A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
MAY 27:

  • Happy birthday M. E. Kerr (Deliver Us From Evie) and Lynn Sweat (Amelia Bedelia series).
  • It’s the birth date of Rachel Carson (1907-1942), author of Silent Spring, credited for starting the U.S. environmental movement. Read Rachel Carson: Clearing the Way for Environmental Protection by Mike Venezia, and Rachel: The Story of Rachel Carson by Amy Ehrlich, illustrated by Wendell Minor.
  • In 1933, Walt Disney released the cartoon Three Little Pigs, with the song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” Read The Three Pigs by David Wiesner; The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury; and the Little Golden Books Disney edition of Three Little Pigs.

On May 27, 1818, Amelia Jenks was born in Homer, New York. She married an attorney named Dexter Bloomer, who encouraged her to write for his paper, the Seneca Falls Country Courier. Amelia became a strong voice for both temperance and women’s rights. She also had the good fortune of having a piece of clothing that she popularized named after her. Not everyone has a last name that can serve for what the person creates. I sometimes wonder, when I have nothing else to do, what might be called a “Silvey.” Possibly a hat that attaches itself to the wearer’s head and cannot be blown off?

But I digress. Recently, Amelia has gotten renewed attention because of a book and a project inspired by her. The picture book, You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey, focuses on Amelia’s rebellious nature. Not a proper lady, Amelia thought the trappings of femininity silly—with the voluminous skirts that swept up trash and the corsets that made women faint. She believed that a woman should have a job and vote. Hence, Amelia became the first woman to own, operate, and edit a newspaper, The Lily. She used her bully pulpit to advocated against drinking and for women’s rights. When she spied Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s cousin Libby wearing a costume that was not a dress—but pantaloons with a skirt over them—Amelia made one, wore it, sold patterns to her readers, and used the power of the press to advocate for what became known as the “bloomer.” This style did go out of fashion but, fortunately, dress reform continued—and women and girls today can wear clothes to suit their active lifestyles.

Since 2002, the Amelia Bloomer Project—administered by the Feminist Task Force of the American Library Association’s Social Responsibilities Round Table—has been selecting books notable for their feminist content, quality writing, and appeal to young readers. In 2010, the Amelia Bloomer List included fifty-four books—a notable year in the task force’s estimation, because of the “Hilary” effect. For more information and book suggestions, you can visit their website.

So thank you Amelia Bloomer for passion and spirited advocacy of comfortable clothes. And thank all of those on the Bloomer Project for finding books that show women taking action and fighting for their rights.

Now I just need to work on that “Silvey.”

Here’s a page from You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!

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Originally posted May 27, 2011. Updated for .

Tags: History, Politics, Women's Suffrage
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!
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COMMENTS

  1. Jory Hearst says:

    I have never heard of Amelia Bloomer, but can’t wait to check out this book! And the ALA’s list of recommended Bloomer-inspired titles. Also, Anita, I quite like your hat idea, (but hope you’re not referring to a chin-strap to keep it on? That could ruin the look.)

  2. Sarah says:

    I love picture book biographies, and this one was a big hit my my first graders this year. Great voice, not too much text, and a fun topic. Winner!

  3. Anita says:

    Sarah and Jory: Thanks so much for your comments. Jory, definitely not with a strap!

  4. Mindi says:

    I’m adding this book to my wish list right now. Might get 2… one for home, one for school. It’s hard to find entertaining books about the early women’s movement. Thanks for introducing me to a new book!

  5. Bookjeannie says:

    I was in hs before they let us girls be comfortable! The day they let us wear pants, I put on jeans and have never looked back. I ALWAYS had to wear shorts under my dresses in Elem school because I was a tomboy! Do you think “tomboy” is one of those words that doesn’t apply to modern day? Thanks Anita, will get this for our library!

  6. Gigi says:

    Thanks for this especially inspiring post. I appreciate learning more about Amelia Bloomer and Shana Corey’s book [which btw I need to buy and widely gift to the bloomerish children in my life]. Thanks, too, for your excellent reminder about the work of the Amelia Bloomer Project. There’s a big loving space in my heart reserved for feminist librarians!

  7. Michelle M. says:

    Great story. Book looks interesting too!

  8. Erica S. says:

    I can’t wait to check out the Amelia Bloomer Project’s list! And Anita, I like the idea of you ever having “nothing else to do.” What a sad day that would be!

  9. Jessica says:

    I will definitely have to check this book out! I loved Shana Corey’s “Mermaid Queen” and this looks equally amazing!

  10. Anita says:

    Thanks everyone for your enthusiasm! This book has encouraged the modern-day “bloomerettes” to weigh in.

  11. suzi w. says:

    Silvey, (sil-vee), n.: a wonderful daily behind-the-scenes look at old and new children’s books.

    I think you’re making a wonderful mark with your words. And wow, what a lot of people with birthdays today!!

  12. Nita says:

    Thatnks for spreading the word about this book. I’ll be ordering it for our collection right away.

    Also — being a “tomboy” myself, I’ve never understood the practicalities of keeping those long dress hemlines clean. Ever watched an old western movie where the ladies are crossing those mud-and-manure main streets of town with their hemlines dragging? Thank goodness for progress.

  13. Shana Corey says:

    Thanks so much for inclusion Anita-what a treat to see Amelia Bloomer here!

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