Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sidenote: The Autobiography of Peggy Eaton.

(In the middle of all these Native American museums, tomahawks and war bonnets and buffalo skins hanging on the walls... I saw this woman's dress and thought about Peggy Eaton.  So, here goes...)

"She did not know her place; she forthrightly spoke up about anything that came to her mind, even topics of which women were supposed to be ignorant.  She thrust herself into the world in a manner inappropriate for a woman... Accept her, and society was in danger of disruption."  -Historian John F. Marszalek, explaining why Washington's elite found Peggy O'Neill unacceptable.

I can't help myself, it's just too juicy.  After the Petticoat Affair, John Eaton lost favor with President Andrew Jackson and was ostracized from society until his death in 1856.  Three years later his wife, Peggy O'Neill, married an Italian music and dancing teacher named Buchiganani. She was 59; he was early 20s.  Of course, this Italian dancer robbed Peggy's of her life savings, ran off with her 17 year old granddaughter to Italy, and Peggy was left with only her memoir:  The Autobiography of Peggy Eaton.  She died in 1879, unknowingly helping to usher in an era of feminism due to her brash outspokenness and unfiltered opinions.  Her life was later turned into a 1936 movie called: The Gorgeous Hussy, starring Joan Crawford.  How about that!

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