Date of this Version
Documentary Editing: Journal of the Association for Documentary Editing, Volume 30, Numbers 1 and 2: 2008 ISSN 0196-7134
Despite their obvious differences, Lucretia Coffin Mott and Florence Kelley share some striking similarities. As prominent women reformers, they embraced three passionate concerns. First, they battled injustice to women. Lucretia Mott (1793–1880) helped organize the historic Woman’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls in 1848 and constantly spoke out for women’s rights, not only at the ballot box but in marriage, courts of law, and the workplace. Florence Kelley (1859–1932) likewise fought for both political and economic equality for women. She worked for the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote, and throughout her career as director of the National Consumers’ League, she lobbied for better working conditions for women and children. Second, both women worked for equal rights for African-Americans. In 1833, Mott helped organize the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, regularly organized antislavery petitions to Congress, and later petitioned Congress for suffrage for all “colored people of this Nation.”1 Kelley joined others to found the NAACP in 1909, fought for Congressional anti-lynching laws, and sought equal funding for Southern black schoolchildren. And third, they were ardent peace advocates. As a Quaker, Mott naturally abhorred war; in the antebellum years as a member of the Non-Resistance Society, she shunned all forms of violence and was active in the American Peace Society. Florence Kelley met with other peace advocates in 1914 and issued a manifesto opposing World War I, and after that war attended meetings of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom in Zurich and Vienna.