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Hannah Johnston Bailey: Publicist for Peace John M. Craig* In 1897, Hannah Johnston Bailey attended the third annual Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration, held at fellow Quaker Albert Smiley's Catskill Mountain resort. In Bailey's address to the group, the superintendent ofthe Women's Christian Temperance Union's (wctu) department ofpeace and arbitration talked about the relationship ofwomen and war. Observing that "The subject ofpeace is one ofvital importance to women," she explained: It is her mission to bring life, not death, to this world. It is not consistent with this mission thatshe shouldbring sons into the world, and in sorrow andselfsacrifice bring them to noble manhood to be slainin battle. The life ofone boy (ifhe were my boy) is ofmore value than the perpetuation ofa government. His soul will live when all governments have passed away. Bailey also pointed to the "myriad evils" resulting from war that women faced, including "breaking up the home." After offering a brief overview ofthe work ofher department inthewctu, she closedon an optimistic note, predicting that the "time when there will be a brotherhood of nations is surely coming, and we will rejoice that women can have apart in hastening its advent" (1897 Lake Mohonk Conference Report 88). Peace advocate Hannah Bailey's emphasis on the special desire of women to end war reflected notions consistent with prevailing American attitudes of the late Victorian era. Bailey and the other reformers who attended the Lake Mohonk Conference accepted without question that gender differences existed, and that activist women, as the nation's "moral housekeepers," should play a prominent role in eradicating vice, intemperance , poverty, and warfare, among other evils. Beginning decades earlier, many thousands of reform-minded women joined together in voluntary, gender-exclusive organizations. The notion of separate spheres rationalized the exclusion of women from voting and from some other forms of political involvement. But it alsojustified the movement ofwomen into the public realm. When Hannah Bailey spoke atLake Mohonk in 1897, woman reformers served as recognized leaders within a host ofreform movements. Certainly, the cause ofpeace and arbitration represented such a movement . Though some Quaker women participated in antiwar activities even before the American Revolution, widespread involvement ofwomen in the peace reform began during the nineteenth century. The Massachusetts Peace Society contained at least one female member as early as 1813, and within a decade its Andover branch alone included 21 women. A separate *John M. Craig is a Professor of History at Slippery Rock University. 4 Quaker History female peace society was founded in Cincinnati in 1821 (Curti 113-14). During the middle years of the century, prominent activists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Julia Ward Howe spoke out against war, and by 1871 the nation's leading peace organization, the American Peace Society (APS), allowed women to serve as officers (Alonso 47). Throughout the latter decades ofthe nineteenth century, the number of women involved in peace advocacy gradually increased. As APS leader Benjamin Trueblood noted in 1910, "for the last three or four decades women have been, in this country, quite as numerous as men in the peace organizations, and at the present time probably outnumber them" (Trueblood). Some efforts by women on behalf ofpeace took the form of separate activism. And among the dozens of women's groups who establishedpeace departments or committees, none were more active or successful than the WCTU, led by Hannah Johnston Bailey. Hannah Clark Johnston was born at Cornwall-on-the Hudson, New York, in 1839, the first child of David and Letitia Johnston. Her father— a tanner, farmer, and Quaker preacher—and mother (also an active member of the Society of Friends) headed a deeply religious household that included seven children who survived infancy. Hannah attended a Friends boarding school and public schools near her home in Plattekill, Ulster County, where she continued to live for the first thirty years of her life (Willard and Livermore 44-45; National Cyclopaedia ofAmerican Biography 10: 421-22; Byrne 83-85). From the time Hannah was a young girl growing up in the Hudson River Valley, her faith and extensive Christian scholarship influenced every aspect of her life. Consistent with the belief...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1504
Print ISSN
0033-5053
Pages
pp. 3-16
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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