Amelia Bloomer

Amelia Jenks Bloomer (May 27, 1818 – December 30, 1894) was an American newspaper editor, women’s rights and temperance advocate. Even though she did not create the women’s clothing reform style known as bloomers, her name became associated with it because of her early and strong advocacy. In her work with The Lily, she became the first woman to own, operate and edit a newspaper for women.

In 1848, Bloomer attended the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention, though she did not sign the Declaration of Sentiments and subsequent resolutions, due to her deep connection with the Episcopal Church. 

The following year, she began editing the first newspaper by and for women, The Lily. Published biweekly from 1849 until 1853, the newspaper began as a temperance journal, but came to have a broad mix of contents ranging from recipes to moralist tracts, particularly when under the influence of suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

In 1851, New England temperance activist Elizabeth Smith Miller (aka Libby Miller) adopted what she considered a more rational costume: loose trousers gathered at the ankles, like women’s trousers worn in the Middle East and Central Asia, topped by a short dress or skirt and vest. 

Miller displayed her new clothing to Stanton, her cousin, who found it sensible and becoming, and adopted it immediately. In this garb Stanton visited Bloomer, who began to wear the costume and promote it enthusiastically in her magazine.

Articles on the clothing trend were picked up in The New York Tribune. More women wore the fashion which was promptly dubbed The Bloomer Costume or “Bloomers“.

“Wikiwand – Amelia Bloomer.” Wikiwand, Accessed 20 Jan. 2023

Amelia Bloomer wearing the famous “bloomer” costume.

How bloomers became a feminist fashion statement

Amelia Bloomer – Women’s Rights National Historic Park

Lookandlike, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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