How Mark Twain Supported Women’s Suffrage – through scrapbooks

What a pleasure to go back to my old notes on Mark Twain’s Self-Pasting Scrap-Book to explore how women’s rights activists like lecturing platform star Anna E. Dickinson, Elizabeth Boynton Harbert, and other women’s rights activists used it for their work. As I read Mark Twain’s review of Dickinson’s speech at Cooper Union, and paid closer attention to the dates, I realized that Twain was just a few weeks into his own long career as a public speaker when he wrote it. He was studying her to learn how to succeed as a speaker!

Anna Dickinson was an extraordinary and energetic writer, speaker, and aspiring actor, not afraid to attack her critics, and to bring a lawsuit after she was shut up in a mental institution. Many of her papers, including scrapbooks, are now digitized on the Library of Congress site.

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