Early Americana

Not much is mentioned about Homer, Ohio. Licking County antiquarian Robbins Hunter conceived the Woodhull memorial in the 1970s, to preserve the legacy of a local daughter forgotten.  Columbus State College professor Judith Dann shows a cabinet of items about the first woman ever nominated for president of the United States.

It happened in 1872 when the Equal Rights Party nominated Victoria Woodhull who ran against U.S. Grant, a Republican, and Democrat Horace Greeley nearly 50 years before women had the right to vote.  There is no record of the votes taken in that election.

Judith Dann reports that Hillary Clinton’s nomination and heated campaign was very similar to that of 1872.  Dann’s research points to a rivalry with Susan B. Anthony and others in the early suffragist movement and may have led to Woodhull’s exclusion from the history books.  The family with 10 children was driven out of Homer settling in New York City.

Sisters Victoria California Claflin and Tennessee Celeste Claflin befriended railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt helping him to communicate with the spirit world. They were the first women to open a Wall Street brokerage house, earning nicknames including “the bewitching brokers.”  Having obvious business savvy they also started  a newspaper, Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly to help promote Victoria’s presidential run and promote edgy ideas like short skirts and vegetarianism.  Woodhull was in jail on Election Day charged with publishing obscenity.

Published works include, Notorious Victoria, The Terrible Siren, Outrageous, The Scarlet Sisters,  Renegade Queen, Free Lover. A 1980 Broadway musical called Onward Victoria told Woodhull’s story.

Certainly a field trip visit to Homer, Ohio is recommended since I just condensed the article I read in the Democrat & Chronicle.  I am sure there is a wealth of history and story telling likely with such a visit.



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