The following is a sampling of men’s human rights initiatives constituting the early men’s rights movement, a list that could be easily expanded into thousands of initiatives by the diligent researcher. Bear in mind that although we are talking of a single men’s movement, it is more accurately defined as the aggregate of separate initiatives in the same manner as separate feminist initiatives are spoken of as one movement:
1810 A network of meeting places under the collective name ‘Henpeck’d Husbands Club’ are established for men who were enduring abusive behavior from wives. The club set up dozens of chapters across Britain and in Europe, which offered support and advice for men enduring emotional or physical abuse.
1856 A long newspaper article entitled A Word for Men’s Rights is published in Putnam’s Monthly, which discusses sexist laws that oppressed men and benefited women, including the practice of frivolous, unjustified lawsuits for supposed breach of marriage promise.
1857 A Mr. Todd proposes a “Men’s Rights Conference” be held in response to exaggerations of the women’s rights movement.
1875 Article entitled Women’s and Men’s Rights appeared in the 1875 volume Historic and literary miscellany by G.M.D. Bloss
1886 Ernest Belfort Bax, England, writes his first major commentary on gynocentrism and misandry, ‘Some Bourgeois Idols; Or Ideals, Reals, and Shams.’
1890s New York Alimony Club (informal)
1896 Ernest Belfort Bax, England, co-authors book, The Legal Subjection of Men (Twentieth Century Press).
1896 Anti-Bardell Bachelor Band, Atlanta Georgia. Formed to fight against a national campaign headed by activist Charlotte Smith (Women’s Rescue League) to promote a tax on bachelors. Another, similar effort was made by the Hoboken Bachelor’s Club in Hoboken, New Jersey.
1898 League for Men’s Rights formed by Mr. William Austin in London. The movement is reported in newspapers of the time as a “Men’s Rights Movement”.
1908 Ernest Belfort Bax, England, republishes his 1896 book, The Legal Subjection of Men (New Age Press)
1911 Anti-Alimony Association, New York
1912 Ernest Belfort Bax, England, writes a landmark book ‘The Fraud of Feminism’ in which he called feminism a fraud and discussed “female privilege”
1912 Anti-alimony leader: George Esterling – Denver, Colorado
1925 Samuel Reid, “Alimony Sam,” the “alimony martyr” of California
1926 Men’s Rights organizations formed Bund für Männerrechte, Vienna, founded by Sigurd von Hoeberth (Höberth) and Leopold Kornblüh in March 1926. In January 1927 the Bund split into two organizations circa: Aequitas (Hoeberth), Justicia (Kornblueh); journal “Self-Defense”
1926 Themisverbandes (Men’s Rights organization for female members, Sigurd Höberth von Schwarzthal). The founding of this organization led to a schism in Bund January
1927 Aequitas Weltbund für Männerrechte (Aequitas Word Federation for Men’s Rights) (international), Vienna, following a schism in Bund für Männerrechte (Federation for Men’s Rights). This was Sigurd Hoeberth’s new organization for men’s rights which welcomed female members.
1927 Justitia Verein für Männer und Familienrecht (Justitia Society for Men’s Rights and Family Rights), Vienna, founded by Leopold Kornblüh following a schism in Bund für Männerrechte (Federation for Men’s Rights). This group did not allow female members.
1927 Alimony Club of Illinois, Society of Disgruntled Alimony Payers, Chicago, founded by Dr. Vernon B. Cooley and second wife, Mrs. Bessie Cooley
1927 Alimony Payers Protective Association, led by Robert Gilbert Ecob
1927 Milwaukee Alimony Club, Wisconsin
1927 Fifty-Fifty League, London; manifesto “The Sex War”
1928 Tibet Men’s Rights organization (name of org. unknown), founded by Amouki
1929 ‘World’s League for the Rights of Men’ formed in the UK, advocating for male issues, and holding an anti-“ultra-feminist” stance. The League had chapters in Vienna, Berlin, Munich, and other Continental centres.
1930 D. A. M. Association, Kansas City, Missouri, founded by French L. Nelson
1930 National Sociological League, Dr. Alexander Dallek, executive secretary
1931 Organization “The Modern Men’s Rights Movement” (formation date unknown) publishes broadsheet, The Gauntlet outlining goals for gender equality and “emancipation of man from feminist domination.”
1932 Alimony Club of New York County (Adolph Wodiska) (cited Jan. 9, 1932)
1932 Ohio Alimony Association, Cleveland
1933 National Divorce Reform League, Theodore Apstein (cited Feb. 14, 1933)
1933 “Men’s rights” org ‘1933 Men’s Association’ started by lieutenant colonel R. A. Broughton, England
1935 Alimony Reform League, New York
1948 Society for Men’s Rights forms to address various forms of social and legal discrimination against men, London.
1948 Men’s rights magazine ‘Men’s Review’ launched in England, with at least two consecutive volumes circulated across the country.
1960 Divorce Racket Busters (incorporated 1961 as U.S.A. Divorce Reform, Inc.) – California – Reuben Kidd. This initiative continued to operate into the late 1960’s.
Feature image: Ernest Belfort Bax.