ANNA ELIZABETH DICKINSON (October 28, 1842 – October 22, 1932) was an American orator and lecturer, a staunch and renowned advocate for the abolition of slavery and women’s rights. Her parents were Philadelphia Quakers and abolitionists whose home was on the Underground Railroad.
Not yet 14, Dickinson published an essay about the abuse suffered by an abolitionist school teacher in Kentucky in William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator. Unlike other Americans, Quakers encouraged women to speak in public. Dickinson gave impassioned speeches on abolition, reconstruction, women’s rights and temperance. Her success led the way for future women speakers. When Dickinson spoke at Cooper Institute in New York City, more than 5,000 attended. She earned a standing ovation in 1864 when she spoke in the House of Representatives, where President Abraham Lincoln and many civic and military leaders were present. Dickinson made as much at $20,000 a year (equivalent of nearly $407,000 in 2018). She gave most of her earnings away to charity, friends and relatives.
Offering two ALSs by Dickinson to one ARTHUR BROWN. This may be the Arthur Brown (1843-1906), who entered the U.S. Senate as a Republican when Utah became a state. Brown was the second cousin of future President Calvin Coolidge and a member of Phillips Congregational Church in Salt Lake City. On December 6, 1906, his mistress, Anne Madison Bradley, shot him to death. She claimed he was the father of her children. At the trial, it was revealed that Brown renounced Bradley and her two sons. The sympathetic jury acquitted her.
The two ALSs, 5 x 8, 2 ½ pp total, on her ivory toned personal stationary with a monogramed “D” at the top, are written from Atlantic City, NJ, but signed by her as originating from Philadelphia, PA, indicating that they may have been written while she was on a lecture tour. One is dated July 24, and the other Sept. 11, 1871. The letters refer to Dickinson’s speaking engagements.
In part, “While with you last season, you asked & I promised to return next season. Is that understood? If so, will the evening of November 21…be satisfactory to you?
“…Please do me the favor of an immediate reply as other places must await…”
On September 11, she writes, in part, “…I am exceedingly sorry to trouble you for…a change…owing to some misunderstanding…concerning [historic] Faneuil Hall [Boston] & my second evening there…
“This will bring me to you the 22nd in place of the 21st of November. I hope this will be no inconvenience & will be equally satisfactory.
“Will you please let me have a line from you by return mail…
“Anna E. Dickson, Phil. PA.”
Folds, light toning but overall excellent condition and great examples of this incredible woman.
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