Today in History: May 28
Yellow Ribbon from 1911 Suffrage Parade.
Votes for Women, 1848-1921
Are not the natural wants and emotions of humanity common too, and shared equally by both sexes? Does man hunger and thirst, suffer cold and heat more than woman? Does he love and hate, hope and fear, joy and sorrow more than woman? Does his heart thrill with a deeper pleasure in doing good? Can his soul writhe in more bitter agony under the consciousness of evil or wrong? Is the sunshine more glorious, the air more quiet, the sounds of harmony more soothing, the perfume of flowers more exquisite, or forms of beauty more soul-satisfying to his senses than to hers. To all these interrogatories every one will answer, No!
"Opening Address," The Proceedings of the Woman's Rights Convention, held at Akron, Ohio, May 28 and 29, 1851, 5, 1851.
Votes for Women, 1848-1921
The convention's Report on Labor noted the following statistics: the average seamstress earned between $.75 and $1.50 per week for 15-18 hours of daily labor; domestics earned an average of about $6 per month; and a female teacher in Ohio was paid on the average of $21.49 per year, about half that of her male counterpart.
The convention resolved to work for gradual change urging religious groups, the press, and legislatures to discuss and support women's rights. Mothers were instructed "to teach all children the principles of natural justice which should govern the whole subject of Human Rights…" Women, particularly seamstresses, were urged to form "Labor Partnerships" to strengthen their ability to attain just and equitable wages.
Although not in attendance, Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote to conferees:
The trades and professions are all open to us… As merchants, postmasters, silversmiths, teachers, preachers and physicians, woman has already proved herself fully competent…. But the great work before us is the proper education of those just coming on the stage. Begin with girls of this day, and in twenty years we can revolutionize this nation…. Let the girl be thoroughly developed in body and soul,—not moulded like a pieces of clay after some artificial specimen of humanity, with a body after some plate in Godey's book of fashion… Think you, women thus educated, would be the frail, dependent beings we now find them? By no means…. As educated capitalists and skillful laborers, they would not be long in finding their true level in political and social life.
"Letter from Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton" in The Proceedings of the Woman's Rights Convention, held at Akron, Ohio, May 28 and 29, 1851, 1851.
Votes for Women, 1848-1921
- Read the full text of the convention proceedings, which includes reports on education, labor, and common law, as well as letters from Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Amelia Jenks Bloomer. The American Memory collection Votes for Women, 1848-1921 consists of 167 books, pamphlets and other artifacts documenting the suffrage campaign. They are a subset of the Library's larger collection, donated in November 1938, by Carrie Chapman Catt, longtime president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.The collection includes works from the libraries of other members and officers of the organization including: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Alice Stone Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe, Elizabeth Smith Miller, Mary A. Livermore. Search the collection on these names or browse the author index.
- For an overview of the women's suffrage movement, see the Timeline: One Hundred Years Toward Suffrage, part of "Votes for Women" Suffrage Pictures, 1850-1920.
- Other women’s history collections in American Memory are a treasure trove of materials. See By Popular Demand: “Votes for Women” Suffrage Pictures, 1850-1920, Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman's Party, Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911, as well as American Women, a gateway for Library of Congress researchers working in the field of American women's history.
- Search the Today in History Archive on women's rights for more information on the long campaign for women's suffrage.
- Emergence of Advertising in America presents over 9,000 images relating to the early history of advertising in the U.S.—much of that advertising directed at women. Search the collection on terms such as education and women, or Sewing Equipment and Supplies. See, for example, A Grandmother's Story, an elaborate multi-paged advertisement for Clark's O.N.T. spool cotton thread.
World-class athlete >Jim Thorpe (external link) was born in a one-room cabin near Prague in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, on May 28, 1888. Thorpe's versatile talents earned him the distinction of being chosen, in 1950, the greatest football player and the greatest American athlete of the first half of the twentieth century by American sports writers and broadcasters.
Thorpe excelled at every sport he played. The great-great-grandson of an Indian warrior and athlete, Chief Black Hawk, Thorpe's heritage was Irish and five-eighths Indian (Sauk, Fox, and Pottowatomie). He attended Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas, and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania.
Thorpe took leave of the school in 1909 to play baseball in Rocky Mount and Fayetteville, North Carolina — a fact which later cost him two Olympic gold medals. Back at Carlisle, in 1911, Thorpe played football, baseball, and basketball and trained for the 1912 Olympics in track. Thorpe won the gold medal in both the decathlon and pentathlon events at the Stockholm Olympics, but was stripped of his medals when a reporter revealed he had played semi-professional baseball. It was not until after his death that Thorpe's amateur status was restored, and his name reentered in the Olympic record book.
Back at Carlisle, Thorpe repeated his 1911 accomplishment, being voted a first-string All-American halfback. During his last college season, Thorpe scored 198 points — including 22 of 27 winning points against Army, a team which included Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Once out of school, Thorpe was signed by John McGraw to play with the National League Champion New York Giants, which included Rube Marquard, Buck Herzog, Fred Snodgrass, Christy Mathewson, "Chief" Meyers, Larry Doyle, and Fred Merkel. From 1913 to 1929, Thorpe played professionally, for many years switching according to the season from baseball to football.
Thorpe was the first president of the new American Professional Football Association (later the National Football League (external link)). His name and skill on the field gave credibility to the sport, which he played professionally until he was forty-one years old. For two of those years, he coached and played for the Oorang Indians, an all-Native-American franchise out of La Rue, Ohio.
As his professional sports career drew to a close, the Depression proved a particularly difficult time for Thorpe. He held a variety of jobs but was too poor to buy a ticket to the 1932 Olympic Games; when he was invited to sit in the presidential box, a crowd of 105,000 stood to cheer him.
Los Angeles Olympic Stadium on the Opening Day of the Games of the Xth Olympiad, Los Angeles, California, July 30, 1932.
Taking the Long View, 1851-1991
- Early Baseball Pictures, 1860s-1920s features several photographs of National League teams from Thorpe's era.
- Baseball Cards, 1887-1914 also has images of many of baseball's earliest players including many of Thorpe's contemporaries.
- See more photographs of the early days of collegiate football. Search on football in Taking the Long View, 1851-1991. The collection also includes a series of photographs of Indian schools from the turn of the century.
- Read recollections of people who attended these institutions. Search on Indian school in American Life Histories, 1936-1940. Of particular interest is "Henry Mitchell, Indian Canoe Maker," which includes a recollection of life at Carlisle Institute a few years prior to Thorpe's studies there.
- Search the Today in History Archive on terms such as sport, athlete, football, or baseball to learn more about other greats in the sports world including Althea Gibson, J. Frank Duryea, Alonzo Stagg, and Jackie Robinson.