Mott, Lucretia Coffin

Life Span
    Full name
    Lucretia Coffin Mott
    Place of Birth
    Burial Place
    Birth Date Certainty
    Death Date Certainty
    Sectional choice
    Free State
    No. of Spouses
    No. of Children
    Thomas Coffin (father), Ann Folger Coffin (mother), James Mott (husband)
    Relation to Slavery
    White non-slaveholder
    Church or Religious Denomination
    Quakers (Society of Friends)
    Other Affiliations
    Abolitionists (Anti-Slavery Society)
    Women’s Rights
    Household Size in 1860
    Residence in 1860
    Marital status in 1860

    Lucretia Mott (American National Biography)

    In 1837 Mott attended the First Anti-Slavery Convention of American Women, an event she helped to organize, held in New York City. She devoted her speeches increasingly to the intertwined causes of feminism and antislavery, attracting large audiences. Like her colleagues Angelina Grimké and Sarah Grimké, Mott received harsh criticism, even from fellow antislavery advocates, for speaking to "promiscuous" audiences, that is, groups comprised of both women and men. Among proslavery forces Mott was denounced as a racial "amalgamator" and more than once was threatened by unruly, violent mobs. A pacifist, she believed that only moral weapons should be used to win the battle against slavery.

    The "woman question" ultimately divided the American Anti-Slavery Society into two factions in 1840. That spring James and Lucretia Mott were named delegates from Pennsylvania to the World's Anti-Slavery Convention, which was held in London in June. The first order of business of the all-male convention was to discuss the admission of women delegates. Ninety percent of the delegates were opposed, and Lucretia Mott thus officially attended only as a visitor, but her presence nevertheless established her as a leading figure in both the women's rights and antislavery movements. Moreover, at the convention's end, she and abolitionist turned leading women's rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton resolved to call a meeting in the United States to advocate the rights of women.
    Nancy C. Unger, "Mott, Lucretia Coffin,” American National Biography Online, February 2000,

    Lucretia Mott (Notable Americans)

    MOTT, Lucretia, reformer, was born on Nantucket Island, Mass., Jan. 3, 1793; daughter of Capt. Thomas and Anna (Folger) Coffin ; granddaughter of Benjamin Coffin and of William Folger, and a descendant of Tristram (1642) and Dionis (Stevens) Coffin. She removed to Boston, Mass., with her parents in 1804, attended and taught in the Friends school at Nine Partners, N.Y., 1806-10, and there met James Mott (q.v.), to whom she was married at the,  home of her parents in Philadelphia, April 10, 1811. She conducted a school in Philadelphia with Rebecca Bunker, 1817- 18, and in 1818 became a minister in the Society of Friends. She eventually joined her husband, a supporter of Elias Hicks, and as a minister of the Liberal Quakers, journeyed through New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana, preaching her faith and advocating the abolition of slavery. She was influential in organizing the American Anti- slavery society at Philadelphia in 1833, but being a woman could not sign the declaration adopted. She also aided in forming female anti- slavery societies, and in 1840 accompanied her husband to London, England, as a delegate from the American Antislavery society to the World's Antislavery convention to which they found, on their arrival, no women were to be admitted. She however made several addresses, and the fact that she was not recognized as a delegate led to the woman's rights movement in England, France and the United States. In 1848, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Martha C. Wright and Mary A. McClintock, she called the first convention at Seneca Falls, N.Y., for the discussion and improvement of the social, civil and religious conditions and rights of women. She thereafter devoted herself to this cause and made her last public appearance at the Suffrage convention held in New York city in 1878. She held meetings with the colored people; was a member of the Pennsylvania Peace society, and an active worker in the Free Religious associations formed in Boston, Mass., in 1868. She also aided in establishing the Woman's Medical college in Philadelphia. See "Life and Letters of James and Lucretia Mott" by Ann Davis Hallowell (1884). She died near Philadelphia, Pa., Nov. 11, 1880.
    Rossiter Johnson, ed., “Mott, Lucretia,” The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, vol. 7 (Boston: The Biographical Society, 1904).

    Lucretia Mott (Douglas-Lithgow, 1914)

    Lucretia Mott.  Lucretia Mott, daughter of Thomas and Anna Coffin, was born on Nantucket, January 3, 1793, and died near Philadelphia, November 11, 1880, in her 88th year.  A long life but nobly lived; an ideal type of pure womanhood distinguished by many virtues, an all-pervading force for good, characterized by lofty intelligence, genuine philanthropy, and sublime spiritual fervor, a magnetic personality which attracted and never repelled, and a sweet voice which expressed itself only in golden words.  Such was Lucretia Mott, moral reformer, abolitionist, humanitarian, as noble a woman as any country ever produced, and the first woman in America to advocate female suffrage.  As a direct descendant of the Folger and Coffin strain, she inherited nothing that was not beneficent.  Educated in Boston, and subsequently in New York State, she ultimately lived with her parents in Philadelphia, where, at the age of eighteen, she married James Mott, in whom she met her hallowed affinity, and brought up a family of five children with exemplary care and maternal affection. She became an eminent minister of the Society of Friends, an eloquent moral reformer, a profound and active sympathizer with human suffering irrespective of class or creed, and she has been happily described as "The bright morning star of intellectual freedom in America." Who can estimate the beneficent influences of such a life?  Can time or death destroy them?  A thousand times No!  For they are linked with divineness and immortality.
    R.A. Douglas-Lithgow, Nantucket: A History (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1914), 225.

    Lucretia Mott (Friend's Intelligencer)

    MOTT.— On Fifth-day, Eleventh month 11th, 1880, at her residence, Roadside, Chelterham, Pa., Lucretia, widow of James Mott, in the 88th year of her age; a valued minister of the Monthly Meeting of Philadelphia.
    “Mott,” Friend’s Intelligencer, November 20, 1880, p. 636.

    Lucretia Mott (International Encyclopaedia)

    MOTT, LUCRETIA (COFFIN) (1793-1880). An American abolitionist and woman's rights advocate, born on Nantucket Island. She was educated in the Friends' School at Nine Partners, near Poughkeepsie, N. Y., where she met James Mott (q.v.), whom in 1818 she married. She became prominent as a preacher in the Society of Friends and was chosen a minister. As a result of a visit to Virginia in 1818 she became an ardent advocate of emancipation. At the 'Separation' of 1827 which divided the Society of Friends into two hostile factions, she and her husband adhered to the liberal or Hicksite party. In 1833 she attended as an invited guest the first convention of the American Anti-Slavery Society, of which her husband was a member. Soon afterwards she helped to organize the Female Anti-Slavery Society, of which she continued one of the leaders until 1839, when it was merged in the men's organization. As the feeling against abolitionists grew in intensity, many of the more timid Quakers began to deprecate any discussion of slavery by one of their ministers, and even in her own meeting she was regarded with
    suspicion and dislike. In 1840, at the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London, to which both James and Lucretia Mott had been chosen delegates, the question of the equal participation of women in the proceedings of the convention came up, and after some discussion all women were excluded. It was then that Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton first discussed the woman's rights movement, which they launched eight years later at a convention in Seneca Falls, N. Y. But these two movements, abolition and woman's rights, while they received the greater share of her attention, were not the only ones in which Mrs. Mott was interested, for all that promised to uplift humanity or to break the fetters of ignorance and tradition received her warmest support. Almost to the end of her life she made frequent journeys to visit distant meetings or to attend conventions called to consider the elevation of woman, the promotion of temperance, and the establishment of universal peace. Consult Hallowell, The Life and Letters of James and Lucretia Mott (Boston, 1884).
    Daniel Coit Gilman, Harry Thurston Peck, and Frank Moore Colby, eds., “Mott, Lucretia,” The New International Encyclopaedia (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1906), 14: 62-63.
    Chicago Style Entry Link
    Bacon, Margaret Hope. “The Motts and the Purvises: A Study in Interracial Friendship.” Quaker History 92, no. 2 (2003): 1-18 view record
    Bacon, Margaret Hope. Valiant Friend: The Life of Lucretia Mott. New York: Walker, 1980. view record
    Bryant, Jennifer. Lucretia Mott: A Guiding Light. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1996. view record
    Burnett, Constance Buel. Five for Freedom: Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt. New York: Abelard Press, 1953. view record
    Greene, Dana. “Quaker Feminism: The Case of Lucretia Mott.” Pennsylvania History 48, no. 2 (1981): 143-154. view record
    Hallowell, Anna Davis, ed. James and Lucretia Mott: Life and Letters. New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1884. view record
    Mott, Lucretia. A Sermon to the Medical Students, Delivered by Lucretia Mott, at Cherry Street Meeting House, Philadelphia. Philadelphia: W.B. Zeiber, 1849. view record
    Mott, Lucretia. Lucretia Mott: Her Complete Speeches and Sermons. Edited by Dana Greene. New York: E. Mellen Press, 1980. view record
    Whittier, John Greenleaf. Lucretia Mott. Philadelphia: Office of the Journal, 1880. view record
    How to Cite This Page: "Mott, Lucretia Coffin," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,