Mary A. Livermore Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: December 19, 1820
Died: May 23, 1905
Biography | show moreshow less
Mary Ashton Rice Livermore (1820-1905), principally concerned with theological questions in her youth, became a staunch abolitionist after spending three years as a tutor on a slave plantation in Virginia (1839-1842). Raised with the Calvinist doctrine of pre-destination, she moved to the other end of the religious spectrum, embracing Universalism and marrying Universalist minister Daniel Livermore in 1845. During the Civil War she was an active organizer and fundraiser for the US Sanitary Commission. With slavery abolished, she turned her journalistic and lecture skills to temperance and women's suffrage. Immensely popular as a speaker, she became known as "the Queen of the American platform." She also took a keen interest in spiritualism, believing she had received messages from her dead husband. Livermore was active in politically oriented women's clubs, especially the New England Women's Club of Boston. This letter, however, refers to another group, the Melrose chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, of which Mrs. Abby Barr was President (with Livermore active as her advisor). Livermore would soon repent of her support for Rebecca Hesseltine, whom she nominates here, when Hesseltine refused to take a pledge of abstinence from alcohol. The women's suffrage and temperance causes were closely allied in this period, both seen as women's issues (and an important factor in many men's opposition to universal suffrage.)

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