More than just the woman who inspired bloomers, she was an advocate for the women’s suffrage movement. In 1840 Amelia became deeply involved in the temperance movement in Seneca Falls, New York after meeting her husband, Dexter Bloomer, a newspaper publisher. She soon began writing on social issues for his paper.
In 1849 she began her own newspaper, entitled The Lily. The Lily initially published articles about the temperance movement (banning alcohol) but soon moved on to Women’s suffrage and other articles geared towards women. Contributing authors included Elizabeth Cady Stanton under the pseudonym Sunflower. Amelia quickly became an active member in the suffrage movement. She is responsible for introducing Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony.
During this time the standard dress for women was confining corsets and multiple petticoats. As Amelia became more involved with the women’s rights movement she became more of an advocate for dress reform. In The Lily, she promoted a style that included looser blouses (without a corset) and pants under a knee length skirt. The style became known as the bloomer, though she did not invent them as everyone seems to think.
In 1853 she and her husband moved first to Ohio and then to Iowa. Though she stopped publishing the Lily she continued to write on women’s issues. She is credited for assisting women get the right to vote in Ohio in 1873.
If you are interested in more stories like Amelia’s check out these books:
- Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier The story of two families set against women’s suffrage.
- Hear Me Patiently: The Reform Speeches of Amelia Jenks Bloomer: Hear from Amelia directly by reading her speeches.
- Sophia: Set in the early 20th century, young Sophia attends her coming out in London only to fall asleep in a gentleman’s room. Her reputation on the verge of being ruined she must make decisions within the confines of society.