Mothers of feminism : the story of Quaker women in America

by Margaret Hope Bacon

Other authorsRosalie Blazej (Jacket designer)
Hardcover, 1986



Call number



San Francisco : Harper & Row, 1986.


0062500430 / 9780062500434

Local notes

Inscription: donated by Barrie and Diana Pittock


Tracing the roots of feminism in the Quaker tradition from the Reformation to the present, this study explores the Quaker religious practices that shaped the spiritual and social structure of both the Society of Friends and the feminist movement.

User reviews

LibraryThing member leslie.98
I don't read much non-fiction, but this history of Quaker women & their involvement in creating the suffragette movement is wonderful! Clear, well-written, and fascinating.
LibraryThing member threadnsong
I first read this in 1990 or thereabouts, and I think part of my recollection of struggling with this book is borne out again. The scholarship is well done, and showing the Quaker faith to be what gave Quaker women a voice, but the details on many of the less-known women are too scattered and tend
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to diminish their stories.

From the very beginnings of Quakerism came the belief that the spirit of God lives within each being, regardless of gender or race or social standing. Many Quakers in the 1800's worked to protect the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, in addition to their work as abolitionists and suffrage.

Examples of women's lives include how some Meetings allowed women to preach to the Friends gathered for Sunday service. Quaker women were allowed to travel in order to preach at other Meetings, or even travel to other cities to bring Quakerism to others. Evangelical, if you will.

Many women were researched in this book and that is a credit to the author. Each chapter has a historical focus, including Colonial America and the rise of Abolition in both the American Colonies and the United States, going through the struggles for Suffrage and Civil Rights.

However. I found myself struggling to find the continuity throughout each era or chapter or set of events. Once an idea was introduced as the main focus, women's lives followed in rapid succession with little to no narrative to bring them together. Other times, women's lives were explored or introduced, then referenced several pages or paragraphs later, again without a narrative voice. The dis-jointed-ness of this overall writing style lessened the strength of this book.
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