Boston: Dow & Jackson’s Anti-Slavery Press, 1839. First edition of the author’s first book. Black paint stain to cloth on lower board. Some toning and dampstaining to leaves. Lacking front flyleaf. A good copy of a book that is scarce in commerce. Publisher’s brown linen. Twelvemo. 177 pp. Item #17606
Maria Weston Chapman (1806 – 1885) was an important abolitionist who played a major role in antislavery organizations including the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society (of which she was the corresponding secretary and the writer of annual reports), the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, and the New England Anti-Slavery Society, among others. Chapman’s early organizing efforts included a series of extremely successful fundraisers for antislavery groups: beginning in 1835, Chapman managed the annual Antislavery Fairs of the American Anti-Slavery Society, which raised four thousand dollars a year for the organization. In the ANB, Gerald Sorin writes, “That the fairs were the antislavery movement’s major source of income was largely due to the energy and vision of Chapman, who ran them virtually single-handedly…” Chapman also edited the Liberty Bell, an antislavery gift book, for nearly twenty years, and served as acting editor of the Liberator when William Lloyd Garrison was ill or traveling.
Between 1848 and 1855, while Chapman was traveling abroad with her daughters, she solicited aid for the antislavery cause from many Europeans, including Lady Byron, Madam de Stael, the Duchess de Broglie, Harriet Martineau, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Alphonse de Lamartine. Upon her return to the United States, Chapman began advocating for the Republican party, its antislavery stance, and military aggression against the Confederacy. Soon after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Chapman largely disappeared from the antislavery movement, though she maintained an interest in the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society. Sabin 11995.