Alva Vanderbilt Belmont: Unlikely Champion of Womens Rights

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Les mer. Thereafter, she used her wealth, her administrative expertise, and her social celebrity to help convince Congress to pass the 19th Amendment and then to persuade the exhausted leaders of the National Woman's Party to initiate a world wide equal rights campaign. Hoffert argues that Belmont was a feminist visionary and that her financial support was crucial to the success of the suffrage and equal rights movements.

She also shows how Belmont's activism, and the money she used to support it, enriches our understanding of the personal dynamics of the American woman's rights movement. Her analysis of Belmont's memoirs illustrates how Belmont went about the complex and collaborative process of creating her public self. Cobble, Dorothy Sue.

Gordon, Linda. Henry, Astrid. Cooney Jr.

Sylvia Hoffert

Cooney, Jr, Robert P. Cott, Nancy F. The Grounding of Modern Feminism. Evans, Sara M. Flexner, Eleanor. Century of Struggle. Florey, Kenneth. American Woman Suffrage Postcards. McFarland and Company. Ford, Linda G. New Sage Press, Fry, Amelia R. Gilmore, Inez Haynes. Glenn, Susan. Harvard University Press. Gluck, Sherner Berger. Hoffert Sylvia D. Irwin, Inez Haynes. Irwin, Inez Irwin. Kraditor, Aileen S. The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement, Those who wish to leave a portrait of themselves for posterity are not usually so self-critical, but there was nothing typical about Alva.

Given the evidence she provided to illustrate her point, it seems clear that she was proud of her unwillingness to behave herself and her determination to do as she pleased despite the predictable consequences. Her reputation as a holy terror meant that she got a great deal of attention. But that attention was not necessarily accompanied by the affection she craved. She spent her whole life searching for some way to reconcile her willfulness with her desire for love and friendship.

The middle child in a family of five children, Alva was born into an affluent slaveholding family in the seaport town of Mobile, Alabama, on January 17, Born in , her mother, Phoebe Ann, was the daughter of Robert Desha, a cotton planter and politician whose family was originally from Kentucky.

An Evening Meal with Mrs. Alva Belmont – The McDonald Sun

He served as a member of the Tennessee delegation to the U. House of Representatives from to During that time, he became involved in the political controversy surrounding the virtue of Margaret Timberlake Eaton, the wife of Andrew Jackson's secretary of war. The experience must have soured him on politics. He decided not to run for reelection in , left Washington, and moved his family to Mobile, Alabama, where he established a business buying and selling cotton. Mobile was a boomtown by the s. Located thirty miles from the Gulf of Mexico on the shimmering waters of Mobile Bay, it served as a commercial outlet for Alabama planters.

It was, said Hiram Fuller, "a pleasant city of some thirty-thousand inhabitants—where people live in cotton houses and ride in cotton carriages.

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They buy cotton, sell cotton, eat cotton, drink cotton, and dream cotton. They marry cotton wives, and unto them are born cotton children. In enumerating the charms of a fair widow, they begin by saying she makes so many bales of cotton. But he was essentially correct.

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Most of the inhabitants of Mobile were in one way or another associated with commercial services needed to sell and transport cotton. When her parents married in , Alva's father gave up his law practice in Virginia and moved to Mobile where he joined his father-in-law in the cotton business. His success in selling and transporting cotton enabled him to live in a two-story, stone house with a crenulated roof and substantial-looking Tudor arches over the front porch.

Located on the corner of Government and Conception Streets, it stood in the most fashionable part of the city.

The “Suffragents” took the backseat, and showed what support looks like

Its spacious rooms were bright and airy, with big windows and high ceilings. Its lawn, dotted with magnolia trees and well-tended flower gardens, provided the space for his children to play.

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Attached to the back of the house were screened-in porches, one on each floor, designed to protect the home's inhabitants from Mobile's bothersome insect population and the sweltering heat of the summer sun. A luxurious bathhouse tiled in marble sat in the backyard.

Alva lived in this home until she was about six. Alva explained her rebelliousness and refusal to conform to the expectations of others as a result of having been born into a family populated by individuals who, in her words, "would stand neither for oppression nor even dictation. They eventually found safe haven in Pennsylvania and then in the slave-holding South. Her paternal great-grandmother, Margaret Stirling, was equally determined to thwart efforts to dictate how she lived her life. Much to the consternation of her guardians, Margaret met and fell in love with Dr.

The Surprising Road to Women's Suffrage

Murray Forbes of Edinburgh, a respectable man but certainly not the sort they expected her to marry. When she refused to give him up, her family disowned her. The couple fled Scotland and eventually settled in Virginia.

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It was from the likes of these that Alva claimed to have learned to appreciate the value of personal liberty and the costs of claiming it. If, as she alleged, stories of her forebears encouraged her to insist on doing as she pleased, experiences in her childhood sensitized her to the subordination of women and convinced her that misbehaving was an effective way to get what she wanted. One of her earliest memories was the death of her thirteen-year-old brother, Murray Forbes Jr.

Apparently, he had been their father's favorite.