Saturday, April 5, 2014

What I've Read Recently

What I've Read Recently . . .

Elizabeth Buffum Chace and Lillie Chace Wyman: A Century of Abolitionist, Suffragist and Workers' Rights ActivismElizabeth Buffum Chace and Lillie Chace Wyman: A Century of Abolitionist, Suffragist and Workers' Rights Activism by Elizabeth C. Stevens -- Non-Fiction/Biography

This slim volume contains a wealth of information on two women who spent their lives fighting for social justice and equal rights. Elizabeth Buffum Chace was born into a Quaker family and came to the abolition movement naturally, as an extension of Quaker philosophy. She became a devoted disciple of William Lloyd Garrison and the radical faction of abolitionists who demanded immediate emancipation of the slaves and nothing less. Her newfound faith in abolitionism caused her to break with the Society of Friends. Her new religion became abolition and it dictated the way she ran her household and raised her children. Her children became budding abolitionists as well. Following the Civil War, Elizabeth took up the "woman suffrage" cause and championed women's right while Lillie struggled to come of age in a new world. Elizabeth continued to fight to woman suffrage and equality for the rest of her life. Lillie went on to right about the plight of factory workers and wrote about social equality, literary matters and the historical figures who shaped her childhood.

This book is packed with information primarily from primary sources. The author examines the Chace women in context of the social movement of their lifetimes. The book goes into great detail about the Garrisonian abolition movement and those who were a part of it. It is also a history of the women's rights movement of the nineteenth century, as anti-slavery and women's rights were combined. The parts about Elizabeth were excellent, drawing on her letters and recollections. Lillie's story is not as easy to uncover and Lillie seems to have struggled in her mother's shadow, wanting to champion social justice but not being able to be as strong or as brave as her mother had been.

The book suffers a little from containing too much information. It's very dense and I couldn't read every word. This book is not for the casual reader. It is an academic book and not a popular history.

This is an excellent academic book for those studying Nineteenth Century American women and reform. I learned a lot, despite studying a lot about the subject. It's also a great history of New England and the spirit of activism that sprang from the Protestant thinking tradition.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave comments and or suggestions for QNPoohBear, the modern bluestocking.