Sunday, 19 February 2012

Lucy Ann Lobdell

"I feel that I can not submit to all the bondage with which woman is oppressed, and listen to the voice of fashion.... Help, one and all, to aid woman, the weaker vessel. If she is willing to toil, give her wages equal with that of man."

Lucy Ann Lobdell: The Female Hunter, 1855.


This portrait of Lucy Ann Lobdell was taken in the late 1870s, after she had decided to get a man's haircut. After having been abandoned by her husband, Lobdell began to wear men's clothing. She supported herself as a hunter, and eventually lived with another woman. Lobdell was arrested for pauperism in 1877, and after the authorities realized that she was "unsexed", rumours began to circulate that she was insane. Lobdell was admitted to the Willard Asylum for the Insane in 1880, for wearing male attire, for claiming that she was a hunter, and for threatening others and herself with violence. She was 51 years old.  She died in 1912 in the Binghamton State Hospital. No evidence of violent behaviour was ever recorded in her hospital records, which span over thirty years.

Portrait from Gamwell & Tomes: Madness in America, 1995

  

8 comments:

Terri said...

Such a sad story. I know from the little bit of research I have done on 19C asylums that our modern day ideas are much more inclusive. Curious that word, "unsexed."

Shey said...

wow, it's sad and interesting at the same time to read what happened in those days... =o.

Teeny said...

that is a sad happening indeed.

jesse.anne.o said...

Ooof. Things like this weigh heavy in my heart and I think about how lucky I am to be of this time.

It reminds me that I owe such a debt to all of the people before me who tried to be themselves in the face of punitive and disarming hatred and fear.

Robin said...

This woman makes me proud to be feminist.

Madeline Quaint said...

What a tragic tragic story... It needs to be turned into a novel, or a film... I would be so interested to read or see more!

Eyeliah said...

How atrocious! Being locked away and declared insane just for being different is something I fear would have happened to me if I was born in a more close minded era. What a nightmare. She sounds like she was a pillar of strength and humility though, I agree it would be a great life story to bring to the big screen.

P.S. Have you seen http://thecomposites.tumblr.com/ yet?

Zoe said...

I agree - a bio movie is needed!

--Zoey | my blog: zoe has her moments