"Under this name she is fitly described": A Digital History of Gender in the
History of Woman Suffrage

By Michelle Moravec
Rosemont College
March 2015

"It is not, I suppose, at all the design of this platform in any way to abolish what the grammarians call "the distinction of sex"; and when we speak of "woman's rights," we admit, in the very language which is thus employed, that she is a "woman" - that that is appropriately her character--that under this name she is fitly described."


In 1860, on the eve of the Civil War, abolitionist and male supporter of woman suffrage Beriah Green articulated what we would now describe as a critique of gendered power relations, even if he did so in language we might find difficult to decode. The "distinction of sex" to which he referred was more than mere grammatical construction. As Joan Scott has noted, gender, even in its original linguistic function was "a way of classifying phenomena, a socially agreed upon system of distinctions rather than an objective description of inherent traits."[2]

As the noted historian of suffrage Ellen DuBois has argued, finding gender in the movement for woman suffrage is a somewhat vexing task:

Subjecting the subject of woman suffrage to a gender history approach must surmount the obstacle that the term "gender" is [largely] absent from the primary sources. But this does not mean that the underlying concepts packed into the contemporary use of the term are absent. Tani Barlow has approached the history of women's rights (including suffrage) in China by tracing the shifting Chinese language terms for woman/female. The English language does not provide such an easy entry into this project--though the terms for the political movement were numerous, shifting, and subtly different in connotation--woman suffrage, equal suffrage, votes for women, home protection, women's suffrage, etc.[3]

While the term "gender" does appear in a handful of items in the HWS, they are almost all references to a clever gambit by Myra Bradwell to exploit a loophole in an 1845 statute that stated "When any party or person is described or referred to by words importing the masculine gender, females as well as males shall be deemed to be included."[4] The Illinois Supreme Court rejected the "petitioner['s] claims that the pronoun he, not only in this section, but the whole chapter, is used indefinitely for any person, and may refer to either a man or woman" as "repugnant."[5]

While the English language may lack the features of Chinese used by Barlow, the analysis DuBois desires may be conducted if the digital historian borrows some methods and tools from corpus linguists. Tony McEnery and Andrew Hardie define corpus linguistics as:

a group of methods for studying language. . . dealing with some set of machine-readable texts . . . or corpus which is usually of a size which defies analysis by hand and eye alone within any reasonable timeframe . . . corpora are invariably exploited using tools which allow users to search through them rapidly and reliably.[6]

The History of Woman Suffrage is an ideal candidate for corpus analysis. As Mari Jo and Paul Buhle note in their "concise" edition of the HWS, "The massive size of the original six-volume History of Woman Suffrage has likely limited its impact . . . by collecting miscellanies like state suffrage reports and speeches of every sort without interpretation or restraint, the set was often neglected as impenetrable."[7] Indeed, the six volumes run to almost six thousand pages consisting of more than 800 individual items.

Figure 1a: Analysis of History of Woman Suffrage components, all volumes

Figure 1b: Items by date written, History of Woman Suffrage, all volumes

Working with the digital version of the HWS from Alexander Street Press's Women and Social Movements in the United States offers not only the digitized text of the volumes, but also extensive metadata that, when combined with different digital approaches, offer many insights into "the distinctions of sex," as well as gender, "the social organization of the relationship between the sexes."[8]

Under what name is she . . .described

Figure 2: Term Usage Compared, History of Woman Suffrage vs. Corpus of Historical American English
2a: History of Woman Suffrage, 1848-1920

2b: Corpus of Historical American English, 1850-1920

While Beriah Green focused on the use of the singular woman, the word women appears almost twice as frequently as woman in the History of Woman Suffrage (figure 2a). The only period in which woman is more frequently used than women is in the first volume of the History of Woman Suffrage, which covers the earliest years of the movement, from the 1830s until the outbreak of the Civil War. For histories of gender in the HWS, shifts from the singular woman to the plural women may be quite important as a marker of different rhetoric. How does the shift from woman to women during the antebellum period accord with ways the demands of women were phrased? This question becomes even more intriguing when compared to the results for woman and women in contemporaneous sources. Linguists have created bodies of text specifically for this purpose. In the Corpus of Historical American English women is more frequent than woman, the reverse order of frequencies for all volumes of the HWS except for the first (figure 2b) (see below).[9] While it is not unexpected that the HWS would diverge from a sample of nineteenth-century writings given the subject matter, the reversal of the ordering in the Corpus of Historical American English may reflect a social movement discourse that worked against dominant linguistic depictions of women as singular individuals to emphasize that women were bound together as a gendered identity. While scholars have noted some distinctive rhetoric along these lines, the bonds of womanhood, for example, using computers to explore extremely common words like women and woman offers additional insights, namely that women as they constituted a group demanded woman suffrage.

Woman Suffrage but Women's Rights

Figure 3: Raw Frequency of Term Usage, History of Woman Suffrage, by volume

Because one of the stories we tell about suffrage history is that the quest for the universal human rights of (wo)man gradually narrowed to a political demand for suffrage for women, how the words rights, right, and suffrage appear in the HWS in conjunction with women and woman is significant. When two words appear adjacent to one another, as in woman suffrage, corpus linguists call this a cluster. The probability of two words forming a cluster in a text can be calculated as a way to compare different clusters, such as women's suffrage and woman's rights.[10] While the phrase woman suffrage was the most common way that the right to vote was demanded, the story proves more complicated in regards to rights (figure 3).

The only volume in the History of Woman Suffrage in which rights appears more than suffrage is the first volume (figure 4). The relative frequencies of the usage of rights and suffrage in HWS shows that overall rights gradually fades out of the HWS.

Figure 4: Comparison of Term Usage, History of Woman Suffrage, by volume

Not only does woman suffrage increase over time in HWS, but also the total number clusters formed with woman decreases (figure 5a). In effect the singular woman becomes more strongly associated with suffrage over time. By volumes 5 & 6, woman is five times as likely to be followed by suffrage than it was in volume 1. Only in volume 5 does another contender appear, woman citizen, which turns out to be a repeated reference to the NAWSA newspaper. A similar trend exists for the less common woman's suffrage, which by volume 2 moves from the 11th to the 2nd most frequent cluster of woman's (figure 5c). Along with other clusters such as woman's enfranchisement, woman's cause, woman's vote, this shift points to the beginning of the association of woman more exclusively with suffrage in the immediate post-bellum period.

Figure 5: clusters of woman and women in History of Woman Suffrage, all Volumes

5a: Most PROBABLE 2-word clusters for woman, History of Woman Suffrage, by volume

5b: Most PROBABLE 2-word clusters for women, History of Woman Suffrage, by volume

5c: MOST PROBABLE clusters for woman’s, History of Woman Suffrage, by volume

5d: Most PROBABLE clusters for women’s, History of Woman Suffrage, by volume

The most common cluster for women is the women in volumes 1-4 and then women's in volumes 5 and 6 (figure 5b). Both of these results seem to express gendered identities. The most frequent appearances of the women for example refer to a gender-based geographic group, as in women of the state or women of the south. Similarly, women's (figure 5d) indicates gender-based organizational affiliations, as in women's clubs and women's overseas league.

Looking only at clusters makes it difficult to get at how rights continue to appear in the History of Woman Suffrage. However, looking at words that appear within a span of five words to the right or to the left of right or rights offers some insights.[11]

At times these usages took the form of demands for a universal human right or equal rights as in Sojourner Truth, "women shall have their rights--not rights from you" or the British Suffragist Caroline Ashurst Biggs, "women shall have the same rights as men."[12] However, often these uses referred to specific rights, suffrage of course, but also quite frequently married women's property rights, as in Form of Appeal and Petition Circulated in the State of New York during the Summer and Autumn of 1859, "under our present laws married women have no right to the wages they earn?"[13]

In this last example, it becomes apparent that female persons, women, often appear in texts as subgroups denoted by descriptive adjectives, such as married women. Looking at the ten most frequent adjectives that appeared adjacent to women and men reveals a race-based discourse for men (colored, black, white are all near the top)

Figure 6: Ten most frequent adjectives preceding women and men, History of Woman Suffrage, all volumes

and marital status (married) for women. These findings reflect coverture and slavery as the legal background against which suffrage discourse evolved. The prominence of colored women comes as something of a surprise as the racialized discourse of suffrage is generally associated with debates over the enfranchisement of black men, but along with loyal women and southern women seems to evoke the Reconstruction era. Exploring these results by volume reveals that this is not precisely the case. While loyal women and colored women do peak in the second volume, which covers the years of the Civil War and Reconstruction, southern women is most frequent in the fifth volume, reflecting regional efforts in the movement for suffrage. Similarly, colored women is prominent in both volumes 4 and 2, reflecting not only the Civil War context, but also the development of a black female suffrage movement (see below).

However, other adjectives hint at ways women were described that might help them to obtain rights, such as by virtue of being American, loyal or educated women. Men on the other hand, already in possession of rights, are described in terms that denote character, such as good or best, as well as social status, such as prominent and leading. These adjectives seem to apply to the male supporters of woman's suffrage.

Beyond Separate Spheres

While adjectives that describe women help to explain which women might be said to possess rights, another way to explore gender in HWS is to compare female and male authors in the History of Woman Suffrage in the hopes of locating a gendered rhetoric. Of the 808 individual items in HWS, author attribution exists for a little over half (55%).[14] Of those items, about two-thirds were authored by females and one-third by males. Author attribution is uneven over the course of the six volumes. Volumes 5 and 6 contain almost no attributed items. Although they consist largely of chapters that were likely written by the female editors, these volumes have been excluded from gender comparisons made in this analysis.

Linguists have developed a statistical measurement for comparing words used more frequently in one set of texts than in another set of sources. This analysis, called keyness, reveals that female authors used the rhetoric of spheres less than did male authors, as measured by both the relative frequency with which authors used the word sphere (.06% v .02%) and percentage of items that contain sphere (25% v 13%).

Figure 7: Term Usage Compared, History of Woman Suffrage, by sex of author, all volumes

While it is clear that the men are for the most part not advocating separate spheres, they invoke that language, if only to combat the stereotype. Women, on the other had, simply refused to entertain the debate over spheres anymore, considering it a settled question. The male authors weren't prescribing woman's sphere, as the Rev. Samuel Johnson put it in an 1856 letter: man "must clear himself of this senseless twaddle about 'woman's sphere.'"[15] However, as male allies attempted to address one of the strongest arguments against woman's rights, what students of nineteenth century U.S. white women's history have come to know as "separate spheres," they took various tacks.[16] In an 1870 speech, George William Curtis accedes to the notion of spheres while discounting their import: "Here, at this moment, in this audience, I have no doubt there is many a man who is exclaiming with fervor--'Home, the heaven-appointed sphere of woman.' Very well. I don't deny it, but how do you know it? How can you know it?"[17] The speech of Reverend James Freeman Clarke to the New England Women's Rights Convention, May 27, 1859, offers a strategic shift in positioning spheres: The accusation is "you want to take woman out of her sphere" and his response is "Not at all, we wish to give her a sphere."[18]

If female authors shunned sphere, how then did the female-authored items address the status of women? While not as strongly overused by female authors as sex and sphere are by the male authors, position does seem to be the word that female authors used to describe their unequal status. Women "demand[ed] their true position," decried the "dark depths of their position," and argued against woman's "inferior position."

While the rhetoric of separate spheres is among the most studied aspects of women's history, keyness analysis highlights other linguistic patterns that are not so readily apparent (figure 8). Female authors were more likely to use words that reflect gender, through gendered terms of address (Mrs., Miss, Mr.), gendered pronouns (her, his) and references to kinship (mother, father, wife). Male authors were more likely to use words that reflect the distinctions of sex such as woman, man, male, female, and sex itself.

Figure 8: Keyness, History of Woman Suffrage, by Sex of Author, Volumes 1-4

Female authors generally avoided describing women in terms of sex at all (female sex for example appears only once in their items, compared to nine times in seven male-written documents). Instead, the salient patterns in female writings, while admittedly not very numerous (only 38 times total in 11 documents), are our sex and own sex. Uses of these phrases are diachronically constrained with over 70 percent appearing in the decade of the 1850s (range 1838-1870). In particular, Elizabeth Cady Stanton used these phrases, with items authored by her accounting for four of the eleven.[19] For example, in an 1855 letter to her cousin, Stanton bemoaned the limitations placed on "our sex" by their dress, which she argued, was "a badge of degradation, and deprives us of so many rights and privileges wherever we go?"[20] Instead, she expounded on the experiences of Aurore Dupin who, "disguised as a man, . . . has been able to see life in Paris, and has spoken in political meetings with great applause, as no woman could have done. In male attire, we could travel by land or sea; go through all the streets and lanes of our cities and towns by night and day, without a protector; get seven hundred dollars a year for teaching, instead of three [hundred], and ten dollars for making a coat, instead of two or three, as we now do."[21]

While Stanton did advocate dress reform, her reference to George Sand was hardly a rallying cry for donning "male attire," but rather a careful parsing of the key signifier of dress in creating and sustaining a limiting femininity. It is here that we see her moving into the arena we now know as gender. However, because Stanton's writings are less present in the volumes she did not edit, it is difficult to trace the evolution of her writing along these lines.

More than True Womanhood

Beriah Green's invocation of the possessive, woman's in regards to rights points to linguistic betrayals of deeply gendered ideologies that underlay the movement for woman suffrage. In addition to the appositive woman's as a form of possession, another way to look at gendered possession from a linguistic standpoint is to explore pronouns. Keyness analysis shows that her is used by female authors more than by male authors (figure 8).

Her own, the most common cluster for authors of both sexes, is initially a somewhat confusing result. However, when expanded to a three-word cluster, her own becomes a reference to marital and property rights discourse (figure 9).

Figure 9: Ten most frequent clusters her own, History of Woman Suffrage, by sex of author, volumes 1-4

Female authors demanded the right to "divorce in her own name," to "hold her own property," and "possession of her own person and her own children." Similarly "manage her own property," "right to her own children," and "possess her own earnings" appear in items written by men.

Using software that tags words in a text with their part of speech offers another way to look at what specifically women can be said to possess. The ten most frequent nouns that follow her (figure 10) reveal more overlaps between female and male authors. Her property combined with the presence of many kinship references (her husband, her brother, her child) hints that both men and women shared a common discourse of married women's property rights. Looking at words that occurred along with her husband, such as consent, wife and property, in female-authored texts and estate, wife, real, power, and law for male authors supports this conclusion.

Figure 10: Ten most frequent nouns following her, History of Woman Suffrage by sex of author, volumes 1-4

There are however some interesting points of divergence, particular in men's invocations of her sphere and women's use of her nature. Her is more than twice as likely to be followed immediately by sphere in male authored items, while female authors were equally likely to follow her with nature or sphere.[22]

For example, in a fiery speech delivered at the 1851 National Woman's Rights Convention Ernestine Potowski Rose lamented that women faced:

"deep-rooted, hoary-headed prejudices. The main cause of them is, a pernicious falsehood propagated against her being, namely, that she is inferior by her nature. Inferior in what? What has man ever done, that woman, under the same advantages, could not do? . . . In the intellectual sphere, give her a fair chance before you pronounce a verdict against her."[23]

Rose's challenge is not only to the notion of women's inferior "nature," but also to the closed off "intellectual sphere" to which she believed women were restricted.

Conversely, speaking before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, Congressman A.G. Riddle poked fun at the idea of woman's sphere, while noting that man has construed woman's nature to serve his own interests.

We men have made the institutions for men, and for men alone; never consulted woman. We have said she was nobody, and nowhere, or, if she was found anywhere she was out of her sphere, (Laughter) and must go back to nowhere immediately, and to nobody. We have gravely assumed that we understood her nature and character better than she did herself.[24]

While these examples hint at a gendered rhetoric, with each sex taking a specific tactic in the fight against the opposition, this cluster analysis also reveals the limitations of History of Woman Suffrage as a source for exploring gender. The exclusion by the editors of the History of Woman Suffrage of more radical activists means that married women's property rights is the most prominent gendered rights discourse present in the volumes outside of suffrage itself. There simply are not enough instances of other clusters to draw more than tentative conclusion about gendered rhetoric.

All the Women are White, All the Men are Black, But Some of Us Are Brave

Nor are their sufficient items present to get at race and gender as they appear alongside rights or suffrage. One of the most noted biases in the History of Woman Suffrage is the exclusion of African-American authors. Only eight documents (out of more than 800 overall) by identified African Americans, including three by Sojourner Truth and four by Frederick Douglass, appear in the entire six volumes.

Alexander Street Press is currently in the process of publishing a collection of full-text sources by and about Black Woman Suffragists based on the pathbreaking work done by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn.[25] I conducted a very preliminary investigation of the first two installments, which consist of 405 texts by eighteen authors totaling 1.6 million words. Because these initial releases of the BWSD include fiction and poetry, largely absent from the HWS, as well as significant numbers of religious texts, also seriously underrepresented in the HWS, this analysis is at best contingent as differences may be driven by genre conventions. Furthermore, the limited number of authors means that stylistic variations in their writings may skew results.

I began by exploring how black suffragists wrote about themselves. People and even men or man appear more often than woman or women in their texts. For instance, people appears a third more frequently than women (figure 11).

Figure 11: Term Usage, Black Woman Suffragists Database, ca. 1831-1945

People occurs largely in the sense of racial group identity, such as colored people and our people. For example, in Frances Watkins Harper's novel Iola Leroy, she praised the gains made in literacy including "a number of papers edited by colored men" and "estimated that two millions of our people had learned to read."[26] As this last example reveals, black women frequently wrote about black men. About a quarter of the occurrences of women are with men, as in Anna Julia Cooper's lament that "the waste of material is greater in making colored men and women than in the case of others."[27] Even in a book entitled, The Work of the Afro-American Woman, Mrs. N. F. Mossell referred to "the ever increasing number of bright Afro-American men and women."[28] However, in addition to this language of racial uplift that involved men, black women also called out racism by white men. Ida B. Wells-Barnett argued that "If the laws of the country were obeyed and respected by the white men of the country who charge that the Negro has no respect for law" then lynching would not be tolerated.[29]

While women appears relatively infrequently, authors in the BWSD texts were very likely to use her which offers not only a way to get at gender in their texts, but also a point of comparison with female authors in the HWS (figure 12). Looking at the ten most frequent nouns that followed her reveals only a single point of overlap between the BWSD and HWS, her husband. Not only are there few overlaps between the two sets of texts, but also extremely disparate clusters emerge. For example, the property and rights discourse, so strong in items by women in HWS is barely present in BWSD where her property appears only five times. Similarly, her right and her rights combined equal only 28 instances in the BWSD. Conversely, her mother, very frequent in BWSD, appears just twice in female-authored HWS items.

Figure 12: Comparison of nouns following her, Black Woman Suffragists Database, ca. 1831-1945 and History of Woman Suffrage, Female authors, 1848-1920

Looking at the instances of female possession in BWSD reveals a prevalent embodied discourse, in her heart, her eyes, her voice, and her hand. Some of these patterns do occur frequently in HWS, however even where there is overlap between HWS and BWSD in these bodily references, their uses diverge. In the HWS, for example her hand is performative. It implies the power to do something, "to whatever she sets her hand," "dares to lift her hand," "put her hand to the wheel of progress." Her hand also appears in ways that denote affection, as in "pressing her hand affectionately" and "placed her hand upon his little head."

While her hand as indicator of affection is also present in BWSD, so is its opposite, as in "she withdrew her hand from his." In place of the hand as a vehicle for doing, only weakly indicated by "put her hand upon the work," and "turning her hand," the BWSD contains a grasping element. Her hand is preceded by "reached" ("She tried to speak, reached out her hand as if she were groping in the dark"), "extends," "raised," "seeking," and "stretched," in lines that reflect the hand as a means of connecting with another person, as in "snatched."

Other uses of the body are quite distinctive in BWSD. In particular, the prolific Frances Harper (found in BWSD but not in HWS) authored many pieces of fiction and poetry that contain bodily references. Harper understood her fiction as a "lasting service to the race" and thus her invocation of the female body is significant as a means for conveying her political message.[30]

Her heart, for example, reflects the sentimental conventions of nineteenth-century literature, as in "thrilling her heart." It also, though, connoted painful emotions "her heart o'erflowed with pain," "her heart-stricken mother," "her heart filled with mournful memories," "her heart is breaking in despair," as well as passionate commitment: "All her heart," "from her heart," "strong in her heart," "uppermost in her heart," "deep into her heart," "near her heart," "bottom of her heart," "hand on her heart," "set her heart," "close to her heart"). Only the latter sense appears in the HWS as in "dear to her heart" and "her heart was in her work." At this point, without a more diverse body of writings by Black Suffragists, these differences can only be pointed to tentatively. Since the BWSD when complete will eventually have almost 1,500 documents by 70 authors, a more full-bodied comparison will be possible.

Still these corporeal references by black suffragists intrigued me, in both their quantitative and qualitative dimension. I was reminded of the infamous description of Sojourner Truth allegedly baring her arm as she proclaimed "Ain't I a Woman?" in Frances D. Gage's report of her 1851 speech found in Volume 1 of the History of Woman Suffrage.[31] The full-text sources by Black Woman Suffragists contain the other contemporaneous account of Truth's words, and I was struck by how they differed. While Gage describes Truth as an "almost Amazon form," the account in the abolitionist Anti-Slavery Bugle stressed not just her "powerful form," but also her "whole-souled, earnest gesture" and "strong and truthful tones."[32]

Clusters distinctive to BWSD, such as her soul and her presence as well as her voice offer an intriguing way of getting at what the Anti-Slavery Bugle alluded to, and that Gage's account omits. Not only is the soul a substitute for self in items from the BWSD, as in "could not call her soul her own," but also the soul is positioned as a source of power--"with all her soul and might," "energy of her soul," and well-spring of knowledge "poured forth from her soul," and "emanate from her soul." The soul, even at its most frequent in HWS, volume 1, appears only at half the relative frequency that it appears in the BWSD reflecting the distrust of religion by editors of the History of Woman Suffrage.

While the Black Woman Suffragists Database is still small, and thus the analysis here yields only provisional insights, computational analysis of sources led me back to more historical questions. How much does this embodied rhetoric reflect the influence of abolitionist rhetoric, which often stressed the corporeal horrors of slavery? How much of it can be attributed to genre or to religious rhetoric? Will the same results be found in the completed body of Black Woman Suffragists full-text sources? Corpus composition is an art not a science, and I look forward to working with subsets of the completed database to see if there are, in fact, differences that can be attributed to genre, diachronic shifts, or other factors.

With more authors in the completed BWSD it will be possible to explore further the other differences I noted. Once more genres are included, will the presence of religious discourse fade? Will a fuller range of chronological sources reveal shifts away from abolitionist-inflected rhetoric? With the inclusion of more speeches and journalism, will the tendency in the BWSD for authors to refer to people or man and men, more frequently than women or woman hold up in a wider range of sources? These are questions I look forward to exploring further as this work proceeds.


Over the past two and a half years, I've accrued many debts to people who have aided me in this project. At Alexander Street Press, Pat Carlson, Michelle Eldridge, and Graham Dimmock accommodated my many dataset requests, quickly and efficiently, while Nathalie Duval provided endless encouragement for doing digital history with WASM sources. I thank Heather Froehlich for her generous tutelage in corpus linguistics and Kat Gupta for sharing pre-publication work on woman suffrage, although I hasten to add all errors are mine! Ellen DuBois, as always, pushed me to think harder and deeper, while constantly assuring me that a digital history of the History of Woman Suffrage would be a useful thing. Members of the online community of digital humanities scholars too numerous to mention provided me with feedback throughout the long process of producing this project. I know it is better for their comments, critiques, and insights and only wish I could thank each person individually. Finally, Thomas Dublin shepherded this project every step of the way, and without his support, the project would not exist.



1. Speech of Rev. Beriah Green to the Tenth National Woman's Rights Convention, May 10, 1860, in History of Woman Suffrage, 1:699.
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2. Joan Wallach Scott, "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis," in Gender and the Politics of History (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 29.
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3. Ellen C. DuBois, personal correspondence with the author, August 10, 2014. See also, Ellen C. DuBois, "Suffrage and Gender," in Nancy Naples, et al., eds. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies (West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming 2016). Tani E. Barlow, The Question of Women in Chinese Feminism (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2004).
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4. Chapter XXV: Trials and Decisions. In History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 2: 1861-1876, edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage. (Rochester, NY: Privately Published, 1881), 2:602.
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5. Ibid., 2:613.
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6. Tony McEnery and Andrew Hardie, Corpus Linguistics: Method, Theory and Practice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 12.
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7. Paul Buhle and Mari Jo Buhle, The Concise History of Woman Suffrage: Selections from History of Woman Suffrage, Edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and the National American Woman Suffrage Association (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, rev. ed., 2005; originally published, 1978), back cover of paperback ed.
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8. Scott, "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis," 28. A word is appropriate here about the History of Woman Suffrage volumes as sources. Buhle and Buhle in the preface to the revised edition of The Concise History of Woman Suffrage offer the best discussion of the genesis and production of the HWS.
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9. Mark Davies, (2010-) The Corpus of Historical American English: 400 million words, 1810-2009. Available online at http://corpus.byu.edu/coha/. The Corpus of Historical American English (1810-2009) consists of over 100,000 individual works from fiction, magazines, newspapers, and nonfiction, totaling over four million words. Because the corpus is balanced by genre for each decade, the Corpus of American Historical English is very useful for tracing shifts over time.
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10. Two-word clusters are called bigrams, while three-word clusters are called trigrams. Technically woman's rights is a trigram since the s is treated as the equivalent of a word by the software. The tendency of words to create bigrams and trigrams is measured by conditional probability.
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11. Linguists refer to words that occur with, but not necessarily adjacent to each other within a give span of words in a text, as collocates. The likelihood of collocation is measured by mutual information score.
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12. Speech by Sojourner Truth, May 10, 1867, in History of Woman Suffrage, 2:225; Chapter LVI: Great Britain, by Caroline Ashurst Biggs in History of Woman Suffrage, 3:889.
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13. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Appeal and Petition to the Women of New York, 1859, in History of Woman Suffrage, 1:676.
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14. Of the unattributed items, 74% are chapter or section headings, 10% are images.
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15. Letter of Rev. Samuel Johnson to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, October 4, 1856. In History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1: 1848-1861, edited by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage (New York, N.Y.: Fowler and Wells, 1881), p. 635.
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16. Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, "The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations between Women in Nineteenth-Century America," Signs 1:1 (Autumn 1975): 1-29; Kathryn Kish Sklar, Catharine Beecher: A Study in American Domesticity (New York: W.W. Norton, 1976; originally published, 1973); Nancy F. Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: "Woman`s Sphere" in New England, 1780-1835 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1978).
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17. Speech of Mr. George William Curtis, in History of Woman Suffrage, 2:798.
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18. Speech of Reverend James Freeman Clarke to the New England Women's Rights Convention, May 27, 1859, in History of Woman Suffrage, 1:265.
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19. Here we run into some fascinating examples of how the HWS as a source is deeply biased. Stanton's 1885 "Address on Disabilities and Limitations of Sex," delivered before the National Woman Suffrage Association, in which she argues most explicitly against the "distinctions of sex," does not appear in the HWS, perhaps because of the growing divide between Anthony and Stanton wrought by the very radicalism expressed in that speech. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, "The disabilities and limitations of sex," reprinted in The Women's Tribune, March 1885.
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20. Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Gerrit Smith, 21 December 1855, in History of Woman Suffrage, 1:841.
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21. Ibid, 1:841.
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22. Transitional probability for her sphere 0.011 for male authors, versus 0.005 for female authors. Her nature, 0.006 for male authors; 0.005, for female authors.
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23. Speech of Ernestine L. Rose to the Second National Woman's Rights Convention, 1851, by Ernestine Louise Rose. In History of Woman Suffrage, 1:241.
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24. Albert Gallatin Riddle, Speech in Support of the Woodhull Memorial, before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, 1870. In History of Woman Suffrage, 2:458
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25. Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, "Afro-Americans in the Struggle for Woman Suffrage" (Unpub. Ph.D. diss., Howard University, 1977); see also Terborg-Penn, "The Writings of Black Women Suffragists: An Introduction," in Dublin and Sklar, eds., Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, 18:1 (March 2014).
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26. CHAPTER XXX: FRIENDS IN COUNCIL, by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. In Iola Leroy, or, Shadows Uplifted, 258.
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27. What are We Worth, by Anna Julia Cooper. In A Voice from the South, 245.
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28. OUR AFRO-AMERICAN REPRESENTATIVES AT THE WORLD'S FAIR, by Gertrude E. H. Bustill Mossell. In The Work of the Afro-American Woman, 109.
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29. MOB RULE IN NEW ORLEANS: LYNCHING RECORD, by Ida B. Wells-Barnett. In Mob Rule in New Orleans: Robert Charles and His Fight to the Death, 47.
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30. Hazel V. Carby, Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 63.
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31. Reminiscences of Sojourner Truth, by Frances D. Gage, 1:116.
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32. Sojourner Truth, "WOMEN'S RIGHTS CONVENTION," in Anti-Slavery Bugle, 21 June 1851, p. 160.
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Copyright © 2015, Michelle Moravec

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