The Notorious Victoria Woodhull

Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer1871/1872

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia

Women's Suffrage Memorabilia
United States

Victoria Woodhull, clairvoyant, stockbroker, and newspaper publisher was in 1872 the first woman ever to run for president. Many in the movement, however, viewed with apprehension her public notoriety, including her advocacy of “free love,” and wished she would go away. Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s support of Woodhull caused a momentary rift in her deep friendship with Susan B. Anthony that took some time to fully heal. In 1872 Woodhull was imprisoned under New York State obscenity laws for revealing that Henry Ward Beecher had engaged in an extra marital affair. In jail on voting day, she would not have been able to cast a ballot for herself even if women had the franchise at that time.

The only real memorabilia that she introduced into her presidential campaign was a mock ballot in Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly, a newspaper that she published with her sister, Tennie C. Claflin. So intrigued were people by her public persona, however, that merchants produced a number of varieties of cartes de visite picturing her, along with stereographic images, and generally unflattering engravings. Perhaps the most widely reproduced example of the latter was a lithograph by Thomas Nast portraying her as Mrs. Satan for her “free love” views.


  • Title: The Notorious Victoria Woodhull
  • Creator: Emilia D. van Beugen, photographer
  • Date: 1871/1872

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