"The Woman's Question", Elizabeth Avery Merriwether in the Memphis Appeal


"The Woman's Question", Elizabeth Avery Merriwether in the Memphis Appeal


education, wage equality


This document is a part of a series of letters in which readers of the Appeal wrote in with their opinions about “ The Woman’s Question”, in which the discussion ranged from wage equality (which was the issue that sparked the public debate), what was appropriate work for women, and women’s competency in education and their biological intellectual capacity. Meriwether responded to a “Serratus M.” who wrote into the Appeal stating his opinion that women are not competent teachers in comparison with male teachers and therefore do not deserve equal pay. Meriwether’s counterargument is that women are just as intellectually capable as men. Merriwether used humor in her response to "S.M" and attacked his incorrect use of grammar in his earlier letters to the Appeal and brings attention to the reader that " Yet, if this delightful writer were a teacher, he would expect to be paid one-third more than any woman..." Merriwther's involvement in "The Woman's Question" came about at a time when more women were entering the workforce during the Reconstruction era in the south. Women were looking for more long term employment after the Civil War, as many recognized the need for financial independence. This document represents some of the first stirrings for gender equality.


Appeal Newspaper, Elizabeth Avery Merriwether


Library of Congress, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers


Library of Congress


March 26, 1873


Memphis daily appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.), 26 March 1873. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045160/1873-03-26/ed-1/seq-4/>.




Appeal Newspaper, Elizabeth Avery Merriwether , “"The Woman's Question", Elizabeth Avery Merriwether in the Memphis Appeal,” Making an Impact: The Lives of Tennessee Women, accessed November 29, 2021, https://umhist4851.omeka.net/items/show/121.

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