Cover for MOTT: Selected Letters of Lucretia Coffin Mott. Click for larger image

Selected Letters of Lucretia Coffin Mott

The first volume to include complete transcriptions of the early activist Mott's private letters, shedding light not only on her astounding and prescient reform activities but on the personal and private world of America in the19th-century as well

This landmark volume makes widely available for the first time the correspondence of the Quaker activist Lucretia Coffin Mott. Scrupulously reproduced and annotated, these letters illustrate the length and breadth of her public life as a leading reformer while providing an intimate glimpse of her family life. Dedicated to reform of almost every kind--temperance, peace, equal rights, woman suffrage, nonresistance, and the abolition of slavery--Mott viewed woman's rights as only one element of a broad-based reform agenda for American society. A founder and leader of many antislavery organizations, including the racially integrated American Antislavery Society and the Philadelphia Female Anti-slavery Society, she housed fugitive slaves, maintained lifelong friendships with such African-American colleagues as Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, and agitated to bring her fellow Quakers into consensus on taking a stand against slavery. Mott was a seasoned activist by 1848 when she helped to organize the Seneca Falls Woman's Rights Convention, whose resolutions called for equal treatment of women in all arenas. Mott tried to pursue a neutral course when her friends Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony disagreed with other woman's rights leaders over the Fifteenth Amendment, which guaranteed equal rights for freedmen but not for any women. Her private views on this breach within the woman's movement emerge for the first time in these letters. An active public life, however, is only half the story of this dedicated and energetic woman. Mott and her husband of fifty-six years, James, raised five children to adulthood, and her letters to other reformers and fellow Quakers are interspersed with the informal "hurried scraps" she wrote to and about her cherished family. An invaluable resource on an extraordinary woman, these selected letters reveal the incisive mind, clear sense of mission, and level-headed personality that made Lucretia Coffin Mott a natural leader and a major force in nineteenth-century American life.

"This admirably edited and handsomely published book is a great contribution to printed scholarly resources for 19th-century history. Lucretia Mott was engaged in several of the central social and political movements of that century, and her correspondence opens views into them, especially abolition, women's rights, and religion and Quakerism. But one will also find comments on domestic life and childrearing, public events, pacifism, and Indian rights. . . . Palmer included as much scholarly apparatus as a reader could want."--Choice

"This scrupulously annotated volume makes widely available for the first time the correspondence of the nineteenth-century Quaker activist who was dedicated to numerous reform movements, including temperance, peace, equal rights, woman suffrage, nonresistance, and the abolition of slavery."--Documentary Editing

"While scholars will rejoice in this volume, lay readers, too, will find the letters entertaining and inspiring. Beverly Palmer has done the Religious Society of Friends a real service."--Friends Journal

"Finally, a chance to see the full range of ideas, concerns, words of Lucretia Mott, the first foremother of the U.S. feminist movement. Beverly Palmer has performed an enormous service, for Lucretia Mott's many appreciators and for many others, who will now know the historical significance of this great "woman."-- Ellen Carol DuBois, editor of The Elizabeth Cady Stanton-Susan B. Anthony Reader: Correspondence, Writings, Speeches

Beverly Wilson Palmer, coordinator of the writing program at Pomona College, is the editor of The Selected Letters of Charles Sumner and The Selected Papers of Thaddeus Stevens.

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