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Extra info for To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done For America - A History
Those qualities and lifestyles these women shared and recognized in each other apparently constituted an "identity" of sorts, though there is little evidence that they gave a name to it. In the context of their day, the general absence of a name for their loves and lives is not surprising. I have found no articulated concepts of lesbianism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries with which they would have been entirely comfortable. "Inverts" were seen by most sexologists as pathological, and since these women believed their discontent was not pathological but rationally based on the unjust treatment of females, they would not have dubbed themselves "sexual inverts," no matter how much sexologists' definitions of the invert fit them.
Thomas was also friends with Jane Addams, the social reformer, who, along with her partner, Mary Rozet Smith, was friends with the suffragist and politician Anne Martin and her partner, Dr. Margaret Long. When Addams and Smith visited Boston, they often dined or stayed with the writer Sarah Orne Jewett and her partner, Annie Fields. These women seldom wrote to each other without also sending regards to the partner of the correspondent; "Love from both of us to both of you" was an oft-repeated phrase in their letters.
There were, of course, married women and women who hoped to be married in the suffrage movement from its inception. " But for the most part, women who intended to make their lives with other women rather than placing themselves on the marriage market had greater freedom in asserting leadership within the suffrage movement: they could feel that they had much less to lose if they were called unsexed than the average woman, who depended for sustenance, emotional and otherwise, on men. There were also, of course, men who actively supported suffrage for women and to whom such allegations would not have mattered.