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Biographical History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa

Photo of Amelia BLOOMERMRS. AMELIA BLOOMER. -- Inasmuch as the name of this lady has become prominent over the country, it seems proper that it should appear in this history, more especially as she is now one of the oldest settlers.

Mrs. Bloomer was born in Cortland County, New York, in the year 1818.  Her maiden name was Amelia Jenks.  She received a fair education in the common schools of the State, and after arriving at suitable age she engaged in teaching, at first in the public schools and afterward as a private tutor.  She was married in 1840 to Dexter C. Bloomer, of Seneca Falls, New York, where she resided with her husband until the fall or winter of 1853.  Mr. Bloomer was an attorney, and also, at the time of their marriage and for some years after, editor and one of the publishers of a county newspaper.  Mrs. Bloomer early began to write for the paper, confining her articles mainly to the advocacy of temperance, of which she has always been an ardent defender.  She was one of the editors of the Water Bucket, a temperance paper published during the Washingtonian revival, and she early connected herself with the order of Good Templars.  In 1849 a temperance paper called the Lily was commenced in Seneca Falls, and it very soon fell entirely into the hands of Mrs. Bloomer, both as editor and publisher.  It was continued by her for six years in New York, and one year in Ohio.  It was devoted to the "interests of woman," and ardently advocated the cause of temperance and woman's enfranchisement, and attained a wide circulation.  In 1851 Mrs. Bloomer first appeared on the platform as a public speaker, and she, in company with other advocates of temperance and Woman's Rights, in the winter of that year addressed large and attentive audiences in all large cities of the State.  Mrs. Bloomer continued, during her residence in New York and Ohio, to speak frequently on the question so near her heart, visiting and speaking in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis; and wherever she went she always was favored with full houses.  In 1850 Mrs. Bloomer's attention was called to the short dresses and trowsers which a few ladies about that time began to don.  She was pleased with it, adopted it in place of the long, heavy skirt that ladies were accustomed to wear, and advocated in the Lily its adoption by others.  It soon excited great interest, and her name soon became connected with it the world over.  Mrs. Bloomer continued to wear it for some six years; and she is still a firm believer that its general use would tend to promote the comfort and health of her sex.  She, however, never publicly advocated it other than in the columns of her paper, and never in any way alluded to it in her public addresses.  Her main theme and the work of her life has been the enfranchisement of woman, alike in industrial employments, in educational privileges, and in political rights; and in all these respects she has been spared to witness most wonderful progress; but the hour of complete triumph is yet delayed.

In 1854 Mrs. Bloomer removed with her husband to Mount Vernon, Ohio, where, during that year, she continued the publication of her paper, acting also as associate editor of the Western Home Visitor.  She made many addresses during the year in that State, and organized a number of lodges of Good Templars.  In 1855 she became a resident of Council Bluffs, where she has since resided.  She has spoken often and written a great deal on her favorite subject of Woman's Rights, as well as upon temperance and other prominent questions before the public.  She was the first president of the Iowa Woman Suffrage Society, and her residence has always been open to the advocates of her favorite ideas, as they stopped or passed through the city.  But advancing years has limited her activities, and she has been compelled to to leave to others the carrying on the battle for equal justice for her sex.

In 1842 she became a member of the Episcopal Church, and she has continued her connections with it through all the subsequent years, and aided in its work in many ways in the city of her adoption.  She has taken a deep interest in whatever tends to ameliorate all suffering and promote the happiness of the poor and the unfortunate, as well as the rich.  In the spring of 1890 she celebrated, in connection with her husband, their Golden Wedding, in the pleasant cottage in which they have resided for thirty-five years.  It was thronged with their friends, who joyfully seized the occasion to express their high regards for the venerable pair, and the presents which they received were alike numerous, beautiful and spontaneous.

Get more information about Amelia (JENKS) BLOOMER!
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