Ladies Were Not Expected

Ladies Were Not Expected

Abigail Scott Duniway and Women's Rights

by Dorothy Nafus Morrison
2nd Edition, ©1985, ISBN: 9780875951683
Trade Paperback, 146 pages
Used Price: $6.00 (1 in stock) Condition Policy

Her mother wept bitterly when Abigail Scott was born, and her father was "cross"— because she was a girl, which was " grievance almost too burdensome to be borne."

Her mother wept again, as did Abigail and her sisters, when her father decided to move by covered wagon to Oregon. However, in her time a man's decision was law, so they had no choice. And Abigail's worst fears were realized, for her mother and youngest brother died on the trail.

In the Oregon Territory, Abigail married Ben Duniway, and was soon caught up in a crushing round of housework, farm work and babies. To her dismay her husband lost their farm by co-signing a note for a friend — a signing Abigail had opposed, but in which she had no voice.

After Ben was injured in an accident, Abigail was forced to become the family breadwinner. She taught, then opened a millinery shop, where she heard may stories of other women who, like herself, had almost no control over their own lives. This launched her into "the Cause" — the fight for woman suffrage, a fight which often brought her ridicule and even slander. She was falsely accused of neglecting her children, of drinking and smoking and swearing like a man, of whipping Ben. To aid in the long campaign, she founded The New Northwest, a salty newspaper that promoted woman suffrage. She acquired national recognition, traveling to the East to several suffrage conventions as a speaker. At last, after a forty-one year battle, with the fight finally won, she became the first woman in Oregon to cas a ballot.

Abigail Scott Duniway was a spirited, witty individual, and this biography is sprinkled with quotes from her own lively writings. It pictures the settlement of the West from a different perspective —that of a pioneer woman.

from the back cover

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