Portraits of American Women Writers That Appeared in Print Before 1861 - Header and Menu



Elizabeth M. Chandler. The Poetical Works (1836), frontispiece.


After both of Elizabeth Chandler's parents died during her early childhood, she grew up in the homes of strict Quaker relatives in Philadelphia, where she attended a Friends' school and embraced the Quakers’ antislavery stance. When she was eighteen, her antislavery poem "The Slave Ship" won a prize as well as the attention of abolitionist Benjamin Lundy, who encouraged her to write for his periodical, the Genius of Universal Emancipation. She contributed to and edited the "Ladies' Repository" section of the paper, in which her articles advocated pacifism, better treatment for American Indians, and immediate emancipation for slaves. In particular, she appealed to women to take up the abolitionist cause.

In 1830, Elizabeth Chandler moved with her aunt and brother to a farm in Michigan, where they organized meetings which eventually grew into Michigan's first antislavery association, one of the few in her day which called for the total integration of blacks into American society. She died of a fever in 1834.

During her lifetime, almost all her published writing appeared anonymously, but after her death Lundy published two widely-circulated collections of her work: Essays, Philanthropic and Moral (1836) and Poetical Works by Elizabeth Margaret Chandler; with a Memoir of Her Life and Character (1836).

Another portrait appears in:

Elizabeth M. Chandler. The Poetical Works (1845), frontispiece.



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