Dorothy Erlandson of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris, the European Unitarian Universalists, and The Democrats Abroad France Women’s Caucus graciously introduced me to speak on the extraordinary life and work of Transcendentalist and women’s rights advocate Margaret Fuller this past Monday evening. From 1844 to 1850, Margaret Fuller served as the first woman social and literary critic in New York as well as the first woman foreign and war correspondent in Europe for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune. Her national and international bestseller, “Woman in the Nineteenth Century,” inspired the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. Margaret worked for the equality of women, African-Americans, Native Americans, and other oppressed minorities.
Last evening was a beautiful sharing of Margaret Fuller’s life and work with 50 eager participants at the special event co-sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris and The Democrats Abroad Women’s Caucus in their first joint effort. I thank Dorothy Erlandson of the UU Fellowship of Paris, the European Unitarian Universalists, and The Democrats Abroad France Women’s Caucus for coordinating and bringing this together with the leaders of the Women’s Caucus. I was very pleased to share my joy and passion conveying the extraordinary story of Margaret’s life and work through her own words as she led the women’s rights movement in its early days in America. It was wonderful to have The Democrats Abroad European Women’s Caucus tuning into the live event via commuter hookup. People were clearly moved by what was presented. They asked important questions wanting to understand precisely how Margaret lived and moved in the world as the first woman reporter for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune from 1844 to 1850 and experienced the emerging people’s revolutions throughout Europe as the first woman foreign and war correspondent. I spent considerable time focusing on Margaret’s three-month stay in Paris at the Hotel Rougemont near Blvd. Poissoniere while she met George Sand and Chopin and was invited to write for a French magazine from November 1846 through February 1847. It was wonderful to inspire and excite others about this exceptional woman who changed perceptions and consciousness about what it was to be a woman and a man. Her international bestseller, “Woman in the Nineteenth Century,” prepared the way for her in Europe as it conveyed her basic message of creating and living the sacred marriage within.
As a special event jointly sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris and The Democrats Abroad France Women’s Caucus, I have the privilege of speaking on the extraordinary life and work of Margaret Fuller on Monday, September 7, 2015 on the Left Bank of the Seine. Margaret spent three months in Paris during November 1846 through February 1847 experiencing her Grand Tour of Europe yet totally transforming into a catalyst for social justice and democracy for the people of Europe. She wrote about the heartache and hunger of the people in Paris which were being suppressed as the first woman foreign correspondent for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune. This would lead to the revolution of 1848 which Victor Hugo describes in his monumental fiction, Les Miserables. Margaret also wrote for a French magazine and met her inspiration, writer and feminist George Sand, and Sand’s companion, Chopin. Later in Italy, Margaret would direct the field hospital where Roman soldiers were wounded and dying from the French bullets and bombs during the Roman Revolution of 1848-1849.
As we prepare for the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote in New York State 2017 and our National Anniversary 2020, I am available to be a speaker on Transcendentalist and women’s rights advocate Margaret Fuller for your special programs and events. Please see my listing on the National Women’s History project website: http://www.nwhp.org/performers-authors/national/
I have the privilege of working on behalf of the City of Beacon, New York, to help the municipality apply for a Pomeroy Foundation marker grant to erect a marker for women’s rights activist, Margaret Fuller. For seven weeks, Margaret revelled in the nature near the Hudson river with no headaches occurring as she transformed her Transcendental Dial article, “The Great Lawsuit,” into her national and international bestselling American feminist tract, “Woman in the Nineteenth Century.” Margaret wrote her book and several letters from Fishkill Landing in the fall of 1844 staying at the Van Vliet boardinghouse where she could see the river and the Catskill Mountains. She was in transition as she moved from Boston and New England into New York City to serve as the first woman social and literary critic for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune. It was Greeley who encouraged her to make a book from her article which he and his business partner, Thomas McElrath, published in 1845. This miraculous book comes out of Margaret’s phenomenal “Conversations with Women,” which she conducted in Boston at the bookstore of her Transcendental Club colleague, Elizabeth Peabody, on West Street in Boston from 1839 to 1844. Though she was strong in her own views and personality, Margaret beautifully encouraged each female participant in the “Conversations” to come forth with her insights and perceptions with great care and affection. She was compared to the Sybyl, the Oracle at the Temple at Delphi, who intuitively expounded the divine wisdom which kings and conquerors sought with great respect before they took action. While staying at Fishkill Landing (now part of Beacon), Margaret visited the women inmates at Sing Sing prison several times to discuss the book she was writing with them and get their profound input. She was continuing her “Conversations” in a new way. As she heard a group of them singing, Margaret felt that she had been touched deeply by angels through their song. She worked with her friends in New York and Boston to create a library for these precious and misunderstood women at Sing Sing who were victimized in their plight by the traditional sphere of men manipulating and abusing them. I thank my friend and colleague, Marguerite Kearns, who has created the Suffrage Wagon News Channel and http://www.suffragewagon.org honoring her grandmother, Edna Kearns’, women’s rights work in Philadelphia and New York State, for letting me know about the Pomeroy Foundation grant marker program. Also my thanks to Elizabeth Evans, Assistant to the Mayor of Beacon, for taking my proposal for the Margaret Fuller marker to the mayor and City Council for consideration and their approval with whom I am working on the application. And finally, thanks to Robert Murphy, president of the Beacon Historical Society, and to Beacon resident, Terri Pahucki, who diligently worked together locating the former Van Vliet boardinghouse site for the marker location. I am grateful for our teamwork on behalf of the significance of Margaret Fuller being in Fishkill Landing as part of women’s rights and suffrage history in New York State to apply for this special grant marker.
It is exciting to be part of the working group of the 100th Anniversary Women’s Rights Committee of the New York Cultural Heritage Tourism Network to make sure that Margaret Fuller is included for her life and work in New York State while writing her international bestseller, “Woman in the Nineteenth Century,” and reporting as the first woman social and literary critic for Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune from 1844 to 1846. She continued writing for this newspaper as first woman foreign and war correspondent in Europe from 1846 to 1850 on her Grand Tour of Europe before settling in Rome. On July 19, 1850, Margaret died in a shipwreck during a hurricane near Fire Island, New York with her Italian husband, Count Giovanni Ossoli, and their child, Angelino. Published in 1845 to wide acclaim, “Woman in the Nineteenth Century” was a catalyst for the creation of the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York. As we prepare for and celebrate the 2017 Anniversary of New York State’s Women’s Right To Vote, I am available to speak about Margaret Fuller’s life and work at events, programs, and conferences on women’s suffrage to highlight her extraordinary ability to liberate women and men from their stereotypical roles. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-256-8481, or P.O. Box 281, Lederach, PA 19450 if you are interested in having me speak. Thank you! My article on Margaret Fuller for the New York State History Blog is http://www.newyorkhistoryblog.org/2014/03/17/margaret-fuller-transcendentalist-womens-rights-advocate/ My History Seminar paper, “Margaret Fuller Shapes the Consciousness of America through the New York Tribune,” is available at http://www.uucollegium.org/Research%20papers/10paper_Barnett.pdf My ode, “For Margaret Fuller,” is available at http://www.uuconvo.org/report2010/barnett-poem.htm My curriculum, “The Life, Writing, and Poetry of Margaret Fuller,” is at http://www.a2pwebdesign.com/poetrywits/lessonplans/mfuller.htm
7 PM, Wednesday, February 19, 2014: I have been invited to dialogue with Amy Edelstein at The Waverly Street Reading Library near Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia on Margaret Fuller and the Sacred Marriage. If you wish to attend this free event, please register at the Waverly Street Reading Library website http://www.facebook.com/WaverlyStLibrary It will be an exciting discussion!