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Southern Ladies and SuffragistsJulia Ward Howe and Women's Rights at the 1884 New Orleans World's Fair$
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Miki Pfeffer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781628461343

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781628461343.001.0001

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(p.3) Introduction
Southern Ladies and Suffragists

Miki Pfeffer

University Press of Mississippi

This introductory chapter discusses the Women's Department of the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition in 1884. The Woman's Department provided New Orleans ladies with their first collective exchange with national activists, whom they had previously dreaded, snubbed, rejected, or simply not known. Between mid-December 1884 and the end of May 1885, attentive women gained new opportunities to insinuate their voices into debates on women's issues, even if they had eschewed organized movements. During the six months of the World's Fair, some individuals began to understand that newfound strategies and collaborative efforts could serve their own agendas long after the exhibits were dismantled. The chapter then sets outs the book's purpose, which is to show how the event became a watershed moment in persuading a coterie of late-nineteenth-century white ladies to trade illusory pedestals for broader vistas, to enlarge notions of acceptable womanhood, and even to contemplate organized suffrage.

Keywords:   New Orleans, Woman's Department, World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, Caroline Merrick, suffragists

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