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Manuscript Division



Women's Suffrage
arrow graphicAntislavery Movement
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Antislavery Movement
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“Make the slave's case our own.” Susan B. Anthony. [ca. 1859]. Manuscript Division. LC-MSS-11049-1.

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Many early suffragists, including Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and members of the Blackwell family, participated in the abolition campaign, and their papers illustrate the adoption of techniques and strategies from that struggle for use in the women's suffrage crusade.

The papers of Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) [catalog record] and Anna E. Dickinson (1842-1932) [catalog record] also show the overlap in the two movements. Howe's papers (200 items; 1845-1917) consist chiefly of speeches and writings, many pertaining to her wide-ranging interests in education, immigration, prison reform, and race relations. Dickinson was a teenage phenomenon on the antislavery lecture circuit, whose electrifying speeches made her one of the campaign's most sought-after speakers. Her familiarity with the stage later led to a career as an actress and playwright. As reflected in her papers (10,000 items; 1859-1951; bulk 1859-1911), Dickinson had a particularly close relationship with Susan B. Anthony and shared the latter's interest in women's rights and temperance.

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Anna E. Dickinson. [between 1870 and 1910]. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZ62-102148.
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Dickinson also corresponded with escaped slave and abolitionist orator Frederick Douglass, whose own papers (7,400 items; 1841-1967; bulk 1862-95) [catalog record] provide an interesting perspective on women's rights. Selected items from the Frederick Douglass Papers are available on the Library of Congress American Memory Web site. Douglass collected speeches and articles by Belva A. Lockwood, Ida B. Wells, and Frances Willard, as well as correspondence with such notables as Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, and Frances Willard. His collection also contains correspondence of his first wife, Anna Murray Douglass (d. 1882), and his second wife, Helen Pitts Douglass (1838-1903), a lecturer and women's rights activist whom he married in 1884.

Letters from abolitionist Angelina Grimké Weld (1805-1879), discussing her philosophical disagreements with her sister Sarah Grimké, the importance of women's associations, and her reaction to the bloomer costume, are among the papers of her husband, Theodore Dwight Weld (32 items; 1783-1888) [catalog record].

Similar small collections are available for antislavery stalwarts:

The papers of male abolitionists also contain letters and other documents relating to women's participation in the antislavery campaign. Notable among the division's many holdings in this area are:

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The Liberian Senate. Robert K. Griffin. ca. 1856. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-4908.
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Some antislavery proponents—both black and white—believed that freed slaves should be resettled in Africa rather than remain in the United States. The voluminous records of the American Colonization Society (190,198 items; 1792-1964; bulk 1823-1912) document one group's efforts to establish in Liberia a settlement for free blacks. Information about women is scattered throughout the society's records—on passenger lists, in correspondence about potential emigrants, and in documents relating to society members, financial contributors, and slave owners. (For related daguerreotypes, see Prints and Photographs Division.)

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