Item #010229 1856 – A letter from one of the most radical abolitionists, Abby Kelley, and her equally radical husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, delineating her meetings with a host of the country’s most important abolitionists during a fund-raising trip on behalf of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Abby Kelley to Stephen Symonds Foster.
1856 – A letter from one of the most radical abolitionists, Abby Kelley, and her equally radical husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, delineating her meetings with a host of the country’s most important abolitionists during a fund-raising trip on behalf of the American Anti-Slavery Society
1856 – A letter from one of the most radical abolitionists, Abby Kelley, and her equally radical husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, delineating her meetings with a host of the country’s most important abolitionists during a fund-raising trip on behalf of the American Anti-Slavery Society
1856 – A letter from one of the most radical abolitionists, Abby Kelley, and her equally radical husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, delineating her meetings with a host of the country’s most important abolitionists during a fund-raising trip on behalf of the American Anti-Slavery Society

1856 – A letter from one of the most radical abolitionists, Abby Kelley, and her equally radical husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, delineating her meetings with a host of the country’s most important abolitionists during a fund-raising trip on behalf of the American Anti-Slavery Society

Eagleswood, New Jersey: 1856. Envelope or Cover. Abby Kelley was a major figure in the national anti-slavery and women’s suffrage movements despite a split with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton over the 15th Amendment. As a principal leader of the ultra-radical abolitionists, perhaps second only to William Lloyd Garrison, she traveled throughout the country for over twenty years, often with her equally radical husband, Stephen Symonds Foster, demanding not only immediate emancipation for all slaves, but full civil equality for blacks. After the Panic of 1837, Kelley became the corresponding secretary of the Lynn Anti-Slavery Society, and served as a national delegate to the first Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women. To the disgust of more moderate abolitionists, she began giving speeches to “mixed-gender” audiences, something that simply wasn’t done by women of her time, and in 1843, Kelley addressed the attendees at the Liberty Party [an anti-slavery party whose support was concentrated along the northern U.S. border along the Great Lakes states from Maine through Illinois] convention in Buffalo, New York, becoming the first woman in America to speak at a national political convention. In part due to her successful fund-raising at Lynn, Kelley was elected to the national business committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society (AASS) and became its principal fundraiser. In this letter to her husband Stephen Symonds Foster (which appears to be two-day’s worth of diary entries), which reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the Mid-Atlantic radical abolitionist movement, Kelley describes one of her AASS fundraising trips to New Jersey and New York. “Spent the . . . day in T. D. Weld’s school. There are some thirty or forty pupils, and a happier or better regulated school cannot, I presume, be found in the country or the world. . .. I found the . . . daughter of David [and Martha] Wright of Auburn there. There is great attention paid to the reading and acting of Shakespear’s plays. Weld looks on it as a powerful instrument for developing all the higher powers of the mind. . .. “Dined with J. G. Binney. . .. says he heard [us] in our first lecture in Detroit as he was passing through that city. . .. “I have had a long and earnest conversation with Marcas and Rebecca Spring in relation to their duty to the slave and urging a Thousand Dollar devotion to the A. A. S. Society. They respond to most of my propositions but still are satisfied with remaining in the Republican Party till there shall be an opportunity to vote on a higher platform with a good hope of success. Finally after very severe criticisms in our harsh agents they decided that Rebecca shall subscribe $150 and I prefer her name, as I want M to reserve his name for the Thousand. “Mrs. [Caroline] Kirkland and her two daughters spend the evening at Mrs. Spring’s. She is a straight forward practical appearing woman and with all her literary tastes and Colors is now engaged in building a house at Eagleswood. She is quite fleshy but looks finely, and is beautifully dressed in white muslin. She is agreeable in conversation. . .. “Rise early and call on the Welds for an Anti-Slavery donation. They put down $10 without any hesitation. Sarah Grimké has other objects to look after and excuses herself. J. G. Binney subscribes $3. These two names on my list look backward to the long past. . .. They have not been seen in our papers for the last seventeen years with the aspect of cooperation. . .. “Go to Brooklyn by invitation of the Bramhalls last spring to take up my quarters with them while I remain in the City. Find them gone to visit their friends in Mass. But the housekeeper is lonesome and I conclude to remain. . .. Then go to the anti-slavery office in N.Y. where I [finish] this and having prepared for commencing my work tomorrow I close this and go back to Brooklyn. . ..”. Very good. Item #010229

Everyone mentioned in this letter played an important role in radical abolitionist movement, an some in the women’s suffrage movement as well. Theodore D. Weld was a founder of the American abolitionist movement in the 1830s and later directed a famous multi-racial boarding school at the utopian Raritan Bay Union community at Eagleswood in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Martha Wright, the sister of Lucretia Mott, was one of the five women who organized the Seneca Falls Convention. She and her husband, David harbored fugitive slaves at her Auburn estate. The Fosters’ Detroit lectures were probably given during 1853 when they reorganized the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society at Adrian, and Caroline Kirkland was a resident of the Raritan Bay Union whose sarcastically disparaging book about frontier life in and the settlers of early Michigan caused a public outrage that drove her and her abolitionist husband from the state. J. G. Binney was a member of the Raritan Bay Union and twice the presidential nominee of the Liberty Party. For many years he served as an agent for the American Colonialization Society. Eagleswood was a huge estate at the Raritan Bay Union and major hub on the Underground Railroad . It is also where Abby Kelley Foster began writing this letter. Marcus Spring was a wealthy New York philanthropist who supported abolition. Later, his wife, Rebecca, famously (or infamously depending upon point of view) later traveled to Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, and consoled John Brown while he awaited execution. Sarah Grimké was a radical abolitionist reformer who is widely considered to be the “mother” of the American suffrage movement. Her sister, Angelina, was the wife of T. D. Weld. Corneilus and Ann Rebecca Bramhall were members of Boston’s Vigilance Committee which provided escaped slaves with shelter, clothing, money, passage, and other aid. (For more information, see Sterling’s Ahead of Her Time: Abbey Kelly and The Politics of Antislavery, “The 1850 Boston Vigilance Committee” at the National Park Service website, “Caroline Kirkland” at the History of American Women website, Lasser’s Conscience and Contradiction: The Moral Ambiguities of . . . Marcus and Rebecca Buffum Spring in the Spring 2018 edition of the Journal of the Early Republic, “Martha Coffin Pelham Wright” at the National Women’s History Museum website, and articles about Eagleswood and the Raritan Bay Union at the “Perth Amboy Now” and “1863 Society” Facebook websites,.) A scarce and historically valuable letter documenting Abby Kelley Foster’s important role in raising funds for the American Anti-Slavery Society. Far less common that origintioneers. OCLC reports that collections of Abby Kelley papers are held by Haverford College, Youngstown State University, the Library of Congal source materials by Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Sarah Grimké, other female leaders in the abolitionist and women’s suffrage movements. At the time of listing, nothing similar is for sale in the trade. No Abby Kelly Foster first-hand letters or writings have appeared at auction per the Rare Book Hub and Liveaucress. Kelley also played a major role in the women’s suffrage movement, demanding equal rights in a speech at Seneca Falls, five years before the famous convention was held there, and in 1850 she was one of the organizers of the first National Women’s Rights Convention. However, Kelley split with Cady and Stanton when she enthusiastically supported the 15th Amendment which gave blacks, but not women, the right to vote. Once the amendment became law, she refocused her energies into the women’s rights movement and in 1868 became one of the founding members of the New England Woman Suffrage Association.

Price: $4,500.00