The “New Woman” Denounced

Bishop Doane denounces the New Woman 1895.pngWilliam Croswell Doane: first Episcopal Bishop of Albany. Driving force behind the Cathedral of All Saints, the little church tucked underneath the State Education Building. Dead ringer for “The Princess Bride’s” Vizzini. His thoughts on women’s suffrage? “Inconceivable!”

As this 1895 article indicates, the Right Reverend¬† Doane was not such a fan of the ladies, at least not the newfangled ones. As “one of the most prominent anti-woman’s rights men in the country,” he felt the need to tell the graduating class of young women at Albany’s St. Agnes School, the Episcopal school at Elk and Hawk, that:

“One gets sick and tired of the way in which the talk of woman’s vocation fills the air, not merely in the wild vagaries of its blatant assumptions, but in the parade and push of its claims for recognition of what are called ‘its rights.’ I have had occasion to say what wrong to womanhood these woman’s rights would be, and I have no desire to recall a word.”

To be fair, he was only looking out for their best interests, concerned as he was that “constitutions shall have been altered, to disturb the equipoise of the relation between man and woman, when motherhood shall be replaced by mismanaged offices, when money shall buy the votes of women, as it does now themselves ….”

I think he called all women whores, there. So great that we’ve progressed, in just a century and change, to a time when no religious leader would presume to pronounce what is best for all women.

(This was also perhaps the last graduation speech in captivity in which the speaker told his audience not to aspire to change.)

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