Early Men’s Movement: 1810–1960

 

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.

For a more detailed overview of the Men’s Human Rights Movement,
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