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Women of the Hall

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Year Honored: 1983
Birth: 1793 - Death: 1880
Born In: ,
Died In: ,
Achievements: Humanities
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Lucretia Mott

The daughter of a sea captain, Lucretia Coffin spent her childhood on Nantucket Island. She was reared in the Quaker faith, unique among American religions in encouraging the equality of women. In 1811 she married James Mott and they made their home in Philadelphia. Soon she began to speak in Quaker meetings, developing confidence and eloquence that were rare at a time when women seldom spoke in public. In the 1830s Mott advocated the radical idea that slavery was sinful and must be abolished. She was one of several American delegates to the 1840 World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London, but the women were denied seats. The lesson was clear for Mott and young Elizabeth Cady Stanton. How could women fight for the rights of others unless they enjoyed rights of their own? In 1848, while Mott was visiting her sister in Auburn, New York, she met with Stanton and helped to plan the first woman's rights convention. Mott delivered the opening and closing addresses at the Seneca Falls Convention, and her husband James chaired the proceedings at the Wesleyan Chapel. Motivated by her religious convictions, Mott dedicated herself to the twin causes of antislavery and women's rights. She harbored runaways slaves in her Philadelphia home and agitated for Negro suffrage and education when emancipation was finally won. As she wrote, spoke, and attended women's conventions, younger feminists recognized that Mott's early leadership had been crucial in the infancy of the women's rights movement.
Additional Sources:
Bacon, Margaret Hope. Valiant Friend: the Life of Lucretia Mott. New York, New York: Walker, 1980. NOTES: Includes index.

Cromwell, Otelia. Lucretia Mott. New York: Russell & Russell, 1971

Hare, Lloyd Custer Mayhew.The Greatest American Woman, Lucretia Mott. New York: Negro Universities Press, 1970.

Greene, Dana editor. Lucretia Mott: Her Complete Speeches and Sermons. New York: E. Mellen Press, 1980.

Palmer, Beverly Wilson, editor. Selected Letters of Lucretia Coffin Mott. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 2001.

Slavery and ""the woman question"" - Lucretia Mott's Diary of her Visit to Great Britain to Attend the World's Anti- Slavery Convention of 1840. Edited by Frederick B. Tolles. Haverford, Pennsylvania: Friends' Historical Association, 1952.

Discourse on Woman. Philadelphia: W.P. Kildare, 1869.

Papers 1834-1896, Swathmore College, Friends Historical Library. Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.