Maria Weston Chapman

Maria Weston Chapman (1806-85) was known as "Garrison’s lieutenant," a forceful writer and editor of several antislavery periodicals. The daughter of wealthy Bostonians who educated their daughters in Europe, she briefly supervised one of the nation's first female high schools. After marrying merchant Henry Grafton Chapman in 1830, she became active in the abolitionist movement. When Chapman's husband died in 1842, the movement became the consuming work of her life. Chapman was a driving force in both the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and the American Anti-Slavery Society. Although she shunned public speaking, she served on committees and organized bazaars and other fund-raising events for the Garrisonians. She also edited the annual report of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society and assisted in editing both the Liberator and the National Anti-Slavery Standard. Chapman’s greatest talents lay in her writing abilities and her acerbic critique of those whom she believed to compromise the abolitionist cause. Catherine Clinton, "Maria Weston Chapman," in Portraits of American Women, vol. 1: From Settlement to the Civil War, eds. G.J. Barker-Benfield and Catherine Clinton (New York, 1991), 147-67; Edward T. James, Janet Wilson James, and Paul S. Boyer, eds., Notable American Women, 1607-1950: A Biographical Dictionary, 4 vols. (Cambridge, 1971) 1: 324-325; DAB, 4:19.

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