Hiram, Ohio: June 17, 1873.
1 leaf. 1 vols. 11 x 8.5 inches. Introduction of the suffragette Mrs. Helen M. Barnard to the U.S. Minister of France. Old folds. Item #265203
In this letter Garfield writes as an Ohio Congressman to introduce Mrs. Helen M. Barnard to the US Minister in Paris during her survey of conditions for emigrants on board steamships, especially as concerns women and children, as commissioned by the Secretary of the Treasury, William A. Richardson. Barnard was a government clerk, journalist, and an original member of the Universal Franchise Association, and an associate of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (see “The Selected Papers of SBA and ECS”, Rutgers, 2000, Vol. 2, p. 591).
Barnard submitted her report to the Secretary on December 1, 1873, which included recommendations for standardization of schedules and transit fares, measures to avoid overcrowding, and other matters. It was uncommon at the time for a woman to hold such a position, a fact that Barnard acknowledged in closing her report, wherein she remarked that the good treatment she received from agents and officials “was especially gratifying… as the appointment of a woman [is] an innovation upon established customs.”
The addressee, Elihu B. Washburne (1816-1887), severed as Secretary of State under Ulysses S. Grant, and was the sole diplomat to remain in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, during which time he provided important humanitarian and diplomatic support, efforts recognized by both French and German governments.
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