Scandalous Victoria Claflin Woodhull
Articulate and radical in her beliefs, Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1838-1927) boldly challenged convention in Victorian-era America. Victoria and her sister, Tennessee Claflin, got their start as spiritual advisors to financier Cornelius Vanderbilt. With his backing, the sisters became the first women to open their own successful brokerage firm. Woodhull was the first woman newspaper publisher, a feminist and a militant suffragist, but most shocking to Victorian sensibilities, she also advocated free love. On April 2, 1870, Woodhull became the first woman to run for president of the United States when she announced her candidacy for the 1872 election, but she spent Election Day in jail for sending obscene literature through the mail.
Photo: National Archives