Margaret Fuller Marker at Fishkill Landing, New York through Pomeroy Foundation Grant Application

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 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.


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