Queen Victoria: The death of one of the world’s greatest leading ladies

Much can be learned from leading ladies of the past.

Perhaps the most influential female leader of her time, Queen Victoria was a remarkable example of an amazing leader, with a mix of strength and compassion toward her subjects. Her 64-year reign is still the longest of the British monarchy, from 1837 to 1901, and earned the name “Victorian era”. 

Her influence stretched well beyond the United Kingdom. In America, news of her passing in 1901 splashed the front pages of newspapers across the country.

This period of time was, to say the least, a tumultuous period in American history. After gaining independence from England in 1776, there was a period of growth and development as a nation. The Civil War ran its course, and throughout this time Queen Victoria stayed at a respectable distance, not wanting to interfere with American affairs. 

So how did Americans at the turn of the 19th century feel about England’s Queen Victoria? Where better to look than old newspapers, reading local reactions from people of the day at the time of her death.

Articles from The New York Times, Boston Daily Globe, Savannah Morning News, The Baltimore Sun, and San Francisco Call relay a consistent message: The death of Queen Victoria resonated strongly throughout America. Headlines such as “Washington Flags Lower: Such a Mark of Respect Had Never Been Before Paid on the Death of a Monarch”, displayed on the front cover of the New York Times on January 23, 1901, and demonstrated the admiration felt for Britain’s Queen. 

The level of sentiment seems to surpass mere duty. Comments of deep respect over the weeks following her death and burial seem to be unanimous across all states of America. 

Articles advised of packed churches, flower tributes to the levels not seen before, and all flags being lowered in respect.

Being able to read multiple newspaper articles relating to a specific event in history brings a new and deeper appreciation of our past. Could Queen Victoria have been the glue that healed the separation between the United Kingdom and the United States? The continual mention of her high moral and ethical nature seems to hint at a healing link between these two cultures, brought about at least in part by the illustrious queen. 

Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out more about your own ancestors? Using NewspaperArchive.com to run a keyword search on Great Uncle Bob from Ireland could unveil a treasure trove of information about your past.

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