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Observations on the Real Rights of Women and Other Writings

Hannah Mather Crocker, Edited and with an introduction by Constance J. Post

Publication Year: 2011

Following in the path of her distinguished Puritan forebears, Hannah Mather Crocker used her skills as a writer primarily to persuade. Unlike those forebears, however, she did not begin her career as a published writer until well into middle age, after the death of her husband, Joseph Crocker, and after having raised ten children. The works collected here include previously unpublished poetry, drama, memoirs, sermons, and essays on American identity, education, and history, as well as the three texts published in her lifetime. This volume is named for her most famous work, Observations on the Real Rights of Women. Originally published in 1818, it is widely considered the first published treatise on women’s rights written by an American woman and serves as a rare example of women’s views of their own roles within the early American republic. This collection also mirrors the many changes that occurred in the United States during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, highlighting the shift in attitude toward women’s rights, education, and other reform movements as well as the American Revolution. Crocker’s writing provides a rare and valuable window into the concerns of women who embodied Enlightenment ideals during the years of the early republic.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Title Page

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p. iii-iii

Copyright Page

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pp. iv-vi

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

In doing research for Signs of the Times in Cotton Mather’s Paterna: A Study of Puritan Autobiography (2000), I traveled to Boston to consult “Biblia Americana,” Mather’s vast commentary on the Bible, at the Massachusetts Historical Society. While there I also worked at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, where I came upon a reference to Cotton Mather’s granddaughter, Hannah Mather Crocker, in the Mather Family ...

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pp. xiii-xlix

On August 14, 1765, the office of Andrew Oliver, stamp master for Massachusetts, was destroyed and his home ransacked by the Loyalist Nine, later known as the Sons of Liberty; an effigy of Oliver was later found hanging in a tree. The Nine also surrounded the home of Thomas Hutchinson, lieutenant governor and chief justice of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, but they moved on when persuaded by a speaker who rose to Hutchinson’s defense. On the night of August 26 a mob paid a visit to the homes of Charles Paxton ...

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A Note on the Text

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pp. li-lviii

Previously published texts by Hannah Mather Crocker appear in this edition with minor alterations. These include the complete texts of A Series of Letters on Free Masonry, The School of Reform, and Observations on the Real Rights of Women, which have not been altered except for changes in formatting and a few changes in punctuation and capitalization in cases where there is an apparent printer’s error. Changes that do not fit the categories below appear in brackets ...

I . Finding a Voice, 1812–1814

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Fast Sermon

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pp. 3-10

My Respected Hearers, We have this day assembled in the house of the Lord in compliance with and direction of the head government of this Nation.1 As specified by proclamation thro’ the medium of the public newspapers, it may be expected by them that we join in fervent prayer for the divine blessing to attend the present war. But every judicious person must be sensible it is the duty of a wise Nation to seek direction ...

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Thanksgiving Sermon

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pp. 11-18

Respected Friends, It has long been an established custom to celebrate an anniversary thanksgiving even from the first settlement of our country.1 Our pious and venerable ancestors, deeply impressed with a sense of the divine goodness for preserving mercy and protecting them, even in an howling wilderness,2 they then with fervent gratitude of soul gave thanks to almighty God. When their repast was no more than a simple mess of Clams, they even then appointed a day ...

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An Humble Address to the Reason and Wisdom of the American Nation

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pp. 19-26

My August Hearers, It ought to be the wisdom of Solomon to address such an Audience, but as we read in the second of Corinthians, 4 chap[ter], 7 verse, we have this treasure in earthern1 vessels. However, the beauty of the passage is lost, in some degree, by our translation as you may find it is in the original Hebrew: We have this treasure as in an oyster shell, alluding to the pearl found in the oyster. And it is a very beautiful ...

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Antiquarian Researches, Pleasant and Easy

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pp. 27-38

Having often been asked the question: what utility an Antiquarian society can be of to mankind, or what can influence a Lady to take any interest in promoting such an institution, with a desire of gratifying many friends, I now take my pen with the most fervent wish that I may be ever able and ready to give a reason for the hope that sustains me. Though I acknowledge myself singular in being an advocate for Masonry ....

II. Becoming an Advocate, 1815–1819

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A Series of Letters on Free Masonry

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pp. 39-60

TO the protection and patronage of the M.W.1 Past Grand Master, the Past Grand Chaplain, and the present Officers and Members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, this little work is now humbly dedicated, by the author, with the most ardent wish of benevolence, that every worthy member may square his conduct by the line ...

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The School of Reform, or Seaman’s Safe Pilot to the Cape of Good Hope

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pp. 61-70

Sir, FROM some philanthropic sentiments you expressed the other day, respecting the fellow craft, seamen, and coasters, I fully imbibed your sentiments, that if the necessity of a regular course of living was pointed out to them in a pleasant manner by a female, it would be well received, and, probably, have a happy effect on the sensibility of that class of men, who have ever been celebrated ...

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Observations on the Real Rights of Women, with Their Appropriate Duties, Agreeable to Scripture, Reason and Common Sense

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pp. 71-144

... Madam, Your writings on moral and religious subjects are held in the highest estimation by one, who thinks your Comparative View of the Sexes2 is indeed worthy of yourself. To your patronage allow me to devote the following pages. Your approbation of the sentiments will be the most distinguished palm the author wishes to obtain. Though personally unknown, permit me to subscribe ...

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The Midnight Beau

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pp. 145-158

Dramatis Personae1 Characters all high Bucks Henry Philanthropus2 Joseph Stripling Paulinus Random Thomas Ludicrous Patrick Oh Glee Puffendorf Daft Roland Nightramble Captain Spoilation Major Rantapole Ladies Angelica3 Bloomly Amilia Prudencia, a Matron ...

III. Taking Stock, 1820–1829

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Selections from “Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston, Being an Account of the Original Proprietors of That Town, the Manners and Customs of Its People”

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pp. 159-192

Capt. Kemble1 came from England with goods, took a stand near [Frizel] Square, and opened an English goods shop, made considerable property: 1676 he built several houses, a large one for that day on Moon Street for his own mansion. In 1699 Kemble returned to England for more supply of merchandize. After being absent from his family two years and a half, he arrived at Scarlet’s Wharf 2 on Sunday morning. At the foot ...


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pp. 193-254


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pp. 255-268


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pp. 269-279

E-ISBN-13: 9780803235489
E-ISBN-10: 0803235488
Print-ISBN-13: 9780803216150
Print-ISBN-10: 0803216157

Page Count: 340
Illustrations: 2 tables
Publication Year: 2011