Livermore, Mary Ashton Rice

Livermore, Mary Ashton Rice

(1820–1905) temperance worker, women's rights activist, lecturer, author; born in Boston, Mass. Brought up by a strict Calvinist father, she attended various schools in Boston and began teaching even before graduating from a female seminary in 1831. She then spent three years as a tutor for a family in North Carolina where she saw firsthand the horrors of slavery. In 1842 she took up teaching at a new private coeducational school in Duxbury, Mass., where she met and married (1845) Daniel P. Livermore, a Universalist minister. As a housewife for many years, she wrote stories and poems and became active in the temperance movement. In 1857 she and her husband settled in Chicago and she assisted him in editing a Universalist monthly magazine (1858–69). During the Civil War, she volunteered to serve with the Sanitary Commission and toured military hospitals, raised money in speaking tours and at fairs, and collected vast quantities of supplies for the armed forces. After the war, she became active in the women's suffrage movement and in 1869 founded her own suffrage paper, the Agitator; it merged with the Woman's Journal (1870–72) when Lucy Stone invited her to become editor of the new magazine of the American Woman Suffrage Association. The Livermores moved to Melrose, Mass., in 1870, the same year that she embarked on what would be a 25-year career on the lecture circuit. She earned substantial sums of money as she traveled the country, becoming famous for such lectures as "What Shall We Do With Our Daughters?" (answer: educate them). She served as president of the American Women's Suffrage Association (1875–78) and was a founder and friend of the Massachusetts Women's Christian Temperance Union (1875–85). She published many articles and two books that enjoyed considerable popularity, My Story of the War (1887) and The Story of My Life (1897).
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