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Born in Delaware’s Brandywine Valley in 1807, Elizabeth Margaret Chandler was a young woman who was fully engaged in her time. Leaving comfort and middle-class Philadelphia wealth behind, she headed west in 1830 with brother, Thomas, and an aunt to begin a new life in the wilderness of the Michigan Territory. During the next four years, until her untimely death in November 1834, Chandler became a tireless local activist; at the same time, she participated aggressively in national political discussions about ...
Born in Delaware’s Brandywine Valley in 1807, Elizabeth Margaret Chandler was a young woman who was fully engaged in her time. Leaving comfort and middle-class Philadelphia wealth behind, she headed west in 1830 with brother, Thomas, and an aunt to begin a new life in the wilderness of the Michigan Territory. During the next four years, until her untimely death in November 1834, Chandler became a tireless local activist; at the same time, she participated aggressively in national political discussions about pressing social issues, in particular in the dialogue about the nascent women’s movement and in the debates about Abolitionism as they began to develop in the 1820s and early 1830s. She was ladies’ editor of Benjamin Lundy’s Abolitionist Journal and a contemporary of William Lloyd Garrison. She wrote letters, articles, and poetry that appeared in the Abolitionist press, but at the same time she was a champion for public education at the local level. Within two years of her arrival in Michigan, she had established the territory’s first anti-slave organization, the Logan Female Antislavery Society.
This rich collection of personal letters, most written to family members during Chandler’s brief life in Michigan, provides a remarkable view of the Northwest frontier in the 1830s, as well as profound insights into the ideology and origins of Abolitionism. Her letters also reveal much about the beliefs, attitudes, and actions of a remarkable young woman who some have seen as a precursor to the Grimké sisters.
|Chapter 1||Preparing to Remove, 1830||1|
|Chapter 2||Arrival and Adjustment, 1830||9|
|Chapter 3||Settling In, 1831||43|
|Chapter 4||A Year of Growth, 1832||89|
|Chapter 5||A Year of Waiting, 1833||157|
|Chapter 6||Major Changes, 1834||219|
|Chapter 7||Matters of Life and Death, 1835-1837||261|
|Chapter 8||Life Goes On, 1838-1842||317|
|Appendix 1||Directory of Names||347|
|Appendix 2||Poems by Elizabeth Chandler||365|
|Appendix 3||Poems to Elizabeth Chandler||383|
|Appendix 4||Elizabeth Margaret Chandler's Recipe for Honey Tea Cake||387|
|Appendix 5||Inventory of Minnie C. M. Fay's Household Effects, October 29, 1935||389|
Posted January 22, 2009
Numerous letters to and from Elizabeth Margaret Chandler not only provide incomparable knowledge about the early days of the abolitionist movement, but also American Midwestern society of the time. One of the appendices is a list of the household effects relating to Chandler. But the book is of interest mostly for the sympathies and activities of the young Elizabeth Chandler regarding the issue of abolition. She died in 1834 before she was 30. The letters are written in the now-archaic language used by the Quakers of the time--e. g., 'I thank thee my dear Elizabeth for thy large sheet or sheets so well filled for I believe there are several of thy letters yet unanswered by me...,' from a lengthy letter by Chandler's aunt to her. The length of many of the letters, which go on for three or more pages, imparts to an exceptional degree the thoughts and activities of the individuals as well as their relationships with others. In her short life spent mostly in Michigan, Chandler contributed much to raising the consciousness of the region about the issue of abolition. The founder of the Logan Female Antislavery Society, she is also seen as an early activist in the fledgling women's movement. When she died, some individuals were moved to write poems about her. These are included in another appendix. The voluminous and varied materials brought together with editor Mason's deft sense of organization and worthiness is not only an invaluable source book on the little-known but influential Chadler; but it is a rich picture of individuals and their involvement in a major social issue of the time as well as their ordinary, daily activities and concerns. From the length and depth of the letters of Chandler and others she communicated with, the reader becomes involved with them as if they were subjects of a biography or characters in a historical novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.