” ‘I suppose you have already heard of the woman’s rights convention a few weeks ago in Worcester, [Mass.]’ Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick of North Carolina told his fiancee, Ellen Thompson. ‘I used to think all that was said about such things was mere talk. But there are a number of persons now in Cambridge who were at that the other day.
” ‘The members and delegates are mostly of that peculiar class, called sometimes for distinction “old maids.” These individuals abound more at the North than at the South. What is the reason I cannot tell.’ ”
–– From “Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860″ by Michael O’Brien (2004)