Lavinia Goodell’s Bid to Become Janesville City Attorney

Lavinia Goodell’s Bid to Become Janesville City Attorney

Long before anyone asked whether women are “electable,” Lavinia Goodell threw her hat in the ring. This week CUNY professor Jill Norgren, and Swarthmore College Professor Wendy Chmielewski guest post on one of Lavinia’s little known, impressive firsts–1st American woman to run for city attorney. Professors Norgren and Chmielewski co-founded HerHatWasinthe ring.org, a timely digital project about women who ran for office before 1920. Norgren wrote Belva Lockwood: The Woman Who Would be President, a fascinating biography about one of Lavinia’s “sisters in law.

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Posted by admin in Legal practice, Temperance, Women's rights, 0 comments

“We are marching on.”

“We are marching on.”

Lavinia Goodell, Janesville, Wisconsin, 1873

Do you think women’s marches are a 21st century phenomenon? Far from it. In the summer of 1873, Lavinia Goodell, secretary of Janesville’s newly formed Ladies Temperance Union, helped organize a march to city hall to protest the granting of liquor licenses.

Plans for the march began at a mass meeting at the Janesville opera house. According to an ad Lavinia composed and delivered to the Janesville Gazette, the purpose of the meeting was:

To consider the duties of the hour. This is not a movement of sect or party, but an earnest effort of all the ladies to stay the tide of intemperance in our midst. Let every earnest woman come.

Ad in the Janesville Gazette which begins Mass Meeting! of the Ladies of Janesville.
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Posted by admin in Life in Wisconsin: 1871-1880, Temperance, 3 comments

Preaching temperance on New Years?!

Preaching temperance on New Year’s Day?!

Lavinia, a temperance advocate, hailed from New York where the tradition was to hold an open house for family and friends on New Year’s Day. In 1870, she welcomed the New Year with the German family who had just tried to get her tipsy on Christmas. Four years later, she celebrated in Janesville, Wisconsin surrounded by kindred spirits. On both holidays she preached temperance to the revelers. Her letters describe the results of her efforts.

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Posted by admin in Temperance, 0 comments