Abigail Kelley Foster Papers, 1836-1891, Finding Aid for the AAS Collection of

Abigail Kelley Foster (1811-1887), wife of Stephen Symonds Foster (1809-1881) and noted antislavery partisan and women’s rights advocate, was an active correspondent and lecturer on behalf of reform movements in the middle of the nineteenth century.

This collection of correspondence provides a detailed look at the anti-slavery movement in the period 1837 to 1850, particularly in New York, New England, and Ohio. It also illuminates the role of women in politics and reform movements, as well as that of reformers generally in politics. The collection details Foster’s many lecture tours and activities on behalf of a variety of reforms, and also illustrates her role among and influence upon major figures of the period. Principal correspondents include William Lloyd Garrison, Maria Weston Chapman, Gerrit Smith, Jane Elizabeth Hitchcock Jones, Parker Pillsbury, Sallie Holley, and Wendell Phillips.

The collection has been item-cataloged.

The contents of Box 1 and Box 2 (Folders 1-32) have been digitized. Links to the images of these letters are available below.

CONTENTS LIST

Letters, n.d.; 1836-1925

Box 1, Folder 1: n.d.
Box 1, Folder 2: 1836-1837
Box 1, Folder 3: 1838 Jan-Jun
Box 1, Folder 4: 1838 Jul-Oct
Box 1, Folder 5: 1839 Jan-Mar
Box 1, Folder 6: 1839 Apr-Sep
Box 1, Folder 7: 1840 Mar-Jun
Box 1, Folder 8: 1840 Jul-Oct
Box 1, Folder 9: 1841 Mar-Jul
Box 1, Folder 10: 1841 Aug-Nov
Box 1, Folder 11: 1842 Mar-Jul
Box 1, Folder 12: 1842 Aug-Dec
Box 1, Folder 13: 1843 Jan-Feb
Box 1, Folder 14: 1843 Mar-May
Box 1, Folder 15: 1843 Jun-Jul
Box 1, Folder 16: 1843 Aug
Box 1, Folder 17: 1843 Sep-Oct
Box 1, Folder 18: 1843 Nov-Dec
Box 1, Folder 19: 1844 Jan-Feb
Box 1, Folder 20: 1844 Mar-Apr
Box 1, Folder 21: 1844 Jun-Sep
Box 1, Folder 22: 1844 Oct-Dec
Box 1, Folder 23: 1845 Jan-Mar
Box 1, Folder 24: 1845 Apr-May
Box 1, Folder 25: 1845 Jul-Dec
Box 1, Folder 26: 1846 Jan-Feb
Box 1, Folder 27: 1846 Mar-Apr
Box 1, Folder 28: 1846 May-Nov
Box 1, Folder 29: 1847 Feb-Jun
Box 1, Folder 30: 1847 Aug-Sep 9
Box 1, Folder 31: 1847 Sep 11-Oct
Box 1, Folder 32: 1848
Box 1, Folder 33: 1849
Box 1, Folder 34: 1850 Jan-Jun
Box 1, Folder 35: 1850 Jul-Sep
Box 2, Folder 1: 1851 Jan-Mar
Box 2, Folder 2: 1851 Apr-Aug
Box 2, Folder 3: 1851 Sep-Dec
Box 2, Folder 4: 1852
Box 2, Folder 5: 1853
Box 2, Folder 6: 1854 Feb-Apr
Box 2, Folder 7: 1854 May-Dec
Box 2, Folder 8: 1855 Feb-Aug
Box 2, Folder 9: 1855 Sep-Oct
Box 2, Folder 10: 1856
Box 2, Folder 11: 1857
Box 2, Folder 12: 1858
Box 2, Folder 13: 1859 Jun 19, Jun 30
Box 2, Folder 14: 1859? Jun 24
Box 2, Folder 15: 1859 Jul
Box 2, Folder 16: 1859 Aug?
Box 2, Folder 17: 1859 Sep 8
Box 2, Folder 18: 1861-1863
Box 2, Folder 19: 1864-1869
Box 2, Folder 20: 1870-1871
Box 2, Folder 21: 1874-1879
Box 2, Folder 22: 1880-1881
Box 2, Folder 23: 1882-1883
Box 2, Folder 24: 1884-1887
Box 2, Folder 25: 1901-1925

 

Letters from ...

Box 2, Folder 26:Abigail Kelley Foster [AKF] to Stephen Symonds Foster [SSF], n.d.
Box 2, Folder 27: AKF to AWF, n.d. AWF to AKF, n.d.
Box 2, Folder 28: Sallie Holley, n.d.
Box 2, Folder 29: Wendell Phillips, n.d. Ann G. Phillips, n.d.

 

Miscellaneous Papers

Box 2, Folder 30: Accounts of AKF by AWF
Box 2, Folder 31: Compositions by AWF
Box 2, Folder 32: Miscellaneous papers
Box 2, Folder 33: Papers re: the collection

 

Newsclippings, etc., 1853-1975

Box 2, Folder 34: “A Consummation Devoutly to be Wished” (re: Wm. Lloyd Garrison; Garrisonians; Anti-Slavery Party), from the Daily Democrat, [Nov or Dec]ember 1, 1853
Box 2, Folder 35: “Letter from Wendell Phillips ... October 30, 1883”
Box 2, Folder 36: The Woman’s Journal, Vol. XVIII, No. 4, Boston, Saturday, January 22, 1887 --contains an account of AKF’s funeral
Box 2, Folder 37: “Fortieth Anniversary of the First Woman’s Rights Convention ...,” [1890 or 1891]
Box 2, Folder 38: Parker Pillsbury obituary, July 7, 1898
Box 2, Folder 39: “Reminiscences of Two Abolitionists” by Lillie B. Chace Wyman (from New England Magazine, January 1903, pp. 536-550)
Box 2, Folder 40: “Abby Kelley and Stephen S. Foster with quotations from Manuscript in possession of the Worcester Historical Society. Compiled by Historical Records Survey[,] Works Progress Administration, 1938.”
Box 2, Folder 41: “Famous Old Worcester Houses” (re: Liberty Farm), by Esther C. Averill (from the Worcester Telegram, August 15, 1948
Box 2, Folder 42: “When the Tin Horn Sounds in Upton” by James R. Wheeler, from the Worcester Sunday Telegram, June 25, 1960
Box 2, Folder 43: “Bay State People of the Past” by Margaret Parsons (from the Worcester Evening Gazette, June 21, 1961)
Box 2, Folder 44: List of AKF and SSF materials owned by the Worcester Historical Society, 1975

 

Albert G. Waite, Notes on ...

Box 2, Folder 45: Stephen Symonds Foster (includes last will and testament)
Box 2, Folder 46: Foster Family genealogy
Box 2, Folder 47: Wm. Lloyd Garrison
Box 2, Folder 48: Wing Kelley (father of AKF)
Box 2, Folder 49: Kelley Family genealogy
Box 2, Folder 50: Kinney Family (includes obituaries for Henry E. Kinney and Clarence W. Kinney)
Box 2, Folder 51: Liberty Farm
Box 2, Folder 52: Upton (Mass.) and the Underground Railroad

 

STUDIES FOCUSING ON MATERIALS IN COLLECTION

Bacon, Margaret Hope. Speak for My Slave Sister: the Life of Abby Kelley Foster. New York: T.Y. Crowell, 1974.

Bernard, Joel. “Authority, Autonomy, and Radical Committment: Stephen and Abby Kelley Foster.” PAAS, 90 (1980), pp. 347-386.

Bisceglia, Louis. Cape Cod and the “Irish” Quaker Origins of Abby Kelley. Harwich, Mass.: Brooks Library, 1989.

Burkett, Nancy H. Abby Kelley Foster and Stephen S. Foster. Worcester People and Places 2. Worcester: Worcester Bicentennial Commission, 1976.

Delle, James A. “Tis Great Joy to See the World Grow Better at Anything: the Early Career of Abby Kelley Foster.” American Studies Seminar Research Paper, AAS, 1985.

Pease, Jane Hanna “The Freshness of Fanaticism: Abigail Kelley Foster: An Essay in Reform.” Ph.D. Diss., Univ. of Rochester, 1969.

Sterling, Dorothy. Ahead of Her Time: Abby Kelley and the Politics of Antislavery. New York: Norton, 1991.

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