It is feasible that when Anna Jenness Miller manufactured a showcased visual appeal at the Wells Corset Studio at 13th and G streets NW in November 1918 — all through the foundation garment shop’s annual sale — some in Washington did not remember her. The newspaper ad saying her presence observed helpfully that she was an “authority on matters of female desire.”
She was substantially much more than that. At the flip of the 19th century, Jenness Miller was just one of the most exciting females in The united states: an creator, a lecturer, a suffragist, a publisher, an inventor, a leader in the effort and hard work to free of charge females from restrictive clothing, a small business govt and a serious estate magnate. She produced tasteful buildings in some of the priciest neighborhoods in the District.
And but, experienced you at any time read of her? Respond to Man had not, until finally he listened to from Chris Leinberger, who lives in a handsome creating developed by Jenness Miller at 2339 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Lamented Leinberger: “She has been shed to history, but what a lady.”
Certainly. Anna Jenness — her spouse and children named her “Annie” — was born in 1859 in New Hampshire. She came from distinguished inventory, relevant on her mother’s facet to Oliver Wendell Holmes (senior and junior) and abolitionist Wendell Phillips. She attended Emerson Faculty.
Jenness Miller was an individual who puzzled why issues had been the way they have been and what it would acquire to adjust them. For example, why were American girls encouraged to torture on their own with cage-like corsets, don yards of cumbersome fabric and carry all around a large protuberance referred to as a bustle?
She crisscrossed the state lecturing on the subject of “dress reform,” posing this sort of rhetorical issues as: “What is there about this burdensome aggregation of extensive skirts worn by females of each social grade, with countless difficulties of loops, puffs and a body weight that is loss of life to overall health and contentment, and to extended usefulness, that girls ought to continue in this bondage?”
Jenness Miller was among reformers who attacked the challenge from the inside of out. She advocated alterations in women’s underwear, recommending more pliable corsets. Much better nonetheless, women of all ages could ditch the corset fully in favor of just one-piece union fits.
As for outerwear, she made split skirts. Her sister, Mabel Jenness, wore one in 1890 on a much-publicized horse trip in New York Metropolis. Mabel refused to experience sidesaddle — it was lousy for the spine, she argued — so she dressed in a “bifurcated” skirt, mounted her horse like a male. Some onlookers have been stunned.
Anna married an Indiana dry merchandise service provider named Conrad Miller. But relatively than jettison her title, she just additional his. And it seems that when his corporation went bankrupt, she gave him a occupation in her increasing publishing organization. In 1887, she started a journal that covered sensible manner and other topics, finally naming it soon after herself: Jenness Miller Every month.
She acquired a patent for a way of lacing boots that did away with the fidgety button-and-hook process. Then she created a variety of small boot she claimed would enable ladies with “tender” toes. A newspaper ad in The Washington Post pointed out: “They are shaped and sloped to allow the ball of the foot to rest flat and give no cost play to the joints and muscle tissue, and afford to pay for just the actual width and duration to conserve binding the foot or cramping the toes.”
Jenness Miller wrote at minimum eight textbooks, including one known as “Mother and Babe.” This contained common parental tips, alongside with designs mothers could use to sew their very own maternity apparel. She was a mom herself, of a daughter named Vivian, who posed for pics donning Jenness Miller’s creations.
Readers may possibly have been shocked to discover amid the diet plan and workout guidelines in “Mother and Babe” a chapter titled “When Ladies Must Refuse Motherhood.” In it, Jenness Miller outlined different eventualities in which a female could possibly not want to have youngsters, which includes “when she does not really like her husband” and “when her husband’s techniques arouse instinctive protest.”
Wrote Jenness Miller: “No person has the ideal to pressure childbearing upon a woman due to the fact she is his wife. Wifehood is a sacred obligation, and the relationship bond is degraded when it gets to be a slave’s chain to drag a woman’s spirit and system into unwilling captivity.”
Jenness Miller became a widow in 1910. She ongoing to be energetic in the suffrage motion, collaborating in the 1913 suffrage demonstration in Washington that was disrupted by male hooligans. (She afterwards testified to Congress that the D.C. police had refused her request to safeguard the voting rights demonstrators.)
And Jenness Miller acquired and bought house along Embassy Row. She obtained some properties following they were built. Others she produced herself. They bundled one at 23rd Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW, near Sheridan Circle, termed Wendell Mansions. The title of the extravagant creating, currently a co-op, will come from that illustrious department of her family members.
Jenness Miller died in 1935 in New York Town. One hopes she would be delighted with the strides women of all ages have made since then, even though it is possible she would nonetheless discover room for advancement.