Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was a Quaker, and Lucretia Mott, who was not, were part of a group who travelled to London to take part in the first World’s Anti-Slavery Convention. While allowed to attend, they were forced to sit in the balcony and could not speak or participate. The decided that if women were to have meaningful impact in various other areas of reform, they would first need a little social and political efficacy of their own.
The suggestion that women’s difficulties in the professional realm came not simply from men’s attitudes or society’s imbalances but because too many women lacked key characteristics or mindsets necessary to succeed might have provoked argument or offense coming from a man – even in 1900. Coming from Candee, a woman from a proud estate who had found her marriage “undesirable” and who was now supporting herself and her children by her own enterprise, it comes across as blunt, but charitable.
It’s as if she’s in her parlor with two or three younger intimates, leaning forward, voice lowered-but-firm as she brings them into her fullest confidence.
Candee's writings on Oklahoma and its people are some of the most insightful and sympathetic of her generation. Her treatment of female society in the territories which is particularly fascinating. She writes with gentle candor, taking the reader into her confidence without ever quite becoming gossipy, only periodically stepping into other narrative “voices” in order to better explore her subject. Surely such forthrightness suggests we might catch occasional glimpses of the woman behind the words?
Helen Churchill Candee was born in 1858 as Helen Churchill (her mother’s maiden name) Hungerford of New York. Her father was a successful merchant, and Helen grew up in relative comfort both there and in Connecticut where the family moved shortly thereafter. More important than the physical provisions prosperity allowed, she was exposed to ideas and stories, music and art, history and culture, in ways unlikely to have been possible had she lived a generation before, or in almost any other part of the country.
Recognize this? It’s almost a bicycle. No pedals, though – just a wooden frame and wheels. The ‘velocipede’ had to be customized to the height of the rider, and could only be ridden without losing your ability to reproduce by sticking to well-maintained garden paths or other flat, soft-but-not-too-soft ground. The kind not found most places.
It was also pretty tricky to turn. You had to lean, firmly but subtly. Crashing not only hurt, but dramatically reduced whatever level of ‘suave’ you’d managed to retain while straddle-running on the darn things.