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Exhibition Shall Not Be Denied: Women Fight for the Vote

Kate Horn. Womans Rights: A Right Good Ballad . . . Rightly Written for the Womans Rights Conventions. Sheet music. Boston: Geo. P. Reed & Co.; New York: Horace Waters, 1853. Music Division, Library of Congress (018.00.00)

Suffrage Opponents Push Back

Songs, mock burlesque lectures, and blackface minstrel skits parodying women’s rights meetings appeared immediately after the Seneca Falls and Worcester conventions. This song, sarcastically “Dedicated without permission to Mrs. Oakwood Smith and Mrs. Amelia Bloomer,” sought to ridicule New York Tribune essayist and women’s rights activist Elizabeth Oakes Prince Smith (1806–1893) and dress reform advocate Amelia Jenks Bloomer (1818–1894). It is one of the earliest suffrage-related songs where the music and lyrics are both attributed to a woman.

Transcription of Verse 2 (inside)

’Tis “Woman’s right a home to have
As perfect as can be,
But “Not her right” to make that home
To ev’ry lover free;
’Tis “Woman’s right” to rule the house
And petty troubles brave,
But “not her right” to rule the head
And treat him as her slave