of the day when every american would celebrate the same day in america and abroad, she said
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she could see a day when every american all around the world would stop and give thanks the same day, this certainly was true when i lived in japan and then hong kong americans got together on thanksgiving day besides talking about this she also had a private letter writing campaign she would write personal letters to very important influencers of the day, governors, tmayors, and presidents of the united states. urging them to call a national thanksgiving. and hale being hale, the president's wrote back. they all said no until lincoln they said no because they thought that the constitution
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did not give that power to presidents, they thought it belonged to governors, it wasn't enumerated in the constitution and i don't remember reading the word thanksgiving in the constitution, that's probably right. anyway, in 1863 she wrote to lincoln and he liked the idea and he called in 1863 for national thanksgiving day in a beautiful proclamation which i urge you to go back and d read, it was just after the battle ofs gettysburg and the tide of the war had turned and it 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. we definitely need it and then and we need it now. >> that's really terrific.
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>> powerful woman. >> when we took some questions from the audience. we have a quick couple of questions up here. >> he began by talking about yourself as an author. in the book you talk about the influence that sarah josepha hale had on what it means to be an author in america, i was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about that. >> before hale, being an author of the book was usually a private undertaking you either
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self publish or find somebody who would stake you and publish, for example, ããfirst book of poetry was published by contributions from his fellow cadets at west point. hale's first book was published because of the freemasons, but the money. hale thought that being an author had be a profession she believed that you should be pegged for your work. the idea she took as she started her magazine in the 1820s and of course as we know the idea of independent author
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male or female really took off and people were indeed professional they were criticized for this that because he wanted to stop the practice of newspapers stealing articles from goldie's lady's book and publishing them before the magazines could even reach their subscribers that supported the idea that authors should be paid for their work.
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>> thank you so much for joining us today, a fascinating talk lexi mentioned that she published harriet beecher stowe. >> she wasn't an abolitionist, she was against slavery she thought was morally wrong i don't know if she ever knew any slaves when she died when she was born, pardon me, the sense of a couple years after her birth shows that there was one place in her little town in new hampshire but she certainly had visited i think she visited the south. she had encountered slavery in her first book was an imaginative view of slavery in which it was clear she was against it and supported the
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arguments against it she being being a woman of the 18th century thought that the bargains that the founders had made over slavery she supported what was known as colonization sending freed slaves to africa to connie to be king in the country of liberia. she thought that freed slaves wouldn't be able to succeed in america. she wrote a book called mr. payton's experiment they came out in the 1850s in which mr. payton slave owner wanted to free a slave in the novel he
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sends one group to northern city they all had terrible experiences racism, discrimination and they can't make a living. in the end he decides to send them all to liberia. from our perspective i think that was her attitude toward 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
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reasonable idea, she didn't write at all about the war after the war by then she was in the 70s she didn't write, that i could tell, anything about the moral duties of white people to ease the way and help free slaves. i think that is a shame and a deficiency in her work. >> melanie, congratulations for this book and for reviving her, introducing her to generation she's amazingly accomplished influential women and holds many lessons i think, in a timely way for our own issues of national unity and cultural unity and civic education. and wondered if she was leaving
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aside this suffrage issue in the civil war where she controversial in her day and was her work and for her advocacy for women's work or women's role in society and education was not considered controversial? did she have a fan base and opponents?he how did the other regions of the country feel toward her? like the south? >> the south loved her magazine she had about a third of the subscription of goldie's lady's book was in the south. that tells you something. >> they love .fashion. she was very very popular. i think annamarie referred
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earlier to the phrase mrs. hale says when there was a dispute over domestic matter but also i phone newspapers of the day that would quote her on serious issues as well as 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. she was very convivial and glaciers women there's a wonderful letter i found that was an article i found written about lucy mock me to her home
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in philadelphia and talking about the gracious reception she had received and she was sorry that hale didn't fully support the cause upbut that wa okay, everybody could think differently. but she got into trouble a few times one which i think that we really haven't talked about has to do with philanthropy. when she was living in boston in her early 30s a group of men had come together to raise money to build the bunker hill monument was agoing to be a monument in memory of the first battle of the revolution and they couldn't raise enough money so hale stepped forward and said she would ask her leaders and the women of new england to contribute.
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she was public about this and she did make calls in her magazine for one women to send in money and she was criticized by some men in a public way for doing this because they said men control the money in the house and anything a woman sgives really is coming from he husband to which she replied citing biblical passage that women could, i can't remember this exactly but women gave up their gold ornaments in order to find the temple. she got into trouble over that, in the end her fundraising campaign didn't raise enough money but a couple of years later it was revived and she
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started a big favor and rboston that raised raenough money to complete the monument i think this is the first example of a woman in america as the leader of a major philanthropy as the women of mount vernon, the lady society of mount vernon are often referred to as this is the first major women philanthropy bunker hill receded it and in fact woman who spearheaded mount vernon reconstruction had a similar structure on how she went about raising money. she got into trouble i can't remember anything else off the top my head.
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thank you for bringing back the life of the great american to readers today i hope it gets wide attention. i wanted to ask, from your discussion, it appears to me that when you say she would been canceled today it sounds like okay, she didn't push equality in the absolute terms that most sever riches and movements today would do with both gender-based and not gender-based movements. but i wonder if it is the reason she didn't engage in that kind of, this is the principal and that dominates everything, is it a matter of her judgment about what was prudent in these kinds of social change for the country
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or is it her republicanism you see as important here you have to persuade people, they have to consent, the discussion you had about abolition and holding the country together seems to imply that she is waiting for a principle that people have to agree 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 you properly create change or engage in these kinds of, she's not political but she's post political and cultural stuff how does she understand the parameters of proper action? >> i haven't thought about it
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in those terms i'd like to reflect on it but she certainly was not ããshe didn't believe in top-down government. or top-down edicts. i don't know if she thought about it in terms of r republicanism. you have to remember that the 18 century mentality about women was very different than what we would think of today.
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she 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. the same way as she did. there are a lot of contradictions in her work. she was happy for women to be doctors or waitresses or teachers but then she wasn't crazy about women becoming lawyers because she thought that area was more for men. how do you explain that? maybe it was too political. in her own life she said she implored ambition and women. but look at her life. surely at some point after her kids had all been educated and
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left the nest, she could have retired but she didn't. she just wanted to keep climbing to new heights she certainly did not believe in making demands on people, she wanted to open doors to women. [inaudible background conversations]
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[inaudible] she was a very early supporter of the temperance movement started in the late 1820s and she wrote a lot about tan france and she published the most popular and tied templates writer of the day, a man, had she wrote books about the dangers about the whole and how it impacted women, there is one novella call my cousin mary which is about mary who makes the fatal decision she ended up
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very unhappy. in her cookbooks would convey against drinking too. she did include recipes and included alcohol the idea was that the alcohol would be burned off before you ate the product. one of her big philanthropies with the bunker hill's monument for which he was remembered as the siemens aid society which started in boston and grew around the country. this was to help the wives of
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the seamen who ran off in many cases never came back because the ships sailed. she started a vocational school for the women, she deplored charity she wanted women to have the dignity to be able to work for a living. and take care .of their families. she would write about how sometimes see men would come home and they would take the money that their wives had earned and use it to buy drinks, under the system of the day, maybe you heard of a system called culture which was a common-law legal practice
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women who marry was forced to give oliver property rights to her husband the husband had the right to take everything, everything she inherited and decide what to do with it. she wrote many many editorials trying to get that listed and i think her work had some influence. but some of the stories she tells about women whose finances were ruined by their husbands were because the husbands drank. >> okay, if there's no more questions, i will let melanie have a last word but before we break i want to mention her first book "thanksgiving: the holiday at the heart of the
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american experience" is out on paper but as of yesterday. maybe you'll see her and interviews, every year she is the authoritarian on this holiday and now with ms. hale. 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 help take us to a better place. >> every purchase help support our nonprofit organizations,
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