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Bloomer, Amelia Jenks (27 May 1818–30 December 1894), temperance and women's rights reformer and editor, temperance and women’s rights reformer and editor, was born in Homer, New York, the daughter of Ananias Jenks, a clothier, and Lucy Webb. She received a basic education in Homer’s district schools and by the age of seventeen was teaching in Clyde, New York. After a year of teaching, Bloomer became a governess and tutor for a Waterloo, New York, family....

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Fuller, Margaret (23 May 1810–19 July 1850), author and feminist, was born Sarah Margaret Fuller in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, the daughter of Timothy Fuller, a lawyer, and Margaret Crane. Her father taught his oldest child reading at age three and Latin at age six, but Fuller’s education grew eclectic in later childhood when she was left largely to her own resources. “To excel in all things should be your constant aim; mediocrity is obscurity,” her father wrote to Margaret when she was ten. Under such pressures, Fuller suffered periodically throughout her life from depression and headaches. Timothy Fuller was often away, serving four terms in Congress (1817–1825). Margaret’s mother, a devout Unitarian, was subdued by sickly health. In Fuller’s fictional ...

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La Follette, Suzanne (1893–23 April 1983), feminist, writer, and editor, was born Clara La Follette on her family’s 1,000-acre ranch near Pullman, Washington, the daughter of William LeRoy La Follette, a rancher, and Mary Tabor. La Follette “grew up on horseback,” roaming the unfenced ranges of the Snake River Canyon, an unspoiled area where Jeffersonian lifestyles and values still held sway. A product of this environment, from an early age she placed great value on individual liberty and feared the intrusive power of the state....

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Ruffin, Josephine St. Pierre (31 August 1842–13 March 1924), editor and woman's club organizer, editor and woman’s club organizer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Eliza Matilda Menhenick of Cornwall, England, and John St. Pierre, a clothing seller whose father was a French immigrant from Martinique. Though Josephine’s complexion was very light, public schools in Boston were closed to people of color until 1855, so she received her early education at nearby Salem and Charlestown. Later she attended Boston’s Bowdoin School and took two years of private tutoring in New York. In 1858 she married ...

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Seymour, Mary Foot (1846–21 March 1893), journalist and businesswoman, was born in Aurora, Illinois, the daughter of Ephraim Sanford Seymour, a lawyer, and Rosette Bestor. Her father, who graduated from Middlebury College and practiced law in Galena, Illinois, published the Galena Directory and Miner’s Annual Register...