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Laura de Force Gordon
(August 17, 1838 - April 5, 1907) U.S.A.

Laura de Force



Laura de Force Gordon, suffragist, lobbyist, spiritualist, journalist, newspaper editor, attorney, and farmer, was born in North East, Erie County, Pennsylvania. She was one of nine children born to Abram de Force and Catherine Doolittle Allen. Apparently, the family possessed no visible financial reserves, and lived a rather stable if thrifty existence until after the United States Civil War.

She was graduated in the public schools of Erie County, Pa., and Chautauqua County, New York. She has traveled extensively in the United States, British Provinces and Mexico. She married Capt. C. H. Gordon, of the 3d R. I. Cavalry, but she abandonned him and lived as a pretended widow for seventeen years.

Without a doubt, Laura de Force Gordon was a feminist in every sense of the word. In addition to travelling to California in a covered wagon, she was also a pioneer in every sense of the word. Even so, to say that Laura de Force Gordon was a pioneering feminist seems to only caricaturize her, because her complexity transcends that label.

Laura de Force Gordon migrated to the West Coast just after the United States Civil War, eventually settling in California's San Joaquin Valley. Immediately upon her arrival, she shook up the young state by delivering its first public lecture calling for woman suffrage.

Her special work has been advancing the interests of women. Her principal literary works are the Great Geysers of California, a hand-book for tourists, and the publication of a daily and weekly newspaper. Her profession was attorney at law. She attained great distinction, both in civil and criminal practice. She was officially engaged in the World's Columbian Exposition as a Juror of Awards.

Laura de Force Gordon died after a short bout with pneumonia. Her grave is at Harmony Grove Cemetery, Lockeford, California. Her adopted son survived her.

In 1979, a time capsule was unearthed in San Francisco's Washington Square park. It contained a copy of The Great Geysers of California, written by journalist Laura deForce Gordon. On the book's flyleaf, she had written,

"If this little book should see the light of day after 100 years' entombment, I should like the readers to know that the author was a lover of her own sex, and devoted the best years of her life in striving for the political equality of women."


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