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Rare Book and Special Collections Division



The Domestic Sphere
Religion and Spirituality
arrow graphicReform Efforts
Women's Rights Newpapers
Susan B. Anthony Collection
NAWSA Collection
Women's Education
Pamphlet Collections
Printed Ephemera
Working Women
Women in Popular Culture
Collections Formed by Women
Literary Works



Reform Efforts

Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.
The Revolution

Women's participation in all the major reform movements may be traced through an abundance of material in the division, chiefly from the nineteenth century, in a variety of formats, including magazines and newspapers, books, pamphlets, scrapbooks, and broadsides, many of which complement collections of personal papers held in the Manuscript Division.

Playing a significant role in the antislavery movement, women developed skills and expertise that they would apply to other reform efforts. Lydia Maria Child's Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans (Boston: Allen and Ticknor, 1833; E449.C53) not only presents the first comprehensive synthesis of facts and arguments refuting myths of black intellectual inferiority but also is credited with bringing many women into the antislavery movement and broadening the male leadership.

Angelina Grimké (1805-1879), who had freed her slaves and left the South, became an abolitionist lecturer and organizer. Her Appeal to the Christian Women of the South (New York, American Anti-Slavery Society, 1836; E185 .A254 G:117 Afr Am Pam) is extremely rare because so many of the copies were destroyed by Southern postmasters.

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Anti-slavery fair, [ca. 1835]. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 248, Folder 7. Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

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Women's innovative organizational efforts can be followed in reports of the Proceedings of the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women (Philadelphia: 1837-39: E449.A621/E449.A6234/ E449.A6235) , an early attempt at interracial cooperation. Maria Weston Chapman (1806-1885), who was active in the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and American Anti-Slavery Society, organized antislavery fairs and edited the first successful antislavery annual gift book, The Liberty Bell (Boston: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839-58; E449.L69) , to raise funds for the cause.

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