Check out this photostream
on Flickr that was sent to me a few weeks ago by a men's rights activist named Richard Stephens in New York City, author of the Web site The Parental Kidnapping Papers
(lots of historical information there; go check it out).The World's First Men's Rights Activist: Sigurd Hoeberth von Schwartzthal, 1926
Sigurd Hoeberth von Schwartzthal, The World's First Men's Rights Activist (Anti-Misandry Activist)
President of Liga für Menschenrechte ("League for the Rights of Men"), Vienna, Austria, which, after its 1926 inception split into two camps: Aequitas, led by Sigurd Von Hoeberth welcomed female members, while Justitia, headed by Herr Joseph Kornblueh forbade women among its members. By the early1930s, both organizations had apparently ceased operation.
January 10, 1926:Men's Rights Organization (International)
Berlin, May 27--A revolt of the down-trodden male against the domineering female is, on the way in Vienna where the "Rights for Men" League has been founded to start the battle.
The League, which held its first big mass meeting recently, is composed so far only of bachelors, divorced husbands, and unmarried fathers. The still married husbands, the members insist, would like to join, but their wives won't let them, which In itself is cited as proof for the need of such an organisation.
The mass meeting was held under the slogan of "equal rights for men."
Sigurd Hoebert, the president of the League, denied emphatically that the aggressive males were women haters. All the League wanted, he said, was that the preferences and privileges which the women now receive from society, from the State, and especially from the courts, should stop.
"We love and honour the ladies," Hoebert said, "but we want to leave to our descendants once more real mothers and wives, and to prevent their being killed off by the alleged emancipation of the woman."
Numerous speakers denounced the "degenerate literary cafe clique" for having placed woman on such a high pedestal "that she has come to consider it as her right not only to claim but also to abuse her privileges arid her freedom."
"The feminist, hysterical and degenerate cafe scribblers have helped cunning woman to forge intolerable chains for men," explained one of the speakers, Wollner.
"The man' is roped before the family coach, and on the driving seat sits the 'gracious lady,' and if he doesn't pull till he drops, she swings the whip of legal paragraphs over him."
A large part of the prison inmates, Wollner said, have been put there by the accusations of their own wives. A good number of the initiates of insane asylums, he charged, have been put there by their wives because they were in the way.
"The reason for all this," Wollner said, "is that the authorities believe the women everything and the man nothing, although they should know that the He is a specific attribute of the feminine sex."
The principal complaint of the league members was against the alimony claims of divorced wives and the claims of support of unmarried mothers
The secretary of the League, Hofeneder, pictured the claims for alimony and support as a cruel persecution of the men, inspired not only by greed but often also by revenge and plain "cussedness."
Under the present Austrian law, Hofeneder said, the unmarried mother has practically her choice to whom she wants to pick as the father of her child. And he deplored that a Vienna court had rejected the blood test for paternity on the ground that this test was not yet sufficiently developed.
"The unmarried father is helpless against the cunning and the revenge of the unmarried mother," Hofeneder said. "Our antiquated laws speak only of the duties of the unmarried fathers, not of their rights.
["Men Form Defence League In Vienna." The Daily Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica), Jun. 10, 1926, p. 19]
May 27, 1928Men's Rights Organization
NOTE: The "men only" offshoot of Liga fur Menschenrechte, Vienna, led by Joseph Kornblueh, is discussed here.
VIENNA, May 25.--Charlie Chaplin will deliver a lecture on the tyranny of women in America in Vienna this summer.
This announcement made by Herr Kornblueh at the recent congress of the Vienna league of men called "Justita" was greeted with tremendous applause.
"Charlie Chaplin is one of our most ardent supporters abroad" Herr Kornblueh declared, "and since his divorce, he has written to us assuring our organization of his sympathy and emphasizing the necessity of a world wide movement for the emancipation of the oppressed husbands.
"The tyranny of modern women, who demand, all rights and refuse all duties, who are marrying men only to lead a careless, workless and childless life, or to obtain a divorce
and a lifelong alimony, this shameful tyranny is the underlying cause of all evils.
"Look at the insane asylum Steinhof in Vienna. Fifty percent of the unfortunate inmates were brought to this place because of their marriage.''
The congress passed a resolution demanding the abolishment of alimonies find other unequal pacts between the two sexes, and protesting against the favoritism of the authorities in favor of women, especially the siding of the police with the wives whenever a domestic quarrel develops.
The Justitia is the first organization in the world fighting for the "emancipation of men," and makes
Its appeal to all those "in revolt against the oppression of the female sex." Only the freedom of men can prevent the white race from decline and ruin, declares one of the organizations proclamations.
"The only trouble is" confessed Kornblueh. "there are few courageous men. Husbands are too cowardly, while bachelors are perhaps too willing to join our organization."
["Chaplin, Siding With Fellows, Will Assail Tyranny of Women - American Comedian and Victim of 'Oppression of Female Sex' Joins Brothers of 'Justitia' in Fight For 'Emancipation of Men'," May 27, 1928, p. 6]
January 7, 1929:Men's Rights Organization (International)
FULL TEXT: I rise to say a kind word for the Viennese League for the Rights of Man.
Under the auspices of this league an international congress for wronged husbands is about to take place in Vienna. Delegated from all civilized nations will participate.
They object will be to initiate a movement all over a world for combating the tyranny created by civilization by and in favor of women.
I think no honest and intelligent woman will object to that.
There is, I believe, injustice in the system which protects the wife against injury by her husband as though he were the only guilty party.
As Herr Hoeberth, president of the league says, "The institution of alimony for the wife who is either legally separated or divorced from her husband is the cause of most existing troubles.
"It encourages wives to become out-and-out adventuresses in quest of money whereby to satisfy their desire for a life of ease and luxury without a corresponding sacrifice being placed by matrimonial life on both parties. This institution, which everybody condemns but which no legislator seems to be courageous enough to tackle, should be abolished.
Men should find in divorce o in separation the same protection which women seek from brutal husbands."
Herr Hoeberth's language is a little vague as to the entire meaning but I do not assume that he wishes to abolish matrimony.
BUT THERE WAS NO DENYING THAT MAN IS OFTEN AT A DISADVANTAGE IN A MARRIAGE THAT HAS GONE "BLUEY."
Wives, too, can be brutal and since men who have married unfortunately are frequently unable to help themselves, it seems to me that women ought to recognize the fact that MEN DO NOT ALWAYS GET A SQUARE DEAL and should do what they can to correct the situation.
At any rate, the purpose for which the congress in Vienna is to be held is not an academic one. It concerns a very real and universal problem. It merits discussion and publicity.
At any rate, the purpose
Object: Matrimonial Justice.
That is what women what and do get from the courts. It is what men should also get.
Betty Brainard will be glad to help her readers with their problems. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to her in care of this paper.
[Batsy Brainard, We Women (column), "The Rights of Men," The Hamilton Daily News (Oh.), Jan. 7, 1929, p. 4]
June 23, 1929:Men's Rights Organization (International)
FULL TEXT: Vienna, Austria. - Dr. Sigurd Hoeberth has courage. He has called a conference of all men of the world for Sept. 25 to discuss ways and means of obtaining equal rights for men. Dr. Hoeberth is also an optimist, for he thinks at least 2,000 men will dare to show up at such a conference, in Hofburg Hall in Emperor Franz Joseph palace. It is large and beautiful hall, with the distinct; advantage of having many exits. In case women storm the palace the men would have a chance to away and establish alibis.
For a time Dr. Hoeberth disappeared from Mozart strasse. It thought by those who did not know him he had given up the right for man's rights, just the contrary. Undaunted he is waging the battle in the heart of Vienna's financial district. His new office is on the main floor of one of Vienna's many defunct banks. Where once the Viennese went long on their own securities, to their sorrow, and sold French francs short, also to their sorrow, Dr. Hoeberth is now barricaded, behind a show window, blazing with his posters. Within his office he is further protected by a high counter. It is perhaps superfluous to add his office has an exit on the back street.
The show window of the World League for Men's Rights attracts considerable attention. The posters are gay, and contain a sufficient outline of what Dr. Hoeberth is boosting. Pretty stenographers, on the way to and from lunch, occupy the sidewalk next to the window, and picket Dr. Hoeberth's shop. They open their umbrellas, and hold them at an angle to prevent the men from reading. Sometimes the police are compelled to keep the crowd moving. Now and then a man pulls his hat down, and turns up his collar, before running the gauntlet to get inside and ask for literature on. the subject of men's rights. The market women grunt with disdain when they pass.
Surprisingly, Dr. Hoeberth is finding a number of Viennese women who agree with him. They say unscrupulous women have scared men so it is hard for a really modest and refined woman to catch a husband. "If the present laws are maintained," they relate, "it will be necessary to use bear traps." Moved by pity, or some other emotion, even Mrs. Ross, Wife of Prof. Edward Alsworth Ross of the University of Wisconsin, said Dr. Hoeberth has some good ideas.
Dr. Hoeberth has 10 points which he is demanding for men before he will accept an armistice. They are:
1. Divorced women, able to earn their own living, or those who have an income of their own, are not entitled to alimony,
2. Alimony claims are valid only for marriages which last three years. The amount of alimony is to be based on the duration of the marriage.
3. After the termination of a marriage the woman, loses the right to use the name of the husband.
4. The legal limit in Austria for contesting the legitimate birth of a child, now three months, is to be abolished. The procedure shall be the same as in contested paternity.
5. Blood tests and anthropological examination have to be considered as a judicial and legal method for determining paternity.
6. Mothers are to be required to support illegitimate children according to their means.
7. The father of an illegitimate child shall not only have obligations towards the child, but also Is entitled to rights as to the child.
8. Illegitimate children are required to support aged and invalid parents,
9. The existence minimum cannot derogated because of failure to pay alimony or contribute to support. The law by which, a man can be thrown into prison for failure to pay alimony must be repealed.
10. "Further," says Dr. Hoeberth. "we are fighting all the monstrosities which have come from the emancipation of woman."
The league cites the case of Johann Apfelmuss, but of course this is not the right name of this poor man, Mr. Apfelmuss was in the hospital about to undergo an operation when his wife asked the judge for a divorce. The date hearing was set on the very day when Mr. Aphelmuss was o be operated upon. Mr. Apfelmus asked for a postponement but his request passed unnoticed. Mrs. Apfelmuss received an uncontested decree. Her husband became legally culpable.
Contrary to what the doctors predicted, Mr. Apfelmuss recovered, after a long siege. and two years later got a job at the Vienna average, $30 per month. Five dollars of this was subtracted at the source for sickness insurance, pension fund and the usual social undertakings for which the Viennese worker must contribute whether he wishes or not. For his room and breakfast Mr. Apfelmuss paid $9. Then as Mr. Apfelmuss did not contest the divorce the judge ordered him to pay his wife $13 per month. This left Mr. Apfelmuss with the large sum of almost $4. The funny part of this story is that the former Mrs. Apfelmuss is a post office girl, and receives the union wage scale.
Dr. Hoeberth knows a number of these stories and when the league meets Sept. 25 in the Hofburg hall, he will relate all the harrowing details. That is. he will if the stenographer and market women have not climbed over the barricade into his office before that time.
[A. R. Drucker, "Equal Rights For Mere Man League's Aim - World Convention Plans to Curtail Alleged Women's Advantages Austrian Takes Lead Thinks 2,000 Men Will Show Up to Protest Their Wrongs," Syracuse Herald (N.Y.), Jun. 23, 1929, Sec. 3, p. 4]
August 14, 1929:Men's Rights Organization (International)
FULL TEXT: Vienna, Aug. 14.--Two leagues are functioning in Vienna today to "obtain equal rights for oppressed males," but one of them is not striving so valiantly as it used to. The founder fell in love and decided to allow women themselves to join.
These two organizations are "Aequitas," the original organization, which has invited "honest" women to participate in its world conference here next month, and "Justitia," which is against all women.
When Herr Von Hoeberth, a divorced man of Vienna, formed the original league for the rights of men, he was outspoken in his criticism of laws and usages which gave men and especially married or divorced men "the worst of it." He had little use for women and feminine prerogatives and did not hesitate to say so. But when he fell in love everything was changed.
~ Founder Is Firm ~
Herr Kornblueh, one of the founders of the original league, who remained firm in his anti-woman attitude, declared in an address to his colleagues:
"Tread softly, my dear comrades, upon this floor because you are treading on one of my dreams. Herr Von Hoehberth, our president, who was known as an honorable divorced man, became entangled in a love affair, is seen in public places with a young woman, whom foolish youth would call a charming one, and has recently opened the doors of our league to women. This, I regard, as a desecration of our sublime ideals."
This was the first serious discord among the fighters for the "emancipation of men." It led to the secession of one faction from the original league and the creation of "Justitia."
Herr Von Hoeberth remained president of "Aequitas" while Herr Hornblueh was chosen president of the hundred per centers of "Justitia."
The world conference in Vienna sponsored by "Aequitas" is scheduled to open on September 25. Its program, as previously outlined by Herr Von Hoeberth calls for inauguration of an International movement for reform of marriage and divorce laws, especially laws relating to alimony. It is claimed that "unprincipled women purposely marry men with the idea of obtaining divorces and alimony later on.
"Justitia" is opposed to the present movement to bestow still further political liberties upon women, who, it is claimed, are "forgetting their natural duties."
[Alfred Tyrnauer, "Oppressed Males To Have Their Inning Two Leagues Functioning In Vienna To Obtain Equal Rights For Oppressed Males Allowing Women To Join League Becomes Controversial Point Wit Founders," syndicated (INS), New Castle News, Pa,), Aug. 14, 1929, p. 15]
October 19, 1929:Men's Rights Organization (International)
FULL TEXT: No subject is of more vivid, vital interest to men and women today than alimony. Its ramifications stretch down into the roots of love, marriage, divorce; legal decisions regarding it are as contradictory as they are varied and labyrinthine in logic.
And the attitudes of husbands and wives on alimony are just as different from one another as the textures of their skins, or the clothes they wear.
Ordinarily, a woman who is granted a divorce feels - and the courts generally sustain her contention - that she is entitled to separate maintenance. But there are notable exceptions. For instance, when Carlotta Montgomery - now the third wife of Eugene O'Neill, playwright, and herself an actress of esteem - sued her then-husband, Ralph Barton, wealthy cartoonist, for divorce, she spurned alimony.
On the other side of the ledger we find Mrs. Marguerite Mulready, of San Francisco, asking a divorce from B. J. Mulready on grounds of desertion. She lost the suit and was ordered to pay HIM $750 alimony.
In violent contrast to this suit was that of beautiful Mrs. Evelyn Patterson, wife of the Dayton, O., cash register king, who asked $7,000,000 alimony from her fabulously rich husband.
Sometimes there is a comic side to divorce, as witness the case of Sam Reid, the "alimony martyr," who spent two years in a California jail rather than pay his ex-wife a cent.
By PROF. WM. M. MARSTON (Professor of Psychology at Columbia University. Author of "Emotions of Normal People," etc.)
THE World's League for the Rights of Men [Liga für Menschenrechte] is housed in a palace in Vienna and has 25,000 members. Recently this organization issued an invitation to the downtrodden males of America to attend a convention in Vienna. American men whose wives or ex-wives have left them with enough money to travel to Vienna arc still urged to join the league.
The secretary of the league in Vienna showed a newspaper correspondent the membership list. And lo!
There appeared the names of American business men, bankers, and oven college professors!
"America is still under woman's rule," said the official spokesman of the league, "and it might, therefore, be embarrass sing to our new members to have their names published. In America the women mist-rust us because they think our object is to reestablish the tyranny of men. In reality, all that we ask for men is a fair deal."
He then went on to explain what the fair deal called for.
FIRST--That divorced women capable of earning their own living or earning a private income should not be eligible for alimony.
SECOND--That no alimony should be payable unless the marriage lasted at least three yean.
THIRD--That divorced women should be denied the use of their former husbands' name.
Though the organization of a league for men's rights may appear a trifle unnecessary to the average American, it is a curious fact that modern codes of law actually leaned backward in several particulars in their attempt to protect their property rights of a married woman and especially of married mothers. A woman who has separated from her husband can legally compel him to support her. Yet a man separated from his wife usually cannot obtain financial assistance by the aid of the law in most States regardless of how wealthy his wife may be and how little money he himself may possess.
The same is true of divorce and alimony. If a woman obtains a divorce she can usually secure alimony no matter what the real cause of her legal separation from her husband may have been. But if a man divorces his wife for just cause, the man cannot secure any share of the property which he has already given his wife nor can he compel her to pay him alimony no matter how wealthy she may be. What is sauce for the goose, in short, is not sauce for the gander.
Psychologically speaking, how far should a woman be allowed to go in collecting money on marriage when there are no children ? The new league for men's rights maintains that no alimony should be permitted if women are capable of earning their own living or if they possess private incomes. But after all, this is still a man's world. A deserted wife may be physically healthy. She may even possess previous training and experience as a stenographer, secretary or nurse. But how much do these female occupations pay in comparison to the earning capacity of the average man?
From a psychological viewpoint, equalization of the present rights as between men and women should take the form of giving women an equal break in the economic world. After that, it will be time enough to talk about denying a divorced wife alimony whenever she is able to support herself.
The whole question of property should be excluded from any psychologically sound marriage relationship. And the only way it can be excluded is for women to earn their own living and so be in a position to love whom they please. Then a wife with her own separate income can refuse to love her husband the moment he stops loving her.
It is obviously a fact that many men cease to be captivated by their wives soon after marriage'-and when a man does not choose to love his wife and docs choose to love another woman he is free to act according to his choice because ho is economically independent.
It is precisely from this fact that the double standard of morality has given up. A wife who lacks the power to support herself and who accepts support from her husband becomes more or less his property, no matter whether she thinks so or not. No man responds emotionally to a piece of property in the same way that he responds to a captivating woman who holds him by love attraction only.
But, you may protest; how about a man's continued attraction to a gold-digging "vamp," who makes him pay and pay again for the pleasure of her society? The answer is she MAKES him pay. She can hold any man at arm's length and love him when and if she chooses. That gives her the whip band and enables her to captivate the man and make herself desirable to him.
Respectable women seem never to have realized until the dawn of the present century the fundamental fact that they must gain the appetitive power to support themselves and their children if necessary, in order to hold the love of their husbands. To a man anything that is unattainable is worth paying a high price for. And the price which an otherwise unattainable woman should demand for herself is love and not money.
The fundamental trouble with the whole institution of marriage as it existed during the past few centuries that the man owned the woman and not the woman the man.
Men's ownership is appetitive' and destroys love.
Woman's ownership is love captivation, because that is what she enjoys, and that raises love to its highest pinnacle. But to exercise this love ownership women must keep their love a free gift by earning their own living.
The idea that no alimony should be payable unless the marriage lasts at least three years is obviously the male notion of pensioning off a faithful employe. If a woman faithfully serves her lord and master during the three-year period, when her sex attractiveness is at his height, the male sense of appetitive justice is willing to concede that she should be paid for the services she has rendered.
But, after all, we could not expect the average wife-employer to pay alimony cheerfully and happily even after three years of faithful service. Paying money to a woman who is now of no use to him must always seem to a man like paying tazes on foreclosed land. While the property is returning a good income to its owner, or even while the land holds some promise of future return, the average male will pay taxes willingly enough. But when all hope of eventual value has disappeared a man feels no emotional willingness to go on paying for it.
And so it must ever be with alimony in cases where there are no children.
The honest, loving, and courageous women of the present century are facing the problem squarely at last. They are undertaking the painful and laborious task of earning independent livings in a man's world. Eventually this will put marriage on a new basis, a true foundation.
[William M., Marston, "Why Men Are Organizing To Fight Female Dominance," syndicated (International Feature Service), syndicated (International Feature Service), Hamilton Evening Journal (Oh.), Oct. 19, 1929, Feature Section, p. 1]
October 7, 1930:Men's Rights Organization (International)
FULL TEXT: Vienna. - Equitas, the world league for the rights of men, an organization which had its headquarters here and a membership made up of Europeans and Americans, has disappeared. Whether it has gone to the ground before the victorious advance of all conquering woman or merely as part of the world economic depression is not clear. At all events, it has given up its offices.
The two handsome plateglass windows, which once displayed a patchwork of such newspaper clippings as "Singer Shoots Her Husband," "First Feminine Broker Revealed as Swindler," "Orgies of 18-Year-Old Girl," "Husband Poisoners of Nagrev," and "Film Star's Wife Wants Million Alimony," are now filled with the exhibits of a shoe store, and a women's shoe store at that.
A year ago Sigurd Hoeberth, president of the world league, sent hundreds of invitations to college professors, bankers and journalists of the United States to attend the world congress at which the league's objectives were to be discussed. So few recipients took the initiative seriously, however, that the congress was postponed.
From then on the league's interests and activities steadily declined until practically the only source of funds was its feminine members. Of these the league had, according to a statement of the president, 500, and he admitted in confidence that they were the best contributors, more especially mothers with marriageable sons.
["World's League for Rights of Men Dies; Women's Shoe Store in Headquarters," Syndicated, The Tipton Daily Tribune, Oct. 7, 1930, p. 1]
December 22, 1930:International Men's Rights Organization
PHOTO CAPTION: Mlle. Suzanne Leroux; Emilie Duporcher; Mme. Jeanne Fabre-Bulle in Court.
FULL TEXT: Faithless husbands and lovers In France haven't a chance. They are entirely at the mercy of their women. If the ladies decide to kill them, the law will not punish the femmes. The French woman who has murdered her husband or her lover smiles through her tears at the jury and she is acquitted.
Last year 47 French wives were tried in the Assize Court for the murder of their husbands. Not one of these vengeful ladies paid the supreme penalty for her crime. This year, to date, 37 husband killers have been released without even a short sentence.
Judges protest, but French juries continue to acquit women who have killed their husbands because their married life was unhappy.
This may account for the Liga fuer Menschenrechte [League for the Rights of Men, Vienna], an international league for the protection of human rights against the usurpation of females. And pleasure-loving France is the center of a righteous moral volcano."
["French Juries Easy on Mate-Killer Wives - French Husbands Band Together in a League to Protect Themselves from Thir Outraged Wives - Last Year 47 French Wives Were Tried for Murder of Their Husbands - None Paid Penalty for Her Crome." syndicated (ILN), Oelwein Daily Register (Io.), Dec. 22, 1930, p. 3]
April 27, 1932:Men's Rights Organization (International)
[Transcription in progress]
Liga für Menschenrechte ("League for the Rights of Men"), by 1929 had split into two camps: Aequitas, led by Sigurd Von Hoeberth welcomed female members, while Justitia, headed by Herr Joseph Kornblueh forbade women among its members. By the early 1930s, both organizations had apparently ceased operation.