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Hannah Whitall Smith Correspondence: Cultural Transformation

After giving her first speech on Women’s Suffrage…

“I am thoroughly roused on the subject for I have had so many cases of grievous oppression of men over their wives lately that my blood boils with indignation. And before thee is married I want to have thy position as the equal of thy husband settled on a legal basis. The moment one looks into the subject at all it seems utterably incomprehensible how we women could have endured it as patiently as we have. Literally and truly up to within a few years women have been simple slaves. And some women say they like it! Ugh! It is one of the worst vices of slavery that its victims are contented with their lot.”

Letter from Hannah Whitall Smith to her daughter Mary (1882)

Recorded on page 55 of Barbara Strachy’s Remarkable Relations: The Story of the Pearsall Smith Women (1980).







Ellice Hopkins