On April 2, 1870, the New York Herald published a letter under the headline “THE COMING WOMAN.”  For the first time in US history, a woman was joining the race for the White House.  Her name was Victoria Woodhull.  Said Woodhull in closing her letter:  “I have deliberately and of my own accord placed myself before the people as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States, and having the means, courage, energy, and strength for the race intend to contest it to the close.”

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Two months earlier, Woodhull and her sister Tennie Claflin created a sensation by opening a brokerage firm, Woodhull, Claflin, and Company.  Anointed by the press as the “Queens of Finance" and with the backing of the nation’s richest man, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the sisters welcomed a stream of brokers, bankers and wealthy clients to the office at 44 Broad Street, a few buildings south of the New York Stock Exchange.

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Though several editors lauded the sisters for their ambitions and chutzpah, others portrayed them less kindly.

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In May, they began publishing a new journal, Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, also backed by Vanderbilt.  "This journal will support Victoria C. Woodhull for president ... and will advocate suffrage without distinction of sex," read the defining editorial.

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Next: Part 2

 

Go To: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

 

Bill's Books

The Mevrouw Who Saved Manhattan
A Novel of New Amsterdam by Bill Greer

Mevrouw

A "romp through the history of New Netherland that would surely have Petrus Stuyvesant complaining about the riot transpiring between its pages ... Readers are guaranteed a genuine adventure that will evoke the full range of human emotions. Once begun, they can expect to experience that rare difficulty in putting down a book before they have finished."

           -- de Halve Maen, Journal of the Holland Society of New York

About the Book
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A DIRTY YEAR
Sex, Suffrage & Scandal in Gilded Age New York

A nonfiction narrative of 1872 New York, a city convulsing with social upheaval and sexual revolution and beset with all the excitement and challenges a moment of transformation brings.

Forthcoming from Chicago Review Press