The Grimké Sisters, Early American Abolitionists and Feminists

 

Angelina Emily Grimké Weld (1805–1879) Copy of engraved portrait of Angelina Grimké, ca. 1845. From Woman's Rights Collection, 1853–1958, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute.

I recently finished reading Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings, a novel about an urban slave in early 19th-century Charleston, South Carolina, and her owners, the Grimké family. The author tells us that she was inspired by the historic figures of Sarah and Angelina Grimké, the first female abolition agents and among the earliest American feminists. According to Kidd, “Sarah was the first woman in the United States to write a comprehensive feminist manifesto, and Angelina was the first woman to speak before a legislative body.” After Sarah moved to Philadelphia and became a Quaker, she began speaking publicly against slavery and crusading for women’s rights. With her sister, Angelina, and Angelina’s husband, Theodore Weld, she wrote American Slavery as It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses, a book that influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, published 13 years later.

Since we have a well-developed collection of abolitionist materials, I decided to check out our catalog to see if the Phillips Library held any books by or about the Grimkés. We have copies of several of their published works, including American Slavery mentioned above.

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Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful…

Phillips Library Reading Room Book DisplayWith the 2014 Winter Olympics right around the corner, and the foot of snow on the ground here in southern New England, I decided to delve into our collections to create a display highlighting all things winter.  I was pleased to discover materials ranging from the early nineteenth century through to the mid-twentieth, chronicling everything from the art in a snowflake to the finer points of curling.  Read more

Sailing Ship Card Collection Open For Research

Dreadnought, Cremorne, and Audubon

Three examples of advertising cards for clipper ships: Dreadnought, Cremorne, and Audubon.

It is exciting to announce that one of my favorite collections at the Phillips Library, MSS 470 – Sailing Ship Card Collection, 1852-1894, 1918, 1990, is now fully processed and open for research.  Processed with funds from the NHPRC, this collection includes 1,295 cards (1,197 of which are unique), printed in the late 19th century between 1850 and 1900.  Ship owners and shipping lines announced the departure of their ships by means of printed cards instead of advertising in newspapers or via broadsides, as they had previously done.  Read more