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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.

  
 

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Mrs. Amelia Jenks Bloomer

Mrs. Amelia Jenks Bloomer, was a native of Cortland county, New York, but came to Council Bluffs to live in 1855.  She was one of the pioneers in the Woman's Movement, having been associated with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Abby Keller, Elizabeth Smith Miller, and others.  In 1849 she established a paper which had for its object the advocating of temperance and equal suffrage.  It is interesting to note that through all the history of the effort to gain suffrage for women, the cause of temperance has been advocated by the women.  Mrs. Bloomer was a writer of merit and a brilliant speaker.  For years she lectured for these two causes.  In 1851 Elizabeth Smith Miller invented a new style of dress for women, a skirt which reached a little below the knees and wide Turkish trousers gathered at the ankle.  Mrs. Miller was the first to wear the costume, Elizabeth Cady Stanton the second and Mrs. Bloomer the third.  The costume was named for her because she advocated the dress reform in her paper, and the public the inference that she had invented it, so called it the "Bloomer costume."  She was a clever woman and used the fame of the dress as an advertising medium for her paper, the subscription to which grew enormously.  She was thereby able to reach many more people with her suffrage and temperance ideas.  She was the second president of the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association, having been elected in 1871.  She died in Council Bluffs, Dec. 30, 1894.  Her husband, Dexter C. Bloomer, was a lawyer and journalist and was at one time mayor of that city.  In 1895 he published "Life and Times of Amelia Bloomer."  He was the author of a history of Pottawattomie county.

 

 

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