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Jan Smith as Amelia Bloomers at Wadena County Museum March 15

Amelia Bloomers. Courtesy photo.

In celebration of Women's History Month, the Wadena County Museum will present Jan Smith as Amelia Bloomer on Thursday, March 15 from noon to 1 p.m. Amelia Bloomer was a women's rights activist of the 1800s best known for her work on behalf of the suffrage and temperance movements and also for advocating for changes in women's fashion that would be less restrictive. "Bloomers" were named after her. Smith is a professional storyteller and lecturer. Her presentation is free and open to the public but space is limited.

Call (218) 631-9079 to reserve a space or email 603wchs@arvig.net.

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Amelia Bloomer was born in Homer, New York in 1818. She worked for women's rights and belonged to the suffrage and temperance movements. In 1848, Amelia Bloomer went to the First Women's Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls. Bloomer was there largely as an observer, but the following year, she moved into action, creating The Lily, a temperance newspaper. She explained her mission by stating, "It is woman that speaks through The Lily. It is upon an important subject, too, that she comes before the public to be heard. Intemperance is the great foe to her peace and happiness," according to the Women's Rights National Historical Park's website.

With encouragement from fellow Seneca Falls resident and women's right activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the publication also tackled the pressing women's issues of the day. Stanton contributed editorials and other articles to the newspaper. Along with championing women's suffrage, Bloomer also advocated women's dress reform. At the time, women typically wore confining corsets as well as several petticoats under their dresses. Bloomer suggested that women adopt a new style of wearing loose tops and skirts that stopped at the knee, with a pair of pants underneath. Although others had worn this style before, it was Bloomer who made it widely known; the outfit was called "bloomers" after her. She died in 1894.

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