to be the only woman in Iowa to publicly espouse Women's rights in the
years before the Civil War." Louise R. Noun, Strong-Minded Women, 1969
Jenks Bloomer will always be remembered as the popularizer of
bloomers, the reform dress costume worn by Women's rights advocates
in the mid-1800s. Though she did not create the practical costumea
short dress and trousersshe wrote about it frequently in
her Seneca Falls, New York, newspaper, The Lily. Born
in New York in 1818, Bloomer moved to Council Bluffs, Iowa in
1855 and soon began a single-handed Women's rights campaign.
She gained fame and respect throughout Iowa because of her public
championship of Women's rights, a courageous step few other advocates
of the cause took in the years before the Civil War. Bloomer
helped found the Iowa Woman Suffrage Association and was elected
president in 1871 at the first annual convention in Des Moines.
She died in 1894. Bloomer was inducted into the Iowa Women's
Hall of Fame in 1975.