Elizabeth Van Lew


Union Spy in the Confederate Capital

Elizabeth Van Lew was a well-to-do resident of Richmond, Virginia who recruited and organized an extensive network of spies for the Union in the shadow of the Confederate White House. Van Lew was also an Angel of Mercy for Union captives at Libby Prison near her home. Her gifts of food and [Read More ...]

Mary Ann Shadd


Abolitionist, Educator and Suffragist in the Civil War Era

Mary Ann Shadd (1823–1893) was an anti-slavery activist, journalist, teacher and lawyer. She was the first black woman newspaper publisher in North America and the first woman publisher in Canada. Shadd was one of the most outspoken and articulate female proponents of the abolition of slavery of her day. She promoted [Read More ...]

Lucy Stone


One of the First Feminists in the United States

Lucy Stone (1818–1893) was a prominent American abolitionist and suffragist, and a tireless advocate of rights for women. She began her career in social reform by speaking out against slavery at a time when women were discouraged and prevented from public speaking. She was a pioneer in the women's rights movement, [Read More ...]

Women's Rights Before the Civil War


The Struggle for Women's Rights Begins

In Colonial America and the first few decades of the new United States, individual women often fought for equal rights for themselves, such as assuming business interests of a husband after his death. During the war for independence women did their part by supporting the Patriots in numerous ways, including organizing boycotts of British [Read More ...]

Elizabeth Blackwell


First Woman Doctor in the United States

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821–1910) was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, and a social reformer in both the US and in England. By the time of Blackwell's death in 1910, the number of female doctors in the United States had risen to over 7,000.

Childhood and Early Years[Read More ...]