Elizabeth Hampstead Rides . . .

Calamity JaneElizabeth Hampstead, a teacher-turned-suffragist, has just come into your town to convince everyone that women have the vote. But to get here she has had to ride sidesaddle, a disturbing experience she has heretofore avoided.

What did it mean for a girl to ride astride in the 1860s? How did beliefs about riding astride relate to medical history theories about why women should not be educated? And why is Elizabeth optimistic that change is in the offing?

Ann Birney created Elizabeth as an excuse to explore the politics of being a woman in 1894. From reading the letters and reminiscences of suffragists and teachers of the era Ann decided that Elizabeth would have needed a sense of mission and a sense of humor for both jobs. She also decided teaching in a one-room school and stumping the vote for women at a time that speaking in public was considered improper for women were both risky business.