Today is September 28. 2016. William, Duke of Normandy, landed on England’s shores 950 years ago today (1066).


Excerpt “From Tribes to Nations”:

Henry I


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William the Conqueror                                                            m 1047 Matilda of Flanders

b 1027, Falaise Castle, Normandy b 1035

d 9 Sept 1087 near Rouen d 2 Nov 1083

reigned 1066-1087

Duke Robert of Normandy, a fourth generation descendant of Rollo the Dane, was riding toward his capital at Falaise one morning when he saw Arlette, the beautiful young daughter of a tanner from his estate. The young maiden was washing linens beside a stream. Although the duke was already married to a woman of rank and quality,

Robert fell in love at first sight with the sinewy Arlette. He whisked her away to his castle and lived with her for the rest of their natural days. To this union was born an only son, William, to become William I of England, called the Conqueror, the man who brought an end to the Saxon rule and established a new system of feudal economics based upon land and service to the king.

In 1034, Robert decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Before leaving, he persuaded the Norman barons to accept William as his successor. Robert died on his journey, leaving seven year old William as Duke of Normandy. In these harsh times a  minor’s claim to entitlement was precarious. One by one, the great barons who had vowed to protect him came to violent ends. Rival ambitions stirred through Normandy.

Were they to be ruled by a bastard? Was the grandson of a tanner fit to rule over war lords and feudal knights?

The taint of bastardy hung over William for many years, hardening and embittering  him. Many years later, at the siege of Alencon, the imprudent citizens of the besieged town hung skins over the fortifications, shouting, “Hides, hides for the tanner.” William was so angered by this taunt that he devastated the town and had the principal inhabitants flayed alive.

William was raised in a hard school of suspicions, intrigue and constant combat. By the age of twenty he was a skilled military commander, aiding his overlord, Henry I of France, in stamping out rebellions with a precocious aptitude for government and war.

In 1051, William visited England and received from Edward the Confessor, his kinsman and King of England, a promise of succession to the English throne. He sealed this promise and strengthened his claim by marrying Matilda, daughter of Baldwin V of Flanders, who traced her descent from Alfred the Great.

In 1064, Harold, thane and possible successor to Edward of England, was driven by winds to the coast of France and shipwrecked on lands held by the Count of Ponthieu.

The count thought he had stumbled upon a rich treasure, attempting to hold Harold for a considerable ransom. William interceded on Harold’s behalf, first by civil request, then by armed command, until the count reluctantly presented Harold to the Norman court.

Friendship sprang up between Harold and William. They were often seen laughing and hunting together with falcons on their wrists, or playing together in sport. After Harold’s assistance under William against the Britons, William knighted his friend, but William’s wary eyes never forgot to look forward to English succession. He considered the power that Harold wielded under Edward and realized how easy it might be for Harold to become king if he happened to be present when Edward died. William asked Harold to swear an oath to renounce all designs upon the English crown, swear his allegiance to William as his king, and receive the earldom of Wessex as reward for his service.

Legend has it that the significance of this oath of Harold to become William’s vassal was enhanced by the concealment of a sacred relic under the table where the oath was administered. The bones of St. Edmund served to make this a super oath, a sacred obligation, and although the presence of the bones were not known to Harold, it wa binding through Christendom.

William’s marriage to Matilda, in direct affront to a papal directory prohibiting those born out of wedlock to marry into nobility, gave William another powerful ally on his eastern front –Matilda’s father, Baldwin, Count of Flanders, called “Le Debbonair”.

Papal dispensations were finally granted for the marriage by Pope Nicholas II in 1059.

Meanwhile, back in England, Harold was becoming increasingly successful at conducting the government. In January of 1066, just before drawing his last breath, Edward the Confessor commended Harold as his best possible successor despite his alleged promise to William.

Harold had only a trace of royal lineage and every aspiring thane who heard of Harold’s elevation took it as an affront to his birthright. At the moment of Harold’s coronation, a strange hairy star, now known to have been a spectacular appearance of Halley’s Comet, appeared in the heavens. The feudal world buzzed with superstition. The entire structure of feudalism rested on the sanctity of oaths, and Harold had broken his oath.

Harold’s banished half-brother,Tostig, took word of these events to Canute’s successors in Norway who were eager to revive their attempt to conquer England. Suddenly, Harold was confronted with a double invasion, one from William to the south––seeking his inheritance––and one from Tostig and Hardrada from Norway. In September of 1066, the battle began.

At Stamford Bridge, the Norsemen kept their shielded formations for a while––then, deceived by a feint, they opened their shield ramparts and advanced. This is what Harold was waiting for. Hardrada was hit by an arrow in the throat and Tostig took command.

At this point, Harold offered his brother peace, but it was refused.

Harold went on to win the Battle of Stamford Bridge, his brother paying with his life for his treason. Never again would a Scandinavian invasion seriously threaten the power of an English king. But at the moment of victory, Harold received these ominous words from a messenger: “William the Bastard has landed at Pevensey.”

William had planned his invasion with machine like precision, yet at the last moment they were held up from departure by lack of winds. For six weeks no wind blew on the French coast. William’s army bickered and became restless. The invasion plans were only held together by William’s promises of spoils for the victors. Finally, the bones of St. Edmund were hauled out again and brought to the shore with much ceremony.

The next day the winds blew toward England and the great army landed unimpeded upon English soil.

Physically, William was tall, big boned, and portly with a dignified presence. He wore his hair short cropped and had a trim mustache. As he stepped out of the boat andonto the English shore, William tripped and fell flat on his face. Sheepishly, he turned around what some could have called a bad omen by saying: “See, I have taken England with both of my hands.”

Meanwhile, Harold and his depleted Saxons had to march two hundred miles in seven days, gathering what forces they could. On the evening of October 13, 1066, he took his position on the slope of a hill near Hastings and barred William’s march on the capital.

The Saxons were infantry, fighting with the traditional instruments of war that gave them their name, the axe and the spear. The Normans were primarily cavalry, five to six thousand Norman knights and several thousand archers against the shields and axes of ten thousand Saxons.

As the battle began, Ivo Tallifer [Pons Taliaferro], a minstrel knight, claimed the right of first attack. He advanced up the hillside before the enemy by himself, twirling his lance and throwing his sword into the air, catching it like a juggler in front of the astonished Saxons. Finally, a song on his lips and a battle cry in his throat, he charged into the English ranks, riding into the pages of history as the first to be slain at the Battle of Hastings.

The Norman offense fell hopelessly upon the Saxon shields, huddled in mass upon the open plain. Rains of arrows took severe tolls, but the Saxons were so densely packed that the wounded could not fall to the ground.

William, borrowing from a tactic used by his opponent only days before, feinted a retreat. The deceived Saxons broke ranks and pursued the Normans. William then turned with a terrible fury and cut the Saxons to pieces. Harold was pierced in the right eye by an arrow’s fall. His naked body, wrapped in a robe of purple was hidden in the rocks. The Norman invasion was victorious. October 14, 1066 became a decisive day  in world history and a milestone in the history of the western world.


William and his Norman lords introduced England to a new system of land tenure based upon military service. The old Saxon lords were thrust out and Normans took their place. In 1086 William ordered a complete inquest into the wealth of the country to be written into the Domesday Book. Many a village and town of the countryside received their first mention in the important record of medieval worth.

Queen Matilda proved a good regent at Rouen, but was plagued by her rebellious sons who could not wait for their father’s death to inherit their titles and lands. William’s son Robert, banished from Normandy for conspiracy and rebellion, took refuge with King Philip and was pursued by his father. Visors drawn, sword and mace in hand, father and son met in combat. Robert wounded William in the hand and would have killed him but for the interference of an Englishman who came to the aid of his King.

Matilda died in 1083, leaving William more melancholy and fierce than before. His years of war and life of quelling rebellions came to an end in 1087 at Mantes. The town caught fire during the sack and William’s horse stumbled in the burning ashes, crushing William against the pommel of the saddle. He was carried in agony to Rouen where he lay through the summer heat, fighting for his life and failing steadily. His sons William (Rufus) and Henry came to him as death neared. William Rufus was named successor to the crown. Robert could rule Normandy at last. Henry was given five thousand pounds of silver and the promise that one day he would reign over a united Norman–English nation.

On September 9, 1087, William ceased his warring.



“Edward the Confessor was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, but he had close ties with the continent: his mother was Norman, and he had spent many years in exile in Normandy. Edward had no heirs, and had likely named William – who was his first cousin, once removed – his successor in 1051. But Edward also liked to dangle the succession in front of other nobles to strengthen political alliances. The last man he promised it to was Harold Godwinson, the Earl of Wessex and the richest, most powerful man in England. Even though Harold had publicly sworn to uphold William’s claim a few years before, he was elected by the Anglo-Saxon witanagemot, or high council, and crowned after Edward’s death in January 1066. Naturally, all the other people who felt they had been promised the crown disagreed. Harold’s brother Tostig, who had been exiled, joined forces with the king of Norway to invade the north of England. King Harold’s forces were depleted by the end of the summer, both because they were running out of supplies, and because the peasants were needed to bring in the fall harvest. When Harold led his army to Yorkshire to fight Tostig’s invasion, the south was ripe for the picking.

“William of Normandy, meanwhile, had been raising support on the continent. The pope, as well as the Norman aristocracy, backed his claim to the English throne. With a force of thousands of cavalry, infantry, and archers, he crossed the English Channel and landed at Pevensey, in Sussex. From there, he went straight to Hastings, where he began construction on a castle and waited for Harold to return from the north. Harold and his infantry arrived in Hastings on October 13, and the battle began the next day. Harold’s men were well trained and the Normans didn’t make much progress breaking through their shieldwall at first. When the rumors starting flying that William had been killed, many Norman troops broke ranks and retreated, until William took off his helmet, showed them he was still alive, and rallied them. It was the death of Harold – traditionally believed to be by an arrow through the eye – that ultimately led to the defeat of the Anglo-Saxon army and ushered in a new era for England.

“Battles continued for the next several weeks, as William made his way to London. He negotiated with various powerful Saxons as he went, offering positions in exchange for their support. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day, 1066, although he ruled in absentia for most of his reign. He largely replaced the English aristocracy and clergy with Norman ones; he retained the judicial system and the governmental structure set up by the Anglo-Saxons, but gave the offices to Normans. The vernacular language of the Anglo-Saxons was relegated to the commoners, as Latin and then French became the official languages of the law, the royal court, and the government. At first, the Norman nobility never really bothered to learn Saxon English, and the result was a class distinction in the use of the languages. For instance, “cows,” “pigs,” and “sheep” were the names for the livestock that the Saxon lower classes raised on the farms. “Beef,” “pork,” and “mutton” all come from the French-speaking Norman nobility, who were served those same animals on a platter. Eventually – mostly through intermarriage – the two languages blended and became the “English” that we speak today.

“In about 1085, near the end of his reign, William commissioned a survey of all the lands and holdings in England and parts of Wales. It came to be known as the Domesday Book, and it’s the earliest existing public record in England.”

-The Writer’s Almanac, September 28, 2016


I love Cormorants. They are regal, fearsome, imposing, and photogenic. Cormorants are found all over the world except in the Central Pacific. Their ancestors were here in the times of the dinosaurs. For millions of years they have inhabited the shores.


I have been trying  to identify this bird below for more than a week. He is a Double-Breasted Cormorant at Berkley Lake, Lakeside, Colorado. He sat for hours on a floating white ball, then found a stump to rest on. I had to go back for the telephoto lens and he was still there an hour later. As soon as I took the picture, he flew away.

Version 2

Cormorants almost walk across the water to take off.


This is a closeup of the Double-Breasted Cormorant from the Audubon Society.



Earlier in the year I released some pictures of dramatic shots with cormorants.





noun informal
noun: bimbo; plural noun: bimbos; noun: bimbette; plural noun: bimbettes
1an attractive but empty-headed young woman, especially 
one perceived as a willing sex object.


Bimbo Bakeries USA is the American corporate arm of the Mexican multinational bakery product manufacturing company Grupo Bimbo. It is the largest bakery company in the United States. The company, headquartered in Horsham, Pennsylvania in the Greater Philadelphia region, owns six of the top twelve fresh bread brands in the United States, including Entenmann’s, Sara Lee, and Thomas’. It is also a top advertising sponsor for many major soccer teams around the globe.

The name Bimbo was first coined for the company in 1945 by mixing of the words bingo and Bambi. Bimbo’s innocent, childlike associations fit the image the company wished to build. The English word bimbo, with its negative connotations, has no such meaning in Spanish.


The word bimbo derives itself from the Italian bimbo, a masculine-gender term that means “(male) baby” or “young (male) child” (the feminine form of the Italian word is bimba). Use of this term began in the United States as early as 1919, and was a slang word used to describe an unintelligent or brutish man.

It was not until the 1920s that the term bimbo first began to be associated with females. In 1920, composer Frank Crumit recorded “My Little Bimbo Down on the Bamboo Isle”, in which the term “bimbo” is used to describe an island girl of questionable virtue. The 1929 silent film Desert Nights describes a wealthy female crook as a bimbo and in The Broadway Melody, an angry Bessie Love calls a chorus girl a bimbo. The first use of its female meaning cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is dated 1929, from the scholarly journal American Speech, where the definition was given simply as “a woman”.

An unintelligent man can be referred to as a “himbo” or “mimbo” (a male bimbo), a backformation of bimbo.






Supposedly, both Steve Jobs and Bo Diddley’s last words were “Wow.”

Just before Humphrey Bogart died, his wife, Lauren Bacall, had to leave the house to go pick up the kids. “Goodbye, Kid, hurry back,” Bogart said. Maybe that was not the same as “Here’s looking at you, Kid,” but it is as close as he ever to got.

Grouch Marx quipped his way to the grave. His last words were: “This is no way to live.”

Some people get apologetic when they die. “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have,” said Leonardo da Vinci. The great artist must have died in a quite depressed mood.

Johnny Ace, an early rhythm and blues singer, died in 1954. He was playing with a pistol between sets and his last words were: “I’ll show you that it won’t shoot.”

Nostradamus predicted all the way to the grave. When he went to bed, he said, Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here.” And he was correct.

Few people are as classy as Marie Antoinette. On her way to the guillotine, she stepped on the door of the executioner and said, “Pardonnez-moi, monsieur.”

Everyone wants their final words to be memorable. Charles Gussman was an announcer and a writer who wrote the pilot episode for Days of Our Lives. He has always wanted his final words to be poignant and memorable, so he daughter reminded him of that as he lay on his death bed. Gussman removed his oxygen mask and with his best announcing voice exclaimed: “And now a final word from our sponsor.”

Everyone who dies has last words. Most of us do not think about what they might be. I had no idea what mine might be. A big buck deer charged my car several weeks ago. I did not see him until be was about five feet from the car. I swerved and missed him, but I said, “Holy Shit,” as the image passed by my peripheral vision.

Since I say that often when I am shocked by events, I would not be surprised if the were my final words someday. It seems fitting enough: ‘Holy shit.”


The reference book Last Words of Notable People by William B. Brahms has more than 3500 famous last words.




Words and Music by Shelton Brooks (1917)

I’ve got some good news, honey
An invitation to the Darktown Ball
It’s a very swell affair
All the “high-browns” will be there
I’ll wear my high silk hat and frock tail coat
You wear your Paris gown and your new silk shawl
There ain’t no doubt about it babe
We’ll be the best dressed in the hall

I’ll be down to get you in a taxi, honey
You better be ready about half past eight
Now dearie, don’t be late
I want to be there when the band starts playing
Remember when we get there, honey
The two-steps I’m goin’ to have ’em all
Goin’ to dance out both my shoes
When they play the “Jelly Roll Blues”
Tomorrow night, at the Darktown Strutter’s Ball

We’ll meet our hightoned neighbors
An exhibition of the “Baby Dolls”
And each one will do their best
Just to outclass the rest
And there’ll be dancers from ev’ry foreign land
The classic, buck and wing, and the wooden clog
We’ll win that fifty dollar prize
When we step out and “Walk The Dog”



Darktown Strutters’ Ball” is a popular song by Shelton Brooks, published in 1917. The song has been recorded many times and is both a popular and jazz standard.

The landmark 1917 recording by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band was recorded on May 30, 1917, and released by Columbia Records as catalog number A-2297. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006. There are many variations of the title, including “At the Darktown Strutters’ Ball”, “The Darktown Strutters’ Ball”, and just “Strutters’ Ball”.

By false politically correct standards, some consider the term ‘dark town’ offensive because it refers to an area inhabited primarily by blacks. ‘Strutter’ is a term for a type of strutting dance that seems to have been lost in time. To strut is to move with pride and dignity.








My favorite body part as a child was my hands and knees,

until I found the secret of properly used feet and legs.

As a teenager, my favorite part was undoubtedly my penis.

Even my dreams were filled with the potential pleasures

that this pleasant appendage could command.


After high school my favorite part was my vocal chords.

Though I could warble like Elvis, I could not bring myself

to wobble like Elvis, nor did my hair support trademark duck tails.

It took me a while to respect my hands as a tool

that could produce something people might want.


Later, as the other body parts tired and went on strike,

I finally learned to love my brain. I am not certain

why it took so long to discover the value of my brain,

but I have an inkling it was simply too obvious to be seen.


My most disliked body part was my hair, which never pleased me.

I parted it right, parted it left, parted it center, then no part at all.

I wore it short, I wore it long, I wore it straight, I wore it curly.

It did not please me much. I longed for Clint Eastwood or Gregory Peck hair.

Then I decided it was not good to dislike my hair, so I ignored it.


My most undependable body part was my stomach and intestines.

The stomach would rumble at the most inappropriate times.

The intestines would emit an embarrassing and not so noble gas.

This was noticed by others who would look at me with upturned noses.

It took too long to realize that my favorite body part should have been my smile.




For me, it was a Lucky Strike. I found Old Gold in Chester’s Field and fell Pall Mall down the stairs in Phillips Morris’ Place in the hills of Marlboro County. That Old Gold got me elected to Parliament where I Scored Mildly with the Duke of Winston.  I was not in Vogue, though, until the Viceroy and the Duke of Kent, Lord Tareyton, became Players in my club in Newport. That did the trick. This Maverick finally got Max exposure in Hollywood under the LA Lights. It is  Basic fact, life begins at Eve. Let the Camel carry you to the Crossroads. Be Smart and forget Salem. Be Kool.

– L&M


Major Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Woodhull


Victoria Woodhull by CD Fredericks. circa 1870


Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for President of the United States in 1872. An activist for women’s rights and labor reforms, Woodhull was also an advocate of free love. She believed women should be free to to marry, divorce, and bear children without government interference.

Woodhull was politically active in the early 1870s, when she was nominated as the first woman candidate for the United States presidency, for which she is best known.

Woodhull was the 1872 candidate for the Equal Rights Party, who supported women’s suffrage and equal rights. She was arrested on obscenity charges a few days before the election, for publishing an account of the alleged adulterous affair between the prominent minister Henry Ward Beecher and Elizabeth Tilton. This bit of red meat added to the sensational coverage of her candidacy. Though she was on the ticket, she did not receive any electoral votes, and there is conflicting evidence about popular votes.



Licking County, Ohio Historical Sign


Born Victoria California Claflin, she was the seventh of ten children (six of whom survived to maturity),in the rural frontier town of Homer, Licking County, Ohio.

“Her mother, Roxanna “Roxy” Hummel Claflin, was illegitimate and illiterate. She had become a follower of the Austrian mystic Franz Mesmer and the new spiritualist movement. Her father, Reuben “Old Buck” Buckman Claflin,  was a con man and snake oil salesman. He came from an impoverished branch of the Massachusetts-based Scots-American Claflin family, semi-distant cousins to Governor William Claflin. -Wikipedia

When seven years old, Victoria was accused of burning down a cupola.

She was beaten, starved and sexually abused by her father when still very young.

She believed in spiritualism – she referred to “Banquo’s Ghost” from Shakespeare‘s Macbeth – because it gave her belief in a better life. She said that she was guided in 1868 by Demosthenes to what symbolism to use supporting her theories of Free Love.

By age 11, Woodhull had only three years of formal education, but her teachers found her to be extremely intelligent. She was forced to leave school and home with her family when her father, after having “insured it heavily,” burned the family’s rotting gristmill. When he tried to get compensated by insurance, his arson and fraud were discovered; he was run off by a group of town vigilantes.  The town held a “benefit” to raise funds to pay for the rest of the family’s departure from Ohio.



VICTORIA WOODHULL caricature by Thomas Nash, 1872.

Woodhull’s support of free love likely started after she discovered the infidelity of her first husband Canning Woodall. Shortly after their marriage she learned that her new husband was an alcoholic and a womanizer.

Women who married in the United States during the 19th century were bound to their unions, even if loveless, with few options to escape. Divorce was limited by law and considered socially scandalous. Women who divorced were stigmatized and often ostracized by society. Victoria Woodhull concluded that women should have the choice to leave unbearable marriages.

Woodhull believed in monogamous relationships, although she also said she had the right to change her mind: the choice to make love or not was in every case the woman’s choice (since this would place her in an equal status to the man, who had the capacity to rape and physically overcome a woman, whereas a woman did not have that capacity with respect to a man).[17]

Woodhull said: “To woman, by nature, belongs the right of sexual determination. When the instinct is aroused in her, then and then only should commerce follow. When woman rises from sexual slavery to sexual freedom, into the ownership and control of her sexual organs, and man is obliged to respect this freedom, then will this instinct become pure and holy; then will woman be raised from the iniquity and morbidness in which she now wallows for existence, and the intensity and glory of her creative functions be increased a hundred-fold . . .”

In this same speech, which became known as the “Steinway speech,” delivered on Monday, November 20, 1871 in Steinway Hall, New York City, Woodhull said of free love: “Yes, I am a Free Lover. I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please, and with that right neither you nor any law you can frame have any right to interfere.”

Woodhull railed ag


Victoria Woodhull by Bradley and Rulofson

ainst the hypocrisy of society’s tolerating married men who had mistresses and engaged in other sexual dalliances. In 1872, Woodhull publicly criticized well-known clergyman Henry Ward Beecher for adultery. Beecher was known to have had an affair with his parishioner, Elizabeth Tilton, who had confessed to it, and the scandal was covered nationally. Woodhull was prosecuted on obscenity charges for sending accounts of the affair through the federal mails, and was briefly jailed. This added to sensational coverage during her campaign that fall for the United States presidency.





Woodhull announced her candidacy for President by writing a letter to the editor of the New York Herald on April 2, 1870.

Woodhull was nominated for President of the United States by the newly formed Equal Rights Party on May 10, 1872, at Apollo Hall, New York City. A year earlier, she had announced her intention to run. Also in 1871, she spoke publicly against the government being composed only of men; she proposed developing a new constitution and a new government. Her nomination was ratified at the convention on June 6, 1872. They nominated the former slave and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass for Vice President. He did not attend the convention and never acknowledged the nomination. He served as a presidential elector in the United States Electoral College for the State of New York. This made her the first woman candidate.

While many historians and authors agree that Woohull was the first woman to run for President of the United States, some have questioned that priority given issues with the legality of her run. They disagree with classifying it as a true candidacy because she was younger than the constitutionally m


Victoria Woodhull by Mathew Brady, c1870

andated age of 35. However, election coverage by contemporary newspapers does not suggest age was a significant issue. The presidential inauguration was in March 1873. Woodhull’s 35th birthday was in September 1873.

Woodhull’s campaign was also notable for the nomination of Frederick Douglass, although he did not take part in it. His nomination stirred up controversy about the mixing of whites and blacks in public life and fears of miscegenation (especially as he had married a much younger white woman after his first wife died).

Frederick Douglass, the famed civil rights activist, was nominated to be her vice president, though he never acknowledged or accepted the nomination publicly. But while historians look back as Woodhull’s nomination as an historic first, her long-shot candidacy caused her serious trouble as soon as the nominating convention was over, Richman and Freemark report.

“As a result of the notoriety of the nomination, Woodhull was evicted from her home and she had some trouble making ends meet,” [biographer Amanda] Frisken tells [reporters Joe] Richman and [Samara] Freemark. Woodhull’s family was forced to sleep in her brokerage office for a period of time, as New York landlords were unwilling to rent to her, Kate Havelin writes in her book, Victoria Woodhull: Fearless Feminist. Woodhull’s 11-year-old daughter, Zula, meanwhile, had to leave her school as other parents didn’t want Zula to influence their children.

The Equal Rights Party hoped to use the nominations to reunite suffragists with African-American civil rights activists, as the exclusion of female suffrage from the Fifteenth Amendment two years earlier had caused a substantial rift between the groups
Having been vilified in the media for her support of free love, Woodhull devoted an issue of Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly (November 2, 1872) to an alleged adulterous affair between Elizabeth Tilton and Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, a prominent Protestant minister in New York (he supported female suffrage but had lectured against free love in his sermons). Woodhull published the article to highlight what she saw as a sexual double-standard between men and women.


That same day, a few days before the presidential election, U.S. Federal Marshals arrested Woodhull, her second husband Colonel James Blood, and her sister Tennie C. Claflin on charges of “publishing an obscene newspaper” because of the content of this issue.[32] The sisters were held in the Ludlow Street Jail for the next month, a place normally reserved for civil offenses, but which contained more hardened criminals as well.

The arrest was arranged by Anthony Comstock, the self-appointed moral defender of the nation at the time. Opponents raised questions about censorship and government persecution. The three were acquitted on a technicality six months later, but the arrest prevented Woodhull from attempting to vote during the 1872 presidential election. With the publication of the scandal, Theodore Tilton, the husband of Elizabeth, sued Beecher for “alienation of affection.” The trial in 1875 was sensationalized across the nation, and eventually resulted in a hung jury.

Woodhull again tried to gain nominations for the presidency in 1884 and 1892. Newspapers reported that her 1892 attempt culminated in her nomination by the “National Woman Suffragists’ Nominating Convention” on 21 September. Mary L. Stowe of California was nominated as the candidate for vice president. The convention was held at Willard’s Hotel in Boonville, New York, and Anna M. Parker was its president. Some woman’s suffrage organizations repudiated the nominations, however, claiming that the nominating committee was unauthorized. Woodhull was quoted as saying that she was “destined” by “prophecy” to be elected president of the United States in the upcoming election.


Her opposition to abortion is frequently cited by opponents of abortion when writing about first wave feminism. The most common Woodhull quotations cited by opponents of abortion are:  “the rights of children as individuals begin while yet they remain the fetus.”

“Every woman knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth.” 

One of her articles on abortion not often cited by opponents of abortion is from the September 23, 1871 issue of the Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly. She wrote: “Abortion is only a symptom of a more deep-seated disorder of the social state. It cannot be put down by law… Is there, then, no remedy for all this bad state of things? None, I solemnly believe; none, by means of repression and law. I believe there is no other remedy possible but freedom in the social sphere.”

Woodhull also promoted eugenics which was popular in the early 20th century prior to World War II. Her interest in eugenics might have been motivated by the profound intellectual impairment of her son. She advocated, among other things, sex education, “marrying well,” and pre-natal care as a way to bear healthier children and to prevent mental and physical disease. Her writings demonstrate views closer to those of the anarchist eugenists, rather than the coercive eugenists like Sir Francis Galton.

In 2006, publisher Michael W. Perry claimed in his book “Lady Eugenist” that Woodhull supported the forcible sterilization of those she considered unfit to breed. He based his claim on a New York Times article from 1927 in which she concurred with the ruling of the case Buck v. Bell. Whether the article accurately stated her views or not, it stands in stark contrast to her earlier works in which she advocated social freedom and opposed government interference in matters of love and marriage.

Other women, including Belva Lockwood, have launched runs for the presidency since, but nearly a century passed between Woodhull’s run and the first woman to vie for the nomination of a major party. Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith tried in vain for the Republican nomination in 1964; New York Rep. Shirley Chisholm tried for the Democratic nomination in 1972, as did Rep. Patsy Mink from Hawaii. In more recent years, Colorado Rep. Patricia Schroeder, cabinet secretary and later North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole, Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman would compete for the nomination of the Republican or Democratic parties. It is, when one thinks about it, astonishing that a woman, in a country in which women are the majority of voters, has never been the nominee of either major party. And in 2016, with some 20 competitors for the Republican nomination, all but one—extreme long shot Carly Fiorina—are men.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/victoria-woodhull-first-woman-presidential-candidate-116828#ixzz4FxD3FuAS


Felsenthal, Carol. “The Strange Tale of the First Woman to Run for President.” Politico.   5 April 2015.

Greenspan, Jesse: “9 Things You Should Know About Victoria Woodhull.”

History.   23 September 2013.

LaGanga, Maria L: “Women Who Ran Before Hillary Clinton: ‘I Cannot Vote, But I Can Be Voted For.'” The Guardian. 8 June 2016.

Lewis, Danny: “Victoria Woodhull Ran for President Before Women Had the Right to Vote.” Smithsonian SmartNews. 10 May 2016.


1 Kemp, Bill (2016-11-15). “‘Free love’ advocate Victoria Woodhull excited Bloomington”. The Pantagraph. Retrieved 2016-04-13.

The Revolution, a weekly newspaper founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, had begun publication two years earlier in 1868.

Goldsmith, Barbara (1998). Other Powers. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 20. ISBN 0394555368.

1850 federal census, Licking, Ohio; Series M432, Roll 703, Page 437; father listed as Buckman, brothers incorrectly transcribed as Hubern (Hubert) and Malven (Melvin).

Wight, Charles Henry, Genealogy of the Claflin Family, 1661–1898. New York: Press of William Green. 1903. passim (use index)

Gabriel, Mary (1998). Notorious Victoria. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. p. 12. ISBN 1-56512-132-5.

“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, index and images, FamilySearch “Marriage records 1849-1854 vol 5 > image 273 of 334; county courthouses, Ohio”. familysearch.org. Retrieved 2015-06-09.

Underhill, Lois Beachy (1996). The Woman Who Ran for President: The Many Lives of Victoria Woodhull. Penguin Books. p. 24. ISBN 0-14-025638-5.

“Woodhull, Zula Maude”. Who’s Who. 59: 1930. 1907.

Dubois and Dumenil, //Through Women’s Eyes: An American History with Documents//. (Bedford; St. Martin’s, 2012)

Andrea Dworkin (1987). Intercourse,Chapter 7: “Occupation/Collaboration”.

“And the truth shall make you free.” A speech on the principles of social freedom, delivered in Steinway hall, Nov. 20, 1871, by Victoria C. Woodhull, pub. Woodhull & Claflin, NY, NY 1871. [1]

Speech is discussed and linked to also in Shearer, Mary L. “Abandoned Woman? A Review of the Evidence.” http://www.victoria-woodhull.com/prostitute.htm

DuBois and Dumenil. //Through Women’s Eyes: An American History with Documents//. (Bedford; St Martin’s, 2012)

Shearer, Mary L. “Frequently Asked Questions about Victoria Woodhull.” http://www.victoria-woodhull.com/faq.htm#who

Constitutional equality. To the Hon. the Judiciary committee of the Senate and the House of representatives of the Congress of the United States … Most respectfully submitted. Victoria C. Woodhull. Dated New York, January 2, 1871

Susan Kullmann, “Legal Contender… Victoria C. Woodhull, First Woman to Run for President”. Accessed 2009.05.29.

Messer-Kruse, Timothy (1998). The Yankee International: Marxism and the American Reform Tradition, 1848–1876. pp. 2–4.

“Notes on the “American split””. May 28, 1872. Retrieved 2010-08-05.

A Lecture on Constitutional Equality, also known as The Great Secession Speech, speech to Woman’s Suffrage Convention, New York, May 11, 1871, excerpt quoted in Gabriel, Mary, Notorious Victoria: The Life of Victoria Woodhull, Uncensored (Chapel Hill, N.Car.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1st ed. 1998 (ISBN 1-56512-132-5)), pp. 86–87 & n. [13] (author Mary Gabriel journalist, Reuters News Service). Also excerpted, differently, in Underhill, Lois Beachy, The Woman Who Ran for President: The Many Lives of Victoria Woodhull (Bridgehampton, N.Y.: Bridge Works, 1st ed. 1995 (ISBN 1-882593-10-3)), pp. 125–126 & unnumbered n.

“Arrest of Victoria Woodhull, Tennie C. Claflin and Col. Blood. They are Charged with Publishing an Obscene Newspaper.”. New York Times. November 3, 1872. Retrieved 2008-06-27. “The agent of the Society for the Suppression of Obscene Literature, yesterday morning, appeared before United States Commissioner Osborn and asked for a warrant for the arrest of Mrs. Victoria C. Woodhull and Miss Tennie …”

Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly (1870)

Wheeling, West Virginia Evening Standard (1875)

“Victoria Martin, Suffragist, Dies. Nominated for President of the United States as Mrs. Woodhull in 1872. Leader of Many Causes. Had Fostered Anglo-American Friendship Since She Became Wife of a Britisher …”. New York Times. June 11, 1927. Retrieved 2008-06-27.