Tappan, Arthur(tăp`ən), 1786–1865, American abolitionist, b. Northampton, Mass. He made a fortune in the dry-goods business in New York City and with his brother and partner Lewis Tappan gave generously of his time and money to various causes, especially to the antislavery movement. He contributed to the establishment of Kenyon and Oberlin colleges in Ohio, was elected (1833) the first president of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and, after splitting with William Lloyd Garrison, helped organize (1840) and became president of the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.
See biography by L. Tappan (1870).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
Tappan, Arthur(1786–1865) merchant, philanthropist, abolitionist; born in Northampton, Mass. (brother of Benjamin and Lewis Tappan). Brought up in a strict religious home, he succeeded in the import business and started (1826) a prosperous silk jobbing venture in New York City soon involving his brother Lewis as partner. In 1827 he founded the New York Journal of Commerce to be a model of decent and reform-minded journalism. Both brothers devoted time and money to causes ranging from temperance to abolitionism. Arthur backed many theological seminaries and colleges, as well as William Lloyd Garrison's abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, and similar journals. In 1833 he cofounded the American Anti-Slavery Society and became its first president. Later breaking with other abolitionists because of their linking of abolitionism with other issues, such as feminism, he helped found the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (1840); he also cofounded the American Missionary Society (1846), which included abolition as one of its goals.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.