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Amelia Jenks Bloomer

Born: 27-May-1818
Birthplace: Homer, NY
Died: 30-Dec-1894
Location of death: Council Buffs, IA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Fairview Cemetery, Council Bluffs, IA

Gender: Female
Religion: Anglican/Episcopalian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Activist, Journalist
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Bloomers

Amelia Bloomer received only two years of formal education, but became a prominent suffragette, a contemporary and associate of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She wrote, edited, and published The Lily: A Ladies' Journal, the first newspaper published specifically for women and one of the most widely read suffragette newspapers. In the paper's pages she offered passionate pleas for women's rights, prohibition, education for girls and women, and marriage law reform.

She is remembered today for her arguments that women could never be truly free while wearing the tightly-bound corsets, layers of petticoats, and floor-length, heavy dresses of her era. Not merely confining, these tightly-drawn corsets caused serious health problems for women, and Bloomer refused to wear such clothing. Instead she wore a more practical outfit that came to be called "the bloomer costume", or bloomers -- a short skirt over loose ankle-length pantaloons buttoned at the ankle. "As soon as it became known that I was wearing the new dress," she wrote, "letters came pouring in upon me by the hundreds from women all over the country making inquiries about the dress and asking for patterns -- showing how ready and anxious women were to throw off the burden of long, heavy skirts."

In her activism she had the full support of her husband, Dexter Bloomer, a very liberal-minded attorney who was Mayor of Council Bluffs, Iowa from 1869-71, and wrote a biography of his wife after her death.

Father: Ananias Jenks (clothier)
Mother: Lucy Webb
Husband: Dexter C. Bloomer (attorney, b. 4-Jul-1816, m. 15-Apr-1840, d. 24-Feb-1900)

    National Women's Hall of Fame 1995
    Eponyms Bloomers

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