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Gilman, Charlotte Perkins Stetson.

Women's Congress Association of the Pacific Coast, The, pamphlet.


[Gilman, Charlotte Perkins Stetson]. The Women's Congress Association of the Pacific Coast.  Second Annual Meeting of The Woman's Congress of the Pacific Coast. San Francisco, Cal., May 20th to 26th, 1895.   
Pamphlet, 5-7/8 x 7", 16pp; including self-wrappers, buff paper printed in black; small rubber stamp at top right corner of front cover (perhaps a library stamp though there are no other library markings); touch of age-toning, else very good.  
The Woman's Congress Association of the Pacific Coast was "formed to meet the desire of the earnest, intelligent women of the Coast to assist in the work of the Congress".  The first page of the pamphlet lists the Executive Board, citing Mrs. Charlotte Perkins Stetson as a member.  
Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman (1860-1935) was arguably the most important intellectual of the second wave of American feminism. Author and lecturer, she had moved to San Francisco in 1894 where she was granted a divorce from Charles Stetson in that year. She and Helen Campbell briefly edited the IMPRESS, the official journal of the Pacific Woman's Press Association.  Charlotte supplemented her income with lecture fees. As her reputation spread, she came into contact with California feminist leaders, including Sarah B. Cooper, President of The Woman's Congress. Together they planned the 1894 and 1895 Annual Meetings.
At the 1895 meeting documented in this pamphlet, Gilman met Jane Addams and accepted her invitation to visit Hull-House, which she later did. Gilman spoke twice at the 1895 conference, which had as its theme "The Home." Her first speech was "Simplicity in Decoration", a seemingly odd topic for the author of "The Yellow Wall-Paper." Her second was "Organization in Home Industry," which she gave on a panel that also featured Robert Jordan, president of Stanford University and Susan B. Anthony ("Shall We Cooperate"). Thus, the pamphlet records Gilman's rapid emergence as a public advocate of women's rights after her divorce. To appear on a panel with two such distinguished members indicated, as her biographer states, "[s]he had come a long way in a short time" (To Herland and Beyond, by Ann Lane, University Press of Virginia, 1997, pp. 164-165).
Anthony delivered two other speeches on "The Relation of the Home to Education" and "Influence or Power-Which?" Rev. Anna H. Shaw also spoke (three times)-on "Educational Influence of Home Life on Men and Women," "The City and the Home," and "Does Wifehood Preclude Citizenship?" Helen Campbell,( a close friend of Charlotte's who spent time with her in a Chicago social settlement in an area nicknamed "Little Hell,") spoke on "Skilled Labor or Domestic Service." The Rev. Anna Howard Shaw conducted the closing evening service. In all there were six full days of speeches by the most important women activists of the day. This piece of ephemera is an important reminder of the countless meetings, seminars, speeches, etc. women organized and participated in before suffrage was granted in 1920.  
NAW I, pp. 39-42.

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