Author(s): Myra MacPherson
Victoria Claflin Woodhull and Tennessee 'Tennie' Claflin were true American originals. These vastly forward-thinking sisters' push for women's fiscal, political, and sexual independence placed them among the most fascinating, flamboyant, and scandalous women of the 19th century. In just a few decades, they achieved a stunning list of firsts: half a century before women could vote, Victoria became the first woman to run for president, choosing former slave Frederick Douglass as her running mate; Tennie ran for congress and shocked the world by becoming the honorary colonel of a black regiment. Together, they opened the first brokerage house run by women, not only surviving 1869's infamous Black Friday, but actually making money, and were bankrolled by legendary tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt amid high gossip that he was Tennie's lover. They were the first female publishers of a radical weekly newspaper, leaders in the Spiritualist movement, and heroines among the liberal wing of Suffragettes for revealing Victorian hypocrisy in their speeches and in Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly. In exposing Henry Ward Beecher's alleged adulterous affair they took on the most famous preacher in America and starred in the 'Trial of the Century' that rivaled the Civil War for media coverage. Telling their story with vivid and engaging detail, award-winning historian Myra MacPherson brings these inspiring and outrageous sisters brilliantly to life, and in doing so deconstructs the manners and mores of Victorian America.
Myra MacPherson is the award-winning and bestselling author of four previous books, including The Power Lovers, the Vietnam War classic Long Time Passing, and All Governments Lie. She was an acclaimed journalist at the Washington Post, and has also written for the New York Times, numerous magazines, and websites. She lives in Washington, D.C.