The Scandalous and Pioneering Victoria Woodhull

Victoria Woodhull speaks as the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives receives a group of female suffragists, January 11, 1871. (Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper/Library of Congress)
The first woman to run for president was infamous in her day.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE S he was the first woman to run for president, the first to address a congressional committee, and the first to own a brokerage on Wall Street. She was also a con artist, a gold digger, and a scandal magnet. When she ran for president in 1872, she sat out Election Day in a Manhattan jail, arrested on charges of obscenity. Victoria Woodhull was unquestionably a pioneer in women’s rights, yet her legacy is so messy and complicated that she remains an outlier in feminist history.

She was born Victoria Claflin in 1838, into a squalidly poor family in Homer, Ohio, a

John Strausbaugh — Mr. Strausbaugh is the author of City of Sedition: The History of New York City During the Civil War and Victory City: A History of New York and New Yorkers During World War II.


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