Salerno Secondary Source

Publication Year: 2005

Salerno, Beth. Sister Societies: Women’s Antislavery Organizations in Antebellum America (DeKalb, Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press, 2005).

Reading suggestions

See especially Chapter Four: Internal Divisions, 1837-1840, pp. 79-118

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Source note

Beth Salerno is a professor and the department chair of American History at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. Her research focuses on the antebellum era, and she is currently writing a biography of New England anti-slavery activist Mary Clark. 

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Reading questions

1.    What reasons did some women have to join the American Anti-Slavery Society? What reasons did some women have to join the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society? Why did many women choose to stay in their female anti-slavery societies?

2.    Why were there more African American delegates and attendees at the 1838 Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women than at the 1837 convention?

3.    Why did some women object to having a mixed meeting with both female and male speakers (page 82)?

4.    What reason did dissenters give for not approving Sarah Grimke’s resolution stating the duty of female anti-slavery activists to refute prejudice by interacting socially with African Americans and treating them as social equals?

5.    Why was 1840 a crucial year in the Women’s Anti-Slavery Movement (page 118)?

6.    How does the Women’s Anti-Slavery Movement start to overlap with a nascent Women’s Rights Movement (page 118)?

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Source type
Scholarly book
History Topics
19th Century Social Reform
Abolition and Anti-slavery
Women's Rights
Time Period
Slavery, Sectionalism, and Social Reform (1815-1861)