Tennessee Claflin and Victoria Claflin Woodhull: American Suffragettes and actual Sisters

Cogpunk Steamscribe

Tennessee Claflin

First impressions count. In 1870, the first brokerage firm owned and run by women, for women, opened its doors in New York. It was conveniently located two blocks from the Stock Exchange. The sisters Tennessee Claflin and Victoria Woodhull had posted a sign above the door: “Gentlemen will state their business and then retire at once.”

Harper's Weekly Cartoon of the Day

The sisters had originally come from a somewhat disreputable background, being born into a family of a travelling medicine show, and as the girls grew up they were marketed as spiritualist mediums and faith healers by their parents. It appears the sisters were keen to leave the family business behind. Victoria married a Doctor Canning Woodhull when she was 15, divorcing him when she was 26. She and her younger sister, Tennessee, moved to New York City. While making their living as spiritualists, the pair made the acquaintance of the widower Cornelius Vanderbilt, a self-made millionaire. Vanderbilt often…

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