The Info List - Abby Kelley

--- Advertisement ---

Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster (January 15, 1811 – January 14, 1887) was an American abolitionist and radical social reformer active from the 1830s to 1870s. She became a fundraiser, lecturer and committee organizer for the influential American Anti-Slavery Society, where she worked closely with William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison
and other radicals. She married fellow abolitionist and lecturer Stephen Symonds Foster, and they both worked for equal rights for women and for slaves/ African Americans.[1] Her former home of Liberty Farm
Liberty Farm
in Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts
has been designated a National Historic Landmark.[2]


1 Early life 2 Radicalization 3 Anti-slavery activity 4 Women's rights 5 Marriage and family 6 Legacy and honors 7 See also 8 Citations 9 References 10 External links

Early life[edit] On January 15, 1811, Abigail (Abby) Kelley was born the seventh daughter of Wing and Lydia Kelley, farmers in Pelham, Massachusetts. Kelley grew up helping with the family farms in Worcester where she received a loving, yet strict Quaker upbringing. Kelley and her family were members of the Quaker Meeting in nearby Uxbridge, Massachusetts.[3][4][5] She began her education in a single-room schoolhouse in the Tatnuck section of Worcester. Foster's daughter later wrote that Abby "attended the best private school for girls in Worcester."[6] In 1826, as Worcester had no high school for girls and her parents could not afford a private seminary, Kelley continued her education at the New England
New England
Friends Boarding School in Providence, Rhode Island. After her first year of school, Kelley taught for two years to make enough money to further her education. In 1829, she attended her final year of schooling, having received the highest form of education any New England
New England
woman of her relatively moderate economic standing could hope to obtain.[7] Abby returned to her parents' home to teach in local schools and, in 1835, helped her parents move to their new home in Millbury. Then in 1836, she moved to Lynn, Massachusetts, where she taught at a local school. There she met fellow Quakers who preached the ideas of dietary restriction, temperance, pacifism, and antislavery. She became interested in the health theories of Sylvester Graham and gained a general interest in the abolition of slavery after hearing a lecture by William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the abolitionist publication The Liberator. Kelley joined the Female Anti-Slavery Society of Lynn and was soon elected to a committee charged with collecting signatures for petitions to the Federal government to end slavery in the District of Columbia. Kelley passionately carried out her assignment, and in 1837 collected the signatures of nearly half the women of Lynn.[8] Radicalization[edit] Kelley's views became progressively more radical as she worked with abolitionists such as Angelina Grimké. She became an “ultra”, advocating not only the abolition of slavery, but also full civil equality for blacks. In addition, Garrison's influence led her to adopt the position of “non-resistance", which went beyond opposing war to opposing all forms of government coercion. Radical abolitionists led by Garrison refused to serve on juries, join the military, or vote. The Garrisonian call for the end of slavery and the extension of civil rights to African Americans caused controversy. Kelley's advocacy of the radical abolitionist movement prompted some opponents to call her a “Jezebel", as what she proposed threatened their sense of social structure. On the other hand, many fellow abolitionists praised her public speaking skills and her dedication to the cause. Kelley’s influence was shown by activist women being called “Abby Kelleyites". Radical abolitionism became known as “Abby Kelleyism.”[9][10] Anti-slavery activity[edit] Following the financial Panic of 1837, Kelley took charge of fundraising for the Lynn Female Society. She donated a generous portion of her own money to the American Anti-Slavery Society. With the encouragement of Angelina Grimke, Abby served as the Lynn Female Society’s first delegate to the national convention of the Anti-Slavery Society in New York.[11] There she spoke out about fundraising, and participated in drafting the Society’s declaration for abolition. After the convention, Kelley became even more engaged in the Anti-Slavery Society, for which she distributed petitions, raised funds, and participated in conferences to raise public awareness. In 1838, Kelley gave her first public speech to a “promiscuous” (mixed-gender) audience at the women’s anti-slavery convention in Philadelphia. At this time women generally did not address such audiences in public forums. Despite vociferous protesters, Kelley eloquently proclaimed the doctrine of abolitionism. In the following months, she further established herself as a public figure by speaking to more mixed-gender crowds, such as that at the New England Anti-Slavery Convention.[12] She also worked on a committee composed of both genders. Later in 1838, she moved to Connecticut
to spread the anti-slavery message. By 1839, Kelley was fully involved in the Anti-Slavery Society, while still acknowledging Quaker tradition by refusing payment for her efforts. In 1841, however, she resigned from the Quakers over disputes about not allowing anti-slavery speakers in meeting houses (including the Uxbridge monthly meeting where she had attended with her family), and the group disowned her.[13][14][15] In the following years, Kelley contributed to the Anti-Slavery Society as a lecturer and fundraiser. Although she encountered constant objections to her public activism as a woman working closely with and presenting public lectures to men, Kelley continued her work. She often shared her platform with ex-slaves despite disapproval by some in the audience. "I rejoice to be identified with the despised people of color. If they are to be despised, so ought their advocates to be".[16] In October 1849, Kelley wrote to her friend, Milo Townsend, and told of the work she was doing for the anti-slavery society: "We know our cause is steadily onward".[17] Some male members of the Society objected to the ideas propounded by Garrison, Kelley, and other radicals. As a result, when Kelley was elected to the national business committee of the Anti-Slavery Society, conservative members left in protest. The two groups of abolitionists officially severed. Pacifist radical abolitionists controlled the Society, who promoted complete egalitarianism, to be obtained without the aid of any government, as all such institutions were constructed on the violence of war. In 1854 Kelley became the Anti-Slavery Society’s chief fundraiser and general financial agent, and in 1857 she took the position of general agent in charge of lecture and convention schedules.[10] Women's rights[edit] Fighting for women’s rights soon became a new priority for many ultra abolitionists and Kelley was among them speaking on women's rights in Seneca Falls, New York five years before the Seneca Falls convention would be held there.[12] Kelley influenced future suffragists such as Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony
and Lucy Stone
Lucy Stone
by encouraging them to take on a role in political activism. She helped organize and was a key speaker at the first National Women's Rights Convention
National Women's Rights Convention
in Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts
in 1850. (The Seneca Falls Convention, the first women's rights convention, held in 1848, was not national).[18] After the American Civil War, Kelley supported passage of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. Some female activists resisted any amendment that did not include women’s suffrage. Kelley split with Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony
and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
due to their strong opposition to the amendment. After the amendment passed and Garrison dissolved the Anti-Slavery Society, Kelley continued to work for equal rights for both African Americans and women.[19] In 1872, Kelley and her husband Stephen Symonds Foster refused to pay taxes on their jointly owned property; they argued that as Kelley could not vote, she was a victim of taxation without representation. Although their farm was consequently seized and sold and repurchased for them by friends,[2] Kelley continued her activism in the face of financial difficulties and poor health. She wrote letters to fellow radicals and other political figures until her death in 1887. Marriage and family[edit] After a four-year courtship, Kelley married fellow abolitionist Stephen Symonds Foster in 1845. In 1847, she and her husband purchased a farm in the Tatnuck region of Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts
and named it "Liberty Farm". She gave birth to their only daughter in 1847.[2] The farm served both as a stop on the Underground railroad
Underground railroad
and as a refuge for fellow reformers.[20] Kelley continued her efforts as a lecturer and fundraiser throughout the North until 1850, when declining health forced her to reduce traveling.[2] She carried on an active correspondence and local meetings to work for the cause. Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster died January 14, 1887, one day before her 76th birthday.[21] Legacy and honors[edit] Liberty Farm
Liberty Farm
in Worcester, Massachusetts, the home of Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
and Stephen Symonds Foster, was designated a National Historic Landmark because of its association with their lives of working for abolitionism. It is privately owned and not open for visits.[2] Abby's House, a shelter for women that opened in Worcester in 1976, is named in her honor.[22] In 2011, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.[23] Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster Charter Public School, a K-12 school in Worcester, Massachusetts that opened in 1998 is named in her honor. See also[edit]

List of civil rights activists List of suffragists and suffragettes List of women's rights activists Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster Charter Public School Come-outer


^ Sterling 1991, pp. 1--3, 14. ^ a b c d e "Liberty Farm". NPS. Retrieved 2010-07-23.  ^ "Valley Sites - Millville, Uxbridge: Friends Meetinghouse". NPS. Archived from the original on 2011-10-27. Retrieved 2010-07-23.  ^ "The Uxbridge Meeting House". Archived from the original on 18 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-23.  ^ Sterling 1991, pp. 14--18. ^ Sterling 1991, p. 19. ^ Sterling 1991, pp. 19--25. ^ Sterling 1991, pp. 26--35. ^ Sterling 1991, pp. 1--3, 41--59, 230. ^ a b Morin 1994, pp. 19--20. ^ Sterling 1991, pp. 37--43. ^ a b "In defense of Woman
and the Slave..." NPS. Retrieved 2010-07-23.  ^ Morin 1994, p. 19. ^ Sterling 1991, p. 123. ^ Buffum, Lucille (1914). Elizabeth Buffum Chase- Her Life and its Environment. W. B. Clarke Co.  ^ Sterling 1991, p. 86. ^ " Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster resumes lecturing". Worcester Women's History Project. Retrieved 2010-07-23.  ^ " Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster at First National Woman's Rights Convention". Worcester Women's History Project. Retrieved 2010-07-23.  ^ Morin 1994, pp. 25--27. ^ Sterling 1991, p. 3. ^ Morin 1994, p. 27. ^ "Who Is Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster?". Abby's House. Retrieved 2015-03-23.  ^ National Women's Hall of Fame


Sterling, Dorothy (1991). Ahead of Her Time: Abbey Kelly and The Politics of Antislavery. W.W. Norton
W.W. Norton
and Company. ISBN 0-393-03026-1.  Mayer, Henry (1998). All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison
William Lloyd Garrison
and the Abolition of Slavery. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-18740-8.  Pease, Jane, William Pease. "Foster, Abby Kelley." American National Biography. Feb. 2000 <http://www.anb.org/articles/15/15-00236.html>. Bacon, Margaret Hope (1974). I speak for my slave sister: the life of Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster. Crowell. ISBN 978-0-690-00515-8.  Morin, Isobel V. (1994). Women Who Reformed Politics. Oliver Press. pp. 13–27. ISBN 978-1-881508-16-8.  Greene, Richard E. (2002). C. James Trotman, ed. Multiculturalism: roots and realities: Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster. Indiana University Press. pp. 170–183. ISBN 978-0-253-34002-3.  Melder, Keith (1994). Jean Fagan Yellin, John C. Van Horne, ed. The Abolitionist sisterhood: women's political culture in Antebellum America: Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
and the Process of Liberation. Cornell University Press. pp. 231–247. ISBN 978-0-8014-8011-9.  " Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster, Papers, 1836-1975 Online Finding Aid". American Antiquarian Society. 

External links[edit]

Worcester Women's History Project:

Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster Timeline Stephen Symonds Foster "Angels and Infidels"

Liberty Farm, National Historic Landmark, former home of Abby Kelley Foster, National Park Service Portrait of Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster by Charlotte Wharton What Did Abby Say? - Assumption College

v t e


Women Girls Femininity



Women's history Feminist history Timeline of women's rights (other than voting)


Women's suffrage Timeline

Majority-Muslim countries In the United States

Australia Canada Japan Kuwait New Zealand Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom


United States

In states



First-wave Second-wave Third-wave Fourth-wave Timeline Timeline of second-wave


Analytical Anarchist Anti-abortion Atheist Conservative Cultural Cyber Democratic confederalism Difference Eco


Equality Fat French

French post-structuralist

Gender Global Graffiti Hip-hop/Activism Individualist Labor Lesbian Liberal


Lipstick Material Maternal Neo New Post Postcolonial Postmodern Post-structural Multicultural

Black Chicana Indigenous

Kurdish Native American



Radical lesbian


Buddhist Christian Hindu Islamic Jewish


Mormon Neopagan

Dianic Wicca Reclaiming


Separatist Sex-positive Social Socialist


Standpoint Third world Trans Transnational Womanism



Anti-feminism Bicycling and feminism Children's literature Embedded feminism Female education Femicide Feminazi Feminism
and equality Feminism
and media Feminist effects on society Feminism
in culture Feminist movement

African-American women's suffrage movement Art movement In hip hop

Feminist stripper Feminist theory

in composition studies

Gender equality Girl
power Language reform Male gaze Matriarchal religion Men and feminism Meninism Networked feminism Political lesbianism

Lesbian separatism

Pro-feminism Protofeminism Reproductive justice Second-generation gender bias Sexism in medicine Sexual harassment State feminism Straw feminism Transgender and transexual Triple oppression Victim feminism Views on BDSM Views on pornography Views on prostitution War on Women Women's health Women's rights


Gender studies Gender mainstreaming Gynocentrism Matriarchy Women's studies Men's studies Kyriarchy Patriarchy Écriture féminine Economics FPDA Method Oedipus complex Political theory Theology

Thealogy Womanist theology

Sexology Sociology Legal theory Art

Art crit Literary crit Film theory

Biology Political ecology Architecture Anthropology Archaeology Criminology

Pathways perspective

Geography Pedagogy Philosophy

Aesthetics Empiricism Epistemology Ethics

Justice ethics

Existentialism Metaphysics

Pornography Psychology International relations Existentialism Revisionist mythology Technoscience Science fiction Composition studies

By country

Albania Australia Bangladesh Canada China Republic of the Congo Denmark Egypt Ethiopia Finland France Germany Ghana Greece Hong Kong India Indonesia Iran Iraq Republic of Ireland Israel Italy Japan Latin America

Argentina Brazil Chile Haiti Honduras Mexico Paraguay Trinidad and Tobago

Lebanon Malaysia Native America Mali Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nigeria Northern Cyprus Norway Pakistan Philippines Poland Russia Syria South Africa South Korea Sweden Taiwan Thailand Turkey Vietnam Ukraine United Kingdom United States

History of women

Lists Indexes

Articles Feminists

by nationality


American feminist literature Feminist comic books

Conservative feminisms Countries by women's average years in school Ecofeminist authors Feminist art
Feminist art
critics Feminist economists Feminist philosophers Feminist poets Feminist rhetoricians Jewish feminists Muslim feminists Feminist parties Suffragists and suffragettes Women's rights
Women's rights
activists Women's studies
Women's studies
journals Women's suffrage
Women's suffrage


v t e

Inductees to the National Women's Hall of Fame



Jane Addams Marian Anderson Susan B. Anthony Clara Barton Mary McLeod Bethune Elizabeth Blackwell Pearl S. Buck Rachel Carson Mary Cassatt Emily Dickinson Amelia Earhart Alice Hamilton Helen Hayes Helen Keller Eleanor Roosevelt Florence Sabin Margaret Chase Smith Elizabeth Cady Stanton Helen Brooke Taussig Harriet Tubman


Abigail Adams Margaret Mead Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias


Dorothea Dix Juliette Gordon Low Alice Paul Elizabeth Bayley Seton



Margaret Sanger Sojourner Truth


Carrie Chapman Catt Frances Perkins


Belva Lockwood Lucretia Mott


Mary "Mother" Harris Jones Bessie Smith


Barbara McClintock Lucy Stone Harriet Beecher Stowe


Gwendolyn Brooks Willa Cather Sally Ride Ida B. Wells-Barnett



Margaret Bourke-White Barbara Jordan Billie Jean King Florence B. Seibert


Gertrude Belle Elion


Ethel Percy Andrus Antoinette Blackwell Emily Blackwell Shirley Chisholm Jacqueline Cochran Ruth Colvin Marian Wright Edelman Alice Evans Betty Friedan Ella Grasso Martha Wright Griffiths Fannie Lou Hamer Dorothy Height Dolores Huerta Mary Jacobi Mae Jemison Mary Lyon Mary Mahoney Wilma Mankiller Constance Baker Motley Georgia O'Keeffe Annie Oakley Rosa Parks Esther Peterson Jeannette Rankin Ellen Swallow Richards Elaine Roulet Katherine Siva Saubel Gloria Steinem Helen Stephens Lillian Wald Madam C. J. Walker Faye Wattleton Rosalyn S. Yalow Gloria Yerkovich


Bella Abzug Ella Baker Myra Bradwell Annie Jump Cannon Jane Cunningham Croly Catherine East Geraldine Ferraro Charlotte Perkins Gilman Grace Hopper Helen LaKelly Hunt Zora Neale Hurston Anne Hutchinson Frances Wisebart Jacobs Susette La Flesche Louise McManus Maria Mitchell Antonia Novello Linda Richards Wilma Rudolph Betty Bone Schiess Muriel Siebert Nettie Stevens Oprah Winfrey Sarah Winnemucca Fanny Wright


Virginia Apgar Ann Bancroft Amelia Bloomer Mary Breckinridge Eileen Collins Elizabeth Hanford Dole Anne Dallas Dudley Mary Baker Eddy Ella Fitzgerald Margaret Fuller Matilda Joslyn Gage Lillian Moller Gilbreth Nannerl O. Keohane Maggie Kuhn Sandra Day O'Connor Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin Pat Schroeder Hannah Greenebaum Solomon


Louisa May Alcott Charlotte Anne Bunch Frances Xavier Cabrini Mary A. Hallaren Oveta Culp Hobby Wilhelmina Cole Holladay Anne Morrow Lindbergh Maria Goeppert-Mayer Ernestine Louise Potowski Rose Maria Tallchief Edith Wharton


Madeleine Albright Maya Angelou Nellie Bly Lydia Moss Bradley Mary Steichen Calderone Mary Ann Shadd
Mary Ann Shadd
Cary Joan Ganz Cooney Gerty Cori Sarah Grimké Julia Ward Howe Shirley Ann Jackson Shannon Lucid Katharine Dexter McCormick Rozanne L. Ridgway Edith Nourse Rogers Felice Schwartz Eunice Kennedy Shriver Beverly Sills Florence Wald Angelina Grimké
Angelina Grimké
Weld Chien-Shiung Wu



Faye Glenn Abdellah Emma Smith DeVoe Marjory Stoneman Douglas Mary Dyer Sylvia A. Earle Crystal Eastman Jeanne Holm Leontine T. Kelly Frances Oldham Kelsey Kate Mullany Janet Reno Anna Howard Shaw Sophia Smith Ida Tarbell Wilma L. Vaught Mary Edwards Walker Annie Dodge Wauneka Eudora Welty Frances E. Willard


Dorothy H. Andersen Lucille Ball Rosalynn Carter Lydia Maria Child Bessie Coleman Dorothy Day Marian de Forest Althea Gibson Beatrice A. Hicks Barbara Holdridge Harriet Williams Russell Strong Emily Howell Warner Victoria Woodhull


Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis Ruth Bader Ginsburg Katharine Graham Bertha Holt Mary Engle Pennington Mercy Otis Warren


Linda G. Alvarado Donna de Varona Gertrude Ederle Martha Matilda Harper Patricia Roberts Harris Stephanie L. Kwolek Dorothea Lange Mildred Robbins Leet Patsy Takemoto Mink Sacagawea Anne Sullivan Sheila E. Widnall


Florence Ellinwood Allen Ruth Fulton Benedict Betty Bumpers Hillary Clinton Rita Rossi Colwell Mother Marianne Cope Maya Y. Lin Patricia A. Locke Blanche Stuart Scott Mary Burnett Talbert


Eleanor K. Baum Julia Child Martha Coffin Pelham Wright Swanee Hunt Winona LaDuke Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Judith L. Pipher Catherine Filene Shouse Henrietta Szold


Louise Bourgeois Mildred Cohn Karen DeCrow Susan Kelly-Dreiss Allie B. Latimer Emma Lazarus Ruth Patrick Rebecca Talbot Perkins Susan Solomon Kate Stoneman



St. Katharine Drexel Dorothy Harrison Eustis Loretta C. Ford Abby Kelley
Abby Kelley
Foster Helen Murray Free Billie Holiday Coretta Scott King Lilly Ledbetter Barbara A. Mikulski Donna E. Shalala Kathrine Switzer


Betty Ford Ina May Gaskin Julie Krone Kate Millett Nancy Pelosi Mary Joseph Rogers Bernice Sandler Anna Schwartz Emma Willard


Tenley Albright Nancy Brinker Martha Graham Marcia Greenberger Barbara Iglewski Jean Kilbourne Carlotta Walls LaNier Philippa Marrack Mary Harriman Rumsey Eleanor Smeal


Matilda Cuomo Temple Grandin Lorraine Hansberry Victoria Jackson Sherry Lansing Clare Boothe Luce Aimee Mullins Carol Mutter Janet Rowley Alice Waters

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 57417005 LCCN: n91017665 ISNI: 0000 0000 4161 4341 SUDOC: 031954278 BNF: cb123075063 (da