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Elizabeth Cady Stanton and “Our Girls”

November 12th was the 2007th birthday of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, lead author of the Declaration of Sentiments, modeled on the Declaration of Independence and presented at the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, July, 19-20, 1848. Two missing key words—”and women” were added to the familiar phrase: “We hold these truths to be self evident, all men AND WOMEN are created equal . . .”

The Declaration of Sentiments, an iconic document, ended with a warning and pledge still relevant for fighters for equality and justice: “In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. . .”

 Over the years I have visited many landmarks to Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  The image is of a landmark I have yet to visit in Oxford, Ohio. Dedicated in 2012 by the League of Women Voters in Oxford, the sign commemorates ECS’s lecture on November 9, 1870. She stayed with her brother-in-law, Robert L. Stanton, the then president of Miami University.  Her lecture, “Our Girls,” included this declaration: “Every girl should have something in and of herself, have an indi

vidual aim and purpose in life.”  ECS was described as having a “melodious voice.”

Interestingly, in the early 1960s I attended my fir

st two years of college at Western College for Women in Oxford, not having any idea that Elizabeth Cady Stanton had once lectured across the street at Miami University!  “Our Girls” was one of her favorite lectures. As you can see from the poster, she presented it in Massillon, Ohio, in 1875. I included this poster in my book Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World. (Click on image to enlarge it.)

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