Alva Belmont: Women as Dictators (1922)

Alva Belmont: Women as Dictators (1922)

By Alva Belmont for
Ladies Home Journal, September 1922

TWENTY-FOUR hours after the dedication of the Woman’s Parliament in Washington a representative of THE LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL asked me what I really meant when I said that henceforth women are to be dictators. She was the fortieth or fiftieth person who had put the same question to me in that very limited space of time.

I meant then, and mean now, exactly what I said.

The end of the dictatorship of the world by men alone is in sight. We women have lived long enough in the cramped confines of a misfit social structure. We have been forced to sit still too long. We have been powerless for such an endless time that we have accumulated enough stored-up energy to shape any structure to our will.

We know we can manage the house. We can reconstruct it. We can put on a left wing and a right wing. We can add a sun porch to let in the light. We could even tear the house down if we liked-and I think men know that too.

The time has come to take this world muddle that men have created and strive to turn it into an ordered, peaceful, happy abiding place for humanity. In its present condition, the world is its own worst indictment against the sole dictatorship of men. Men have always obstructed and suppressed the intellect of one-half of the human race. They have always worked for themselves. That is not sufficient. The error lies here. (more…)

Gift idea:  “Ageless Women, Timeless Wisdom…” – You are Welcome!

Gift idea: “Ageless Women, Timeless Wisdom…” – You are Welcome!

Black Friday has come and gone, but anyone still needing to pick up a gift for a woman they love is in luck.  Ageless Women, Timeless Wisdom: Witty, Wicked and Wise Reflections on Well-Lived Lives by  Dr. Lois P. Frankel and illustrated by Lisa Graves is available as a paperback.

Ageless Women, Timeless Wisdom

Ageless Women, Timeless Wisdom

This gorgeous 182-page book collects advice, reflections, and memories from women of all walks of life. Dr. Frankel decided to focus the book on women from the age of seventy and up, including a few centenarians.  These woman encompass a wide range of human experience and come from a multitude of economic, religious, educational, and ethnic backgrounds.

In her introduction she lays out the guiding principle of the book:

Unfortunately most people tend to lump all older women into the same homogenous pile when nothing could be further from the truth.  They are as different in maturity as they were in their youth. … Social-minded young women become mature women who volunteer for hospice or teach immigrant women how to read… adventurous young women continue to seek challenges to conquer.  The stories I collected from women around the world reflect these differences in temperament, background, experiences, and interests.

These quotes appear alongside snippets of biographical information to provide context to what these women have to share with the rest of us.

The book itself is beautiful. The text is lifted and highlighted by Lisa Grave’s beautiful illustrations throughout the stories.  You can find more links to Grave’s work on her History Witch Facebook page.

The photos, typefaces, layout, and art come together as a lovely book that would make a great gift this year.  If I had my wish, Frankel and Graves would adapt this book into a daily quote calendar.  I would totally buy that.

And if you buy a copy for yourself… which you totally should… there is an added bonus in the form of 6 beautifully designed pages to record some wisdom from ‘an Ageless Woman in Your Life.’

Ageless Woman, Timeless Wisdom

Ageless Woman, Timeless Wisdom


Happy Birthday Elizabeth Cady Stanton!

Elizabeth_StantonOn November 12, 1815, the pioneering American suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in Johnstown, New York. Stanton was a leader in 19th century activism for women’s suffrage. She often worked with Susan B. Anthony as the theorist and chief writer for the movement while Anthony acted as the public spokesperson for women’s rights.

Holding fast to her belief in true equality, when Elizabeth Cady married abolitionist Henry Brewster Stanton in 1840 she insist that the word obey be dropped from the ceremony.

While she is is best known for her lifelong contributions to the woman suffrage struggle, she was effective in winning property rights for married women, equal guardianship of children, and liberalized divorce laws that all helped to make it possible for women to leave marriages that were harmful to the wife, children, or economic health of the family.

Mrs. Stanton died in New York on October 26, 1902 – 20 years before American women won the right to vote.

I would have girls regard themselves not as adjectives but as nouns.

-Elizabeth Cady Stanton

In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object.

Declaration of Sentiments,
Seneca Falls Convention (July 19-20, 1848)

Our “pathway” is straight to the ballot box, with no variableness nor shadow of turning… We demand in the Reconstruction suffrage for all the citizens of the Republic. I would not talk of Negroes or women, but of citizens.

Letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson

Women have crucified the Mary Wollstonecrafts, the Fanny Wrights, and the George Sands of all ages. Men mock us with the fact and say we are ever cruel to each other… If this present woman must be crucified, let men drive the spikes.

Letter to Lucretia Mott

I have endeavored to dissipate these religious superstitions from the minds of women, and base their faith on science and reason, where I found for myself at last that peace and comfort I could never find in the Bible and the church.

– “The Degraded Status of Woman in the Bible”,
Free Thought Magazine, September 1896

To make laws that man cannot, and will not obey, serves to bring all law into contempt.

-Address to the Tenth National Women’s
Rights Convention on Marriage and Divorce,
New York City, May 11, 1860

To deny political equality is to rob the ostracised of all self-respect; of credit in the market place; of recompense in the world of work; of a voice among those who make and administer the law; a choice in the jury before whom they are tried, and in the judge who decides their punishment.

Addressing Committee of the
Judiciary, January 18, 1892

Men think that self-sacrifice is the most charming of all the cardinal virtues for women, and in order to keep it in healthy working order, they make opportunities for its illustration as often as possible. I would fain teach women that self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice.

The Woman’s Bible (1898)

Margaret Sanger: Woman Rebel

Margaret Sanger: Woman Rebel

Margaret Sanger, birth control crusader, feminist and reformer, was one of the most controversial and compelling figures of the 20th century. The first volume of “The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger,” titled “The Woman Rebel, 1900-1928,” documents the critical phases and influences of an American feminist icon and offers rare glimpses into her working-class childhood, burgeoning feminism, spiritual and scientific interests, sexual explorations, and diverse roles as wife, mother, nurse, journalist, radical socialist and activist.

In spite of the some perceived negative aspects of her determination to be a martyr for the birth control movement, Sanger was a positive social force in testing and denouncing the Comstock law. The law, named for Anthony Comstock, a postal inspector who had lobbied Congress to forbid the distribution of obscene materials throughout the United States, equated birth control and sex education with obscenity. (more…)

Idah McGlone Gibson – Found!

Idah McGlone Gibson – Found!

Yesterday I posted an article by Idah McGlone Gibson and I mentioned my frustration in finding out much about her as the individual behind the by-line.

I LOVE the Internet!

The Ogden Standard-Examiner, 17 Dec 1933

The Ogden Standard-Examiner, 17 Dec 1933

Gena Philibert-Ortega, the author and blogger behind Food.Family.Ephemera, spotted my plea for information and located some stuff for me. I also searched in Accessible Archives and found a short segment in The American Historical Society’ 1926 History Of Los Angeles County – Volume II in the California County Histories.

Gena found her obituary in The Ogden Standard-Examiner for December 17, 1933 as well as census records and a professional biographical feature on her husband, Henry H. Gibson who died in 1915.

As an aside, this conversation with Gena convinced me to invest in a subscription to

I have usually limited myself to what I can find in Chronicling America from the Library of Congress but that only contains material out of copyright before 1922, but for this project I’ll need more material than I can get there.

The following is an expurgated version of her profile from the 1926 History Of Los Angeles County – Volume II.


Perhaps no other one of that assembly of brilliant women who within the past few years have made Southern California an acknowledged center of cultural and social life is more widely known than Idah McGlone Gibson of Los Angeles County, traveler, novelist, political speaker and newspaper writer. Mrs. Gibson owns a beautiful home at Hollywood, and here are prepared the editorials appearing under the caption The Woman’s Point of View. With an unusually eventful experience of twenty-five years of newspaper work to draw upon, she has a wide and eager audience for everything she writes.

Idah H. Gibson Idah McGlone Gibson was born in Michigan, a member of one of its oldest pioneer families. After marriage, when sixteen years old, to Henry H. Gibson, she continued her education under private tutors. Her literary talent manifested itself early, and she was yet young when she secured her first hearing on the Toledo Blade, making so favorable an impression as a feature writer that she continued with that journal for five years, becoming its dramatic critic. In this position her versatile talents were further brought to light and led her into still another field of enterprise which culminated in her taking over for one season the management of the noted actor, William Collier, on Broadway, Mrs. Gibson being the first or her sex to manage a high-class theatrical star.

As a feature writer Mrs. Gibson’s work has been voluminous, appearing in practically all the leading newspapers. She has also been a contributor to most of the standard magazines, leading a busy but happy literary life. Her exceedingly popular novel, “Confessions of a Wife,” ran as a daily newspaper serial for seven years and contained over 600,000 words.

When the World War came on Mrs. Gibson’s high standing as a newspaper woman immediately projected her into work of the greatest importance, and she was sent to Europe as special publicity woman for the National War Council of the Red Cross. She wrote more war stories and made more Red Cross addresses than any other individual the organization sent abroad. Her countrymen read with interest her newspaper articles concerning the gathering of statesmen at Paris for the Peace Conference and the signing of the Peace Treaty, at which she was one of the very few women present.

Of pleasing personality and agreeable manner, Mrs. Gibson both at home and abroad succeeded in securing many unexpected interviews, despite refusals bitterly complained of by many other newspaper correspondents. Our own General Pershing gave Mrs. Gibson his first published interview. On the night before Germany signified her intention of signing the Treaty of Peace at Versailles she was received by Queen Sophia of Greece and sister of the deposed Kaiser and accorded an interview. On other occasions she interviewed seven of the ruling powers of Europe.

Mrs. Gibson remained in Europe for some time after peace was signed not only because of her work, but because her son was there, for five months being a student in the Sorbonne Paris, after the Armistice.

Kenneth Gibson enlisted in the Eighteenth Field Artillery, Third Division, six days after the United States declared war, and was with them in every major offensive of the American Army. He was gassed at Chateau-Thierry. He returned to the United States with his widowed mother, and it was then that she purchased the beautiful home, Trail’s End, at Hollywood, so that she might be near her only son in his chosen profession of moving pictures. (This IMDB entry is for her son Kenneth Gibson)

In political sentiment Mrs. Gibson is a democrat, and her services in behalf of the League of Nations were more than welcome in the political campaign that followed her return to America. She was associated with the democratic candidate for the presidency, Governor Cox of Ohio, and made 120 speeches between August 17, 1919, and October 1 of the same year. She is a valued member of many well known business and social organizations, including the Woman’s Press Club of Illinois, the Woman’s City Club of New York City, The Gamut Club of New York, an honorary member of the Woman’s Educational Club of Toledo, Ohio, and a charter member of the Woman’s Athletic Club of Los Angeles. As a writer Mrs. Gibson’s work is marked with a sincere human quality which makes a general appeal to all readers irrespective of sex.