Victoria Woodhull, born and reared in Licking County, was an advocate of social reform that continues to be relevant today. When Robbins Hunter constructed a clock tower dedicated to Woodhull on the side of the Avery-Downer house in Granville, his intention was to memorialize her as his tribute to the nation’s bicentennial. During the 2016 election, the museum mounted a highly successful exhibit, “Celebrating Victoria,” accompanied by a series of speakers. We concluded that public interest in her 1872 Presidential bid in the midst of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign was long deserved. However, her story reaches far beyond presidential politics to lessons of American values, humanitarian concerns and sheer fortitude in the face of adversity and their relevance on contemporary society.
The Robbins Hunter Museum is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of a planning grant from the Ohio Humanities Council to develop a three-year project that will focus on the multi-dimensionality of her legacy and her ability to drive social change. We plan to host round-table discussions three times per year for three years, each time identifying one of the many areas of interest that Victoria Woodhull advocated that continue to be relevant in the 21st century. Scholars, professionals, and knowledgeable lay individuals will be invited to exchange ideas concerning and speaking to the identified themes from their discipline’s perspective. The main point of the discussions is to provide a platform to advance conversations stimulated by her intellectual work and to bring better recognition and understanding of Woodhull and her modern relevance to the broader public.
Beginning in 2018, we will explore her history, her role in bringing a woman’s voice to journalism, and her employment of spiritualism for oratory and rhetoric. The second year will bring discussions of humanitarian issues, child welfare and medicine, as well as abolition. The final year, 2020, will focus on women as leaders in business and finance, gender issues, and finally politics and suffrage.
The goal in planning this larger project is simply to bring Victoria Woodhull’s uniquely significant life back into the public’s focus, not just as a Presidential candidate but as a remarkable, laudable, and genuinely American woman whose foresight was far ahead of her time.