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tv   Melanie Kirkpatrick Lady Editor  CSPAN  November 25, 2021 11:00pm-12:01am EST

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up next on book tv, hudson institute fellow melanie kirkpatrick talks about the editor of "godey's lady's book", sarah josepha hale, and then futurist and economist george gilder discusses ai and the belief that ai machines will one day take over the planet. and then, dr. paul offit discusses risks associated with medical innovation. from her schedule, they get book or consult your program guide. now, here is melanie kirkpatrick on the influence of the 19th century "godey's lady's book" ladies periodical. >> it's a cliche that life can change in a single instant. but saying so doesn't make it any
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less apparent in your own life. for the pregnant young mother at home in the central hills of new hampshire, it arrived in 1822, when it began to snow. sarah was a new englander and 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 into a sheet of white. she was filled with worry about her husband. david left on horseback heading for an appointment with a legal client eight miles away. he was lightly dressed, unprepared for the storm. when he finally staggered into the house that evening, he was soaked through to the skin, shivering with the cold. sarah helped him undress. and get into bed. the cold quickly turned to fever and then, ferociously, to pneumonia. by september 26th,
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her husband was dead. the funeral was held in a ceremony conducted by one of david's fellow freemasons. sarah brought his fifth child into the world soon. this child joined siblings francis and josepha. the new widow had no illusions about what came next. david had made a good living as a lawyer, but like many young couples, the hales had no savings to speak of. until the boys were old enough to work, or until she remarried, an unthinkable prospect, she and her children had to rely on the charity of family and neighbors. david's fellow freemasons also provided assistance. even so, it would be a struggle. that was the opening paragraph of melanie kirkpatrick's book, "lady editor", a biography of sarah josepha hale. i am ann marie
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hauser, vice president of public affairs at the hudson institute. i am joined by melanie kirkpatrick, a longtime writer at the wall street journal. i am pleased to learn more about this book and why she wrote it. before there was oprah there was sarah josepha hale, probably one of the most famous women's from the 19th century. she was a patriot and educator, style setter and godmother of thanksgiving. the book is terrific. this woman is fascinating. i'm going to have melanie open up with a few comments. then we will have a conversation back and forth. then we look forward to taking your questions. so, without further ado, melanie, welcome. >> thank you, it's wonderful to
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be here. and i thank the hudson institute for hosting this wonderful event and giving me this chance to talk about this woman that i think is the most or one of the most influential women in american history. i make one correction to your introduction. the persona of ms. hale. she, i think, would have liked to be called an authoress. >> [laughs] >> and you would have been a vice presidentess. [laughs] she loved words that designated professional women as women. so here we are. you mentioned she is mostly forgotten today. if she's remembered, it's as the
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godmother of thanksgiving or as the author of "mary had a little lamb". which i bet you didn't know. maybe you thought mother goose had written that. but she wrote it in 1830. but i learned about hale when i was writing my book on 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 enormous influence over the culture of our country. and over the idea of educating women. and she was and is said to be the godmother of thanksgiving. the holiday that we still celebrate. >> that's terrific. i wanted to open up with that
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opening paragraph, because i think it speaks to what is extraordinary, for all the reasons you mentioned. she was a mother of five and a widow. she had some decisions she had to make. it's fascinating. if she ever had remarried she wouldn't have had this impact, i think. -- do you think that's fair to say? >> it is. she was motivated because of the need and her passion for educating our children. she was probably one of the best -- she was certainly one of the best educated women of the early 19th century. this is an era when she started her magazine in 1828, when only half of american women were literate. and it was no institute of higher education that would admit women. yet she, sarah hale, educated first by her mother, who believed that her
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daughters should be as well educated as her sons. then by her brother horatio, who went off to dartmouth. and, of course, sarah could not go with him. because dartmouth did not accept women until the 1970s. but horatio would come home in teacher. and that was when she got married, she and her husband had a ritual. they would get sit and into hours they would study not just literature. but also science and french and botany and mineralogy and subjects that were not usually considered women subjects. >> right, right. i love what you said about her mother. she is profoundly influenced by her mother. she is her teacher. my mom is in the audience, i can attest to that. she's also a schoolteacher. so i felt seen by mrs. hale when she said
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that. but next in rank and efficacy is the schoolmaster. and so she's on this trajectory of her mother's influence. but 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 her was her father, who was a revolutionary war veteran. she was a deep patriot. she was born in 1788. this was the year before washington was sworn in as president of the united states. she lived through the terms of 19 presidents. so she had a very long and diverse life, encompassing almost a century of enormous changes in american history. and i think that this
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background influenced her writing enormously. after her husband died, the masons in town set her up in a millinery shop and she hated that. and so she decided that the millinery shop would keep going but she had already published a couple of poems in local publications and she managed to get some published in boston. then she wrote a novel. this novel was an anti-slavery novel. it came out in 1827 and was called north would. it caught the eye of a man in boston starting a magazine for women. out of the blue, he wrote and asked her to be founding editor. so she had to make a tough
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decision about whether to move to boston. >> maybe you can speak to that. explain some of the decision she had to make. >> 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 joined her in boston eventually. at a boarding house. >> i can't imagine what that must have been like. but she had to make a salary. >> well, she had to make choices. she decided the only way she was going to be able to educate the kids, and she and her husband had dreamed, was for her to take this job and succeed at it. >> right. and magazine start-ups are not known for being a sure thing in succeeding. >> this was an early one as
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well. this was the beginning of the 19th century. there were some magazines for women. but they were fluffy. and she was determined to do something very serious. >> you write that she really kind of changed the genre of women's magazines. in fact, that a lot of the magazines at we're trashy and vapid. that's what's she called them. you write that she wanted it to be -- an advocacy of female education, encouragement of american female letters and the male leadership and causes. so here you see the women's education piece of it. you mentioned her patriotism. i think you said it was dave ramsey's book. and it's clear how they were confused.
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where did that come from? why was she so different from others at the time? >> well, her patriotism extended to the idea that she firmly believed that america had been unified politically by the revolution. yet it was not unified culturally. and she set out to change that. and so in her magazine, she did some things that was surprising and different for the day. she decided to publish american authors writing on american topics. from our point of view, that would seem, of course, ordinary. obvious. people want to read about american topics and fellow americans. but it was unusual for the day. this was where cut and paste journalism was the norm. an editor would literally cut out an article from the british or other magazine or newspaper and
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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 emerged when mr. godey had the money to extend her vision, she had a very good eye and some of the people whom she published, you would have heard of. edgar allen poe. he called her a woman of genius. and excuse the sexism, masculine energy. >> [laughs] >> nathaniel hawthorne was another. and she also published many women. she was able to jump-start their careers by
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publishing them in the ladies book. and people like the young harriet beecher stowe. it was before she wrote uncle tom's cabin. and many others. >> i think that's extraordinary. she also believed that women needed to be educated so they can better instruct their children. she called is the doctrine of republican -- do you want to expand on that? >> this is a very important point, i think. as i mentioned earlier when she started her magazine, only half of american women were literate. she deeply believed i women have the same intellectual capability as men. but the difference was that men were educated. and women worked. so she believed, and she believed education was a lifelong process. she wanted
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women to be educated, read and write and study subjects that have previously been considered too taxing for the female mind, but she considered it a lifelong process, and in her magazine she would publish reading lists and articles about the science and a very serious -- serious stuff. for for 50 years every issue of every 50 years every issue of every magazine and she edited talked about the importance of educating women, and yes, when reason was, essential reason was, was that a mother is the first teacher of a child, and she thought women needed to be educated in order to reach -- to teach their children about everything. particularly religion and particularly civic virtues. this was also part of the reason that she wanted a
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national thanksgiving day. she saw it as a way of bringing the country together. >> right, which after the war, and she was born right after the revolutionary war and lived through the civil war. so she lived through this time where we work 50 united states. we were very torn apart in many ways as we are today in our country, but i just wonder if our country now would be, would benefit from reading this book,, but would they be receptive to the efforts she made to unify the united states? >> i'd like to think so. the virtues of our american political system, which she counted, and which were very deeply held by her. i think it hasn't changed. and as the nation progressed towards civil
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war, she accelerated her campaign for a national thanksgiving day. i guess i should give a little bit of history. east 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 loved. it's that if you worry traveler and you planned your itinerary carefully, you could have a thanksgiving dinner every week between election day and christmas. >> sounds pretty good. >> that's a lot of turkeys. and as the civil war approached, as i said, accelerated their campaign, and she talked about how she wanted to unify the
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country and prevent it from going to war. east >> okay. we will come back to that and her later on. how she made this national proclamation. you spoke about her believing that men and women were intellectually equivalents. she didn't think they were physical, that she was happy to concede that men are built to be stronger than women, but she believed not the moral superiority of women -- was what it meant to be a woman. we were morally superior and that was our purpose in life. unlike much of the feminism i think you see in modern-day's, she did not put men down from what i could tell from your biography. as a matter of fact and who first magazine where she's talking about the ladies magazines, she appealed to the men, because she recognize 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, so she appealed to husbands, fathers, lovers. you say that
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she wrote to the parents, that basically there's going to be nothing in this magazine to weaken parental authority. nothing found on the pages of this publication shall cause this wife to be less deciduous and preparing for his reception or welcoming his return. i know that sounds crazy to our modern years, but in a way i see it is very savvy. >> i think her tongue was in her cheek a little bit there when she wrote that. but she was practical. men, fathers and husbands had the authority. not just the financial authority, but they could than some of the magazines. they were the deciders. but this idea of women as moral exemplar's is a very interesting one. obviously today we don't think of one sex as being more ethical are more than the other, but i think that there's something to it,
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because women are mothers and women usually manage the households. they, according to hale, had, and i think i agree with this even today, had a certain status and a certain responsibility to teach their children how to be good citizens and good people. >> in the chapter, the dignity of housekeeping too, she very much taught her children how to so and take care of the house as much as being educated, but she created this idea of a professional housewife. >> yes, she did. she created the term domestic style, 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
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good wheat, a farmer's wife needs to learn about how to make good bread. but the whole idea, and this goes back to the whole idea of teaching. 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, education to teach older kids. so her campaign remained for many years was to change the national conversation about women's teachers, and by the 40s, about 1840s, as the country was -- a little villages and towns all around and the frontier were looking for teachers. women
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entered the teaching profession in large numbers, and by the 50s, the 1850s, there were more women than man as school teachers in america. and the last i looked, which was a think about a month ago, 76% of k-12 teachers today are women. >> yeah, you don't think that that's not how it always used to be, that is pretty astounding. it was her that wanted -- >> 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 education. >> and she was big on women
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being educated to be doctors. bankers. >> this is interesting too 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's efforts fears for men and women in the 19th century where women belong in the domestic sphere and men in the work a day world. she was a different person. 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 men allowed. she
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didn't want men to treat women or children. she wanted only women to do it because women have the compassion, and that she thought necessary at concerns, i guess, that naturally made them better qualified than 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 who were widowhood by the war or were single and couldn't find husbands and they needed jobs. though she really wanted the whole profession to become female only. it was a job that you can do at home to, which i think made a difference. >> she really seemed to have an impact the towards windows
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because she was a widow herself. as there were lots of little during the civil war which coincided with a magazine and reaching the. i think it's significant. >> on the topic of women, she was a patriot. we've got to bring up the question about women's right to vote. she was actually anti suffragette. i'd love 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 is not so well known today as she deserves to be, is in large part because she was anti-suffrage. her 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
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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 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 suffrage a little. the anti-suffrage movement a little. i should point out that at this period, the vast majority of women in america were against suffrage. and so in a way, she's speaking for women's voice who were not
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being heard. and so i'd like to think that maybe she was beginning to change your 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 at the lowest level. >> very grassroots. >> very grassroots. and she thought women should serve along on school boards. >> that makes sense. one book we talked about earlier, the women's record. it's a 2500 women biographies that -- a compilation of 2500 biographies. she was prolific and she called women gods appointed agents of morality. she was 65 when she wrote that book? according to >> according to the yale bibliography of american
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literature, she 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 poem. took her three years to write it and it was the biographies of 2500 women, as you said, and the subtitle, rather modestly 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 at its center. and 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. she was good at -- she became good. it took
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her while itself promotion, but you decided to send copies of women's records to notable women. among them was queen victoria. so she asked james buchanan who would become president at the time he had just been appointed the ambassador to the uk. she asked him. amazingly he agreed. she was that influential. he said yes. i'll take time to read it. and rather more raising lee, the queen of editorial wrote back through her secretary. saying thank you for the book. i have to say, i've always thought since then, since i read that, i've been asking the american ambassador to the uk to give a copy. >> [laughs]
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>> but i don't have hale's chutzpah. >> speaking of queen victoria, she was also a trendsetter. there were certain influences -- we've got pictures up here -- these were incorporated into the meeting book. we were talking about hale's influence. and mrs. hale says, we've got oprah's list, this is how we you can hear people say -- this is how women talk. these are things i didn't realize. because of her promotion, we've got the christmas tree and a wedding dress, a white wedding dress. which was not existing back then. >> that's right queen victoria wore white at her wedding. they scott on in britain and hail liked the idea and started
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promoting this in "godey's lady's book", including publishing many drawings. and in 1859, -- i think this was the late 40s. something like that. and by 1850, she was saying that a white wedding gown is the symbol of young american womanhood, etc, etc. and the christmas tree is even more interesting. a london newspaper published a picture of christmas at windsor castle. and hale liked this idea. she thought, i'll publish it in "godey's lady's book" and she did. she did so with two alterations. she removed the queens tiara. and she removed the mustache of prince albert. >> [laughs] >> kind of the photo shopping of the day, she hated whiskers
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on man. she thought it made them look sneaky. [laughs] that was one battle she didn't win. those are just two examples. she was very influential in other areas, like recipes. she introduced the first recipes to an american public. a recipes column. and then she published a couple of books of her recipes. clothing was another example besides the wedding dress. she -- against courses that were too tightly weaved, laced. and shoes that would be too flimsy for cold weather. some bomb it's. so she hated fashion. >> right, she railed against fashion -- >> right, serious writing. but she also saw benefits as
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well. she wanted an american identity for fashion. >> indeed, she railed against british and french fashion. she said, we are american, when will we start promoting a republican -- lower case are. >> it's interesting, she was very savvy. and we take so much of this for granted. we look back and we realize that her influence on our country, she is almost like the founding mother of our country. do 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 been, because of her anti-suffrage view, in my view, it has dismissed her. instead of taking her whole life into account. >> yes. i also think that after her death -- >> she was editor for 50 years
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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 that less powerful version of the magazine. 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. people didn't talk about it as much, about educating women as much. giving them the right to vote. >> that's interesting. one last question and then we will go to the audience. maybe you can put a bow on thanksgiving. she loved thanksgiving. in her 1827 novel, north wood, there is a
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description of an american thanksgiving day, the best i've read in american literature. so in the 1840s she decides she wants the president to call in asheville thanksgiving day. a day when americans would celebrate thanksgiving on the same day in america and abroad. a day when americans all around the world would stop and give thanks on the same day. this certainly was true when i lived in japan and in 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
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day. governors, mayors and president of the united states. urging them to call a national thanksgiving. and hale being hale, the president 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 -- like the idea. and he called in 1863 for a national thanksgiving in a beautiful proclamation that i urge you to go back and read. it was just after the battle of gettysburg. and the tide of the war had
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turned then it looked like the union was going to win. and lincoln talked about americans coming together as one people in celebrating as one voice. it's a lovely image and one that we could heed today. >> right. that's really terrific. >> hale was indefatigable. that she didn't give up and continue to write presidents during her life. johnson, grant, others. the tradition caught on. >> a powerful woman. that's terrific. why don't we take some questions from the audience. we have a couple of questions up here, we have mics. >> thank you so much, that was wonderful. you begin by talking
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about yourself as an author. and in the book you talk about the influence that josepha hale had on what it means to be an author. i was wondering if you talk more about that. >> before hale, being an author of a book was usually a private undertaking. it was -- you would either self publish or you would find somebody who would take you and publish. for example, the first book of poetry by poe was published with contributions from his fellow cadets at west point. hails first book was published with help from brothers of her husband, they came up with some
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money. but hail thought that being unhealthy could be a profession. and she believed that you should be paid for your work. this was someone who thought that -- as we know, the idea of being an independent author, male or female, this -- they were indeed professionals. you can also see this from the 1840s, where mr. godey, owner and publisher of "godey's lady's book", decided to copy the magazine. i believe it was under her influence. but i couldn't find any direct evidence of that. he and she were roundly criticized for
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this. because he wanted to stop the practice of newspapers stealing articles from "godey's lady's book" and publishing them before the magazine could even reach their subscribers. again, that supported the idea that authors should be paid for their work. of course, i like this idea. >> [laughs] >> a lot of copying and pasting. >> thank you so much, a fascinating topic. you mentioned that she published harriet beecher stowe. could you talk about her involvement with abolitionism? >> well, she wasn't an abolitionist. she thought that slavery was morally wrong. she
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died when -- the census was a couple of years after her birth, it show that there was one slave in her little town in new hampshire. she certainly had visited -- i believe, again this is not proven or documented, but i believe that she visited the south. and she encountered slavery. and her first book wasn't amanda imaginative view of slavery. and she supported the arguments against if. but she, being a woman of the 18th century, i guess, doubt that the bargains that the founders had made over slavery should continue until a time that the country could piece of bly get rid of slavery. she supported what was known as colonization. and that is,
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sending 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 called mr. pains experiments. in this book the slave owner wanted to free his slaves. he wanted them to be successful. he didn't know where to send them or how to help them. and so in the novel, he sends one group to a northern city, another group to a rural town. and a third group to canada. they all had terrible experiences. they face racism, discrimination and they cannot make a living. so he decides to send them all to liberia. and
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from our perspective, that was her attitude. she certainly supported the union during the war. no question about that. but it's hard to wrap my head around this idea. there were many people of the day who thought that this was a reasonable idea. she didn't write it all about the moral -- after the war, and 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 the way and help freed slaves. i think that is a shame and a deficiency in her work. >> thank you. >> nina, then john. >> congratulations for this
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book and for reviving her or introducing her to our generation. she is an amazingly accomplished, influential woman and she 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? was she controversial in her day? and was her work and 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? how did the other regions of the country view her, like the south?
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>> the south loved her magazine. she had about a third of the subscription of "godey's lady's book" from there. so that tells you something. >> they love fashion. >> pardon me? >> they love fashion. >> she was very, very popular and anne-marie referred earlier to the phrase. there was a dispute over a domestic matter. but also, i find, in newspapers of the day that would quote her, serious as well as frivolous ones, well, she was an authority. she did not support the women's rights movement. she preferred opportunities. it's a way of
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expressing fields that should be open to women. she was a very convivial and gracious woman. there is a wonderful letter or a article about the feminist lucy mott, who came to her home in philadelphia talking about a gracious reception she had received and she was sorry that hail did not fully support their cause. that was okay. everybody could think differently. but she got into trouble sometimes. one time had to do with philanthropy. it was in the early 1930s. a group of man had come together to raise money to
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build the bunker hill monument. and they couldn't raise enough money. so hail step forward and said she would ask her readers, and the women of new england, to contribute. she was public about this. and she did calls in her magazine. and she was criticized by some man in a public way for doing this. because they said that main control the money in the house. and anything that a woman does is really coming from her husband, to which she replied, citing a biblical passage, that women could -- again, i can't remember this exactly --
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but women give up ornaments in order to fund [inaudible] i think that's right. so she got into trouble. but in the end, the campaign didn't work. it didn't raise enough money. but a couple of years later was revived. and she started a fair. a big fare 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 lady societies of mount vernon are offered referred to as this is the first major women's philanthropy, but bunker hill proceeded it. in fact, a woman
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who spearheaded the mount vernon reconstruction was advised by hail and had a similar structure and how she went about raising the money. so she got into trouble over that. and i'm trying to think there was 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 the microphone is on? >> sorry. i said first, thank you for bringing back the life of this great american to readers today. and i hope it gets wide attention. i wanted to ask, from your discussion, it appears to me that when you say she would have been canceled today it's not like she didn't push equality in that kind of absolute terms,
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for both suffrage and movements today. both gender based on gender based movements. but i wonder if the reason that she didn't engage in that kind of, well, this is the principle and that trumps or dominates everything. is it a matter of her judgment about what ways prudent in these kinds social changes for the country? or is it her republicanism that you see as important here? did 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's waiting for a principle that people have to agree they cannot -- there cannot be this kind of demand placed on them and overrides their decision. that persuasion is more important than enforcing whatever you may believe is just principle. how
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do you understand her understanding of how you properly create change or engage in these kinds of -- is that she's not political, but of course she is post political and the cultural stuff is in a zone. and it's private. how does she understand the parameters of proper action? >> i hadn't ever thought of in those terms, john and i'd 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 would her readers had to say and she would publish letters from her readers. but i don't know if
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she thought of it in terms of lower case r republicanism. you have to remember that the 18th century mentality about women's very different than what we would think of today. i think she overcame huge social, cultural hurdles. and education, the extent that she did. and women being involved in the workplace in the same way that she -- there are a lot of contradictions in her work, though. she was happy to see women doctors are waitresses or teachers. but she wasn't crazy about women becoming lawyers because she thought that area was more
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for men. how do you explain that? >> [inaudible] >> yes, maybe it's political. in her own life she said that she abhorred ambition and women. but yet, look at her life. surely, at some point, after her kids have been educated and left a 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. >> yeah. >> thank you so much.
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fascinating. one thing that came to mind is that when she started, there were, in a sense, big reform movements in the country. abolition and the whole beginning of the debate about the slavery issue and so forth. the other was temperance. >> oh -- yeah up. >> i was just wondering, it seems she didn't want to get into the abolition or slavery issue in a political sense. it sounds like she didn't. . it didn't happen with her subscribers. but did she push temperance? >> absolutely. she was a very early supporter of the temperance movement starting in late 1820's. and she wrote a lot about temperance. and she published the most
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popular anti temperance writer of the day. a man. and she wrote books about the dangers of alcohol and how it impacted women. 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 --
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sometimes seamen would come home
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and they would take the money that their wives had earned and use it to buy, drink, and under 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 we are by a woman who married was forced to give back everything she inherited. and she wrote many editorials trying to get that lifted. and i think her work had some influence there. but some of the stories she would tell about women who's finances were ruined by their husbands were because the
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husband shrank. >> great. okay, if there is no more questions i will let melanie have the last word, but before we break i want to mention to everyone her first book, thanksgiving, the holiday at the heart of the american experience is out in paperback as of yesterday. maybe you've seen her in interviews around thanksgiving every year. melanie is kind of the authority on the holiday. and now the spinoff with mrs. hale. >> well, i guess i will conclude by saying on november 25th i hope you will think of mrs. misses 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. thank you all. [applause]
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>> 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


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