[Hartford: Case, Lockwood & Brainard, Printers, ca. April 19, 1871]. 4pp. on a single folded quarto sheet. Some edge wear, soft diagonal crease, bottom corner chipped, short split at top of fold. Moderate foxing. Overall very good. Item #WRCAM55358
An unrecorded, and likely earlier variant of a rare publication by the National Woman Suffrage and Educational Committee, published in Hartford just after the group's national convention in Washington, D.C. and ahead of the group's next national convention on May 11, 1871 in New York City. The text boldly "calls upon all women who love their children and their country" to take up the cause of suffrage, asserting that "This is pre- eminently the birth-day of womanhood." The main thrust of the text argues for women's suffrage on a Constitutional basis, asserting that women were already granted full citizenship and the right to vote under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. The authors call for women to assert their right to vote by going to the polls and, if necessary, by suing in court. This last point was a strategy developed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other suffragists to seek remedy for the right to vote through the judicial system, a strategy that came to be known as the "New Departure." The National Woman Suffrage and Educational Committee was formed, in large part, to carry out this new strategy. The present text calls for "some test case be brought upon full consultation with the National Committee, that the ablest counsel may be employed and the expenses paid out of the public fund." The most notable test case of the New Departure came the next year, when Susan B. Anthony registered to vote in Rochester, New York, and then cast a ballot in the 1872 presidential election. She was arrested for her "crime," and the resulting trial saw Anthony convicted of illegally voting, for which she was ordered to pay a $100 fine. Anthony never paid the fine, nor was she ever penalized further for refusing to do so. The text also prints the group's "Declaration and Pledge of the Women of the United States concerning their Right to and their Use of the Elective Franchise," which was adopted at their first national convention in January 1871. The declaration reads, in part: "We, the undersigned, believing that the sacred rights and privileges of citizenship in this Republic were guaranteed to us by the original Constitution, and that these rights are confirmed and more clearly established by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, so that we can no longer refuse solemn responsibilities thereof, do hereby pledge ourselves to accept the duties of the franchise in our several States, so soon as all legal restrictions are removed." The text continues by reporting the creation of the board of the National Woman Suffrage and Educational Committee, with an office in Washington, D.C., "proposed to make the centre of all action upon Congress and the country," and a call to distribute "thousands and thousaads [sic] more" suffrage-related publications across the country. The text ends with a fundraising call, specifically for for women to send in their names, recorded by the Secretary in a Pledge Book, and suggested donations of $1, along with a request for donations to establish a printing fund, to publish "a series of tracts on subjects vitally affecting the welfare of the country." The text is dated April 19, 1871, and signed in print at the end by the officers and notable members of the National Woman Suffrage and Educational Committee. These include Isabella Beecher Hooker (President), Josephine S. Griffing (Secretary), Mary B. Bowen (Treasurer), Paulina Wright Davis, Ruth Carr Denison and Susan B. Anthony. The nature of the variance in this printing of the pamphlet lies in the first page, which contains a brief notice rather than a formal titlepage. The second, third, and fourth pages containing the text are the same settings of type as in the issues with the printed titlepage, down to the misspelling of the word "thousaads" in the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph on the last page. The first page of all known copies of this work have a normal printed titlepage listing the title, the committee members, and an imprint for Case, Lockwood & Brainard in Hartford, dated 1871; instead of a titlepage, the present copy carries the following printed note in place of the titlepage: "It would be regarded as a great favor if Editors receiving this Appeal will insert it in their papers on or soon after the 25th of April, and also give notice that a National Woman Suffrage Convention will be held in New York, on the 11th and 12th of May, under the auspices of this Committee." Given that the end of the text is dated April 19, 1871, and the printed notice indicates the committee was trying to get newspaper editors to print this text within the next week, it is logical to assume that this variant was actually printed first, before the version with the printed titlepage. This printing of the text with the notice to the Editors was time-sensitive, and likely printed first to facilitate the text's dispersal to the various news outlets targeted by the committee. Then, afterwards, the full titlepage was typeset and the work was printed for wider distribution, including the national convention in New York that May. Also given that this version of the pamphlet was sent to newspaper editors, few copies would have survived the process of the newspaper using the publication as a compositor's copy of their own newspaper text; therefore, this version is likely far rarer than the one with the printed titlepage. Krichmar records the version of the publication with the printed titlepage, but does not mention this version. We can find no other copies of this version with the note to editors on the first page. A rare and very early printing of a fundamental document in the women's suffrage movement. KRICHMAR 1866 (ref). Stanton, et al, HISTORY OF WOMAN SUFFRAGE II, p.485.