victoria woodhull (1838-1927)!
i read marge piercy's book Sex Wars: A Novel of Gilded Age New York not long ago, and i was simultaneously thrilled to learn about a trailblazer like victoria woohull and livid that i hadn't ever heard of her before! the first woman to run for president of the united states, before women could even vote!
[great line from the book, describing the gilded age in nyc: "when every preacher and public official and journalist praised fidelity and chastity and then in private did his best to escape the first and destroy the second." hmm, that sounds vaguely familiar...]
women like woodhull have lived in every age: silenced, abused and ignored...but they have lived nonetheless, and challenged society to live up to its highest ideals. their courage inspires me!
(wow, a happy post for once!)