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F O R E W O R D Peter H. Wood LUCRETIA COFFIN, THE DAUGHTER OF A FLINTY NANTUCKET sea captain, became a major force in the American reform movements of the mid-nineteenth century. In 1821, at age nineteen, she married a fellow Quaker, James Mott, and they raised six children while becoming staunch leaders in the Anti-SlaveryCrusade. "How shall I describe to you Lucretia Mott," exclaimed ThomasWentworth Higginson, the NewEngland abolitionist who was thirty years her junior . In their initial encounter, he marveled at her formidable gaze. She has "the most brilliant eyes,"he wrote. "Such a face, . . . and such a regal erectness!" By comparison, Higginson mused, "Nobody else ever stood upright before." Historian WinthropJordan, born in 1931, wasa direct descendant of this Quaker feminist, and tales of past achievements within the family passed down to him as a boy. He learned, for example, that, among Mott's many accomplishments, she had become a founder of Swarthmore College in 1864, at age seventy-one. He knew that one granddaughter of the reformer, Anna Davis Hallowell, had edited James and Lucretia Mott: Life and Letters (1884), and another relative, Edward Needles Hallowell, had served as a white officer in the celebrated black Civil War unit known as the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. A family that took modest Quaker pride in past accomplishments also kept alive itsvenerable names.Jordan knew that Anna Davis Hallowell , his great-grandmother, had named her daughter after their ancestor, the famous activist. He remembered when this daughter, Lucretia Mott Hallowell Churchill, organized the abolitionist papers and scrapbooks her family had preserved, and donated them to Swarthmore in the mid-ig4os. She too had named a daughter— his own mother—after the stalwart reformer. When Lucretia Mott Churchill married Henry D.Jordan, a respected historian at Clark University, it meant that their son Winthrop spent his childhood im- [xvii] [xviii] F O R E W O R D mersed in history and in the long, arduous progression of American debates over race. Growing up, he considered other callings, but his late twenties found him as a graduate student at Brown University studying intellectual history with American historian Donald Fleming . By the time Jordan passed away in 2007, at seventy-six, he had become a leading American scholar. He was,as many eulogies noted, one of the few historians to have won the prestigious Bancroft Prize on two occasions. Thinking back, I wish that I had known Winthrop Jordan better, for I can safely say that I never drew so much from someone with whom I crossed paths so briefly. He was always gracious, friendly, thoughtful, and informed. I still have a vivid recollection of his slight frame and warm manner. I never studied with ProfessorJordan or worked with him as a colleague. But two long-ago encounters with this generous and tenacious scholar—keymoments in my own intellectual life—remainindelibly printed in my mind. We first met in December 1962, when I was a junior at Harvard, his alma mater, and he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg,Virginia. I had just completed an exciting undergraduate course on early America, taught by Bernard Bailyn, and for the first time I was considering further work in history. I had a chance to visit Colonial Williamsburg with myparents during the Christmas holiday, so myadviser,John L. Thomas, suggested that I should look up his friend "Win"Jordan. They had become close as doctoral students in American history at Brown, and Thomas described with enthusiasm the ambitious dissertation that Jordan was turning into a book. As he described the scope and originality of this exciting project, I could tell it had become mythical among a group of young scholars, even though it had not yet appeared in print. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Professor Bailyn's class had included little on race or slavery.ButJack Thomas, as part of a younger cohort that had been in graduate school at the time of the Brown decision and the Montgomery bus boycott, was absorbed by the subject of race relations. He was completing a biography of William Lloyd Garrison that would earn the 1964 Bancroft Prize, the most prestigious award given to American historians. In profiling the powerful antislavery advocate, Thomas had made ample use of the Mott Papers at Swarthmore. He informed me, with admiration, that his historian friend was a direct descendant of Mott, Garrison's strong...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781469600765
Related ISBN
9780807834022
MARC Record
OCLC
861793501
Pages
696
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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