Grimké, Sarah Moore, 1792-1873

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Even though Sarah Moore Grimké was shy, she often spoke in front of large crowds with her sister Angelina. The two sisters became the first women to speak in front of a state legislature as representatives of the American Anti-Slavery Society. They also became active writers and speakers for women’s rights. Their ideas were so different from most of the ideas in the community that people burned their writings and angry mobs protested their speeches. However, Grimké and her sister would not let that stop her from making a difference for women and African Americans. Born on November 26, 1792, Sarah Grimké came from a rich family of slave holders in Charleston, South Carolina. She lived with her mother Mary Smith and her father John Faucheraud Grimké, who was a head judge of the state supreme court. Her parents gave her private tutors and her lessons included painting, sewing, and music. However, she wanted to learn all of the interesting subjects they taught the boys in school. Her older brother Thomas was a student at Yale College (now Yale University) and taught her what he learned in his classes. He taught her many subjects including Latin and Greek, mathematics, and geography. While she spent time reading and learning, her father enslaved hundreds of people that were not allowed to go to school. She began to teach some of the enslaved people how to read until her father would not allow her to teach them anymore. She began to see how badly people treated African Americans. In 1819, Sarah visited Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with her father and met many members of the Quaker religion. The Quakers she met believed that slavery was evil, and that it was their responsibility to help the people that were suffering in society. They also allowed women to become preachers and leaders in the church. Grimké liked their ideas about women and slavery and decided to move there to become a Quaker in 1821. A few years later, her sister Angelina joined her in Philadelphia. They both became members of anti-slavery groups and began speaking out against the treatment of African Americans. In 1836, Angelina published a booklet called An Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, and Sarah published one called Epistle to the Clergy of the Southern States. Both booklets argued against slavery. Leaders in the South were so offended by their ideas against slavery, that they burned the booklets and warned Sarah and Angelina that they would be arrested if they ever came back to South Carolina. The General Association of Congregational Ministers of Massachusetts also did not like their writings and did not like that they were giving speeches in front of men, so they wrote a public statement against the Grimké sisters. Sarah and Angelina kept writing even though it was dangerous. Their next booklets addressed women’s rights and the reasons they should help African American people. Angelina wrote Appeal to the Women of the Nominally Free States in 1837, while Sarah wrote Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Women in 1838. Now living in New York, Sarah wrote about the poor treatment of women and enslaved people. She continued to speak in front of large crowds with her sister. When her sister decided to marry an abolitionist named Theodore Dwight Weld, the Quaker religious group kicked them out because Weld was not a Quaker. Together, the three of them published American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses in 1839. Shortly after, they moved to New Jersey and began working in education. They started taking in students to live with them in 1848, and by 1851 they were the leaders of a boarding school. They opened a second school in Eagleswood, New Jersey and taught students until 1862. During this time, the American Civil War broke out over the issue of slavery. Grimké decided to write to support President Abraham Lincoln and the war to end slavery. Shortly after this, the Grimké sisters welcomed their African American nephews Archibald Henry Grimké and Francis James Grimké into their home. The boys were the sons of their brother Henry and a woman he enslaved named Nancy Weston. The Grimké sisters supported the boys as they went on to Harvard Law School (Archibald) and Princeton Theological Seminary (Francis). Grimké continued to fight for women’s rights and the fair treatment of African Americans for the rest of her life. She was the vice president of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association in 1868. A few years later, she led a group of women in Hyde Park, Boston to vote in the local election even though it was against the law. Even at 79-years-old, she was known for walking up and down the street, passing out copies of John Stuart Mill’s book Subjection of Women. Sarah Grimké died on December 23, 1873.
Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Poor family. Papers, 1791-1921 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Women's rights collection, 1789-2000 (bulk: 1864-1983) Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Lutz, Alma,. Collection of documents by and about abolitionists and women's rights activists: Part 1 (Ad-Lip), 1775-1943 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Grimké, Sarah Moore, 1792-1873. Letters to Sarah Douglass, 1844-1861. University of Chicago Library
creatorOf Weld, Theodore Dwight, 1803-1895. Letter, 1844 June 9, Belleville, to "Dear Friend" [Samuel Allinson] / Theodore D. Weld, S.M.G. Haverford College Library
referencedIn Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879. Letter : Roxbury, Mass., to Sarah M. Grimké, 1871 Jan. 18. Texas Christian University
referencedIn May, Samuel J. (Samuel Joseph), 1797-1871. Samuel J. May diary, 1869. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Whittier, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892. Letter, 1837 August 14, [New York], to "My Dear Sisters" [Sarah M. and A.E. Grimké] / Jn. G Whittier. Haverford College Library
referencedIn Lerner, Gerda, 1920-2013. Papers, 1950-1995 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Hazzard, Florence Woolsey, 1903-1992. Papers, 1819-1976 (bulk: 1925-1965) Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Mann family. Papers, ca. 1863-1912. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Hazzard, Florence Woolsey, 1903-1992. Florence Woolsey Hazzard papers, 1819-1976, 1925-1965 (bulk). Cornell University Library
referencedIn Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887. Papers, 1798-1893 (bulk 1827-1887) Houghton Library
referencedIn Sophia Smith Collection. Slavery/anti-slavery collection, 1791-1968 (bulk 1830-1954). Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn National American Woman Suffrage Association. National American Woman Suffrage Association records, 1839-1961 (inclusive), 1890-1930 (bulk), [microform]. University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hamilton Library
referencedIn Spring, Rebecca. Rebecca Spring papers, ca. 1830-1900. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn May, Samuel J. (Samuel Joseph), 1797-1871. Samuel J. May diary, 1867. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Grimké, Sarah Moore, 1792-1873. Letter, 1837 October 25, Lynn [Mass.], to "My Dear Friend" [Joseph Tallcot] / S.M. Grimke. Haverford College Library
referencedIn Blackwell Family Papers, 1759-1960, (bulk 1845-1890) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884. Papers, 1555-1882 (bulk: 1833-1881) Houghton Library
creatorOf Grimké, Sarah Moore, 1792-1873. Letters of Sarah Moore Grimké, 1843-1861. Library of Congress
referencedIn WEPR-FM (Radio station : Greenville, S.C.). Women themselves : women's history sketches for a radio series, 1979-1980 (bulk 1979). Clemson University Libraries, Robert Muldrow Cooper Library
referencedIn Lerner, Gerda, 1920-. Papers, 1941-2001 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Clarke, James Freeman, 1810-1888. Additional correspondence, 1787-1886 Houghton Library
referencedIn Grimké, Angelina Emily, 1805-1879. Letters from Angelica and Sarah Grimké [manuscript], 1838. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Women's Rights Collection, 1789-2000 (bulk: 1864-1983) Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Woman's rights collection, 1853-1958 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1791-1921 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874. Gerrit Smith correspondence, 1840-1873. Library of Congress
creatorOf Weld family. Weld-Grimké family papers, 1740-1930, bulk 1825-1893. William L. Clements Library
referencedIn Woman's rights collection, 1853-1958 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Lerner, Gerda, 1920-2013. Papers, 1950-1995 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Cooper, Dorothy Nyhart, 1898-1990. E. Newbold Cooper collection/Margaret Hawkins collection, 1820-1979. Haverford College Library
referencedIn Fowler and Wells families papers, 1807-1968, 1836-1901(bulk) Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn South Carolina's first advocates for human equality : [typescript] ; [2001] : Sarah Moore Grimke (1792-1873) [and] Angelina Emily Grimke Weld (1805-1879). University of South Carolina, System Library Service, University Libraries
referencedIn Weld-Grimké family papers, 1740-1930, 1825-1893 William L. Clements Library
creatorOf Grimké, Sarah Moore, 1792-1873. Letter, 1836 October 14, Philad[elphia], to "Dear Friend" [Joseph Tallcot] / S.M. Grimke. Haverford College Library
referencedIn Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874. Correspondence, 1829-1874 Houghton Library
referencedIn National American Woman Suffrage Association. National American Woman Suffrage Association records, 1839-1961 (inclusive), 1890-1930 (bulk), [microform]. Yale University Library
creatorOf Goodell, William, 1792-1878. The William Goodell Family Papers 1780-1892 1820-1878 Berea College, Hutchins Library
referencedIn Stone, Lucy, 1818-1893. Letters, 1852-1893 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
referencedIn Ladd, William, 1778-1841. Papers, 1798-1849. Portsmouth Athenaeum Library & Museum
referencedIn Lindseth, Jon A.,. Lindseth collection of American woman suffrage, [ca. 1820-1920]. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Fowler family. Fowler and Wells families papers, 1807-1968, 1836-1901(bulk). Cornell University Library
referencedIn National American Woman Suffrage Association Records, 1839-1961, (bulk 1890-1930) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Hazzard, Florence W. (Florence Woolsey). Papers, 1940-1950. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Frothingham, Richard, 1812-1880. Richard Frothingham papers II, 1685-1895. Massachusetts Historical Society
creatorOf Empie, Adam, 1785-1860. Papers, 1821-1956, 1821-1856. William & Mary Libraries
referencedIn Lutz, Alma, 1890-1973. Collection of documents by and about abolitionists and women's rights activists, 1775-1943 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Garrison family papers, 1801-1948 (inclusive), 1840-1907 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Grimké, Sarah Moore, 1792-1873. Grimke, Sarah Moore, papers, 1825-1874. University of Texas Libraries
referencedIn Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879. Letter : Roxbury, Mass., to Sarah M. Grimké, 1871 Jan. 18. University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874. Papers, 1762-1962 Syracuse University. Library. Special Collections Research Center
referencedIn Hazzard, Florence Woolsey, 1903-1992. Papers, 1940-1950 Smith College, Neilson Library
creatorOf Grimké, Sarah Moore, 1792-1873. Letter, 1837 October 25, Holliston [Mass.], to "My Dear Friend" [Joseph Tallcot] / S. Grimke. Haverford College Library
creatorOf Grimké, Sarah Moore, 1792-1873. Letter : Liverpool, to Jane Bettle, Philadelphia, 1828 Dec. 6. Bryn Mawr College, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library
referencedIn Lindseth collection of American woman suffrage, [ca. 1820-1920]. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Blackwell, Alice Stone, 1857-1950. Blackwell family papers, 1759-1960 (bulk 1845-1890). Library of Congress
referencedIn National American Woman Suffrage Association. National American Woman Suffrage Association records, 1839-1961 bulk (1890-1930). Library of Congress
creatorOf Tallcot, Joseph, 1768-1853. Family papers, 1724-1857 (bulk 1788-1853). Haverford College Library
referencedIn Lerner, Gerda, 1920-. The Grimke sisters from South Carolina : rebels against slavery : proofs, 1967. University of South Carolina, System Library Service, University Libraries
referencedIn Hill, Adams Sherman, 1833-1910. Papers, 1859-1864. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Slavery/Anti-Slavery Collection MS 390., 1791-1968 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn Women's Project of New Jersey. Records, 1984-2004 Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Cadbury, Richard, 1825-1897. Morris-Shinn-Maier collection, 1720-1975. Haverford College Library
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Petition from Women of Brookline, Massachusetts, Praying that the Gag Rule be Rescinded United States. National Archives and Records Administration
Relation Name
associatedWith ALMA LUTZ, 1890-1973 person
associatedWith Bettle, Jane, 1773-1840. person
correspondedWith Blackwell family family
associatedWith Clarke, James Freeman, 1810-1888 person
correspondedWith Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887 person
associatedWith Douglass, S. M. (Sarah Mapps), 1806-1882. person
associatedWith Empie, Adam, 1785-1860. person
associatedWith Fowler family. family
associatedWith Fowler family. family
associatedWith Frothingham, Richard, 1812-1880. person
correspondedWith Garrison family. family
associatedWith Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879. person
associatedWith GERDA LERNER, 1920- person
associatedWith Goodell, William, 1792-1878. person
associatedWith Grimké, Angelina Emily, 1805-1879. person
associatedWith Grimké family family
associatedWith Hazzard, Florence W. (Florence Woolsey) person
associatedWith Hazzard, Florence Woolsey, 1903-1992 person
associatedWith Hill, Adams Sherman, 1833-1910. person
associatedWith Hunton, Joseph, 1770-1828. person
associatedWith Jon A., Lindseth person
correspondedWith Ladd, William, 1778-1841. person
associatedWith Lerner, Gerda, 1920- person
associatedWith Lindseth, Jon A., person
associatedWith Lutz, Alma, person
associatedWith Mann family. family
associatedWith May, Samuel J. (Samuel Joseph), 1797-1871. person
correspondedWith National American Woman Suffrage Association. corporateBody
associatedWith New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. corporateBody
associatedWith Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. corporateBody
correspondedWith Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884 person
associatedWith Poor family. family
associatedWith POOR FAMILY family
correspondedWith Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874. person
associatedWith Spring, Rebecca. person
associatedWith Stone, Lucy, 1818-1893 person
correspondedWith Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 person
associatedWith Tallcot, Joseph, 1768-1853. person
associatedWith Weld family family
associatedWith Weld family. family
correspondedWith Weld, Theodore Dwight, 1803-1895. person
associatedWith WEPR-FM (Radio station : Greenville, S.C.) corporateBody
correspondedWith Whittier, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892. person
associatedWith Women's Project of New Jersey corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Hyde Park MA US
Charleston SC US
Subject
Quaker preaching
Religious education
Abolitionists
Abolitionists--Correspondence
Society of Friends--Antislavery movement
Women in church work--Society of Friends
Women's rights--History--19th century
Abolitionists--Archives
Quaker women ministers
Quaker converts
Occupation
Reformers
Authors
Activity

Person

Birth 1792-11-26

Death 1873-12-23

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 84165744