Frequently Asked Questions about Victoria Woodhull, answered by Mary L. Shearer


Top Ten Myths about Victoria Woodhull 

Who? | What? | Where?| When? | Why? | How?

Did Colonel Blood really have a right to use the title “Colonel?”


Yes. He served in the 6th Missouri Volunteer Infantry on the Union side during the Civil War. (There was also a Confederate 6th Missouri.) He entered service as a Lieutenant-Colonel and was later promoted to Colonel. He knew Generals Grant and Sherman. After he resigned his army commission on April 1, 1864, he joined the Missouri Militia.  There’s a memorial to his regiment at Vicksburg, MS.

Did Victoria Woodhull really marry Colonel Blood?  I heard he was her “lover.”


That depends on how you define marriage and who you believe. Victoria and Colonel both gave conflicting accounts of their marital status. And with good reason in Victoria’s case.  Divorce was frowned upon and many divorced women called themselves “widows” so they wouldn’t be stigmatized by divorce.  According to Victoria, they were married in a Presbyterian religious ceremony on July 14, 1866 in Dayton, Ohio. They believed that marriage was a matter of the heart and not for the law and that is probably the reason they chose a religious ceremony, rather than a civil ceremony. Although they filed for a marriage license before the ceremony, the minister neglected to file a return to register the marriage officially.  While many biographers have made note of the missing return, they weren’t the only couple with a missing return.  Many of the marriage licenses in Dayton are missing the returns. That was common in Dayton during that era , in part because Ohio was a common law marriage state. According to Colonel’s court testimony, he and Victoria were legally divorced in 1868 in Chicago and “remarried.”  The remarriage was probably common law and not statutory.  They simply continued to live together as husband and wife.  They divorced again on October 6, 1876 in Brooklyn, NY.  While they were together, Victoria would call Colonel her husband and Colonel would call Victoria his wife.  After the divorce Colonel Blood changed his story. He said in his pension application that he had been married only once and was widowed.  He said nothing about being married to Victoria, but did mention that Dr. Woodhull was once his doctor.  He also didn’t mention his divorce from Victoria or his divorce from his first wife Mary.  When Victoria remarried, she claimed she was the widow of Dr. Woodhull and was divorced from Colonel Blood. She didn’t mention her divorce from Dr. Woodhull on her marriage record to John Biddulph Martin.  Chicago divorce records were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire so it’s difficult to prove she filed for divorce from Dr. Woodhull.  

Now available on this web site are copies of all of her marriage records, including a marriage record that had been hidden for nearly 150 years.  to read about these new discoveries, go to http://victoria-woodhull.com/marriages.htm

Did Victoria Woodhull have the legal right to vote when she ran for President?


Victoria was a resident of New York in 1872. At that time, New York did not allow women to vote in national elections, so Victoria was legally prohibited from casting a vote for herself. Even if she were legally able to vote, she was in jail on election day, so she could not make it to the polls.  In 1871, one year prior to Susan B. Anthony’s famous attempt to vote, Victoria attempted to vote in New York, citing what she believed to be her constitutional right under the 14th and 15th amendments as a citizen of the United States.

Did Victoria Woodhull keep a diary?


A diary is not known to exist. However, Victoria said in a newspaper interview in the 1870’s that she kept a diary when she was young. She also said she wrote newspaper articles as a young married woman. As of yet, no one has found that diary or the articles she claims to have written in her years prior to marrying Colonel Blood. The articles, if they ever existed, were probably written under another name if a byline was given or under no byline at all.

Did Woodhull, Illinois get its name from Victoria Woodhull?


According to a search on the internet, Woodhull, IL, is named after Maxwell Woodhull of New York City. If he’s the same Maxwell Woodhull who was a Navy Commander, he’s a distant cousin of Victoria’s first husband.

Did Woodhull Hospital in New York get its name from Victoria Woodhull?


No. The hospital was named after a landowner named Richard M. Woodhull who was related to Abraham Woodhull.

Top Ten Myths about Victoria Woodhull

Who? | What? | Where?| When? | Why? | How?

How could Victoria Woodhull run for President when she wasn’t the constitutionally mandated age of 35?
  The fact that she would be seven months shy of 35 on the day of the inauguration largely went unnoticed by her contemporaries. Those who objected to her candidacy usually objected on the basis of her gender or reputation and not her age. In fact, she claimed one Congressman told her that because she was a woman, she wasn’t a U.S. citizen. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, you can’t vote and you can’t run for President of the United States. The issue of age becomes a moot point.


The webmaster researched Victoria for decades before finding a small handful of articles mentioning her age in reference to the constitutional mandate. All but one were from before she was nominated by the Equal Rights Party. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that her age was brought up frequently, especially by those who asserted that Belva Lockwood was the first woman to run for President.

How did Victoria Woodhull manage financially at the time of her death? 


Victoria Woodhull managed very well financially, as her last husband was a member of the Martin’s Bank family.
She married into the English landed gentry, and became Victoria C. Woodhull Martin. Her estate was valued at £181,722 5s.7d.

How did the status of women change during her lifetime?


Answer will be forthcoming.  In the meantime, consult Barbara Goldsmith’s “Other Powers” for the answer.

How did Victoria Woodhull run her campaign?


She announced her candidacy in the New York Herald on April 2, 1870 two years before the election. At that time, she was self-nominated. It wasn’t until May of 1872 that she was formally nominated by the Equal Rights Party. She wrote books, articles, gave speeches, organized a “congress” of followers who met at her home, and sold interest bearing bonds that would be redeemable during her presidency.

There are a few extracts of articles from the Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly about the formation of the Equal Rights Party, their nomination, and her initial run for the presidency. You can find them as follows: People’s Convention, Equal Rights Conventions, Our Nominees, Our Platform.

How did Victoria Woodhull select her running mate, Frederick Douglass?


Strictly speaking she didn’t select her running mate.  He was nominated by the Equal Rights Party.  See the Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly article, SPIRIT OF THE PRESS. EXTRAORDINARY POLITICS. Some historians say he ignored the nomination, others say he declined it. No one has found the public letter he supposedly wrote declining it. Mary L. Shearer has found part of the answer of what happened to Frederick Douglass’s nomination and is saving it for a book.

How did Victoria sound when she spoke?


Victoria Woodhull probably spoke with a Midwestern accent, because she didn’t reside outside of Ohio until she was 15 or 16 years old. Her voice has been described as “clear and melodious.” When making fun of her, contemporary reporters emphasized trilled R’s in her speech.

How many children did Victoria Woodhull have and what happened to them? Does she have any living descendants?


Victoria had two children by her first husband, Dr. Woodhull. They are Byron Woodhull, born December 31, 1854, in Chicago, IL, and Zula Maud, born April (23 or 28), 1861, at 53 Bond Street in New York City. (Sources conflict as to whether she was born on the 23rd or the 28th and there’s no NYC birth certificate to clear up the confusion.) Some authors claim Zula was born Zulu Maude and the name was changed to Zula Maud after Victoria went to England in 1877. There’s one problem with that theory. Zula appeared in the 1870 census in the household of James Blood under the name “Zula Woodhull.” A cabinet card from 1874 refers to her as “Zulu Maude Woodhull.” According to his mother’s first cousin, Byron received a head injury as a toddler. It damaged his brain for life. (He may also have been adversely affected by his father’s alcoholism according to Tennessee and Victoria.) He was incapable of working or even conversing and was in the care of various relatives and friends all his life. His final years were spent in England under the financial care of his mother. After his mother’s death, his sister Zula provided care for him with the assistance of others. Byron died Jan. 17, 1932 in Hove Brighton, Sussex, England.

Zula tried to follow her mother’s footsteps. She wrote a play. She even edited one of her mother’s journals, “The Humanitarian,” but she could never get out of the shadow of her mother’s fame. She died unmarried in England in September 1940.

You can find radio interviews and articles on the internet that mention a living descendant of Victoria Woodhull, but apparently no vetting was made of the alleged descendant’s ancestry. Victoria’s children, Zula and Byron, had no children. That means it’s impossible for Victoria to have any living direct descendants. The “descendant” is actually her 4th cousin 4 times removed. If being a distant cousin counts as being a descendant, then you could call Mary L. Shearer a descendant. However, descendant implies direct descent not collateral descent.

Victoria’s siblings Margaret, Mary, and Hebern have living descendants. They would be Victoria’s closest living blood relations. There was an article, no longer on the internet, that claimed that Sam Claflin who played Finnick Odair in the Hunger Games, was the grandson of Roy Austin Beaven Claflin. If true that would make Sam Claflin the great-great-great-grandson of Hebern Claflin. However, Ethnicelebs says his grandfather was George K. Claflin, a distant cousin of Hebern and Victoria. Victoria Woodhull & Company is currently trying to confirm the identity of Sam Claflin’s grandfather.

How many “husbands” did Victoria have?


Victoria Woodhull was married four times to three husbands, and Mary L. Shearer has copies of the records of all of these marriages.  Victoria’s first marriage was to Dr. Canning Woodhull on November 20, 1853 in Cleveland, OH. (Records are inconsistent as to his name. He appears as Canning Woodhull in his obituary in his wife’s paper. He’s listed as Channing Woodhull on his death certificate. Most authors refer to him as Canning Woodhull which is the correct spelling.) She was married second to Col. James Harvey Blood. She married him on two different dates, the most widely published date being July 14, 1866 in Dayton, OH. She was married third to British banker, John Biddulph Martin on October 31, 1883 at the South Kensington Presbyterian Church, Emperor’s Gate, London, England. Only the Woodhull marriage resulted in offspring. For further information about her marriages, check out this page.

Some newspapers claimed Victoria had an affair with Rev. Henry Ward Beecher and his best friend Theodore Tilton. However, several people close to Beecher and Tilton claimed neither had an affair with Victoria. The two men were only infatuated with her.

Benjamin R. Tucker is the only man who publicly claimed to be Victoria Woodhull’s lover. He was paid $5,000.00 to tell the tale in Emanie Sachs’ biography about Victoria. In addition, Sachs promised to obtain a publisher for his autobiography.

The fact remains that Victoria Woodhull believed it was nobody’s business how many lovers she had–whether she had none, one, or one hundred. If she had any lovers, it was probably just one and almost certainly not more than three by 1874, because she thought a women with four husbands was “altogether too promiscuous” for her. The possible lovers in order of likelihood are: Benjamin R. Tucker, Theodore Tilton, and Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. However, there’s no proof she had affairs with any of the men. Several writers have claimed that she admitted to sleeping with Tilton, but that’s based on a Chicago Times article that Victoria said was made up, and on testimony that alleged among other things that they went swimming together at Coney Island. In the 1870’s both Tilton and Victoria denied being anything other than friends.

She was rumored to have had affairs with at least six other men, but the rumors appear to be groundless. Lois Beachy Underhill suggested Victoria had an affair with Congressman Benjamin Butler, but she based it solely on Victoria’s statement that she went to visit Butler “at night” to convince him to open the halls of Congress for her.  Victoria herself called the rumors of her promiscuity “absurd.”

How many votes did Victoria Woodhull receive in 1872?


There isn’t a satisfactory answer to that question. One of the reasons is that supposedly some of the election officials just laughed at the votes for her and threw them away. The votes for her do not appear to have been officially tallied. A search of the National Archives could answer with certainty whether the votes were counted or not.  According to some statistics, there were around 2,000 or so “scattering votes,” some of which may have been for her. One web site says there were 16,081 “other votes” cast in that election, or approximately .2% of the vote. Again, some of those could have been for her or any one of the other third party candidates. In any case, she didn’t have any electors pledged to her, so she couldn’t have won anywway.

How old was Victoria Woodhull when she died?


88 years, 8 months, and 16 days.

How will Victoria Woodhull be remembered?


That depends on you, because how she is remembered changes with every generation. Most people today have not heard of her, or only know that she was the first woman to run for President.

Top Ten Myths about Victoria Woodhull

Who? | What? | Where?| When? | Why? | How?

What activists have followed in Victoria Woodhull’s footsteps?


One activist is Tennessee Woodhull Watson. She’s the daughter of Nancy Woodhull, founder of USA Today. While supposedly not related to Victoria Woodhull, Tennessee was named after Victoria’s sister, and just like her namesake, has been arrested in social protest.

What are the historian viewpoints on Victoria Woodhull?


The best book for attitudes of present historians is “One Woman, One Vote, edited by Marjorie Spruill Wheeler. It contains the pro-Woodhull view of Ellen Carol Dubois on pages 88-91 and the anti-Woodhull view of Andrea Moore Kerr on pages 73-77. You’ll also want to consult one of the 3 recent biographies by Mary Gabriel, Lois Beachy Underhill, or Barbara Goldsmith.

For past historians, consult the History of Women Suffrage by Stanton, Anthony, and Gage. They published the Woodhull Memorial, which is about their only mention of Woodhull as she was largely written out of the history of the movement. You’ll also want to check out the Terrible Siren by Emanie Sachs, published in the 1920’s. It was the first full-length biography. Sachs wasn’t an historian, but her biography is considered the definitive one by historians.

What are your sources?


Mary L. Shearer has spent years and thousands of dollars researching Victoria Woodhull. Besides consulting all Victoria Woodhull biographies, she has collected thousands of magazine and newspaper articles and has reviewed unpublished collections. She has her own extensive collection of Victoria Woodhull books and has access to almost the entire Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly. She’s read most of Victoria Woodhull’s speeches. One day, Mary L. Shearer will publish a book about Victoria Woodhull and Colonel Blood that will contain her sources. That’s the reason some source citations are vague or non-existent on this site. It doesn’t make sense to give away all of the expensive research for free!

What awards or titles did Victoria Woodhull receive?


She was posthumously inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York.

What books and speeches did she write?


She wrote several books and speeches.  A list will be printed here at a future date.  In the meantime, visit the Books & Book Reviews section of the Woodhull Presidential Library.  There are links to books that contain her speeches.

What can I find about Victoria Woodhull related to psychology?


If you’re looking for something from the viewpoint of psychology, she’s mentioned in “Eccentrics, A Study of Sanity and Strangeness.” The mention is brief, however.

What can you send me about Victoria Woodhull for free?


Nothing. Everything you can get about Victoria Woodhull for free is on this web site. We’ll be happy to do research for you for a fee of $25.00 per hour plus expenses.

What did her parents do for a living?


Her father was a raftsman, school teacher, and attorney at various times of his life, besides other occupations.  Her mother kept house (not very well some people say) and supposedly helped in making “Tennessee’s Magnetic Elixir” which the Claflin family sold through agents. Despite what some biographers say Buck Claflin wasn’t an arsonist. Buck was no angel, but he wasn’t as bad as the biographers let on.

What did Victoria do in England?


The best source for information on Victoria’s life in England is Owen Stinchcombe’s book, but it’s not readily available in America.  The next best source of information is Notorious Victoria by Mary Gabriel.

What do you know about Victoria Woodhull’s childhood?


Amazon has an excerpt from a book by Mary Gabriel that tells a little about her childhood. Go to Amazon, click on the hyperlink “Look Inside” and choose excerpt.

Theodore Tilton’s biography of Victoria Woodhull contains some information about her childhood.  Some people have made fun of the biography, because they think it’s full of lies, but it had Victoria’s stamp of approval on it in 1871. It wasn’t until later that she disliked the biography. The biography was actually Tilton’s re-write of Col. Blood’s attempt at a biography. The biography may be highly colored, but it probably accurately reflects Victoria’s own feelings in 1871 about the narrative of her life.  There were some hints in her family that the story about her father’s violence was greatly exaggerated. Of course, any exaggeration is likely to be Tilton’s and Victoria’s.

The majority of material about Victoria that still exists mostly pertains to 1869 or later. It’s difficult to trace her whereabouts prior to 1869, as the family moved around, and not all of them moved together. The most stable period (in terms of moving) was from around the time Victoria was born until she was about 12. The Claflin family lived in Homer from 1838-1850 or later. Despite what the biographers say, the Claflins lived in Homer for several years after Buck Claflin’s mill burned down.  Later they moved to Mt. Gilead, Oh, where Victoria’s sister Margaret Ann Miles was living. It was there that Victoria met her first husband.  Prior to 1869, Victoria is believed to have lived in the states of California, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

What documentaries are available?


There have been only three documentaries done about Victoria Woodhull. The one with the most mass appeal aired on Lifetime Television, but is not available for purchase, unless you can find a press kit for it on an auction site. The only one available for purchase is America’s Victoria. You can buy it from the producer for $49.95.

What is the Equal Rights Party?


It is the name of the party that nominated Victoria Woodhull as the first woman to run for President of the United States. It was created in 1872. Some people consider it an offshoot of the National Woman’s Suffrage Association, but Susan B. Anthony would’ve disagreed. The party nominated the first and second women to run for the presidency. Some people argue that the Equal Rights Party that nominated Belva Lockwood was not the same Equal Rights Party that nominated Victoria Woodhull. In any case, the party no longer exists.

What else did she accomplish besides running for President of the United States?


She and her sister Tennessee Claflin were the first female stockbrokers.  (They did not have seats on the stock exchange, however.)

What happened to Victoria’s possessions confiscated by the United States government?  Did she get them back?


What the government confiscated in the 1870’s was not returned. Victoria, Tennessee, and Colonel all made a request to Congress for compensation for damages for malicious prosecution, but their request was denied.

What influence does Victoria Woodhull have on today?


If you ask this question, a teacher or professor probably assigned the question to you.  It’s important that you answer the question based on what you think, not what anyone else thinks. 

What information do you have that is suitable for children in elementary school? 


A beautifully illustrated picture book by Kathleen Krull was recently published. Another book about Victoria Woodhull for younger is students is the one by Jacqueline MacLean. You can find the books for sale through Books & Book Reviews in the Woodhull Presidential Library.

Cobblestone Magazine for children has an old issue on Victoria Woodhull.  The biography “Free Woman” by Marion Meade has been re-printed, but may be more appropriate for junior high students.  Supposedly the Olsen twins, Mary Kate and Ashley, published an article about Victoria Woodhull in their magazine, which may or may not be suitable for that age.  There’s also a brief Woodhull biography in the book, “They Led the Way” by Johanna Johnston.

What is Free Love?


Free Love is different things to different people. Most people today equate Free Love with the 1960’s line that if you’re not with the one you love, love the one you’re with. That was not the meaning of Free Love in the 1870’s; at least, if you were a supporter of Free Love. Opponents of Free Love wrongly thought it meant abandoning your husband or wife and children at a whim. To supporters of Free Love, the definition was simple: Love is a matter for the heart, and not for the law. The government has no right to interfere in marriage and force people to stay married when they no longer love one another. If you were a Free Lover, you believed that a couple had the right to divorce if they chose to do so. Today, most people believe couples have the right to divorce, so some Free Love views of the 1870’s have become commonplace.

What is the source for the quote, “Yes, I am a Free Lover?”


You can find that quote on this web site. The source is “A Speech of the Principles of Social Freedom.” The speech was delivered Monday, Nov. 20, 1871 in Steinway Hall, New York City.

What is Victoria Woodhull & Company?


It’s a small business in cyberspace, dedicated to preserving the memories and extolling the principles of Victoria Woodhull and her husband Col. Blood. It seeks to continue their work of provoking social discourse. Government, then as now, was controlled by party politics and big money. This web site hopes to continue the Woodhull-Blood protest of party politics as usual. It advocates a more humanitarian government derived from the full consent of the governed. This site also serves as a comprehensive source of materials about Victoria Woodhull on the web.

Victoria Woodhull & Company is owned by Mary Shearer, a great-great-granddaughter of Isabell Blood. Isabell was married to Col. James H. Blood, managing editor of Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly. He was previously married to Victoria Woodhull when she ran for President of the United States. After “Colonel” and Victoria divorced, he married Isabell. As a result of this marriage, Colonel became the step-father of three children–Frank, Irving, and Fannie. Frank (aka The Hon. Frank Morrill Fogg I) and Colonel owned the Greenback Labor Chronicle of Auburn, Maine. The paper was later known as the Union Chronicle of Portland, Maine. Mary descends from Frank, who according to family legend, was the speech writer of populist leader, William Jennings Bryan, during the campaign of 1896. Incidentally, Victoria’s sister, Lady Tennessee Cook, Viscountess of Monserrate, was also a supporter of Bryan.

What memorabilia do you have for sale?


Original memorabilia from the time of Victoria’s run for President is difficult to come by and highly desirable to political collectors. Her book, “Origins Tendencies & Principles of Government” has been sold at prices ranging from $500-1,250. A letter with her signature is worth about $250.00. Her campaign button is probably the most rare. What memorabilia Victoria Woodhull & Company owns is not for sale. That may change if duplicate items are obtained.

What merchandise discounts do you provide?


Discounts provided only for orders of 100 items or more.

What other firsts is Victoria Woodhull known for?


She and her sisters were the first female stockbrokers on Wall Street. She also has been called the first woman to address Congress, but some people say that honor belongs to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. It’s probably safe to say, though, that Victoria was the first woman to address a joint session of the Judiciary Committee. Some say she was also the first woman motorist in England, the first to offer a prize for a flight over the Atlantic, and the first woman to speak on stirpiculture in England, but Victoria Woodhull & Company has not confirmed that. The author of “Private Matters” has suggested that Victoria was the first American to speak publicly about the right to privacy.

What political events did she attend?


She marched in “Rossel’s Procession” in support of Colonel Rossel of the Paris Commune on Dec. 17, 1871.  (Other events to be published later.)

What rights did women have in the 1870’s?


Currently working on an answer to this question.  In the meantime, read Barbara Goldsmith’s book, “Other Powers.”

What was her campaign slogan?


Don’t know, but her campaign song was Victory for Victoria. That was probably her slogan.

What was her education?


According to biographers, she had only three years of elementary school education. There is a book that claims that she attended the schools in Massillon, Ohio. An interview in the Atlanta Constitution in 1876 contradicts the biographers. She said, “I am a self made woman entirely, never spent one year in the school room.”

What was her motivation?


To make the world a better place.

What was her personality like?


Her demeanor was reserved and ladylike. She had an aristocratic bearing and could get imperious when angry. When she was on stage, her speech became impassioned, her cheeks flushed red, and her eyes sparkled. She liked to go on walks every day. She rode horses, played sports and the piano, and danced. She liked talking about philosophical questions. She was more interested in ideas than beauty. She was very idealistic and gave to the poor. She had a magnetic personality, but was probably not the best choice for a friend, because she valued principles over loyalty.

What was her philosophy?
  She was  an individualist and a free lover on a perpetual pursuit of the truth about the nature of existence.  She believed that life is a series of obstacles to be overcome.

What was her religion?


Spiritualism, which was an offshoot of Protestant Christianity. She was opposed to the organized Christian religion which she viewed as hypocritical and not living up to the principles of Jesus Christ. She preferred a more personal, mystical type of religion, so it’s hard to tell if she ever claimed any other particular denomination besides Spiritualism.
As a child, she attended Methodist revivals. When she was growing up her parents were Methodists.

Here’s a list of the ministers who married her and their likely denomination:
1) H. N. Stearns of Cleveland, OH: Methodist Episcopal
2) Joseph White of Cincinnati, OH: Methodist Protestant
3) Thomas E. Thomas of Dayton, OH: Presbyterian
4) V. M. White of South Kensington, London, England: Presbyterian

Her most favorite verse of the Bible was “Blessed are the pure at heart for they shall see God.” Victoria was deeply affected as well by a poem she read as a child, called Abou Ben Adhem.

What was life like for the typical woman of the 1870’s?


The “true woman” did not have a life outside of the home and church.  Work was “man’s sphere” and housework was “woman’s sphere.” She was expected to stay home to provide a comfortable home for her husband and to raise her children.  She was expected to be modest, quiet, and virtuous.  A “true woman” was not interested in education, sex, politics, or public speaking.  Some middle class women had an Irish servant to assist with the cooking and laundry.  Other women could not afford to stay home, but were limited in their choice of occupation.  A woman could be a seamstress, a schoolteacher if she were single, a textile worker, or a boarding house keeper.  A female doctor or lawyer was a rarity and often a source of humor.  Gas lights or candles, rather than electricity lit the homes.  Indoor plumbing was a luxury.  Laundry was done by hand.  Clothing was heavy and restrictive.  A lady’s clothes could weigh 30 pounds.

What was the cause of Victoria Woodhull’s death?


She died of heart disease. One person claimed she preferred sleeping upright in a chair because of her heart condition, and not because she was afraid of dying as others suggested. Her death certificate shows she died of myocarditis on the ninth of June, 1927 at her home Norton Park in Bredon’s Norton, Worcestershire, England.

What was Victoria Woodhull’s favorite color?


Probably purple as that was one of her favorite colors for clothing.

What was Victoria Woodhull’s favorite food?


Food for thought? Don’t know the answer. If an answer is found, we’ll post it.

What was Victoria Woodhull’s favorite sport?


She liked to walk, swim, and ride horses, but we haven’t heard what her favorite sport was.

What was Victoria Woodhull’s hometown?


Homer, Ohio.  There are two towns by that name in Ohio.  She’s from Homer in Licking County.

What was Victoria Woodhull’s impact on society?


It would be impossible to measure her precise impact on history. She knew so many of the famous and influential people of her time from President Grant to the future King Edward VII of England. She captured the imagination of friends and foes alike. Writers Charles Reade, Henry James, Harriet Beecher Stowe and H.G. Wells–just to name a few–were said to have written works inspired by her. Reade and Wells were pro-Woodhull. James and Stowe were anti-Woodhull.

Probably her greatest contribution was empowering women in business, politics, sex, and marriage. She brought the discussion of female sexuality to the public forum. She condemned marital rape at a time when there was no such thing under the law. Victoria’s view of marriage as an equal partnership, based on love rather than the law, has largely been accepted in the United States and abroad. Attorney Marilla Ricker said Victoria was the one who really started the women’s movement, because she gave women the idea that they could “own themselves.”

What were her parents’ names?


Reuben Buckman Claflin, also known as Buck, and Anna Roxanna Hummel Claflin, also known as Anna or Annie.

Most documents refer to her mother as Anna or Annie. She was buried under the name Annie. She has also appeared in a few documents as Roxanna or Rosanna. There are no family letters or records that call her Roxy. If an author calls her Roxy that suggests the author used secondary and not primary sources.

What were the names of her brothers and sisters?


She had 7 sisters and 2 brothers. The Tilton biography says that Victoria was the seventh of ten children. The Claflin Genealogy by Charles Henry Wight contradicts that. His source was supposedly Victoria’s sister Margaret Ann who may have had possession of the Claflin Family Bible. It lists the children in order as:

Margaret Ann, Delia, Mary, Maldon, Hebern, Victoria, Utica, Tennessee Celeste, Odessa Maldiva, and Hester Ann.

Three of the children died in infancy: Delia, Odessa, and Hester.

Lois Beachy Underhill said that Delia and Odessa had died before Victoria was born, but that can’t be the true about Odessa. She appeared in the 1850 census as a one-year-old. Without the Claflin Family Bible it’s impossible to tell in what birth order Delia and Hester fell because no birth, death, or cemetery records have been found for them. In addition to the problems in determining birth order, records are inconsistent as to the names of the children. People in the 19th century weren’t as exact on spelling names as they are today. The family also had nicknames. Some people called Margaret Ann Maggie or Mag. Mary was sometimes called in newspapers by the nickname Polly. Maldon’s name has been spelled Malden and Maldin. Hebern’s name has appeared as Hebren and Hebron. Victoria was sometimes called Aunt Vickey by her niece and Vic, Vickie, Vicky, or “The Woodhull” by the press. Utica was known by her nickname Utie. For a time, Tennessee liked to go by the name of Tennie C. Even the name of Colonel Blood provides challenges. After the war he signed his letters “Colonel” and was called “Colonel” and not James. Mary L. Shearer tried to find out what he was called before the Civil War, but he signed his name J.H. Blood and not James H. Blood. The question remains to be answered whether he was called James, Jim, or some other nickname.

The inconsistency in spelling extends to middle names. It was said Victoria’s full name was Victoria California Claflin or Victoria Calforny Claflin. Utica was Utica Vantitia Claflin or Utica Vanticia Claflin.

Complicating matters further are the typos introduced by the newspapers, so it’s hard to tell if Odessa was Odessa Maldiva, Odessa Malvida, or Odessa Malvina. The married name of Utica Claflin was Utica Brooker, but newspapers sometimes incorrectly spelled it as Booker. If an author calls Utica by the name “Utica Booker” that’s a tip-off that the author used newspapers as his or her source and not genealogical records like Utica’s death certificate.

What would I wear to dress like Victoria Woodhull for a play?


To dress up as Victoria Woodhull, the outfit should come to the neck or higher. Victoria’s opponents claimed she wore outfits with bare arms and shoulders, something which Victoria denied. Photographs support Victoria and not her opponents. The webmaster does not know of even one photograph of Victoria Woodhull that shows bare arms, shoulders, or cleavage. Victoria also wasn’t one to wear a lot of jewelry. Her jewelry was simple—one brooch at her neck and a single diamond ring, or no jewelry at all. Sometimes she would wear a white tea rose instead of a brooch. She cut her curly brown hair short, which was scandalous at the time. She was known to wear short skirts sometimes. (At that time short was ankle length as opposed to floor length. She obviously preferred them for health and utilitarian reasons, because floor length skirts collected a lot of dirt from the floor.) Unlike the average woman of her time, Victoria didn’t wear corsets or lace up tightly because she thought it made women sick. She preferred dark colors for her clothing–purple was her favorite, but navy blue is a good alternative. A lot of her outfits were made out of broadcloth. In her era, bustles were popular although she didn’t think much of them. Some of her hats were Alpine hats, bowlers, or a pillbox hat with a feather, swooping to the front. For footwear, the ladies of her day wore gaiters, which look like what we call granny boots. Check out the links to pictures in the Woodhull Presidential Library for ideas.

Top Ten Myths about Victoria Woodhull

Who? | What? | Where?| When? | Why? | How?

When did Victoria Woodhull first come to public notice?


According to Lois Beachy Underhill, Victoria’s public career as a suffragist began after she appeared in a Washington DC paper in Jan. 19, 1869 as a representative of the “coming woman.” Another term for “coming woman” would be the “woman of the future.”

When did Victoria Woodhull first run for President?


She ran in 1872 before women had the universal right to vote.

When did Victoria Woodhull legally vote?


At the moment, this question can’t be answered with certainty. (If anyone knows, please email.) Victoria did attempt to vote in 1871 when women in New York were not legally allowed to vote. Women were not granted the national franchise until the 19th amendment passed in 1920. At that time, Victoria was living in England. It’s uncertain whether she had dual citizenship. She never officially applied for British citizenship but may have acquired English citizenship by marriage. There was a seven year time frame in which she could have voted in the U.S., but she isn’t known to have returned to the U.S. after 1920 so it’s doubtful she voted. Women in England didn’t receive the right to vote until one year after Victoria Woodhull died. Victoria’s fan Marilla Ricker, however, cast her vote in 1920.

When did women get the right to vote in the U.S.?   


All women in the United States won the right to vote when the 19th amendment passed in August 1920, approximately 7 years before Victoria died. There were a few states, though, that granted voting rights to women long before 1920.

The women of New Jersey had the right to vote in 1776, as long as they were free (not slaves), owned property and met the state’s residency requirements. In 1807, New Jersey took the right to vote away from women. Women were unable to vote again in the U.S. until the Wyoming territory granted the right in 1869. Wyoming was followed by the Utah territory in 1870, Colorado in 1893, Idaho in 1896, Washington in 1910, California in 1911, and finally Kansas and Arizona in 1912. An interesting side note: Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly once ran an article about the death of a New Jersey woman who voted for Thomas Jefferson for President.

When was she born?


September 23, 1838 shortly before dawn.

When was this web site started?


The web site was originally created in October 1999.

When was Victoria Woodhull nominated?


Victoria Woodhull was nominated on May 10, 1872 by the newly formed Equal Rights Party. Her nomination was ratified in convention on June 6, 1872.

Top Ten Myths about Victoria Woodhull

Who? | What? | Where?| When? | Why? | How?

Where can I find a copy of the Beecher-Tilton scandal issue on your site?


You can’t.  This web site does have an abstract for one article from the Beecher-Tilton Scandal issue  of November 2, 1872, which was published on October 28, 1872.  The article is “GRANT OR GREELEY – WHICH?&quot A copy of the issue has been transcribed and will be posted at a later date.

Where can I get a chronological list of Victoria Woodhull’s life?


A timeline is located at the National Women’s History Project. A couple errors stand out. She divorced Col.
Blood in 1876, not 1877, and she moved to England in 1877, not 1878.

Where can I find primary sources?


Newspapers are sometimes secondary and sometimes primary sources. Since Victoria Woodhull was the editor of Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, the Weekly is usually considered a primary source. You can obtain the Weekly on microfilm through interlibrary loan.  There are now some digitized copies of the Weekly on another web site. You can also obtain copies of her speeches.  Some of them are now digitized and posted on various web sites.(See answer below.)

Where can I get copies of her speeches?


Some of them can now be found through Google where they weren’t available years ago. You can find links to three transcripts of speeches given by Victoria Woodhull in the “In Her Own Words” section of the Woodhull Presidential Library.  “The Victoria Woodhull Reader,” edited by Madeleine B. Stern has reproduced many of Victoria’s speeches. Two books are out that have some of her works on Free Love and Eugenics. Cari M. Carpenter published some selected writings, and her book is highly recommended, particularly if you can’t get the Victoria Woodhull Reader.

Where can I get a copy of her address to the house judiciary committee?


The one page memorial petition is online at the Library of Congress “An American Time Capsule.”

The actual text of her address should now be available for free online if you search.  The text of her address, as well as the majority and minority reports on it have been published in the “Victoria Woodhull Reader,” edited by Madeline B. Stern.

Where can I get a copy of Theodore Tilton’s biography of Victoria Woodhull?

  On this web site In 1999 this was the only place on the internet you could get his bio. Now you can find a digitized copy, so you don’t have to rely on the transcription.
Where can I get a copy of They Were Giants: Great Moments in the Great Hall” by Himan Brown?


Victoria Woodhull & Company doesn’t have a copy of it.  Your best bet would be to contact the Himan Brown Audio Production Center.

Where can I get a copy of Victoria Woodhull’s 1872 platform?
  The easiest way to get a copy of platform is to get “Notorious Victoria” by Mary Gabriel. The platform is printed in the back of the book.

Where can I get a copy of the Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly?


The following institutions, which are arranged by state, may have copies of the Weekly in bound or microfilm form.  Some of the libraries listed may have only a few issues:

Arizona State University
University of Arkansas, Little Rock
University of California, Los Angeles
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
University of California, San Diego
Huntington Library Art Gallery & Gardens, California
Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Connecticut
University of Central Florida
University of Georgia
Emory University, Georgia
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Eastern Illinois University
Chicago Historical Society Library
Newberry Library, Illinois
University of Chicago
Illinois State University
University of Illinois
University of Northern Iowa
University of Southern Maine
Johns Hopkins University, Maryland
University of Maryland, College Park
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Radcliffe College, Schlesinger Library, Massachusetts
Smith College, Massachusetts
University of Michigan Library
Michigan State University
Northern Michigan University
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Minnesota Historical Society
Cornell University, New York
Ithaca College, New York
New York University
SUNY College at Plattsburgh, New York
University of Rochester, New York
Syracuse University, New York
Duke University Library, North Carolina
Ohio Historical Society
Tarleton State University Texas
University of Vermont, Bailey Library
Whitman College, Penrose Memorial Library, Washington
University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire
University of Wisconsin, La Crosse
Wisconsin Historical Society

Where can I get a picture of Victoria Woodhull?


If you need a copy for your own personal use for a school report, check out the links in the Woodhull Presidential Library. Her images are scattered across the country and in England in various institutions and in private collections. If you want to purchase a particular picture, the best thing to do is look at the various biographies out there to find a picture you like, and check  the credits for the institution that owns the picture. If you can’t figure it out from the credits, contact us with the name of the book and the page number, and we may be able to tell you where you can buy a copy of it.  Originals are harder to come by.  The most common picture of Victoria Woodhull that you will see for sale is the black & white version of the picture that appears on our Victoria Woodhull poster.

Where can I get film footage of Victoria Woodhull?

  Victoria Woodhull ran for President before the Hollywood movie era. She did not die until 1927, so it’s possible someone could have captured her on film long after she ran for President, but no footage is known to exist.
Where can I get a tape of her speaking?


Victoria Woodhull was very interested in the latest technology. She drove a car when hardly anyone owned one. She spoke about radio and intercontinental flights. One would think she would have played with the newfangled phonograph; however, no recordings of her voice are known to exist. If you know of one, please contact us.

Where can I get a copy of an original campaign poster?


Don’t know. The only campaign poster we’ve seen appears to have been printed closer to the 1970’s, not the 1870’s. Has anyone ever seen an 1872 campaign poster for Victoria Woodhull or the Equal Rights Party?

Where can I learn more about Victoria Woodhull and Spiritualism?


Of all the books on Victoria Woodhull, the one that deals the most with Spiritualism as a serious topic is “Other Powers” by Barbara Goldsmith.   There are also two good books about the woman’s suffrage movement and spiritualism.  They are “Radical Spirits: spiritualism and women’s rights in nineteenth-century America” by Ann Braude, and In Search of White Crows: spiritualism, parapsychology, and American culture” by R. Lawrence Moore.  

Where did she go to college?


She didn’t go to college.

Where was she born?


According to a natal horoscope, Victoria was born in Homer, Licking County, Ohio. The Licking County Court House burned down in the 1875s, so her birth certificate is not known to exist.  Some people have claimed she was born in Beech Creek, Pennsylvania, but that is not true. The source of that belief is probably “Historical View of Clinton County, Pennsylvania” by D.S. Maynard, published in 1875. It says, “About the year 1810, a small log house was built by W. Clark, on Main street, on a lot now owned by John McGhee, Esq. That building was occupied by different persons, among them ‘Buck’ Claflin, and is said to have been the birthplace of Claflin’s daughter, the present Mrs. Victoria Woodhull.” If a Claflin daughter was born in Beech Creek, it was probably Victoria’s sister Mary. While the Claflin home in Homer has long been torn down, a home in Beech Creek believed to have been owned by the Claflins was up for sale in 2003.

It’s also been said that she was born in Sinnamahoning, Pennsylvania. Victoria’s father did live in Sinnamahoning, but prior to her birth. It’s possible that one of Victoria’s older sisters was born in Sinnamahoning.

Where was she buried?


Victoria is not buried anywhere. She was cremated at the Birmingham Crematory and her ashes were scattered to the sea at New Haven, Sussex, England. There is a memorial to her at Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire, England.  The only memorials known to Victoria Woodhull & Company are plaques at Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire, England and in Homer, Licking, Ohio. The Robbins Hunter Museum, Granville, OH has a Victoria Woodhull Memorial Tower.

Where was Victoria Woodhull nominated in 1872?


At Apollo Hall. Articles from the time specifically mention 28th and Broadway, New York City. Research shows it was Gilsey’s Apollo Hall AKA St. James Theatre and was located at what is now 31 W. 28th St. It wasn’t 412 Broadway which was once the location of he Apollo Saloon.

Top Ten Myths about Victoria Woodhull

Who? | What? | Where?| When? | Why? | How?

Who are the relatives of Victoria Woodhull? Am I related to Victoria Woodhull?


Woodhull was her married name. Claflin was her maiden name. Her Claflin ancestry goes back to Scottish immigrant Robert Macklothan of Wenham, MA through his son Daniel. Robert’s 17th century home is still standing as the Claflin-Gerrish-Richards House at the Wenham Museum. For further information on MacLachlan associations, visit the Clan MacLachlan Society web site. Other surnames related to Victoria Woodhull are: Davison, Deming, Edwards, Hummel, Pratt, Rockwood, Underwood.

Victoria’s Hummel ancestry has been debated over the centuries. Even Victoria’s family was uncertain. Zula Woodhull thought Anna Hummel Claflin’s father was John Hummel born July 3, 1752 in Moselem Springs, Berks, Pennsylvania, but it appears likely that John (b. 1752) died in infancy. Barbara Goldsmith and others claimed that Anna was the illegitimate daughter of John’s brother Captain John Jacob “Jake” Hummel (b. 1756), who was married to Elizabeth Heffner. The authors made this claim despite the denials of Captain Jake Hummel’s family. The confusion about the Hummel ancestry stems from the fact that Anna’s German grandparents gave the name John to all of their sons and the name Mary to almost all of their daughters, so it’s hard to tell who’s who. Recently a researcher found the <ahref=”http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=43317035&PIpi=109323914″>death record of John Hummel born in 1760 in Pennsylvania. He was also known as Johannes. This John was the brother to the other John and John Jacob “Jake” Hummel. John Hummel (b. 1760) was married to Margaret Moyer. His 1854 death record settles the question as to whom Anna’s parents were. It lists one of his living issue as “Rosanna” proving that Barbara Goldsmith was wrong about the Hummel genealogy.

Victoria used to say she was descended from the Moyer family, providing additional confirmation that the John Hummel born in 1760 was her grandfather. Biographer Lois Beachy Underhill correctly named this John Hummel as Victoria’s grandfather, but she incorrectly had his death date as 1804 instead of 1854.

There was another Annie Hummel who was said to be the same person as Anna Claflin. She was the daughter of John Jacob Hummel Jr. and Nancy Bower. John Jr. was the son of the Captain Jake Hummel that Goldsmith said was Anna’s father. She’s been ruled out as Victoria’s mother. That Annie Hummel married Jotham Greeno (sometimes spelled Jotham or Jonathan Greenough) and had a daughter Sarah Greeno Hunter around 1831.

For years biographers have said Victoria Woodhull fabricated her relationship to the Hamilton family. They claim there was no Underwood-Hamilton marriage. They were wrong, because Victoria Woodhull & Co. has a copy of the record of that marriage. Thomas Hamilton of Granville, MA was married to Victoria’s great-grandmother. His ancestry hasn’t been proven, but there’s a theory that his great-grandparents were Thomas Hamilton and Lydia Wing of Cape Cod. A few years back DNA tests were run on descendants of Daniel, the son of Thomas of Cape Cod. the results suggest that Thomas of Cape Cod was the grandson of James Hamilton, 1st Earl of Abercorn.

The published Woodhull ancestry of Victoria’s first husband has been disproven. The Woodhull genealogy published in 1904 incorrectly gives his grandfather’s name as Nathaniel. His grandfather’s name was actually Robert. He was a distant cousin of Gen. Nathaniel Woodhull from Long Island, NY. The biographers who say that Dr. Woodhull’s father wasn’t a judge and that he wasn’t related to Caleb Smith Woodhull, former Mayor of New York City are wrong. Judge Byron Woodhull was Mayor Caleb S. Woodhull’s second cousin. The spy Abraham Woodhull who was a character in the TV show “Turn” was the second cousin two times removed of Dr. Canning Woodhull.

The ancestry of her second husband Col. Blood goes back to English immigrant Richard Blood of Groton, MA, while her third husband’s Martin family claimed to be descended from John and Frances Dandridge, the parents of Martha Washington. They believed their ancestor Penelope Dandridge Biddulph was the sister of Martha Washington. Penelope’s father was John Dandrige but he wasn’t the one who was Martha’s father. In any case, the coat-of-arms used by Penelope Dandridge’s family and the one used by the Virgina Dandridges were so similar they must be related somehow unless one of them used the arms without being entitled to them. Through the Herring family John Biddulph Martin was the third cousin 3 times removed of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales.

Who did Victoria Woodhull run against?


Incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant & Henry Wilson for the Republicans; Horace Greeley & B. Gratz Brown for the Democratic and Liberal Republican parties; Charles O’Conor & John Quincy Adams for the Straight Democratic Party; and James Black & John Russell for the Temperance party, among others.

Who inspired her?


She was probably heavily influenced by the transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson. She was well acquainted with John Stuart Mills’ works on women’s rights. She was a great admirer of poet Walt Whitman, and wrote an introduction to a book by the philosopher Goethe. Stephen Pearl Andrews and Elizabeth Cady Stanton had some influence on her.

Who was Demosthenes?


 He was a Greek orator who practiced public speaking by putting pebbles in his mouth to improve his enunciation, and Victoria claimed he was her “spirit guide.”  Some people sarcastically claim that Demosthenes was Colonel Blood or Stephen Pearl Andrews, and that “Demosthenes” wrote all her speeches.

Who was inspired by Victoria Woodhull?


Brigadier General Evelyn Foote was inspire by Victoria Woodhull, and Victoria supposedly is one of actress Annette Bening’s heroes. Some girls say that Victoria Woodhull has inspired them to run for President someday. Who knows, maybe she will be the inspiration for the first woman President of the United States?

Who was Mrs. Grundy?


Mrs. Grundy isn’t a real person. She’s a metaphor like John Q. Public. Mrs. Grundy was a character mentioned in the 18th century play, “Speed the Plough,” by Thomas Morton. The term refers to people who believe others should conform to conventional social proprieties. Mrs. Grundy is a busybody who is overly concerned with the morals of others. “What Mrs. Grundy . . . will say” is really just another way to say, “What will the neighbors think?”

Who was with Victoria when she died?


She died in her sleep, so probably no one was with her at the moment of death.

Who was Victoria Woodhull’s running mate?


The Equal Rights Party finally settled on Frederick Douglass, a former slave, for Vice President. He ignored the nomination, based on the advice of friends in the suffrage movement, who thought an association with Woodhull would ruin him.

Who were her friends?


Reformer Laura Cuppy Smith, artist and writer Addie Ballou, suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, among others.

Who writes all the articles on this web site?


Webmaster Mary L. Shearer, the great-great-granddaughter of Colonel Blood’s last wife, Isabell Morrill Fogg Blood. Mary descends from Colonel Blood’s stepson Frank. Letters that mention Colonel Blood’s “son” are talking about Frank Morrill Fogg.

Top Ten Myths about Victoria Woodhull

Who? | What? | Where?| When? | Why? | How?

Why did she keep the last name Woodhull?


The answer to why she kept her last name Woodhull can be found in Theodore Tilton’s 1871 biography,. Tilton wrote, “After her union with Col. Blood, instead of changing her name to his, she followed the example of many actresses, singers, and other professional women whose names have become a business property to their owners, and she still continues to be known as Mrs. Woodhull.” Others have suggested she kept that last name because she wanted to have the same last name as her children.  Another suggestion is that Victoria Blood does not sound as pretty as Victoria Woodhull.

After she married her last husband, John Biddulph Martin, she was known as Victoria C.W. Martin, but was still frequently referred to in the press as Victoria C. Woodhull. In library indexes, her name is usually given as Woodhull, Victoria C., and Martin, Victoria Woodhull.

Why did she lose? 


First of all, the American public wasn’t ready for any woman president in 1872, especially a divorced one. Respectable women were expected to stay at home and not get their hands dirty with politics. Just running for president made a woman suspect. Secondly, some of her behavior was considered scandalous. People were shocked to find out that her ex-husband was living in the same home with her and her current husband. Victoria thought that providing her ex-husband with a home was an act of charity and a way for her ex-husband to have a relationship with his children despite the divorce. Thirdly, she was in jail on the day of the election for publishing what was purported to be “obscenity.” (By today’s standards, it most certainly was not obscenity.)

Victoria Woodhull said that even Jesus Christ couldn’t have beaten Ulysses Grant.

Why did she wear a white rose?


During the Victorian era, each flower had a meaning. A white rose symbolized purity and innocence. Perhaps Victoria was trying to send a message to her listeners that her motives and teachings were pure.

After Victoria Woodhull ran for President, the American suffrage movement chose the colors purple, white, and gold to represent their cause. A yellow rose became one of the symbols for those in favor of women’s suffrage. The red rose symbolized the anti-suffrage movement.

Why did she address Congress?


She addressed Congress because she wanted the right to vote. She believed the 14th and 15th amendments already granted her the right to vote. She argued that she was a citizen of the United States; therefore, she could not be denied the right to vote. She also argued that because she paid taxes, she had the right to vote. She repeated the same argument used during the American Revolution that taxation without representation was tyranny.

Why did she spend election day in jail?


Because she published an accusation that a famous minister , Henry Ward Beecher, cheated with his best friend’s wife who was also his parishioner. Interestingly, Victoria was arrested for obscenity for publishing the accusation, not for libel. The case against Victoria was eventually thrown out of court. Many people considered her arrest a violation of her right to free speech and freedom of the press.

Why did Victoria Woodhull run for President of the United States?


She wanted to run to prove that women were just as capable as men of having a life outside of the home.  After Victoria Woodhull announced her run for office, she claimed her candidacy was “for the mere purpose of lifting a banner, of provoking agitation and for giving emphasis to an opinion, and a rallying point for the great unorganized party of progress.” In 1872, a female President was considered absurd; she wanted to change public opinion for the sake of future female candidates. After she was nominated by the Equal Rights Party, she believed public opinion had progressed so quickly that she could actually be elected.  For more details on her motivation, read “Personal and Presidential” from Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly.

Why do your t-shirts say “The Spirit to Run the White House?”  Was that her motto?


The phrase “The Spirit to Run the White House” was not used by Victoria Woodhull. Some of her contemporaries, though, used to make jokes about Victoria and her spirits. Victoria believed in life after death, and that historical figures such as Washington would continue their work from beyond the grave. The motto has the additional meaning that Victoria Woodhull had the character and energy to be President.

Why was she interested in politics and government?


She believed that a just government should support individual rights, and she believed that the United States government of that time did not promote her rights as an individual.

Why was the Woodhull Institute founded?

  The Woodhull Institute in New York has absolutely no connection with this web site. The Institute was not established and is not supported by anyone in Colonel Blood’s family or Victoria Woodhull’s family. Their web site woodhull.org is now defunct. They described themselves as “a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian educational organization that provides ethical leadership training and professional development for women. Too often, success has been measured in terms of the accumulation of power and wealth, with almost no consideration of how these accomplishments have been achieved. Ethical leadership is concerned with the means as well as the ends to personal and professional achievements. As such, Woodhull has developed a community that encourages women to lead with honesty, respect, courage and compassion; to strive for the common ground in decision-making; and to share in community service.”