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New Light on Sarah Mapps Douglass and Her Reconciliation with Friends

From: Quaker History
Volume 90, Number 1, Spring 2001
pp. 28-49 | 10.1353/qkh.2001.0011

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

New Light on Sarah Mapps Douglass and Her Reconciliation with Friends
Margaret Hope Bacon

Margaret Hope Bacon is a Philadelphia lecturer and author of twelve books of history and biography, many of them pertaining to the role of women in the Religious Society of Friends. She received an Honorary Doctorate in Human Letters from Swarthmore College, and was awarded two post graduate fellowships at Haverford College. She worked for twenty-two years for the American Friends Service Committee.


1. Sarah M. Douglass letters can be found in the Theodore D. Weld Collection at the William Clements Library, University of Michigan; the Sarah Grimké private file at the Library of Congress; the Anti-Slavery Papers at the Boston Public Library; the William Lloyd Garrison Papers in the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, the New York Historical Society, and Cheyney University. For secondary sources on Sarah Mapps Douglass see Henry J. Cadbury, "Negro Membership in the Society of Friends," Journal of Negro History, Vol. XXI, No. 2, April 1936; Larry Ceplar, ed. The Public Years of Sarah and Angelina Grimké, Selected Writings, 1835-1839, (New York, Columbia University Press, 1989); Kenneth Ives, Rosalind Cobb Wiggins, Anna Bustill Smith, Cynthia Kerman, Carleton Maybee, William Powers, Black Quakers, Brief Biographies, (Chicago, Progressive Publisher, 1986); Gerder Lerner, The Grimké Sisters from South Carolina: Pioneers for Woman's Rights and Abolition (New York, Schocken Press, 1971) and "Sarah Mapps Douglass," Notable American Women, Edward James, Janet James, and Paul Rover, editors, (Cambridge, Belknap Press, 1971) 511-512; Maria J. Lindhorst, "Sarah Mapps Douglass: The Emergence of an African American Educator/Activist in Nineteenth Century Philadelphia" (Ph.D. Dissertation, Penn State University, 1995); Ann Bustill Smith, "The Bustill Family," Journal of Negro History, Vol. 10, No. 4, 638-644, 1925. Dorothy Sterling, editor, We Are Your Sisters: Black Women in the Nineteenth Century (New York, Norton, 1984).

2. Rebecca White (1816-1906) and Hannah White Richardson (1811-1882) were the daughters of Josiah White (1781-1850), Philadelphia industrialist, inventor, and philanthropist. Their papers can be found among the Josiah White Papers, 1166, Boxes IX, X, XI, XII Quaker Collection, Haverford College Library, Haverford, Pa. Hereafter QC.

3. Smith, "The Bustill Family," 638-639; Cadbury, "Negro Membership," 192.

4. Ibid.

5. Cadbury, 191-192; National Anti-Slavery Standard, December 14, 1843.

6. Pennsylvania Freeman & National Enquirer-October 8, 1836; Colored American, December 2, 1837. See album of Ada and Lydia Dickerson, pupils of Sarah Douglass, at the Library Company of Philadelphia.

7. Lindhorst, 39; Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, board of managers, March 18, 1838; April, 1840. Papers of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, housed at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Hereafter PAS. Richard Humpherys Foundation, Minutes of Board of Managers, Institute for Colored Youth (1837-1884), May 31, 1853; March 20, 1877. RG4, Series 2, Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College.

8. Lindhorst, 40 n.

9. Sarah M. Douglass to William Lloyd Garrison, November 3, 1831; Douglass to Garrison, February 29, 1832. Anti-Slavery Papers, Boston Public Library. Minutes, PFASS, PAS.

10. The North Star, March 9, July 13, August 17 and 31, September 7 and 28, November 9, 1849; September 5, October 10, December 12, 1850; Registration Book, Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1852-1853; Weekly Anglo-African, July 23, 1859; Sarah Douglass to Rebecca White, February 9, 1862. White Papers, QC.

11. Provincial Freeman, August 22, 1855; Sarah Grimké to Sarah Douglass, March 25, 1859, Sarah Grimké Private File, Library of Congress; "Woman's Freedom Relief Association Auxiliary; Pennsylvania Branch of the American Freedman's Union Commission," Philadelphia, 1864. Minute Book of the Association for the Home for Aged and Infirm Colored Persons, January 12, 1866.

12. Minutes, Board of Managers, Institute for Colored Youth, March 20, 1877; November 11, 1878. Will of Benjamin Coates, amended, December 1872. Will of Hannah White Richardson, 1882.

13. Sarah M. Douglass to "Esteemed Friend," April 2, 1844, Grimké-Weld Papers, Clements Library, University of Michigan.

14. Sarah M. Grimké to Elizabeth Pease, April 10, 1839; Anti-Slavery Papers, Boston Public Library.

15. Sarah M. Grimké to Elizabeth Pease, April 10, 1839; Anti-Slavery Papers, Boston Public Library.

16. Sarah M. Grimké to Elizabeth Pease...