MOTHERS OF FEMINISM: The Story of Quaker Women In America by Margrat Hope Bacon

MOTHERS OF FEMINISM: The Story of Quaker Women In America

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A thoroughly documented history by Bacon (The Quiet Rebels) of the liberated and reformist political activities of Quaker American women, this is likely to become the standard source book. Long before women's lib or even California, Quaker women lived in communities with amazingly advanced sexual equality. They travelled freely and alone to Europe and elsewhere for the ministry, smoked pipes, ate health food. Their forward thinking and social attitudes were deeply entrenched in their religious beliefs as in their motto: ""In Christ there is neither male nor female and in souls there is no sex."" But their history, ideological as well as actual, like much of women's history, has been largely obscured. Many of us know of Susan B. Anthony but we probably don't know that she came from Quaker stock, or that Lucretia Mott, her predecessor and role model, evolved her abolitionist and suffrage programs from Quaker beliefs. In short, Quakers have made a great contribution to the history of progressive reform and liberal thinking in America. Beginning with the origins of Quaker communities in Puritan England, Bacon works up to current Quaker feminist and peace activists and organizations, like Equal Rights Amendment lobbyist Lenny Lianne and the American Friends Service Committee. The period most vividly discussed is the 19th century, however. Because Bacon relies so much on straight historical fact with little or no analysis, her book reads, at times, like a 19th-century history text itself or, worse, an official account. But, on the whole, she breaks new ground on a relatively unexplored aspect of American history that remains timely and interesting today.

Pub Date: Aug. 6th, 1986
Publisher: Harper & Row