Amelia Bloomer – Early Citizen of Council Bluffs

Amelia Jenks was born in Homer, NY in 1818 and moved to Seneca Falls, NY when she was six. In 1840 she married D.C. Bloomer. She soon became involved in the temperance movement and began writing articles for the press. Amelia would go on to become a prolific writer.

On January 1, 1849 Amelia began publishing The Lily in Seneca Falls, NY. It was the first newspaper ever owned, edited and controlled by a woman and published in the interest of women.

It was also around this time that Mrs. Bloomer was attributed with the invention of the “bloomer costume”. She was an early adopter of this style of dress but was not its creator. Nevertheless the name stuck.

Also in 1849 D.C. Bloomer was appointed postmaster in Seneca Falls and he promptly appointed Amelia as his deputy. A position she held for the next four years. It was also during this time that she began lecturing in support of women’s rights, as well as writing.

In the spring of 1855 Dexter and Amelia moved to Council Bluffs, IA. The place they would call home for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately conditions were not conducive to publishing a paper in this frontier town, so Amelia had to give up The Lily.
In Council Bluffs Amelia continued the cause of women’s rights by lecturing, writing and attending meetings. She was active in her church and was well liked and respected in the community. In her later years she was unable to travel and lecture like she wanted, but she continued to write.

It’s fitting that Amelia Bloomer’s profile should fall in November because she wants you to vote. In 1889 William J. Box of the Syndicate Press in New York asked her if she would vote if the right of suffrage was extended to her. After a polite and well deserved smack down, Amelia closed her response with the following:

“Yes, if the privilege of exercising my right of suffrage is granted me while I am yet able to do so, I will “go to the polls and vote.” But, alas! we pioneers in the cause of women’s enfranchisement, who have given the best years of our lives to its service, are drawing near, or have reached and passed our allotted three score and ten years, and unless men hasten to do us justice, like Joshua of old, we can only view from a distance the promised glory which our sisters of the future will surely enter upon and enjoy, after we have rested from our labors and gone to our reward.”
Respectfully, Amelia Bloomer
August 29, 1889
Daily Nonpareil

Amelia Jenks Bloomer died December 30, 1894 at the age of 76 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery.