First Wave Feminists- Sarah Norton

A great-granddaughter of President John Adams, Sarah F. Norton (1840-1910) was a noted philanthropist and suffragist whose membership in the Working Women’s Association focused on equal education for girls, and equal job opportunities and pay for women. In 1869, Norton and Susan B. Anthony successfully lobbied Cornell University to admit women. Throughout her life, Norton wrote and lectured for woman-centered social and economic reform. Throughout her writings, including “The Rag Pickers of New York” and “Tragedy—Social and Domestic,” Norton decried sexual double-standards and impugned men for their “instigating” roles in abortion and infanticide.

“[C]hild-murder is an easy and every-day affair….. [C]hild murderers practice their profession without let or hindrance, and open infant butcheries unquestioned, establishing themselves with an impunity that is not allowed to the slaughterers of cattle Scores of persons advertise their willingness to commit this form of murder, and with unblushing effrontery announce their names and residences in the daily papers. No one seems to be shocked by the fact   [C]irculars are distributed broadcast, recommending certain pills and potions for the very purpose, and by these means the names of these slayers of infants, and the methods by which they practice their life-destroying trade, have become ‘familiar in our mouths as household words.’ … Is there no remedy for all this ante-natal child murder? … Perhaps there will come a time when…. an unmarried mother will not be despised because of her motherhood…. and when the right of the unborn to be born will not be denied or interfered with… ”

– From “Tragedy—Social and Domestic,” Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly, November 19, 1870