Feminism & FreeLove in Olympia, 1862: The Sensational Marriage of Eliza Ann Woodard Hurd and Charles Henry DeWolfe

Feminism & FreeLove in Olympia, 1862: The Sensational Marriage of Eliza Ann Woodard Hurd and Charles Henry DeWolfe



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  • Handmade
  • Materials: printed magazine

Zine 1 in the Undertold Histories Series
44 pages

history, feminism, women's rights, United States, Washington State, Washington Territory, Olympia, San Francisco, Valentine's Day, marriage

In May 1862, Eliza Ann Woodard Hurd married Rev. Dr. Charles Henry DeWolfe in a ceremony held at Eliza's parents’ house on Budd Inlet, outside of Olympia, Washington Territory. Olympia was scandalized! Their "conjugal alliance and matrimonial co-partnership" was not officiated, making the couple criminally liable for offenses against morality and decency.

A few days after their marriage, a crowd of citizens gathered on the Olympia wharf as the couple were arrested attempting to board a boat destined for Victoria. At court Charles Henry exclaimed that future generations would "look upon him as a martyr and reverence his memory." This sensational marriage was reported in local, regional, and national newspapers, and recalled in history books for decades.

Four days after her marriage, Eliza was seen riding a horse through town while wearing "bloomers." Bloomers were considered practical attire by early feminists, but conservative Americans considered them immodest. The Washington Standard mocked Eliza as a "weak, silly woman" for her Strong-minded protest, five years before other Olympia women would start protesting suffrage. The DeWolfes left Olympia for Victoria. Following the suspicious death of an actor at DeWolfe's hydrotherapy establishment, the couple relocated to San Francisco. In San Francisco, Eliza violated a law prohibiting cross-dressing, further securing her place in history.

This is the story of Eliza Ann and Charles Henry DeWolfe, told through newspaper articles, letters, images from the period, and a selection of entertaining "vinegar" valentines inspired by their lives.


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1 shop review

5 out of 5 stars

Sonia Labby Jan 12, 2021

5 out of 5 stars

The book is interesting. It includes photographs of articles and pictures, which give us a clear insight of how media portrayed women's role. I really enjoy reading this book and would recommend to anybody who is interested in women's history and feminism.

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