Abolitionist and Wife of William Lloyd Garrison

While her husband got all the glory, Helen Benson Garrison was an abolitionist in her own right. She raised funds for the American Anti-Slavery Society in many ways, particularly as a manager of the annual Boston Anti-Slavery Bazaar.

Helen Benson was born on February 23, 1811 in Providence, Rhode Island to George and Sarah Thurber Benson. At the June session of the General Assembly, in 1790, an "Act to incorporate certain Persons by …Read More...

Witness to the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Clara Harris was an American socialite. Harris and her then fiance Henry Rathbone were the guests of President Lincoln and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865, when John Wilkes Booth fatally shot the President.

Early Years
Clara Harris was born on September 9, 1834 in Albany, New York, one of four children of Senator Ira Harris and his first wife Louisa Tubbs Harris. Clara's mother died …Read More...

Sister of Mary Todd Lincoln

In October 1839, twenty-year-old Mary Todd moved to Springfield, Illinois to live with her older married sister Elizabeth Todd Edwards. As was the custom, Elizabeth served as Mary's guardian. Despite their sometimes rocky relationship, Elizabeth rescued Mary Todd Lincoln from an insane asylum in 1875, and gave her a home.

Image: Elizabeth Todd Edwards and Mary Todd Lincoln

Elizabeth Todd was born in 1816 in Lexington, Kentucky. Her sister Mary was born on December …Read More...

Writer, Artist and Wife of Author Nathaniel Hawthorne

Sophia Hawthorne (September 21, 1809 – February 26, 1871) was a writer and painter, and one of the famous Peabody sisters. She took up drawing and painting in 1829, and was an accomplished artist before her marriage to author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Sophia also published her journals and some of Nathaniel's notebooks, which she edited and published after his death.

Sophia Amelia Peabody was born September 21, 1809, in Salem, Massachusetts.Her father was …Read More...

Educator, Feminist and Wife of Frederick Douglass

Helen Pitts Douglass (1838–1903) was a teacher and feminist, and the second wife of former slave, abolitionist and women's rights advocate Frederick Douglass. She created the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association, and spent the last years of her life trying to build a memorial to her deceased husband, who is recognized as the father of the civil rights movement.

Image: Frederick and Helen Pitts Douglass
Standing is Helen's sister Eva Pitts

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Wife of Poet and Writer Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lydian Emerson was a devout Christian, witty conversationalist and a member of the Transcendental Club. A major influence on her husband's thought, she offered commentary on current events and once wrote of the excesses of American Transcendentalism in a text called The Transcendental Bible. She opposed slavery, supported women's rights, and considered marriage to an unfit mate to be tantamount to slavery.

Image: Lydian Emerson with son Edward, circa 1847

Lydia Jackson …Read More...