It was wonderful to meet with the Margaret Fuller Society this morning for our first session together at the American Literature Association annual conference in Boston. Our first presenter, Rev. Jenny Rankin, shared her personal journey with the Transcendentalists which led to her leading tours to Europe where they visited on their Grand Tours. She specifically talked about her Margaret Fuller tour through Italy. Jenny asked me to read Margaret’s words about her time in London and Paris. I had the privilege of working with Jenny as part of the panel at First Parish of Concord for Margaret’s 200th Anniversary Celebration in 2010.
It was exciting to learn that Sonia Di Loreto from the University of Torino, Italy, with William Bond and Sarah Payne from Northeastern University are working on Margaret Fuller’s Transnational Archive to help scholars readily access primary source materials from various archives online with great interaction and ease. I am particularly eager to see Margaret’s New York Tribune articles available in an easy-to-access-and-read form. Her work as first woman reporter for the New York Tribune is my specialty.
Project Director Jonathan Schwartz shared a short 13-minute film toward a full-length documentary on Margaret Fuller, which looks very promising. He and his partners in production have worked in the past with PBS. All these presentations give us hope for more public recognition for Margaret Fuller’s gifts to us.
Phyllis Cole, President of the MF Society, graciously asked me to share about my work helping the City of Beacon apply for and receive the Pomeroy Foundation historic marker grant for Margaret Fuller at Fishkill Landing, NY. There in fall 1844, Margaret wrote “Woman in the Nineteenth Century,” which was influential in bringing about the first Women’s Rights Convention at Seneca Falls in 1848. It is now one year that the MF Historical Marker has been placed on the Women’s History Trail in New York State at Beacon, NY to support the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote in NYS this year.
This afternoon, Ted and I stopped on West Street near the Boston Common to revisit the bookstore owned by Transcendentalist Elizabeth Peabody where Margaret held her “Conversations” for Women. Peabody was A. Bronson Alcott’s teaching assistant at his Temple School in Boston before Margaret then became his assistant.