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A Quiet Fight for Freedom: The Blue Bird Movement of Colorado

If you were a woman at the turn of the 20th century, your world was filled with immense challenge and change. Women's organizations were working to gain voting rights, economic equality, and social reform. Yet it was still considered improper for a female to do things like take a vacation or run her own business.

While females fought feverishly for equality, how did a little lodge in middle-of-nowhere Colorado add fuel to the fire, providing women autonomy and adventure?

Two little Colorado mountain homes — and the females who filled them — quietly added to a woman’s sense of independence. This was called The Blue Bird Movement, which lasted for decades yet is hardly known outside of a small circle of Coloradoan historians.

The Woman Behind the Blue Birds: Jean Sherwood

Between 1880 and 1910, the number of women employed in the U.S. jumped from 2.6 million to 7.8 million, where they worked as retail sales clerks, typists, nurses, schoolteachers, and inside factories. However, they were working long hours for little pay. The Suffrage Movement ran state-by-state campaigns which led to voting rights in a handful of states, but The Constitution had yet to recognize a woman’s right to vote throughout the entire nation. In other words, progress was being made — but in small steps.

Meanwhile, in 1904 a well known philanthropist from Chicago travelled to Colorado; her name wa…

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