Victoria (Claflin) Woodhull (Morton)(1838–1927)
A Woman of Many Firsts
Overcoming poverty, sexual abuse, a third grade education, being sold into prostitution by her father, and growing up ‘dirt poor,’ Victoria Woodhull deserves to be an iconic symbol of female empowerment for women everywhere.
Victoria became the first woman to own and operate a wholly woman-owned securities brokerage on Wall Street, published the first wholly woman-owned regular newspaper, be invited and speak to the United States House of Representatives, and officially run for President of the United States (1872).
Victoria acted as spokesperson for Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony for the National Woman Suffrage Association, President of the American Spiritualist Society for several terms, and a leading proponent of Free Love, which advocated not promiscuity, but equal legal rights for a woman and the abolishment of the enslavement of marriage.
Victoria foretold how the inability of women to set aside their differences and present exclusively male politicians a united front would delay American woman suffrage for over fifty years.