Amelia Bloomer

by: Casey Bannen
• Born: May 27th 1818
• Birthplace: Horner, New Jersey
• Parents: Ananias Jenks and Lucy Webb
• Received only a few years of basic education in Homer’s district schools
• At age 17 Amelia began teaching in Clyde, New York
• Amelia was also a governess and tutor for a family in Waterloo, New York
• 1840- married Dexter C. Bloomer ( newspaper editor - edited Seneca County
Courier - and attorney) {they resided to Seneca Falls, New York}
• Amelia was a temperance and women’s rights reformer
• Amelia wrote anonymous reform-minded articles for local papers including the
Courier, the Water Bucket, a temperance paper, and the Free Soil Union.
• Early reform interest was confined primarily to the temperance movement, but
long believed in equality of men and women
• Striked the promise to obey from her marriage vows
• Attended the 1848 women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls
• Founded the Lily (a monthly journal)
“It is woman that speaks through the Lily. It is upon an important subject, too,
that she comes before the public to be heard. Intemperance is the great foe to her
peace and happiness… surely she has a right to wield the pen for its
suppression… It is this which she purposes to do in the columns of the Lily”
~Amelia Bloomer (January 1 st 1849)
• The Lily soon began to include articles on women suffrage, property rights,
education, employment, and dress reform. Some articles were written by
Elizabeth Cady Staton, but mostly by Amelia Bloomer.
• In 1851 she adopted the women’s clothing reform style, with which her name
became linked because of her early and strong advocacy – she promoted the
“bloomer costume” (short skirt and loose trousers that gathered at the ankles)
in the Lily
• From 1871-1873 she served as president of the Iowa Women Suffrage
• Died: December 30 th 1894
• Place of death: Council Bluffs, Iowa
“The costume of women should be suited to her wants and necessities. It
should conduce at once to her health, comfort, and usefulness; and, while it
should not fail also to conduce to her personal adornment, it should make that
end of secondary importance.”
“The human mind must be active, and the thoughts of woman's heart must
find vent in some way; and if the garden of the mind instead of being highly
cultivated, so that it may produce a rich harvest of fruits and flowers, is
suffered to run to waste, it is not surprising that it yields nothing but weeds,
briars, and thorns.”
o The Lily influenced the way women thought and behaved in society, this
includes the clothing reform (the “Bloomer Costume”) and political
reforms (she felt women needed to have more of a voice in government).
o Very successful in that women all over started to speak up and change their
way of dress.
Petition written by Amelia
An article from the Lily
1. What did Amelia truly believe in?
a) Women suffrage
b) Equality between men and women
c) Men to have all power over women d) Women shouldn’t have a voice
2. What was the name of Amelia’s paper?
a) The Courier
b) The Suffrage Movement
c) The Lily
d) The Women’s voice
3. What did Amelia’s paper focus on?
a) Women suffrage, property rights, education, employment, and dress reform
b) Women suffrage and dress reform
c) No property rights and no taxation without representation
4. Explain what you believe Amelia’s purpose behind supporting the
“bloomer costume” was.
5. What do you think inspired Amelia Bloomer to start writing and create the
Amelia Bloomer was the one who introduced Susan B. Anthony to Elizabeth
Cady Staton.
Garraty, John A., and Carnes Mark C. American National Biography. New York: Oxford UP, 1999.