Belva A. Lockwood
Collection [1830-1917]

SC21041

Quantity: 3 boxes (1.25 cu.ft.)
Access: Open to Research
Acquisition: Information Available Upon Request
Processed By: Suzanne Soden, Student Intern, The College of Saint Rose, February 1997

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Biographical Note:

Belva Lockwood, the daughter of Lewis J. and Hannah (Green) Bennett, was born in the Niagara County town of Royalton, New York on October 24, 1830. She was educated in the public school in Royalton and in Genesee Wesleyan Seminary. In 1844 she began teaching for five dollars a month plus board, half of what male teachers made. In 1848, at the age of 18, she married a farmer named Oriah McNall. At the age of 24, Mr. McNall died, leaving Belva with one daughter, Lura. In 1854, she enrolled in Genesee College, leaving her daughter with her parents. She graduated in 1857 and began teaching at the Gainesville Seminary in Lockport, New York, where she received four hundred dollars a year, while male teachers earned six hundred dollars a year. In 1863, she operated the McNall Seminary in Owego, Tioga County, New York. After the Civil War she sold the seminary and moved to Washington, D.C. where she opened the city’s first co-educational school, and began to study law.

In 1868, Belva married Dr. Ezekiel Lockwood, a dentist and a Baptist minister; he died in 1877. The daughter she and Ezekiel had, Jessie, died when she was 20 months old. In 1870, at the age of 40, Belva entered the National University of Law School. In 1873, she finished her courses, but was refused her diploma until she demanded it of President Grant. She was then admitted to the Washington bar where she specialized in cases against the government. In 1874, she was denied permission to practice before the U.S. Court of Claims because she was a woman. Belva said, “For the first time in my life I began to realize it's a crime to be a woman, but it was too late to put in a denial so I pled guilty.” In 1879, a bill was passed through both houses of Congress and signed by President Rutherford B. Hayes which allowed Belva to become the first woman to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. One of Belva's first actions was to nominate a black Southern colleague for admissions to the court. Also, she won a $5,000,000 settlement for the Cherokee Indians.

In 1884, Belva was nominated for president of the United States by the National Equal Rights Party. Mrs. Harriet Stow was the vice presidential candidate. Running against James G. Blaine (Republican) and Grover Cleveland (Democrat) at a time when women were not allowed to vote, she received 4,194 votes. She ran for president again in 1888.

Belva's professional life focused on women's rights. In her Washington, D.C.-based legal practice, she helped women gain equal property rights and equal guardianship of children. On the lecture circuit, she promoted women's rights, temperance, peace, and arbitration. Between 1880 and 1906, she attended international peace conferences and served as a member of the International Peace Bureau in Berne, Switzerland and on the nominating committee for the Nobel Peace Prize. A few of her papers on peace have been published.

At the age of 83, Belva was the president of the Women's National Press Association, commissioner of the International Peace Bureau in Berne, president of the White House chapter of the American Woman's League, a senator for the District of Columbia Federal Women's Republic, chairman of the committee on industrial police for the National Council for Women, and president of the National Arbitration Society of the District of Columbia.

Belva Lockwood died on May 19, 1917. A life-size oil portrait of her is in the gallery of the National Museum. In 1983 Belva was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame and on June 18, 1986, the United States Postal Service issued a Belva Lockwood stamp.

Scope and Content Note:

This collection contains information on the life of Belva A. Lockwood collected by Pauline Meyer. Ms. Meyer came across Belva's name while writing about the American Woman's Republic and its founder, E.G. Lewis. While researching Belva Lockwood's life, Ms. Meyer also helped in the movement to get Belva Lockwood on a U.S. postage stamp. In this collection is information about Belva’s friends, her life in Washington, the American Woman's Republic, her efforts to have women admitted to arguing cases before the Supreme Court, her two bids to become president, the loss of her home, and her death. Most of the material is photocopies of letters, speeches and articles written by and about Belva on various topics.

Included are copies and annotated photocopies of books published in limited quantity or out of print: Julia Hall Winner's Belva A. Lockwood; Pauline Meyer's Keep Your Face to the Sunshine: A Lost Chapter in the History of Women Suffrage; an annotated photocopy of Reda Davis’s book, Woman's Republic: The Life of Marietta Stow, Cooperator, (1980 edition) which includes color photographs and annotated maps related to the photographs; a photocopy of “On Trial for Voting: A Study of Susan B. Anthony,” a piece “taken from the stenographic Official Report of the proceedings at the trial of Susan B. Anthony in Rochester, N.Y., for voting for President Grant” that was performed by Helen Potter, and a photocopy of Calisthenics for the School, Family and Health Establishments by Catharine Esther Beecher (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1856), that Belva used to teach girls how to exercise, which was controversial at the time.

Box and Folder List:

Box Folder Description
1 1 Material written about Belva Lockwood by various authors; includes a chronology of her life.
  2 Material written about Belva Lockwood by various authors.
  3 Material written about Belva Lockwood by various authors; includes color photographs of the tombstone on her grave and of a portrait bust in the [Washington, D.C.?] district court house.
  4 Information on the Belva Lockwood postal stamp; includes the official first-day of issue of the stamp.
  5 Winner, Julia Hall. Belva A. Lockwood. ([Lockport, N.Y.]: Niagara County Historical Society, 1969.) Annotated.
  6 Meyer, Pauline. Keep Your Face to the Sunshine: A Lost Chapter in the History of Woman Suffrage (Edwardsville, Ill.: Alcott Press, 1980)
  7 Belva Ann Lockwood U.S. postage stamp, June 18, 1986. 100 stamps
  8 Information on Marrilla M. Ricker, one of the electors for New Hampshire on the equal rights ticket on which Belva A. Lockwood ran for president in 1884. Included is a photocopy of “Why I Am an Agnostic” from I Don't Know, Do You? (East Aurora, N.Y.: The Roycrofters, 1916), a book of essays written by Ms. Ricker.
  9 Information on Dr. Mary Walker, a women's rights advocate who wore male attire; friend of Belva Lockwood.
  10 Information on Victoria Claflin Woodhull, a women's rights advocate who was nominated for president in 1872, but did not make the ballot; a friend of Belva Lockwood.
  11 Two typed annotated manuscripts written by Uvieja Good: “Pedaling Through the Campaign: Belva Lockwood’s 1884 Presidential Campaign” (20 p.), and  “Belva Verus Tyrant Man: Belva Lockwood's 1888 Presidential Campaign” (17 p.) Both articles include numerous footnotes to newspaper articles.
  12 Information on Mrs. Clara Shortridge Foltz, a women's rights advocate. She was the first women admitted to the California bar; friend of Belva Lockwood.
  13 Information on the case of Mrs. Mary Gage; Belva Lockwood represented Mrs. Gage.
  14 Information on Carrie Clinton Lane Chapman Catt, suffragist and peace leader.
2 1 Material written about Belva Lockwood between 1910 and 1917. Includes announcements for her 80th, 81st and 86th Birthday.
  2 Material written by Belva Lockwood. Includes her advice on how to keep young, going to the country and information on women's suffrage.
  3 Information on Belva Lockwood's life in Washington, D.C.
  4

Photocopy of the page in the Congressional Record for 1878 [P. 19?] regarding H.R. No. 1077, and  photocopy of page from U.S. Statutes as Large, 45th Congress, 1877-1879, Vol. 20, p. 292 (Forty-fifth Congress, Session III, Chapter 81; Feb. 15, 1879), on admitting women to the U.S. Supreme Court practice.

Photocopy of a broadside soliciting disabled veterans of the war of the rebellion to hire her firm to prosecute their claims; circa. 1890. Photocopy is of poor quality.

  5 Photocopies of items on the American Woman's Republic and the Declaration of Equal Rights accepted by the Republic as a Constitution for the Republic in 1912.
  6 Photocopies of articles related to the twenty women selected by the American Woman’s Republic to serve as ambassadors to the 1913 peace conference in Buda-Pesth [sic], Austria; Belva Lockwood, at the age of 83, was one of the ambassadors. Includes photocopy of article in the March 22, 1913 issue of Woman’s National Weekly which included photographs of the women; photocopy of this issue is poor.
  7

Photocopies of items about E.G. (Edward Gardner) Lewis, founder of the American Woman's League.

Nine-page copy-edited typed manuscript, “Belva and E.G.,” by Pauline Meyer.

  8 Information on the portrait of Belva Lockwood by Nellie Mathes Horne, located at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, painted in 1913.

Two full-color postcards of the portrait; one postcard includes a Belva Lockwood stamp with a first-day issue cancellation.
  9 Information on Belva Lockwood losing her home in 1914.
  10 Information related to Belva Lockwood's death at age 86. Also, includes information on her grave located in the Washington Congressional Cemetery.
  11 Information on towns in the United States which are named for Belva Lockwood.
  12 Information related to Belva Lockwood's induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame, Seneca Falls, N.Y., in 1983.
  13 Booklet entitled “Belva A. Lockwood Badge Recipients”; includes a history of the Girl Scout badge instituted by Middleport, N.Y. Girl Scout troops in 1975, and badge requirements.

Two copies of cloth bookmark designed by the Town of Royalton Historical Society to mark the first-day-of-issue stamp ceremonies in Middleport, N.Y., June 18, 1986.
  14 Annotated photocopy of the 1980 edition of Woman's Republic: The Life of Marietta Stow, Cooperator by Reda Davis. (S.l.: Pt. Pinos Editions, 1980) (Intro.-P. 61)
  15 Annotated photocopy of the 1980 edition of Woman's Republic: The Life of Marietta Stow, Cooperator by Reda Davis. (S.l.: Pt. Pinos Editions, 1980). (P. 62-123) ; includes annotated map of San Francisco and seven annotated color photographs referencing 1921 Sacramento Street.
  16 Annotated photocopy of the 1980 edition of Woman's Republic: The Life of Marietta Stow, Cooperator by Reda Davis. (S.l.: Pt. Pinos Editions, 1980). (P. 124-163)
  17 Annotated photocopy of the 1980 edition of Woman's Republic: The Life of Marietta Stow, Cooperator by Reda Davis. (S.l.: Pt. Pinos Editions, 1980). (P. 164-200); includes annotated map of Oakland, Calif. and two annotated color photographs referencing 461 49th Street.
  18 Annotated photocopy of the 1980 edition of Woman's Republic: The Life of Marietta Stow, Cooperator by Reda Davis. (S.l.: Pt. Pinos Editions, 1980). (P. 201-244)
  19 Information about Belva A. Lockwood's friends, including Mrs. Colby, Nellie Holbrook, Natlie Sanford Chapin, Abigail Duniway, Emma Millinda Gillett, Laura De Force Gordon, Helen M. Gougar, Katharine Dexter McCormick, Ellen Spencer Mussey, Emmeline Wells, Henry L. Slayton.
3 1 Photocopies of pages from Woman’s Herald of Industry: (September 1881 (Vol. 1, No. 1), October 1884 (Vol. 3, No. 10), November 1884 (Vol. 3, No. 11), and December 1884 (Vol. 3, No. 12). The banner of the November and December issues: National Equal Rights.
  2 Photocopies of articles related to Marietta L. Stow, an advocate of women's suffrage, and her husband, Joseph L. Stow. Most articles deal with their deaths.
  3 Photocopies of letters written by Belva Lockwood between 1901 and 1914.
  4 Photocopies of newspaper articles (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Evening Star, New York Times, Hartford Daily Courant, and the Denver Queen Bee, etc.) covering Mrs. Lockwood’s 1884 presidential campaign; articles are dated August and September 1884. Included are a couple editorial cartoons and several head-and-shoulder images of Mrs. Lockwood.
  5 Photocopies of newspaper articles covering Mrs. Lockwood’s 1884 presidential campaign; articles are dated October 1884. Also contains a photocopy of the sheet music for “See the Conquering Hero Comes,” a song played to greet Mrs. Lockwood at her stop in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 15, 1884.
  6 Photocopies of newspaper articles covering Mrs. Lockwood’s 1884 presidential campaign; articles are dated November-December 1884.
  7 Photocopies of newspaper articles covering Mrs. Lockwood’s speaking tour in 1885.

Photographs of Edwardsville, Ill., which Mrs. Lockwood visited in 1885; three of the photographs are photographs of old photographs, one is a color photograph of what was the opera house where she delivered her talk.
  8 Photocopies of newspaper articles about Mrs. Lockwood between January 1888 and February 1889.

Photocopy of the sheet music for “Belva, Dear, Belva, Dear!,” words and music by M.H. Rosenfeld, a satirical number written in 1888.

Photocopy of broadside advertising a speech to be given by Mrs. Lockwood in Annville, Pa., on February 5, 1889.
  9 Photocopies of articles from secondary sources on the 1884 and 1888 presidential elections.
  10 32 pages of photographs and photocopies of photographs of people, places and events connected with Mrs. Lockwood’s life; includes one-page typed index.
  11 Photocopies of articles written by Belva Lockwood, including:

“The Present Phase of the Woman Question” (Cosmopolitan, Vol. 5, No. 6, October 1888) (4 p.)

“The National Arbitration Society – Its Object, Aims and Activities” (July 6, 1912)

“Arbitration and the Treaties” – “A paper from Belva A. Lockwood, read at the Thirty-first Anniversary of the Universal Peace Union, Washington D.C., August 23, 1897) (8 p.)

“My Efforts to Become a Lawyer” (Lippincott’s Magazine, February 1888, pp. 215-29)

“How I Ran for the Presidency” (National Magazine, Vol. 17, No. 6, March 1903, pp. 728-33)

“The Central American Peace Congress and an International Arbitration Court for the Five Central American Republics” – “Paper presented by Belva A. Lockwood of Washington, D.C., to the 17th International Peace Congress in Caxton Hall, London, England, July 31, 1908, as a delegate of the District of Columbia, and of the Universal Peace Union …” (15 p.)

“A Complete List of All the Treaties Entered into by the United States with the Various Nations of the World from the Foundation of the Republic until July 15, 1893. Compiled for the Universal Peace Union by Belva A. Lockwood. (27 p.)

“Peace and the Outlook” (August 27, 1899) (20 p.)
  12 Photocopies of three articles written by Belva Lockwood. Mixture of typed and hand-written material that includes articles from newspapers that had been glued to the pages on which some of the notes are written. (Dates: May 18, 1902, Oct. 7, 1904, and n.d.)

Item published in an undated national weekly newspaper: “A Peace Manifesto. Poster Interdicted by Austria-Hungary Sent to Mrs. Lockwood”

Articles written by Belva Lockwood or about Mrs. Lockwood, including:

“Women in Politics” (American Journal of Politics, Vol. 2, April 1893, pp. 385-7)

“The Political Aspect of the World’s Columbian Exposition: Its Peace Side (American Journal of Politics, Vol. 3, July 1893, pp. 107-10)

“The Congress of Law Reform” (American Journal of Politics, Vol. 3, September 1893, pp. 321-33)

 “Letter from Mrs. Belva A. Lockwood. Washington, D.C., May 28, 1911” (The Peacemaker, Vol. 27-30, 1908-1911, pp. 152-3)

“Speech” (The Peacemaker, [Vol. 27-30, 1908-1911?], pp. 58-9)
  13 Royalton Historical Society. Royalton Reflections (Edition 14, Nov. 1988). Newsletter includes article on Belva Lockwood with list of sources used in writing the article and photocopies of Mrs. Lockwood and Alfred H. Love, the candidate for vice president on the Equal Rights Party ticket.
  14 Photocopy of History of the First Thirty-Five Years of the Science Costume Movement in the United States of America: Outline of Woman’s Sanitary Efforts thru Rezisting Fashon as the Arch Enemy of All That Sustanes Life and Liberty, and Proof ov the Tru Basis ov Those Efforts for Fizical, Mental and Moral Helth [spellings as they were on the title page] by Mary E. Tillotson (Vineland, N.J.: Weekly-Independent Book & Job Office, 1885) (131 p.)
  15 Photocopy of “On Trial for Voting: A Study of Susan B. Anthony,” a piece “taken from the stenographic Official Report of the proceedings at the trial of Susan B. Anthony in Rochester, N.Y., for voting for President Grant” that was performed by Helen Potter. (Potter, Helen. Helen Potter’s Impersonations. (New York: E.S. Werner, 1891), pp. 12-16; the book is part of a series: Werner’s Readings and Recitations, No. 27)
  16 Photocopy of Calisthenics for the School, Family, and Health Establishments by Catharine Esther Beecher. “Belva [attributed] her good health and longevity to exercise. She used this book when teaching girls [how to] exercise, which was controversial at that time. 1850s.” – Handwritten note on photocopy.
Last Updated: December 17, 2010