Happy Birthday, Vinnie!

Happy Birthday, Vinnie!

Rhoda Lavinia Goodell was born 181 years ago–on May 2, 1839. In celebration of her birthday, we are highlighting some family lore about her personality and escapades as a baby and young child. If hindsight is 20-20, then it was clear early on that Vinnie (as her family and close friends called her) would grow into a trailblazer for women’s rights and other social reforms.

Lavinia Goodell as a girl.
We have no baby photos, but here is Vinnie as a girl.

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Lavinia’s birth: “the voice of the newcomer”

Lavinia’s birth: “the voice of the newcomer”

On May 2, 1839, William and Clarissa Goodell, aged 47 and 42, welcomed a new baby girl to their family. Their only other living child, Maria, was 12. Clarissa’s advanced maternal age and previous, difficult childbirths were cause for concern. So William hastened to send his father-in-law details of Clarissa’s health, the new babe, and the family’s joy to assure him that all was well.

May 15, 1839

Dear Father,

 . . . On Thursday morning, May 2, at about half past 3 o’clock, the Lord was pleased to bless us with another fine daughter, who is doing well thus far, and her mother is comfortable, and in a fair way to recover in safety. Thus, when we feared evil, the Lord has covered us with the mantle of his Goodness and mercy.

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