Correspondence

Letter from Lucretia Mott to Elizabeth Cady Stanton

             Crucial to the success of Women’s abolitionist societies and actions was their ability to communicate with one another regardless of location.  The fight for an end to slavery was obviously not just a city or state-wide concern.  Women from all other the United States were reading, writing, and discussing the issue of slavery.   Letter writing allowed for these women to communicate with others, many states over, a concept that with the creation of transportation like the Erie Canal, became easier and faster than ever before (1).  Not only did such communication give women the ability to share ideas and experiences, but it allowed them to encourage each other to keep up with their work and continue to fight for what is right, even when they perhaps felt alone in their own small cities, towns, and communities. 

              Correspondence between women abolitionist allowed for what the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society would call “sister societies” (2).  A formal network of communication of not just individual women, but societies.  Women were able to recommend articles and newspapers and they could form relationships with other groups that grew strong due to their common beliefs.  In a letter from Lucretia Mott to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, excerpt seen above, Mott updates Stanton on the status of the women abolitionist of Philadelphia and the “convention of colored people” that was taking place and she was attending(3). Such a letter allowed Stanton to take into consideration the success or failure that Philadelphia had in one way or another and act accordingly in New York.  British abolitionists were also involved in correspondence with these women.  The relationship between British women and American women became one of mentorship.  Their role as mentor came from the abolishment of slavery in England in 1833 (4).  These British women wrote words of encouragement, as well as directions for their fight against slavery.  The success in England was reassuring, in that it showed slavery could be successfully be abolished in Western society.

Work Cited

[1]Salerno, Beth A. 2005. Sister societies: women's antislavery organizations in antebellum America. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press. Pg 35.

[2]Ibid. 36.

[3]Stanton, Elizabeth Cady. Elizabeth Cady Stanton Papers: General Correspondence, -1928; -1849. - 1849, 1814. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mss412100001/.

[4]Salerno, Beth A. 2005. Sister societies: women's antislavery organizations in antebellum America. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press. pg. 30.