SWARTHMORE COLLEGE

Lucretia Coffin Mott (January 3, 1793 - November 11, 1880)

During her life of 87 years, which spanned the early, developing years of theUnited States, she was instrumental in changing national opinion through her activities in the anti-slavery and women's rights movements.

Born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, Lucretia Coffin was sent by her family to be educated at the Quaker Nine Partners Boarding School in Duchess County, NY, where she later became a teacher. In 1811 she married James Mott, also a teacher at the school and settled in Philadelphia, where they both became active in the anti-slavery movement. The Motts joined with other abolitionists to found the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. Lucretia also helped to found the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. Their Philadelphia home was a sanctuary for runaway slaves. Their anti-slavery activities took them to London, in 1840, as delegates to the first world antislavery convention, but women were not seated as delegates. While in London she became friends with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and both then resolved to work together for the equality of women. In 1848 the two women, joined by Jane Hunt, Mary Ann McClintock and Martha Coffin Wright, organized a convention "to discuss the social, civil, and religious rights of women" to be held at Seneca Falls New York. Demands written in "The Declaration of Sentiments," called for an end to social and legal discrimination against women, signaled the beginning of the women's suffrage movement in the United States. "Certain that education was the best way of opposing superstition and fostering moral reform," Lucretia Mott chaired a committee of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (Hicksite) advocating better schools. Her work and commitment to education for women led, in part, to the founding of Swarthmore College, as well as the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania and the School of Design for Women (today, the Moore College of Art).
 

Text prepared by Beth Bartle
Last update: 6/9/02