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Exhibition Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote

“The Beecher-Tilton Scandal Case: The Detailed Statement of the Whole Matter by Mrs. Woodhull,” November 2, 1872. Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, vol. 5, no. issue 7, (New York, New York). Reproduction. General Collections, Library of Congress (029.00.00)
James E. Cook. Testimony in the Great Beecher-Tilton Scandal Case Illustrated. Commercial Lith. Co., ca. 1875. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (030.00.00)

Sex Scandal Embroils Suffrage Movement in a Public Relations Disaster

After nationally prominent Congregational minister Henry Ward Beecher repeatedly and hypocritically accused her of being a depraved sex radical, presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull (1838–1927) retaliated by exposing in her newspaper his affair with Sunday school teacher Elizabeth Tilton, wife of his protégé Theodore Tilton. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was cited as one of Woodhull’s sources. After initial denials, the Tiltons, but not Beecher, acknowledged the adultery. Woodhull was incarcerated for weeks for mailing the “obscene” newspaper.