First Wave Feminists- Mattie Brinkerhoff

Mattie H. Brinkerhoff (fl. 1860s) was a uniquely persuasive lecturer who promoted women’s education and suffrage, shared parental responsibility, and rights to pre-and post-natal care. In 1867, Brinkerhoff toured Kansas with friends Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Universalist minister Olympia Brown. A year later, Brinkerhoff would win scores of admirers touring Illinois and Iowa, where she organized suffragist societies and gained subscribers to The Revolution. The Dubuque Herald praised her departure from the strident feminist stereotype, and by 1869, she could fulfill but half of the many speaking invitations she received. Unfortunately, when she divorced and remarried, Brinkerhoff’s popularity suffered a precipitous and lasting decline.

“When a man steals to satisfy hunger, we may safely conclude that there is something wrong in society—so when a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is an evidence that either by education or circumstances she has been greatly wronged.”

-From The Revolution, September 2, 1869

-Jen Hawkins, The American Feminist: First Wave Feminists