A cartoon by Thomas Nast, 1872.
BE SAVED BY FREE LOVE offers Woodhull, in the garb of the Devil,
as a respectable housewife toils in the opposite direction, burdened with
children and an alcoholic spouse: "I'd rather follow the
hardest path of matrimony than follow in your footsteps."
| Poster for a lecture by the sisters following their incarceration.|
From the collections of the Museum of the City of New York.
|Henry Ward Beecher|
A statue by John Quincy Ward, ca. 1888-89,
at Amherst College, Massachusetts,
the reverend's alma mater.
The heroic pose shows that, for some,
he is best remembered as a stalwart abolitionist.
Historical footnote: When newly moneyed Americans began hitting Europe after the Civil War, in England the upper classes asked a crucial question: Does one marry Americans? When Lord Randolph Churchill of illustrious lineage married Jenny Jerome, the eldest daughter of Wall Street speculator Leonard Jerome, the answer was a resounding Yes! What was good enough for Lord Randolph had to be good enough for the rest of society. (The result, by the way, was Winston Churchill.) Usually these unions involved new American money bonding with impoverished foreign titles. In the case of the Claflin sisters, however, the money was all on the side of the husbands; the sisters provided spark and charm. After World War I impoverished foreign titles were much less enticing to American heiresses; they looked a bit shopworn (the titles, not the heiresses). Henry James treats this theme beautifully in many novels and short stories. He is my favorite American novelist; I highly recommend his works.
Thought for the day: Existence is ecstasy. (A Buddhist idea that has always intrigued me; it prompts reflection.)
(c) 2012 Clifford Browder