Victoria Woodhull Clock
Victoria Woodhull spent the 1872 Presidential Election Day in jail for publishing an article claiming that a famous preacher at the time, Henry Ward Beecher, was an "adulterous hypocrite".
Closeup of the wooden statue created by Larry Nadwodney that glides out each hour on the Victoria Woodhull Clock
Robbins Hunter Museum: location of the only known monument for Victoria Woodhull
Backstory and Context
Victoria Claflin, later known as Victoria Woodhull, was born on September 23, 1838 in Homer, Ohio. Woodhull was not born into a rich or educated family, and did not start elementary school until she was 8 years old. She then attended school periodically for three years until she got married at fifteen to Canning Woodhull. Victoria Woodhull and Canning Woodhull divorced in 1864 and Victoria Woodhull later married Colonial James H. Blood. In 1867, Woodhull divorced Blood and married a wealthy banker from England named John Biddulph Martin in 1883.
In 1868, Victoria Woodhull and her sister named Tennessee travelled to New York City where they met Cornelius Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt helped the sisters set up a business, allowing them to become the first women-run stock brokerage company. The sisters then created a publication called Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly where they expressed their thoughts on women’s rights, birth control, and free love. This gave the sisters much publicity as they would express an unpopular opinion on such controversial topics. The journal also published the first English translation of Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto.
To gain a larger political stance on women’s rights, she created an Equal Rights Party and ran for presidency in 1872. In her campaign platform, Woodhull included regulation of monopolies, nationalization of railroads, an eight-hour workday, direct taxation, abolition of the death penalty and welfare for the poor, along with the issue of women’s rights. Her campaign was quickly ruined due to her reputation of having multiple relationships and other personal details about her private life. Many states did not put her name on the ballot, and the states that did, did not count the votes, so there is no official count of how many US citizens voted for Woodhull. In 1877, Woodhull and her sister moved to England and spent the rest of her life standing up for her beliefs through writing. Victoria Claflin Woodhull Martin died on June 9, 1927, in Bredon's Norton, Worcestershire, England.
The clock dedicated to Victoria Woodhull is located above the side entrance facing the Granville Library of the Robbins-Hunter Museum. By parking in front of the library and taking the sidewalk that leads between the two buildings, the bell and clock cannot be missed. Inside of the Robbins-Hunter Museum, the newspaper articles and her campaign platform is on display. In Woodhull’s hometown in Homer, Ohio, there is also a state issued brass sign honoring her.
Frolking, Evelyn. Victoria Woodhull: The Very First Woman to Run for President. Robbins Hunter Museum. March 08, 2016. Accessed September 28, 2018. http://www.robbinshunter.org/news/2016/3/7/victoria-woodhull-the-very-first-woman-to-run-for-president.
Greenspan, Jesse. 9 Things You Should Know About Victoria Woodhull. HISTORY. September 23, 2013. Accessed September 28, 2018. https://www.history.com/news/9-things-you-should-know-about-victoria-woodhull.
Victoria Woodhull Biography. Biography.com. April 02, 2014. Accessed September 23, 2018. https://www.biography.com/people/victoria-woodhull-9536447.