"By All Means Commission the Ladies"

February 16, 1884

Charles G. Bush

"By All Means Commission the Ladies"

Labor; Symbols, King Neptune; Transportation, Shipping; Women, Labor; Women, Women’s Rights;

No 'People' indexed for this cartoon.

No 'Places' indexed for this cartoon.

Neptune. "I want to see the Captain of this ship."

The Lady. "I'm the Captain!"

Neptune. "Shiver my Trident! my occupation's gone. A woman's work is never done; and I can't catch you napping."

This Harper's Weekly cartoon by C. G. Bush supports the commissioning of women as steamboat captains.

That position was also endorsed on the newspaper's editorial page by George William Curtis, the longtime editor of Harper's Weekly (1863-1892), who was a devoted champion of women's rights.  In 1869, he helped found the American Woman’s Suffrage Association, and served for 20 years as one of its vice presidents. Curtis wrote and spoke often on the subject of securing political rights and advancing educational and economic opportunities for women.  He believed that women should be able to work at any occupation for which they were qualified by ability, to control their own wages legally, and to earn equal pay with men for doing the same job.  

In his columns, Curtis encouraged the expansion of opportunities for women's work and promoted women who engaged in labor reserved traditionally to men, denouncing the notion that those jobs would "unsex" the women.  When Kenneth Raynor, solicitor of the United States Treasury, denied Mary Miller of Louisiana a license to captain a steamboat on the Mississippi River, despite the fact that examiners had found her competent to command a steamer, editor Curtis and cartoonist Bush rallied to her support.  Raynor's decision was soon overturned by Treasury Secretary Charles Folger, who granted Miller her commission.

Robert C. Kennedy

"By All Means Commission the Ladies"
May 21, 2024

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