I am very excited to announce a new weekly post here at An Adjective and a Noun. Every Monday I will profile a woman in history who changed the world. Women Who Wow is the tentative title to this weekly special, and if you have any suggestions on women I should profile, I’d love to hear them!
In honor of the 167th Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, my first Woman Who Wows us is Mary Anne McClintock.
Mary Anne McClintock was born Mary Anne Wilson to Quaker parents in 1800 in New Jersey. Despite having only attended school for one year in 1814, she was very intelligent. In 1820, she married Thomas McClintock, a druggist and fellow quaker, and together they moved to Philadelphia, where Thomas’ shop was. They lived in Philadelphia for 17 years, during which time she had four daughters and a son. While in Philadelphia both McClintock’s became avid abolitionists and social activists. In 1833, Mary, along with Lucretia Mott, became founding members of the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. Mary McClintock helped organize Society’s first Anti-Slavery Fair in 1836.
In 1837 the McClintock family moved to Waterloo, New York. They joined a community of Quaker abolitionists there and one of their compatriots, Richard Hunt, gave them a house to live in, out of which they also ran a drugstore and school. While living in Waterloo, the McClintock’s continued to be politically active. In 1842, Thomas and Mary Anne became founding members of the Western New York Anti-Slavery Society and helped write its constitution. Little did Mary know, her greatest achievement was yet to come.
1848 was a big year for Mary Anne McClintock and for women everywhere. The ripples created by the splashes made by women in 1848 can still be felt by women, and all of society today. Mary and a group of friends organized a meeting to plan the First Women’s Rights Convention. A few weeks later, Mary hosted a second meeting where her, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and other like-minded individuals drafted the Declaration of Sentiments. Shortly after drafting the Declaration of Sentiments the same group of individuals hosted the Seneca Falls Convention, often referred to as the First Women’s Rights Convention. Mary Anne McClintock was very active in it’s creation and served as secretary for the convention. Additionally, Mary gave several presentations, including the reading of a satirical poem called “The Times That Try Men’s Souls.”
In 1848 Mary Anne and Thomas McClintock also formed the Friends of Human Progress group. This was a more radical Quaker movement which attracted freethinkers who were passionate about issues of the time like Women’s Rights, abolition, and peace. Some noted attendees of the Friends of Human Progress Meetings were Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, the Pryors, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
In 1876 The McClintock’s returned to Philadelphia, where Thomas passed away shortly after their arrival. Mary remained active until her death in 1884. However, though they are gone, the impact this power couple has made on the world is still very much alive.