Women of Faith

Faith played an important role in the women’s rights movement. A major influencer in the movement, Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) was raised in a Quaker family with a long tradition of social activism. Anthony realized that to enact real change for women they needed the right to vote. Lucretia Mott (1793–1880), whose beliefs were shaped by her Quaker upbringing and who was a staunch abolitionist and supporter of women’s rights, joined Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902) to form the National Woman Suffrage Association. Mott met Stanton when both were delegates at the World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840. The first order of business was to ban the admission of women delegates. At the end of the convention Mott and Stanton resolved to call a meeting in the United States in support of the rights of women.

Julia Evelina Smith (1792–1886) was exceptionally successful both as a linguist and as an activist for women’s suffrage. She utilized her knowledge of Greek and Hebrew to produce a literal Bible translation, “endeavoring to put the same English word for the same Greek or Hebrew word, everywhere.” Published at her own expense in 1876, Smith’s edition was the first complete translation of the Bible by a woman. In addition, Amanda Berry Smith (1837-1915) was a noted Methodist Holiness revivalist and missionary. Known for her inspired preaching and singing at Methodist camp meetings, Smith was a member of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and a friend of Frances Willard (1839-1898), noted temperance reformer and women’s suffragist.

Sojourner Truth (c. 1797– 1883) was born into slavery and sold as a slave when she was nine years old. She escaped from slavery with her infant daughter in 1826. On June 1, 1843, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth and committed to devoting her life to Methodism, the abolition of slavery, and equal rights for all. Truth spoke regularly to large crowds as she sought equality for all women and chastised abolitionists for not including black women as well as men. On September 8, 1853, Sojourner Truth spoke at the Women’s Rights Convention in New York. As Elizabeth Cady Stanton described her, “She was black, and she was a woman, and all the insults that could be cast upon color and sex were together hurled at her; but there she stood, calm and dignified, a grand, wise woman, who could neither read nor write, and yet with deep insight could penetrate the very soul of the universe about her.”

 

An Exhortation to the Inhabitants of the Province of South Carolina, To bring their Deeds to the Light of Christ, in their own Consciences. In which is Inserted, some Account of the Author's Experience in the Important Business of Religion

An Exhortation to the Inhabitants of the Province of South Carolina, To bring their Deeds to the Light of Christ, in their own Consciences. In which is Inserted, some Account of the Author's Experience in the Important Business of Religion.

Sophia Wigington Hume (1702-1774)

An Exhortation to the Inhabitants of the Province of South Carolina, To bring their Deeds to the Light of Christ, in their own Consciences. In which is Inserted, some Account of the Author's Experience in the Important Business of Religion.

Philadelphia: Printed by William Bradford, [1747].

Sophia Wigington Hume was a Quaker minister and religious writer. In her preaching, Hume spoke of a woman's right to pursue the dictates of her conscience.

From the Helen LaKelly Hunt Collection of American Women Reformers and Writers

A Letter from Elizabeth Webb to Anthony William Boehm, With His Answer

A Letter from Elizabeth Webb to Anthony William Boehm, With His Answer.

Elizabeth Webb (1663-1726/27)

A Letter from Elizabeth Webb to Anthony William Boehm, With His Answer.

Philadelphia: Printed and Sold by Joseph Crukshank, [1781].

Elizabeth Webb was an acknowledged Quaker minister. In 1712, she became acquainted with Anthony William Boehm, to whom she wrote of her spiritual and corporeal journeys. Bohem, was so impressed that he circulated this it among the court and into the religious community. It was not until 1781 that it was published in America.

From the Helen LaKelly Hunt Collection of American Women Reformers and Writers

The Legal Rights, Liabilities and Duties of Women; with an Introductory History of Their Legal condition in the Hebrew, Roman and Feudal Civil Systems. Including the Law of marriage and Divorce, the Social Relations of Husband and Wife, parent and Child, of Guardian and Ward, and of Employer and Employed

The Legal Rights, Liabilities and Duties of Women; with an Introductory History of Their Legal condition in the Hebrew, Roman and Feudal Civil Systems. Including the Law of marriage and Divorce, the Social Relations of Husband and Wife, parent and Child, of Guardian and Ward, and of Employer and Employed.

Edward Deering Mansfield (1801-1880)

The Legal Rights, Liabilities and Duties of Women; with an Introductory History of Their Legal condition in the Hebrew, Roman and Feudal Civil Systems. Including the Law of marriage and Divorce, the Social Relations of Husband and Wife, parent and Child, of Guardian and Ward, and of Employer and Employed.

Salem (Mass.): John P. Jewett & Co.; Cincinnati (OH): William H. Moore & Co., 1845.

A brief survey of the history of women, their place and their legal rights in past and present societies. Intended as a legal manual for women, Mansfield summarizes laws governing divorce, civil litigation, criminal law and laws governing domestic relationships with a special view as to woman's rights, roles and responsibility. An early work on the subject of women's legal rights in America.

From the Helen LaKelly Hunt Collection of American Women Reformers and Writers

The rights and condition of women: considered in "The Church of the Messiah," November 8, 1846

The rights and condition of women: considered in "The Church of the Messiah," November 8, 1846.

Samuel Joseph May (1797-1871)

The rights and condition of women: considered in "The Church of the Messiah," November 8, 1846.

Syracuse: Stoddard & Babcock, 1846.

May was an American reformer who supported a number of movements including: education, women's rights, and abolition of slavery. He wrote The Rights and Condition of Women in 1846 in favor of giving women the right to vote and allowing them equality in all aspects of life.

DeGolyer Library, General Collection, HQ1423 .M3 1846

Woman suffrage essential to the true republic

Woman suffrage essential to the true republic.

George Frisbie Hoar (1826-1904)

Woman suffrage essential to the true republic.

[Boston: Woman's Journal Office], [1873].

George Hoar was an American politician and United States Senator from Massachusetts (1877-1904). Senator Hoar argues that woman's active participation in church and state will work well for the country.

DeGolyer Library, Pamphlet Collection, JK1896 .H63 1873

Abby Smith and Her Cows, with a report of the law case decided contrary to law

Abby Smith and Her Cows, with a report of the law case decided contrary to law.

Julia E. Smith (1792-1886)

Abby Smith and Her Cows, with a report of the law case decided contrary to law.

Hartford, Conn.: [American Publishing Co.], 1877.

Abby (1797-1878) and Julia Smith (1792-1886) were two of five daughters born to Zephaniah Hollister Smith, a minister in a Christian sect founded in Scotland. At a Glastonbury town meeting in 1873, Abby Smith delivered a spirited protest against the taxation of unfranchised women, after which the sisters refused to pay taxes until they were granted the right to vote in town meetings. The following January local authorities seized seven of their valued Alderney cows, which were sold to cover the unpaid taxes. 

From the Helen LaKelly Hunt Collection of American Women Reformers and Writers

An Autobiography The Story of the Lord's Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith The Colored Evangelist. With an Introduction by Bishop Thoburn, of India

An Autobiography The Story of the Lord's Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith The Colored Evangelist. With an Introduction by Bishop Thoburn, of India.

Amanda Berry Smith (1837-1915)

An Autobiography The Story of the Lord's Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith The Colored Evangelist. With an Introduction by Bishop Thoburn, of India.

Chicago: Meyer & Brother, Publishers, 1893.

Amanda Smith, a Methodist evangelist and missionary, was born a slave in Maryland. Smith devoted her time to preaching in African-American churches. Her friendship with suffrage and temperance leader Frances Willard led her to Chicago, where she was encouraged to write her autobiography.

From the Helen LaKelly Hunt Collection of American Women Reformers and Writers

Female filosofy: fished out and fried. Preface by Felix Feeler

Female filosofy: fished out and fried. Preface by Felix Feeler.

Rev. L. E. Keith

Female filosofy: fished out and fried. Preface by Felix Feeler.

Cleona, Pa.: G. Holzapfel, 1894.

From the preface: “This volume contains all the objections to woman-suffrage, their answers, and the cream of all that has been said and written on the subject from Moses and Plato down to Paul and 'Josiah Allen's wife.'

DeGolyer Library, General Collection, JK1896 .K45 1894

Anna Howard Shaw [Photograph] Formerly Owned by Suffrage Supporter South Carolina State Senator Robert Hemphill

Anna Howard Shaw [Photograph] Formerly Owned by Suffrage Supporter South Carolina State Senator Robert Hemphill.

Anna Howard Shaw [Photograph] Formerly Owned by Suffrage Supporter South Carolina State Senator Robert Hemphill.

Atlanta GA: Mrs. L. Condon, circa 1895.

Signed as Vice President of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919), was a minister, lecturer and suffragist, who was recruited by Susan B. Anthony to the suffrage cause.

From the Helen LaKelly Hunt Collection of American Women Reformers and Writers

The Story of a Pioneer

The Story of a Pioneer.

Anna Howard Shaw (1847-1919)

The Story of a Pioneer.

New York and London: Harper and Brothers, [1915].

Anna Shaw was the first woman ordained (1880) by the Methodist Protestant church, after graduating from Boston University Divinity School in 1878, the only woman in her class. She was also a leader of the women's suffrage movement in the United States and a physician

From the Helen LaKelly Hunt Collection of American Women Reformers and Writers

Acquaintances, Old and New, Among Reformers

Acquaintances, Old and New, Among Reformers.

Reverend Olympia Brown (1835-1926)

Acquaintances, Old and New, Among Reformers.

Milwaukee: By the Author, 1911.

The Reverend Olympia Brown was the first woman to be ordained by the Northern Universalist Denomination. In 1866 she helped found the American Equal Rights Association and in that same year called for a convention in November that led to the formation of the New England Woman Suffrage Association. She was elected president of the state Woman Suffrage Association and served for the next 34 years.

These memoirs are loosely-organized first-hand reminiscences by one of the early key figures in the movement. Of particular note is her account of Victoria Woodhull and the suffragists.

From the Helen LaKelly Hunt Collection of American Women Reformers and Writers

Women of Faith