VALIANT FRIEND: The Life of Lucretia Mott by Margaret Hope Bacon

VALIANT FRIEND: The Life of Lucretia Mott

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Lucretia Mott's long and eventful life (1793-1880) has been eclipsed by her younger colleagues (Anthony, Cady Stanton, Stone); it is time she had her due. Born in Nantucket to a Quaker shopkeeper/mother and an absent whaler, Mort (nÉe Coffin) maintained the island tradition of independent womanhood throughout her life. When merchant/husband James Mott's enterprises proved unable to support the growing family (six children), Lucretia resumed schoolteaching. A devoted Quaker (she developed her understated, charming, and lethal oratorical style in Meeting), she became a radical Hicksite. Slavery made her an abolitionist leader, and exclusion of women from an anti-slavery meeting in London made her join her friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton in calling the first woman's rights meeting at Seneca Falls. Bacon's chronicle--the fullest modern biography of Mott--shows her at the heart of every radical or reform effort for nearly a century, and also at the heart of an enormous extended family and social circle. She prepares for an abolition meeting by serving high tea to 50, presides at family childbirths and deathbeds as well as woman's rights conventions, and relaxes by tacking down new carpets. Wisely, biographer Bacon draws no artificial boundaries between public career and domestic life; using primary sources, she gives a straightforward, all-of-a-piece account of this little dyspeptic woman who lived her whole life according to her principles, without quarter or rancor.

Pub Date: May 28th, 1980
Publisher: Walker