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 Anna Coffin <I>Davis</I> Hallowell

Anna Coffin Davis Hallowell

Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 25 Feb 1913 (aged 74)
Medford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 83762714 · View Source
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Anna Coffin Davis was the child of abolitionists Edward Davis and Maria Mott, and the favorite grandchild of early supporter of Women's Suffrage and prominent abolitionist, Lucretia Coffin Mott. Anna was the only one of Lucretia's granddaughters who remained active in progressive social work.

She received her early educated at the Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia. From 1850 to 1854 she attended the Weld Institute in Bellville, New Jersey, operated by Rev. Theodore Weld and his wife Angelina Grimke. The school was one of the first racially integrated schools, if not the very first such school, in the United States. Most of the students were from abolitionist families. When the Weld's relocated to Perth Amboy, New Jersey, and established a new school, Eagleswood, Anna followed them there, and remained an additional two years, graduating in 1856.

The Welds provided their students with a rigorous course of study. Subjects taught included English language & literature, mathematics, science, Latin, Greek, French, German, ancient & modern history, political science, gymnastics, logic, ethics, music, drawing & painting. There were also weekly lectures at the school by prominent reformers and intellectuals, including Henry David Thoreau, Abby Foster Kelley, Susan B. Anthony, William Lloyd Garrison, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

While studying at the Weld's school she developed a close friendship with her cousin, Ellen (Wright) Garrison, and later introduced Ellen to her future husband William Lloyd Garrison, Jr., son and namesake of the famed abolitionists.

A staunch support of Women's Suffrage, she was a member of the Woman's Suffrage Association, the Medford Women's Club, and served as a delegate to the Equal Rights (Suffrage) Convention held in Boston in 1866.

Anna was active in a number of other causes as well. She was a member of the executive committee for the Sarah Fuller Home for Deaf Children and a sponsor of the Massachusetts Infant Asylum. She worked as an early foster parent, fostering abandoned and orphaned babies in her home. She also helped form the District Nurse Association in Massachusetts, and served as a member and honorary Vice President of the National Consumer's League. The League was chartered in 1899 by social reformers Jane Addams and Josephine Shaw Lowell; the League helped to establish labeling certifying that products were made under fair working conditions, protected workers from exploitation by employers, promoted food inspection to promote food safety, and advocated for child labor restrictions, the establishment of an eight-hour work day and minimum wage laws for women (at that time minimum wage laws only applied to male workers).

Anna was also a proponent of religious tolerance. She was a founding member and director of the Free Religious Association. The FRA was described as a "spiritual anti-slavery society" seeking to "emancipate religion from...dogmatic traditions". It was opposed to "organized religion and super-naturalism, [and] affirmed the supremacy of individual conscience and reason." Quakers, Jews, Unitarians, Agnostics, Spiritualists, Deists and Scientific Theists were all to be in the FRA's ranks. In 1904, Anna was chosen to attend the Universal Peace Conference as a representative of the FRA along side Rabbi Henry Berkowitz, Carolina Huidobro, William H. Hamlen, and Albert S. Parsons.

Anna, like her parents, was a liberal Quaker, and her children were permitted to enjoy many things that were forbidden to Orthodox Quakers, such as dancing, music, studying the fine arts, etc. A talented amateur painter, in 1871 Anna traveled to Paris with her daughter May to study art. Equally fond of literature, she was a member, and later president (1900), of the Medford Shakespeare Club.

During the 1870s and 1880s she researched and edited a joint biography of her grandparents, "The Life and Letters of James and Lucretia Mott," which was published in 1884. In 1900 she published a biographical sketch of American abolitionist, women's rights activist, and opponent of American expansionism, Lydia Maria child. In May of that year Anna was invited to address the New England Historic Genealogical Society, becoming the first woman ever to address the Society.

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  • Created by: Wings
  • Added: 20 Jan 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 83762714
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Anna Coffin Davis Hallowell (21 Apr 1838–25 Feb 1913), Find A Grave Memorial no. 83762714, citing Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Wings (contributor 46804023) .