Lucretia Mott


Lucretia Coffin was born into a Quaker family in Massachusetts, and at thirteen she was sent to the Nine Partners Quaker Boarding School, where she become a teacher after her graduation. Upon her discovery that the school’s male educators were much better paid than their female counterparts, she grew interested for the first time in female rights in America. In 1812, she married James Mott, another teacher at the school, and she later gave birth to six children, five of whom survived to adulthood.

Lucretia Mott
Like many Quakers, Lucretia was a staunch abolitionist, and after becoming a minister in 1821 she began to speak publicly against slavery. She and her husband often sheltered runaway slaves in their home, and in 1833 they created the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. Later that year, they attended a meeting held by William Lloyd Garrison to expand the abolitionist movement, and shortly thereafter Lucretia founded the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. She preached at African-American parishes, and despite persecution and pain from dyspepsia, she continued to maintain her home as well as donate to various charities. Many members of the abolitionist movement, however, disapproved of having a woman so involved in the cause, and she received criticism and threats after her leading role in the 1837 Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women.

Lucretia would not let such comments affect her goals of abolishing slavery, and in 1840 she spoke again at the International Anti-Slavery Convention in London. Women at that time were made to sit in segregated seating, out of sight of the men, but Mott was honored with a chair from which she could view the proceedings. Many delegates approached her after the convention, and she was the only American woman included in a painting commemorating the event. Upon her return to America, she once again took up her cause with vigor, even gaining a personal audience with President John Tyler. She also began focusing on women’s rights, and in 1848 she and fellow activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton organized the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights meeting in the United States. In partnership with Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone, she founded the American Equal Rights Association, and after the Civil War, she was elected as its first president. She passed away in 1880 of pneumonia, and she is commemorated in a sculpture at the U.S. Capitol. In 1983, she was inducted into the U.S. National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Key events during the life of Lucretia Mott:

Attended the Nine Partners Quaker Boarding School.
Helped form the Free Religious Association.
Married James Mott.
Became a Quaker Minister.
the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society together with her husband.
  Created the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society.
Helped organize the Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women.
Spoke at the International Anti-Slavery Convention in London.
Held the Seneca Falls Convention.
Wrote Discourse on Women.
Established the American Equal Rights Association.
Inducted into the U.S. National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Lucretia Mott  in  Heroes of Progress in America  by  Charles Morris

Image Links

'Roadside', the Home of Lucretia Mott
 in Heroes of Progress in America

Short Biography
Elizabeth Cady Stanton Early leader in the female suffrage, and temperance movement.
Susan B. Anthony Leader of the female suffrage and temperence movements who traveled widely and became a full time advocate.
William Lloyd Garrison Prominent abolitionist, well-known as the publisher of the Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper.
John Brown Radical abolitionist who condoned violence in order to abolish slavery. Led a raid on the armory in Harper's Ferry.
Dorothea Dix Reformer who sought to better the conditions of the mentally ill.