Suffragist, lecturer, eugenicist, businesswoman, free lover, and the first woman to run for president of the United States, Victoria C. Woodhull (1838–1927) has been all but forgotten as a leading nineteenth-century feminist writer and radical. Selected Writings of Victoria Woodhull is the first multigenre, multisubject collection of her materials, giving contemporary audiences a glimpse into the radical views of this nineteenth-century woman who advocated free love between consensual adults and who was labeled “Mrs. Satan” by cartoonist Thomas Nast. Woodhull’s texts reveal the multiple conflicting aspects of this influential woman, who has been portrayed in the past as either a disreputable figure or a brave pioneer.
This collection of letters, speeches, essays, and articles elucidate some of the lesser-known movements and ideas of the nineteenth century. It also highlights, through Woodhull’s correspondence with fellow suffragist Lucretia Mott, tensions within the suffragist movement and demonstrates the changing political atmosphere and role of women in business and politics in the late nineteenth century.
With a comprehensive introduction contextualizing Woodhull’s most important writing, this collection provides a clear lens through which to view late nineteenth-century suffragism, labor reform, reproductive rights, sexual politics, and spiritualism.