Heroes You hould Know: Eleanor Kirk
The victim of an abusive first marriage, and a widow before age forty when her second husband died, Eleanor Ames, with five children to support, decided she’d reinvent herself, take ‘Eleanor Kirk’ as a pen name, and write.
She got a job as a reporter for the New York Standard, and never looked back. Over the course of her career she would write on everything from politics and fashion to mental health and exercise.
In 1868 she had joined forces with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in advocating on a national level for women’s rights in the workforce.
And by 1870 she was being hailed by the New York Herald as “the most pronounced of the women’s rights women.” She remained steadfast in her belief that women’s rights could not be separated from the rights of the unborn.
By the 1880’s Kirk’s columns had become syndicated, and were being read by millions in 150 newspapers throughout the United States.
She would go on to found her own magazine, and publish books, ranging from fiction and poetry to a practical guide for women trying to break into the writing world.
The fact that Eleanor Kirk, as a single parent, supported five children as a writer in the male-dominated publishing world of the mid 1800’s, and earned a national following in the process is remarkable enough... and qualifies her as successful. The fact that she used her considerable influence to advocate for the rights of women and the unborn elevates her to significant.
Eleanor Kirk is a hero you should know. And I’m Dr. Ross Porter.