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Hands-On History - Suffragists, Teetotalers, and Abolitionists

Saturday, March 29, 2014 - 9:00am to 3:00pm

Hands-On History Workshop

Suffragists, Teetotalers, and Abolitionists: Social Reform in the Nineteenth Century

John B. GoughAre you curious about history? Do you want to delve deeper into a topic by discussing it with an expert? Would you like to examine the AAS collections firsthand? Then come join us for a new series of Hands-On History Workshops.

In this workshop, participants will learn about the wide array of social reform movements that were so integral to nineteenth-century society with a special focus on temperance, abolition, and women’s rights. These three movements affected wide swaths of the American population, and while remaining distinct, often intersected in interesting ways. Thomas Augst, a current AAS-NEH long-term fellow, will join us for this workshop. He will discuss his latest work on temperance lecturer John B. Gough and how nineteenth-century mass media impacted reformers and their causes. Gough, one of the most famous reformers of the nineteenth century, first took the pledge in Worcester and later resided in Boylston. This workshop will also feature materials by and about Abby Kelley Foster. Foster, also a resident of Worcester, was an extremely influential figure in both the antislavery and women’s rights movements. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011. The American Antiquarian Society holds a significant collection of Foster’s correspondence and papers and these, along with a collection from the Worcester Historical Museum, have now been digitized. These materials are available through AAS’s digital image archive, GIGI, at

Thomas Augst is associate professor of English at New York University where he teaches courses in American literature and culture. His writing focuses on literary history of the nineteenth-century, interpreting diverse forms of literacy and media in relation to questions about ethics and self-cultivation, the organization of knowledge, and the cultural politics of modern liberalism. He is the author of The Clerk’s Tale: Young Men and Moral Life in Nineteenth-Century America (2003), co-editor of Institutions of Reading: The Social Life of Libraries in the United States (2007), and co-editor of Cultural Agencies and American Libraries (2001).

This program is part of the Abby Goes Digital project in collaboration with the Worcester Historical Society and the Worcester Women’s History Project and sponsored in part by a grant from the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.



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