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Mott, Lucretia

MOTT, LUCRETIA [COFFIN] (1793-1880), American reformer, was born at Nantucket, Massachusetts, on the 3rd of January 1793. She was descended on her mother's side from Peter Folger, one of the first settlers of Nantucket, and the grandfather of Benjamin Franklin; her father's ancestors, also, were among the first settlers of Nantucket. At thirteen she was sent to a Friends' boarding school, at Nine Partners, near Poughkeepsie, New York, where James Mott (1788-1868), who like her was of old Quaker stock and whom she married in 1811, was then a teacher. In 1810 James Mott entered the employ of Lucretia's father in Philadelphia, but the business was not successful and in 1817 Lucretia opened a small school under the care of the Pine Street Monthly Meeting, but gave it up a year afterwards and in the same year was recognized by the Friends as an " acknowledged minister." Her husband had as early as 1822 espoused the cause of Elias Hicks against the " Orthodox " Friends, and in 1827, when the Society divided, Lucretia joined the Hicksites. Hicks's teachings on slavery had impressed both James and Lucretia; in 1830 James gave up a lucrative cotton commission business that he might not profit from the products of slave labour; and both took an active part in the campaign against slavery. About 1840 Mrs Mott also took up the cause of woman's rights. On lecturing tours she and her husband travelled as far west as Indiana and into Maryland and Virginia. In 1848 she addressed the AntiSabbath Convention in Boston, and with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, whom she had first met in London in 1840, called a convention " to discuss the social, civil and religious condition and rights of women," which met at Seneca Falls and passed a " Declaration of Sentiments," modelled on the Declaration of Independence. Her husband, who was prominent among the founders of Swarthmore College (1864), died in Brooklyn, New York, on the 26th of January 1868; and Mrs Mott died on the nth of November 1880 near Philadelphia.

See James and Lucretia Mott: Life and Letters (Boston, 1884), edited by their granddaughter, Mrs Anna Davis Hallowell.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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