Spinsterhood: the fate of an unattractive woman or a radical act?

Spinsterhood: the fate of an unattractive woman or a radical act?

Have you seen the Little Women movie? The new ending would have incited Lavinia Goodell to dash off an op-ed for the Woman’s Journal.

Jo March negotiating with her editor in Greta Gerwig's 2019 adaptation of Little Women
Jo March negotiating with her editor, Little Women (2019)

Greta Gerwig has Jo March telling an editor that her heroine was adamantly opposed marriage, so the novel would not end with her wedding either Laurie or Professor Bhaer. The editor shot back: “Who cares! Girls want to see women married, not consistent. If you end your delightful book with your heroine a spinster, no one will buy it. It won’t be worth printing.” For Wisconsin’s first woman lawyer, “them’s fightin’ words!”

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Posted by admin in Principia years, Reading interests, 0 comments

Of turkey-gobblers and young ladies!

Of turkey-gobblers and young ladies!

In 1862, a young man at the Brooklyn Times wrote: “The study of astronomy is of about as much use to a young lady as a knowledge of cookery is to a hen.” Lavinia, then a 22-year old Brooklynite, skewered him in The Principia:

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Posted by admin in Principia years, 0 comments

“I have been editor in chief . . . what do you think of that?”

“I have been editor in chief . . . what do you think of that?”

We want good original matter very much. Poor me! I have to “stand in the gap” and supply when others fail. I wouldn’t care if I could suit myself, but I do want our paper to be so extra good that I am always dissatisfied with my attempts.

Lavinia Goodell, November 2, 1862

From 1859 until early 1865, Lavinia Goodell’s father was the editor of the New York Principia, a weekly anti-slavery newspaper. The paper’s offices were located in lower Manhattan. The masthead proclaimed that the publication stood for “First Principles in Religion, Morals, Government, and the Economy of Life.”

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Posted by admin in Principia years, Young Adulthood: 1860-1871, 2 comments