Ernestine Louise Siismondi Potowski Rose (1810-1892)
Ernestine Louise Siismondi Potowski Rose rebelled against the conventional role of a nineteenth-century woman. When Rose was sixteen she petitioned Polish courts to obtain her inheritance instead of letting a man get it as her dowry. After successfully appealing to the court, she fled Poland and ended up in England in Robert Owen’s circle. Before moving to the United States, she cofounded the Association of All Classes of All Nations with Owen.
Once in the United States, Rose lobbied for the passage of the married women’s property bill. At the first woman’s rights convention in 1850 she boldly called for “political, legal, and social equality with man,” Rose merged her antislavery, temperance, and freedom of thought philosophies into her woman’s rights speeches delivered at many conventions between 1850 and 1870. She worked alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to from the American Equal Rights Association, which sought both black and woman suffrage. While she stepped out of public life after 1870, her philosophies concerning American socialism, temperance, abolition, and woman’s suffrage were paramount to the history of all these movements.
- Biography excerpted from the exhibition "Rights for Women"
Author Kristina Gupta
- PHOTO: Ernestine Louise Rose, Carrie Chapman Catt Collection, Bryn Mawr College Library