XIDS 2100—Representing American Women
The True Woman (c. 1820-1860)
“It is . . certain that in whatever situation of life that a woman is placed from her cradle to her grave, the spirit of obedience and submission, pliability of temper, and humility of mind, are required of her.”
The Young Ladies Book, 1830
“[the home is] a treasury of pure, disinterested love, such as is seldom found in the busy walks of a selfish and calculating world.” Catharine Beecher
“What are the Rights of Woman?”
The right to love whom others scorn,
The right to comfort and to mourn,
The right to shed new joy on earth,
The right to feel the soul’s high worth, . . .
Such are women’s rights, and God will bless
And crown their champions with success.
Mrs. E. Little, 1848
[From a 19th C Etiquette Book:]
The true lady walks the street, wrapped in a mantle of proper reserve, so impenetrable that insult and coarse familiarity shrink from her, while she, at the same time, carries with her a congenial atmosphere which attracts all, and puts all at their ease.
A lady walks quietly through the streets, seeing and hearing nothing that she ought not see and hear, recognizing acquaintances with a courteous bow, and friends with words of greeting. She is always unobtrusive, never talks loudly, or laughs boisterously, or does anything to attract the attention of the passers-by. She walks along in her own lady-like way, and by her preoccupation is secure from any annoyance to which a person of less perfect breeding might be subjected.