Friday, April 24, 2020

Abigail Scott Duniway--A Woman Ahead of her Time

In researching my last release, The Suffragette’s Vow, book 8 in the multi-author “Keepers of the Light” series, I stumbled acrossperhaps a better term is clicked tothe fact a feminist newspaper started printing issues in May of 1871 in Portland Oregon. The timeframe fit with my story, as did the location, and my heroine, Nadina, became an intrepid reporter.
courtesy of Wikimedia

Abigail Scott Duniway, a married woman and mother of six children, launched The New Northwest as a weekly publication that carried the motto “Free Speech, Free Press, Free People.” Her brother, Harvey W. Scott who later became chief editorialist of the Portland Oregonian, helped with editing, as did her sister Catherine Coburn. Her disabled husband, Benjamin, managed the business affairs, and several sons helped with the printing press. Missus Duniway supplied much of the copyinclude news reports, topical essays, travel pieces, and serialized fictionherself. Almost twenty years earlier, her family was among one of the early groups of settlers to move to Oregon Territory. All her life, she was aware of the inequality between the sexes. Her wish was to promote discussion about issues pertaining to womendivorce law, economic status of women in a pioneer state, and of course, women’s suffragein the hope of making their lives easier.

The New Northwest is acknowledged by contemporary historians as the first effort in the Pacific Northwest to further women’s rights. Missus Duniway arranged for Susan B. Anthony to visit in summer, 1871 and conduct a tour through the state, making speeches in support of women’s rights and suffrage.  In several elections from 1884 through 1910, males did not support initiatives to grant the right to vote. However, credit is given to Missus Duniway and The New Northwest for the passage of the Married  Women’s Property Act of 1878. After passage, women were allowed to manage their own wages and to own property. When the state’s suffrage initiative was passed in 1912, Governor West asked Abigail Scott Duniway to author and sign the official proclamation. The New Northwest remained in circulation until February, 1887.

Taglines for The Suffragette’s Vow

Can a reclusive lighthouse keeper prevent a curious reporter from digging into his past?

Will a reporter wrest a story from a taciturn lighthouse keeper and gain her independence?

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Keepers of the Light series page

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