Abigail Kelley Foster

Abigail Kelley Foster (1810-87) was born to a Quaker family in Pelham, Massachusetts. She joined the antislavery movement in 1837 and became one of its first female traveling lecturers. Garrisonian abolitionists chose her as an officer of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1840, provoking the exodus of antifeminists from the organization. In 1845, she married a fellow Garrisonian lecturer, Stephen S. Foster. Quarrels with Garrison over political action led the Fosters to curtail abolitionist participation in the late 1850s. She continued to work for women's rights in the 1860s and 1870s but ill-health forced her to limit her activities. Dorothy Sterling, Ahead of Her Time: Abby Kelley and the Politics of Antislavery (New York, 1991); Jane Hanna Pease, "The Freshness of Fanaticism: Abby Kelley Foster: An Essay in Reform" (Ph.D. diss., University of Rochester, 1969); DAB, 6:542-43.

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