History's Women: The Arts: Mary A. Livermore, Journalist, Philanthropist, and LecturerMary A. Livermore
Journalist, Philanthropist, and Lecturer
1820 – 1905 A.D.

Her father was Timothy Rice, of Welsh descent, who possessed many of the sturdy Welsh qualities, even to not sparing the rod in the training of his daughter.

She graduated from the Boston public schools at fourteen and then attended the Female Seminary in Charlestown, Mass. The four years work she accomplished in half that time and then became a member of the faculty, teaching Latin and French.

Removing to southern Virginia, she saw slavery as it was and, when she returned to the North, was a confirmed Abolitionist.

In 1843 she became the wife of Rev. D.P. Livermore, a Universalist clergyman. Her husband was called to Chicago to become a manager and editor of The New Covenant. Mrs. Livermore became his associate on the paper and rendered valuable service.

When the civil war broke out she went to the front as a nurse, and was often under fire of the enemy’s guns. There was strong prejudice against women as army nurses, and much opposition was experienced.

The Sanitary Commission was largely indebted to her for its organized efforts. When money came slowly, she inaugurated the great Chicago Soldiers’ Fair, which netted $100,000. She was, in fact, the mother of this movement.

Her book, My Story of the War, has reached a sale of more than fifty thousand volumes. At the close of the war she turned her energies in the direction of the advancement of women. She established in Boston The Agitator, for the advocacy of temperance reform and woman suffrage. In 1870 The Woman’s Journal was started and she became the editor, her own paper becoming absorbed in the new journal.

For thirteen years she delivered on an average of one hundred and fifty lectures per year. She has spoken on a wide range of themes — biography, history, politics, religion, temperance, and other reforms, and various departments of sociology in their special bearing upon woman.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.

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