Educational Administration, Department of


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Journal o/Women in Educational Leadership, Vol. 4, No.1-January 2006 ISSN: 1541-6224


©2003 Pro>Active Publications


One of the earlier 20th century American women leaders in Progressivism was Grace Abbott who led the way so others might be the voices for those unheard. Abbott's heritage influenced her lifetime commitment to social improvement. She was born on November 17, 1878 in Grand Island, Nebraska into a family of activists. Her Quaker mother, Elizabeth Griffin Abbott, came from an abolitionist family and participated in the Underground Railroad. Elizabeth was also actively involved in the women's suffrage movement and often hosted suffrage meetings and events in her home. Susan B. Anthony frequently stayed with the Abbotts when visiting Grand Island. Her father, Othman Ali Abbott, a Canadian abolitionist, served in the Union Army during the Civil War. He read law in Illinois and in 1867 moved to Nebraska and established his law practice. A leader in state politics, he became a state senator and eventually the lieutenant governor, where he was pivotal in the creation of Nebraska laws protecting female. workers.