Cover image for Joyous greetings : the first international women's movement, 1830-1860
Joyous greetings : the first international women's movement, 1830-1860
Anderson, Bonnie S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xii, 288 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1580 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HQ1154 .A6856 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Over one hundred and fifty years ago, champions of women's rights in the United States, Britain, France, and Germany formed the world's earliest international feminist movement. Joyous Greetings is the first book to tell their story. From Seneca Falls in upstate New York to the barricades of revolutionary Paris, from the Crystal Palace in London to small towns in the German Rhineland, early feminists united to fight for the cause of women. At the height of the Victorian period, they insisted their sex deserved fullpolitical equality, called for a new kind of marriage based on companionship, claimed the right to divorce and to get custody of their children, and argued that an unjust economic system forced women into poorly paid jobs. We meet Jeanne Deroin, jailed for organizing unions, who wrote inspirationaltracts from her Parisian cell to women abroad; Matilda Anneke, who fought on horseback during the Revolution of 1848 and published women's newspapers in Germany and, after emigrating, in America; Ernestine Rose, a Jewish woman who sued her father for control of her dowry and became a popular publicspeaker; and Lucretia Mott, the Quaker minister and abolitionist, who maintained international connections and helped to found the American women's movement. These women were part of the vanguard of a feminist movement that emerged as early as the 1830s, proving that feminism transcended nationalboundaries and existed decades before the suffragettes. These women rejected the traditional view that women's subordination was preordained, natural, and universal. Restoring these daring activists' achievements to history, Joyous Greetings passes on their inspiring and empowering message to today's new generation of feminists.

Author Notes

A life-long New Yorker, Bonnie S. Anderson is a Professor of History at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, where she teaches women's history and British history. With Judith Zinsser, she co-authored the classic two-volume narrative A History of Their Own:Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present (revised edition, OUP, 1999). Long active in the women's movement, she has been a volunteer rape crisis counselor at St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village for over ten years.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Seeking to answer the question of whether early feminists in different nations were in contact with one another, Anderson explores the origins of the international women's movement. Although hampered by time, distance, and language barriers, early feminists in the United States, France, Great Britain, and Germany managed to establish significant connections with one another through letters, visits, and published writings. Those early alliances served to nurture the women's movement in its infancy, providing geographically and philosophically isolated feminists with a crucial sense of solidarity. Anderson's investigations also reveal the amazingly progressive nature of the revolutionary movement. Rather than concentrating on the right to vote, early feminists boldly advocated absolute political, social, economic, and moral equality with men, a radical notion that often cost them the support of less committed women. Largely ignored by historians, the international nature of the early women's movement enabled a small but dedicated core group of women to foster and sustain a seemingly futile crusade. An excellent introduction to the roots of modern feminism. --Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this erudite, exhaustively researched history, Brooklyn College history professor Anderson (A History of Their Own) examines how the dramatic impact of the Industrial Revolution on Western Europe and the United States ignited an international feminist movement--not just a series of discrete feminist activities in various countries, as other historians have posited. Centering her narrative on the contributions of a core group of 20 feminists, she reveals how, without the benefit of Internet or telephones, these American, English, Scottish, French, German and Swedish women shared ideas, platforms and organizing techniques to create political change throughout the U.S. and Western Europe. Intent on gaining the rights to own land, divorce, retain custody of children, maintain sexual independence, obtain birth control and receive fair payment for their work, these early feminists wanted full equality with men; for them, more than just suffrage was at stake. Iconoclasts and radicals, they saw inherent links between class struggle, racism, slavery and the oppression of women. Except for Elizabeth Cady Stanton, all of the women in the core group may be unknown to most modern-day American feminists, underscoring Anderson's contention that much feminist history has yet to be written. Among them are Fredrika Bremer, a Swedish woman who fought for control of her own earnings and ultimately changed her country's patrimonial laws, and Jeanne Deroin, a French socialist and revolutionary repeatedly imprisoned for her work for women's rights. Drawing on letters, pamphlets and other primary materials that bring these dynamic women alive, Anderson's narrative offers a keen sense of history-in-the-making and will leave readers yearning to know more. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

According to a widely accepted 19th-century truism, men were the head, women the heart. In the early 1800s, this narrow concept was causing a small coterie of female activists to bristle. Anderson's (history, Brooklyn Coll.) account of their resistance is thorough, compelling, and inspiring. She showcases an array of European and American feminists--Frederika Bremer, Jeanne Deroin, Lucretia Mott, Pauline Roland, Ernestine Rose, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton--and highlights their work in promoting a world free of sexism, racism, and inequality. Along the way, she demonstrates how international communication (the invention of the telegraph and faster mail delivery) bolstered morale, fostered debate, and incited action. And she makes the era's rebels vivid through excerpts from speeches and articles that chronicle their reactions to political events and to the sexism they encountered in the anti-slavery, free religion, Socialist, and utopian/communitarian movements. Engrossing and insightful, this book is an excellent follow-up to Anderson's earlier work (with Judith Zinsser) A History of Their Own: European Women from Prehistory to the Present. Highly recommended for all libraries.--Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

As both the introduction and the bibliography make clear, Anderson did not have the opportunity to read the work of her book's immediate predecessors, Leila Rupp's Worlds of Women (1998) or Margaret McFadden's Golden Cables of Sympathy (CH, Nov'99). Nonetheless, this is an important and interesting addition to the literature. Anderson argues that national women's movements arose through international connections. Examining the biographies of key women activists and writers in Europe and the US, she located a series of links that promoted what she describes as a simultaneous and volcanic explosion of "feminist" activism across Europe and the US in 1848. Primed for activism through immersion in antislavery, socialist, or perfectionist movements, this cohort of women spoke a common language based on "universal" concepts of universal human rights. Connected by travelers, orators, books, and magazines, they exchanged ideas and political strategies. Consequently, the agitation that led to revolutions across Europe in 1848 also facilitated radical activism on behalf of women. But the victories of these early "feminists" were short-lived. Despite the strength of their networks, the early activists failed to create any permanent international organizations and their movement died when the larger revolutionary movement was defeated. All levels. N. B. Rosenthal; SUNY College at Old Westbury

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
1 Panoramap. 7
2 Angels Over Amazonsp. 29
3 Becoming Rebelsp. 47
4 First Connectionsp. 67
5 Emancipating Themselvesp. 99
6 the Pressure Buildsp. 129
7 Volcano Timep. 153
8 the Heydayp. 179
Notesp. 207
Bibliographyp. 259
Indexp. 277