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The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898
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The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  18 reviews
The story of how the women's rights movement began at the Seneca Falls convention of 1848 is a cherished American myth. The standard account credits founders such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott with defining and then leading the campaign for women's suffrage. In her provocative new history, Lisa Tetrault demonstrates that Stanton, Anthony, a ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published June 15th 2014 by University of North Carolina Press (first published May 5th 2014)
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Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
4 stars.

I read The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898 for one of my history research papers, so I'm not going to review.
Ameya Warde
READ THIS if you have any interest in or connection to feminism and/or history. I can't say enough good things about this book. It is excellently researched and written. I'm so glad I bought a copy because I highlighted the hell out of it, and wrote tons of margin notes.

It seems like white feminists like myself have only relatively recently realized how effing god-awful Susan B. Anthony & Elizabeth Cady Stanton were (inexcusibley racist), but that knowledge hasn't really been put into any kind
Tom N
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
THE MYTH OF SENECA FALLS, by Lisa Tetrault, is the story of the women's rights movement, which began at the Seneca Falls convention of 1848, which still remains a mystery. It recognizes the founders of the suffrage movement, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott. These women gradually created and popularized this story during the second half of the 1800s in response to "internal movement dynamics" as well as the racial politics of memory following the Civil War. The ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really well researched and an in-depth look at the story created around Seneca Falls by the earliest feminists to work to their advantage, history not always withstanding. Tetrault also gives focus to a lot of women that history forgot (or that Anthony made sure history forgot) and how the many, many, many women's and social movements of the time co-existed with the suffrage movement, usually not well but everyone striving to move the bar forward always. I appreciated that Tetrault also does not ...more
Susanna Sturgis
This probably isn't the best place to start learning about the U.S. women's suffrage movement, but once you've dipped in and/or refreshed your memory, it's essential. I came to it while rekindling my interest in Matilda Joslyn Gage, a giant of 19th century feminist history whose name was largely lost to 20th century feminists and women's historians and is now being slowly reclaimed through the work of Gage scholar Sally Roesch Wagner and others.

Gage was a co-author of the first three volumes of
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually review my readings for 510 classes, which are on historical readings, but The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898 was such a high note to finish my 19th century women's rights class on that I wanted to make note of it. This book seeks to deconstruct the mythology built up around the Seneca Falls convention, which was done by Stanton and Anthony purposefully and with strong political motivations, and it does so in a clear, smart, and well-rese ...more
Jun 02, 2019 added it
Shelves: quit
This probably is a great book. I just couldn’t get past page 37 because I’ve been too busy reading other things. I’ll probably give it another shot in the future.
I really enjoyed this book. It is well researched and provides a great overview of the 19th century women's movement, but from a different perspective (memory). ...more
Robin Mitchell
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It will piss you off. Be forewarned.
Sep 15, 2020 rated it liked it
A straight-forward work tracing how and why Seneca Falls was pinpointed as the beginning of the women's rights movement in America. Lots of context provided in these pages for a too-little known, and too-little taught, part of history. Don't be thrown off by the title -- the author's not implying that anything that happened at Seneca Fall sin 1848 was a myth or not important. The purpose of this work is to explore why the women's convention there became, from a historical viewpoint, the stake-in ...more
Courtney Hatch
Fantastic. This is my favorite kind of history to read.

Tetrault engages in an amazing discussion about the role of memory in creating history & historical figures & how suffragists used memory to propel their cause. The “myth” of Seneca Falls isn’t that the convention didn’t occur but rather that it was chosen retrospectively as the creation story of the movement in order to give the National American Woman Suffrage Movement, and it’s leaders, greater credibility.
I’m not sure this is the first
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: academic, non-fiction
A must-read for any person interested in learning this complex and fascinating early history of suffrage/feminism in the U.S.
Well researched and written - Tetrault does a nice job summarizing disparate sources to create a compelling and comprehensive story of this movement. For many, this book will be a starting point to more detailed studies/aspects of this history, but for all readers, I think it will become a fantastic reference well into the future...
Aug 20, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: history
Aug 2020: I figure if we're going to be talking about mass scale movement changing history, as a woman, I may want to brush up on my history on the Suffrage movement. Also because my brother knows about it more than I do - and that cannot be allowed.

Well it can ... but still ...
Anna  Domestico
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. A well-researched historical deep dive into the women's movement in American history. Highly recommend for anyone who considers themself a feminist and/or activist. Tetrault's work reveals the issues of memory, history, and the consistent challenges faced by those trying to change the course of history. ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Picked this up in an attempt to catch up on recent historiography regarding the suffrage movement--and so glad I did. Totally eye opening in the ways that this history have been molded over many, many years--and how this history became an important tool in the whole movement.
Jaime Rispoli-Roberts
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
In her book, The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women’s Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898, Lisa Tetrault examines the early years of women’s suffrage, in particular, the origins of the women’s movement. She argues that Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony created an Origin Myth in writing their History of Woman Suffrage, which placed them in a position of leadership. Tetrault argues that the two women turned a small convention in Seneca Falls-which Anthony did not even attend- into a mom ...more
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fascinating and engaging look at the early years of the suffrage movement. It so interesting to see the active formation of the movement's origin story and to know more about the fuller movement for women's rights in the Reconstruction Era. Disheartening how Anthony and so many others worked all their lives for suffrage and never really got to see the fruits of their labor. Fascinating how suffrage has come to be a stand-in or all women's rights work in this era, forgetting the work for econom ...more
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