HERSTORY COMES TO LIFE:VOICES FROM THE PAST
compiled for the Vespers service, JUNE 24, 1990, 10:30 PM
at the UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST ASSOCIATION GENERAL ASSEMBLY
Prelude: “Standing Before Us,” Carole Etzler (c)1983
from the album Thirteen Ships, available from Sisters Unlimite4 RR.1 Box 1420, Vergennes, VT 05491
Opening Words: “She Walketh Veiled and Sleeping,”
Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman (1860-1935)
She walketh veiled and sleeping,
For she knoweth not her power;
She obeyeth but the pleading
Of her heart, and the high leading
Of her soul, unto this hour.
Slow advancing, halting, creeping,
Comes the Woman to the hour!-She walketh veiled and sleeping,
For she knoweth not her power.
Charlotte Perkins Stetson, In This Our World, Boston: Smal4 Maynard & Co. (1898, 1893) p. 125
Hymn: “A Hundred Years Hence” (Tune: “Milton” by Jacob Kimball, 1793) Frances Dana Barker Gage (1808-1884)
One hundred years hence, what a change will be made
In politics, morals, religion and trade,
In statesmen who wrangle or ride on the fence,
These things will be altered a hundred years hence.
Our laws then will be uncompulsory rules,
Our prisons converted to national schools,
The pleasure of sinning ‘tis all a pretense,
And people will find that, a hundred years hence.
All cheating and fraud will be laid on the shelf,
Men will not get drunk, nor be bound up in self,
But all live together, good neighbors and friends,
As Christian folks ought to, a hundred years hence.
Then woman, man’s partner, man’s equal shall stand,
While beauty and harmony govern the land,
To think for oneself will be no offense,
The world will be thinking, a hundred years hence.
Oppression and war will be heard of no more
Nor blood of a slave leave [a] * print on our shore,
Conventions will then be a useless expense,
For we’ll go free-suffrage a hundred years hence.
Instead of speech-making to satisfy wrong,
We’ll all join the chorus to sing Freedom’s song;
And if the Millenium is not a pretense,
We’ll all be good [neighbors] * a hundred years hence.
Responsive Reading, from “A Prophecy”
Phebe Ann Coffin Hanaford (1829-1921)
With reverent hand, we lift Truth’s glorious banner,
AND FEALTY VOW
TO ALL THAT LIFTS OUR SEX TO POWER AND HONOR
IN THIS GRAND NOW
The time has fled when weakness meant but woman:
THE HOUR HAS COME
WHEN THE DIVINE TRANSCENDS IN HER THE HUMAN;
And ‘tis her doom,
Her glorious destiny, to guide this nation
Far from its sin,
UP TO THE HEIGHTS OF ITS SERENE SALVATION,
ITS CROWN TO WIN
AMONG THE PEOPLE THAT ARE KNOWN TO STORY
AND CLASSIC SONG.
Then shall no nation be so filled with glory,
And none so strong….
TO WORK FOR GOD IN WORKING FOR EACH OTHER,
AND SIDE BY SIDE,
With equal privilege and equal honor,
In peace t’abide.
WE WILL NOT FAINT, THEN, ON THIS FIELD OF FREEDOM,
BUT STILL CONTEND,
WITH ALL THE POWER GOD GIVES EACH TRUE REFORMER,
UNTIL 1HE END.
Phebe A. Hanaford, From Shore to Shore, and other poems.
Boston: B. B. Russell (1871) p. 229 (Punctuation adapted for responsive reading.)
Celia Laighton Thaxter (1835-1894)
As happy dwellers by the seaside hear
In every pause the sea’s mysterious sound,
The infinite murmur, solemn and profound,
Incessant, filling all the atmosphere,
Even so I hear you, for you do surround
My newly-waking life, and break for aye
About the viewless shores, till they resound
With echoes of God’s greatness night and day.
Refreshed and glad I feel the full flood-tide
Fill every inlet of my waiting soul;
Long-striving, eager hope, beyond control,
For help and strength at last is satisfied;
And you exalt me, like the sounding sea,
With ceaseless whispers of eternity.
Celia Thaxter, The Poems, Boston: Houghton Muffin Co. (1916, 1871) p. 165
Brief silence, followed by congregational response:
And you exalt me like the sounding sea,
And ceaseless whispers of eternity.
The Challenges Before Us
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911)
O women of America! into your hands God has pressed one of the sublimest opportunities that ever came into the hands of the women of any race or people. It is yours to create a healthy public sentiment; to demand justice, simple justice, as the right of every race; to brand with everlasting infamy the lawless and brutal cowardice that lynches, burns and tortures your own country[folk] .
To grapple with the evils which threaten to undermine the strength of the nation and to lay magazines of powder under the cribs of future generations is no child’s play.
Let the hearts of the women of the world respond to the song of the herald angels of peace on earth and good will to [all]*. Let them throb as one heart unified by the grand and holy purpose of uplifting the human race, and humanity will breathe freer, and the world grow brighter. With such a purpose Eden would spring up in our path, and Paradise be around our way.
Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, excerpts from an address on “Woman’s Political Future,” World’s Congress of Representative Women (1893) reprinted in “Sexism and Peacemaking” curriculum, Session H Page H 18, Unitarian Universalist Peace Network
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804-1894)
I do not think that Evil should be clothed in forms by the imaginations: I think every effort should be made to strip it of all individuality, all shaping, and all coloring. And the reason is, that Evil has in truth, no substantial existence, that it acquires the existence it has from want of faith and soul- cultivation, and that this is sufficient reason why all cultivation should be directed to give positiveness, coloring, shape, etc. to all kinds of good, — God alone being eternal truth.
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, excerpt of letter to Bronson Alcott, 8 October 1835, in Bruce A. Ronda, ed., Letters of Elizabeth Palmer Peabody: American Renaissance Woman. Middleton, CT: Wesleyan University Press (1984)
Augusta Jane Chapin (1836-1905)
When, after long struggles, through ways of darkness, with no one to counsel, a child in a school of an opposite faith, I came to a knowledge of this great truth, it seemed to me a foregone conclusion that there could be nothing in this world for me to do but to give my powers and my life to the promulgation of the great, the glorious truth, which is the one thing which this world needs to bring us to the dawn of the millennium morning. And I look to the influence of woman in the future—added to the influence of our brother-man, who has so long and so grandly worked,–as she shall wisely use the abilities which God has given her, to hasten on the time when we shall everywhere hear the triumphal notes of the gospel, and the hosts of Zion shall go forth to victory.
J. W. Hanson, D.D., Voices of the Faith: A Birthday Book Containing a Selection for every day in the year from writers expressing the Universalist faith, Boston: Universalist Publishing House (1885) p.222
_you exalt me like the sounding sea,
with ceaseless whispers of eternity.
Struggle and Hope
Mary Ashton Rice Livermore (1820-1905)
Do you ask, “Why should life be packed so full of conflict? Why was it not planned to be harmonious and congenial?”… We cannot look at the world as it is to-day, a scene of vast and universal conflict, without believing it to be organic, and the design of the Creator… Is it not possible, … that the hindrances which arrest our progress, and the obstacles that lie broadly in our path, are the divinest agents of help which our Creator could give us?… The painful struggles to overcome and remove them develop in us strength, courage, self-reliance, and heroism. They are the hammer and chisel that release the statue from the imprisoning marble,– the plow and the harrow that break up the soil, and mellow it for the reception of the seed that shall yield an abundant harvest.
Mary A. Livermore, “The Battle of Life,” in The Story of My Life: or, The Sunshine and Shadow of Seventy Years.
Hartford, CT: A. D. Worthington & Co. (1897) pp. 678-680
Hannah Adams (1755-1831)
The candid mind will not consider [the diversity of] opinions as an argument against divine revelation… There may be as great a variety in the moral as in the material world. Hence naturally results a diversity of sentiment, which will appear less surprising, if we consider the additional force of education, and the prejudices to which we are all, in some degree, exposed.
Hannah Adams, A View of Religion in Three Parts, Dunstable, MA: J. W. Morris (1805) Appendix
Alice Cary (1820-1871)
Nay, but ‘t is not the end;
God were not God if such a thing could be:
If not in time, then in eternity,
There must be room for penitence, to mend
Life’s broken chance, else noise of wars
Would unmake heaven.
Hanson, Voices of the Faith, p. 136
–you exalt me like the sounding sea,
with ceaseless whispers of eternity
Eliza Tupper Wilkes (1844-1917)
“What is Your Work?”
“What is your work?” she asked me
In her thrifty eager way.
Alas! I had no answer;
I was silent with dismay.
And again and again the question Repeated itself to me;
Youth’s haunting unfilled desires
Came back and refused to flee–
There was in those olden plans of mine
To add to earth’s real wealth;
But the trivial round of petty cares
Have taken the years by stealth.
But I comfort myself in thinking,-
If only the work be done,
It matters not who sows the seed,
Or who on the errands run.
Does it matter if my song’s unsung?
My poem find no word?
For the pictures still the canvas wait?
My sermon never heard?
If only my heart keep singing,
My deeds the sermon preach,
The beauty I sought for the canvas
My life attempt to teach–
And so, when next she asks me
What work I have to bring,
I shall not turn abashed away
But with joy my voice will sing–
As I say: “I run on errands
For those who truth’s scepters wield,
I carry the cup of water
To the workers in the field.”
Eliza Thpper Wilkes, correspondence, in UUA archives
Hazel Ida Kirk (1885-1957)
Because we believe with all our hearts that only religious ideals can make a worthwhile civilization, we want to plant those ideals in the heart and soul of people. Just as one never knows what great leader may sit before him [or her] * in the guise of a little child, so we who work in a small way never know but that one of our hearers may be a chosen one to lead people out of darkness into light. Such a thought glorifies all the common tasks and makes one determined to put his [or her] * very best into each service however insignificant it may seem to be and how meager the results appear. We are “like the grass-blade,” which helps the meadow to be a meadow and our mission is to be as good grass-blades as possible.
Hazel I. Kirk, The Bulletin of the Women’s National Missionary Association, November 1922.
Phebe Ann Coffin Hanaford (1829-1921)
“The Question Answered”
suggested by an incident in the life of Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown, while fellow-students at Oberlin, Ohio.
The evening hour with soothing quiet came;
The silver moon rose slowly up the sky;
Crowned with young womanhood, two friends walked forth,
Communing gladly of Life’s purpose high.
The queenly step of one, the taller, ceased:
She turned, and looked full in her friend’s clear eye.
“Can woman reach the pulpit?” then she asked,
And waited, with a full heart, the reply.
The answer came; but not a hope was born,
As fell those words upon the querist’s heart:
“Woman may labor in full many a field,’
But may not hope to act the preacher’s part.’….
A quarter-century now hath passed away,
And many a woman in the pulpit stands,
Ordained to do the pastors noble work
By more than laying on of human hands.
O God! we’ll trust thee for the days to come,
Thou who hast guided woman in the Past;
And with a grateful heart thine handmaids sing,
“The day of righteous freedom dawns at last.”
Phebe A. Hanaford, From Shore to Shore, and other poems, Boston: B. B. Russell (1871) p. 275
…you exalt me like the sounding sea,
with ceaseless whispers of eternity.
Theology and Faith
Lucy Barnes (1780-1809)
What would avail to me the joys of heaven,
And all the splendors of the golden coast,
If I must know millions of human souls
In misery groan, and are forever lost?
Hanson, Voices of the Faith, p.150
Lydia Maria Francis Child (1802-1880)
If men applied half as much common sense to their theological investigations as they do to every other subject, they could not worship a God, who, having filled this world with millions of…children, would finally consign them all to eternal destruction, except a few who could be induced to believe in very difficult and doubtful explanations of prophecies handed down to us through the long lapse of ages.
Hanson, Voices of the Faith, p. 54
Anita Trueman Pickett (1881-1961)
“A Confession of Faith”
To realize and reveal the Divine within my soul,
To see, serve, and worship the Divine in all else;
This is my life, my faith, my religion.
It is the Soul of Science and the Goal of Philosophy;
It glorifies all forms of human love.
It sanctifies service,
transforming Labor into Art.
It justifies the delight of [humanity] *
in communion with Nature.
It exposes Sin to the flame which consumes it,
For Sin is the SENSE OF SEPARATENESS which
crushes the Divine within,
and hides the Divine about us.
It explains Evil, which exists only for the
Finite Mind, because of its separateness.
It overcomes Evil, by bringing the Separate Self
into union with the Universal Spirit.
The Divine Self has created within its Being
many separate selves
That in each it may enfold a revealer and a
beholder of its own perfection.
I am one of these separate selves, and I
Follow my destiny.
Every day is a romantic adventure.
Every place I visit is holy ground.
All persons I meet are Divine Companions,
seeking me as I seek them,
That we may reveal the Divine in our souls
one to another,
And share the Divine that we discover
in our Universe.
Unpublished manuscript, (c) 1989 by Lyn Burnstine. Permission pending.
Julia H. Scott (1809-1842)
What is it? A star on the wild heaving sea,
Prostrating the proud on a prayer-bended knee;
A fire that refineth the metal within;
The canker which gnaws at the vitals of sin.
What is it? ‘T is mercy, ‘t is justice, ‘t is truth,
The staff of the aged, the glory of youth;
The rainbow of promise, to brighten our tears;
A lamp in death’s valley, dispersing our fears.
What is it? thou askest. Thy answer is there
In thy own swelling heart, with its beautiful prayer:
It breathes through all nature, it centres above;
‘T is our own spirit’s essence, ‘t is infinite love.
Hanson, Voices of the Faith, p. 344
Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910)
The religion [–Unitarianism–] which makes me a moral agent equally with my father and brother gives me my right and title to the citizenship which I am here to assert. I ought to share equally with them its privileges and its duties. No man can have more at stake in the community than I have.
Carol McPhee and Ann Fitzgerald, Feminist Quotations: Voices of Rebels, Reformers and Visionaries. NY: Thomas Crowell (1979) p. 35
…you exalt me, like the sounding sea,
with ceaseless whispers of eternity.
Address: “What Women Can Do in Uniting the Culture and Religious Forces of Society”
Delivered by Rev. Caroline Julia Bartlett [Crane] (1858-1935) at the First American Congress of Liberal Religious Societies, Chicago, 1894.
[Introduction of the speaker by a Dr. Thomas]:
The hour has now arrived for consideration of “What Can Be Done in Uniting the Culture and Religious Forces of Society by the Women,” an address by Rev. Caroline J. Bartlet, pastor of the People’s Church at Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“What Women Can Do in Uniting the Culture and Religious Forces of Society”
by Rev. Caroline Julia Bartlett [Crane)
When a child, I sometimes amused myself, foolishly enough, by repeating some familiar word or name over and over, until it was emptied of all real significance and became filled with some curious and perhaps uncanny meaning which its mere sound suggested to my fancy. Some such foolishness, I think, the world is now practicing upon the word “woman,” until the appellation that but just now conveyed an idea familiar enough to the world, has become the symbol for a great unknown quantity–unknown, but not unknowable, if the world can help it. From her obscurity as a seldom commented upon member of the genus homo, she has been suddenly evoked by the spirit of the Nineteenth Century which discovered her, and invited everywhere to define herself sharply against the back-ground of the regnant sex; and it may be confessed that she has responded with no undue coyness or reluctance. However, many women had ventured to hope that the Great Divide has been reached and over-passed in that Columbian year, and that woman might now be permitted to de[s]cend from the dizzy and arid heights of self-consciousness into a somewhat less conspicuous but more fruitful area of existence. But no! this most notable assembly, the child of that Parliament of Religions, demands to know “what women can do in uniting the culture and moral forces of society.”
Having been requested to open the discussion of this matter, I study the question carefully–both the question and its relation to the rest of the program. Does it imply a recognition of woman as an actual or possible coordinate factor with man in uniting the culture and religious forces of society? Does it imply even more? for indeed I cannot find anywhere upon the program a question concerning what man can do to these ends. Now far be it from women to take advantage of the modesty of these gentlemen (who so kindly arranged the program without demanding their assistance) by exploiting the actual or possible achievements of women. What can women do in uniting the culture and religious forces of society? The gentlemen were doubtless thinking of woman’s efforts to unite the moral culture of women and men under a single, identical standard. Yet will we not boast until our efforts give surer signal of success. They are thinking that women as mothers contribute more influence than do men as fathers to ennoble, and thus to unify, the minds and hearts of each successive generation of children. We reply: Perhaps men may do quite as much when they awaken to their full share of parental responsibility. They are thinking of that great uniting social force, our true “National Guard,” the women public school teachers of America. We say, There is no statutory bar against men assuming more of the honorable tasks (and less of the honorary emoluments) of public education. They are thinking of what women in the club life are doing to stimulate thought and action in currents that sweep away the barriers of sect and unite on the great sea of ideas and ideals that all well-intentioned people hold in common. We say:. Gentlemen, do not be discouraged; you have a few clubs for serious purposes even now! They are thinking of that vast field of organized and personally administered philanthropies by which women are leading the world towards that practical solidarity of human interests which the world most needs. We reply: If men seldom yet give themselves, it is something that they freely give their money; and there are a few men in Chicago, even now, patterning after Miss Addams and the Hull House! Take heart! in all these lines you may do as much as anyone, when once you decide to share more equally with woman the burdens and privileges of nurturing, teaching, comforting, nursing, repairing, sympathizing, that bring one near the heart of the world.
But it is just possible that such words of sisterly encouragement are ill bestowed. A second scanning of the program suggests that our brothers are not, after all, unduly depressed concerning their importance. In an American Congress of Free Religious Societies, occupying three full days, it would not seem on second thought, that fifteen or twenty minutes given to woman to discuss, not the subject in hand to be sure, but to discuss herself (with a few minutes allowed another woman to mention any omitted fact concerning the sex),–it would not seem that this is giving undue prominence to woman’s part in this great and prophetic movement–not, at least, when we recall, with some difficulty, a mental shock, that this is an American Congress of Liberal Religions called into being by men and women, and that call eloquent of a belief “in the great law and life of love,” and “a desire for a nearer and more helpful fellowship in the social, educational, industrial, moral and religious thought and work of the world.
The proposed nearer and more helpful fellowship in the thought and work of humanity is thus inaugurated by assigning one half of humanity to the pleasant and placating task of talking about itself for a few minutes before beginning the discussion of the subject for which the convention is called– after which that one half of humanity has no part nor recognition whatever in this council for uniting the culture and religious forces of the world. (“In the world, but not of the world,” as it were.) I ask pardon. The ladies are permitted to give a reception in honor of the Congress, and to provide suitable refreshment for those who have gallantly and quite cheerfully borne the toils of thought and debate for them.
Now to be serious (and I have meant to be serious, but the question presents difficulties, you see), I hope no one supposes we take it as an intended slight from the brethren. I am sure they never thought of such a thing–that it is a perfectly involuntary and artless revelation of a state of mind. While they were busy arranging this magnificent program for discussing social, educational, industrial, moral and religious fellowship “of the most inclusive kind,” they were quite unconscious of our existence. After it was all completed, somebody looked down and said: “Why, there are some women here! They can do something–let’s see–society!–that’s it! Let them prattle about it, and then we will give them some good advice as to just how they shall begin.”
And, gentlemen, we shall be glad, when the question comes to general discussion, if you will kindly tell us how we are to begin to do the work it is needful we should do with you, if the proportions of this program truly indicate your expectations of us.
If I have indicated in a word some of the work which women are doing and shall do to un[it]e the culture and moral forces of different classes and grades of society, surely enough has been said upon this subject when the great problem remains–namely, the union of the culture and religious forces of the two co-ordinate halves of society, men and women.
And be it understood, I make no special plea for woman. She may and does suffer from the divorce. But she is no longer asleep to her needs nor her defects. She is started on the road to progress at last, and she knows her goal. She, in touch with human service in the home, the school, the slum, the hospital, the world at large, leads a more interior life than you; she can evolve her sours freedom and destiny alone, if she must. It will be imperfect, not roundly human, for the lack of you; but it will not be so imperfect as your expression of religion made without her help. Because: she is the mother, not merely physical but spiritual, of humanity,–she mothers humanity, and what she sees in this child of hers, she keeps and ponders in her heart.
I would not boast. Indeed, I must admit whether I would or not, that men have thus far led the world in thought and action. Reasons can justly be assigned for this which do not imply woman’s necessary and continued inferiority in influence here. But even were it true (which I will neither admit nor stop to argue) that men always will lead in thought and action, how does this touch our problem? In all the past of theology, men have been at the front, have led the church militant, have conducted the great controversies, made the great schisms, formulated the creeds, hunted and impaled the heretics, set the standards and done the preaching of the world. Meanwhile, women, thus relieved, has had some time to do the practicing. And let me ask, in passing, have you ever observed that where anyone names the qualities of the ideal church,.., they are precisely the qualities attributed to the ideal woman? Does not this suggest a hitherto unutilized means of bringing both nearer the ideal?
But now, what have the church and the world profited by this excessive division of function to which I have alluded? I will not speak of the moral effects, further than to affirm that this alienation of men and women along the higher lines of thought and life has been the chief producer of that pernicious double standard which has robbed manhood of one set of virtues and womanhood of another. Pass this by, but here we have, as the product of man’s intellect, all the cruel and inhuman and separatist creeds, to combat and to disintegrate which, has been a great part of the life work of all the liberal religious societies here assembled; to surmount which, is the gigantic task proposed by this Congress. “Salt,” said the little boy, “is what makes potatoes taste bad when you don’t put any on.” Womanhood, I say, is what makes religion hard and inhuman when she hasn’t any voice in it.
Calvinism is faultlessly logical. “Faultlessly logical”–what more would you? 0, for a mighty rising of womanhood in that hour, to declare the forgotten wisdom of the ancients, that the true seat of the intellect is in the heart!
Do not misunderstand me. I repudiate that popular antithesis of man as a reasoning and woman as an emotional being. Both reason and emotion are human qualities, and the man or woman who is radically deficient in either, is not a well-rounded human being. If there be a sex difference, I say it is a difference of proportion and emphasis; and if it be (as I believe it is) characteristic of women that they are inclined to worship a throbbing ideal rather than a lifeless formula, by that token should they be respected and valued in a religious conference whose initial and central utterance is belief “in the great law and life of love.”…
But why must we choose between two phases of human development that are by nature not mutually exclusive but mutually complementary? This, this is the solemn truth: that we never yet once have had, and that we never will have a natural religion, a religion of humanity, till the two co-ordinate elements of humanity mingle to create it. Men and women may separately struggle free front many of the errors of the past, but neither sex can ever rise above its innate incapacity to express in terms of itself the whole of the humanity of which it is but half….
[There is the story of the] little girl who, being asked to define the word “epistle,” said she wasn’t sure, but she thought it was the feminine of “apostle.”… I want to be at least an epistle among these apostles of free religion–an epistle begging favor to be read in the light of consistency with the avowed principles of this congress.
And this is the inevitable postscript appended to this “so long epistle which I have written with mine own hand.” If it be time for the various branches of liberalism to quit outlining themselves severally against each other and against the back-ground of Orthodoxy and to set at some united constructive work for the world, is it not time for men and women as human beings to do the same? What can women do thus to unite the culture and religious forces of society? They can refuse longer to talk of themselves and their achievements and possibilities (as I had determined to refuse in this case until I thought of a few things I would really like to say). They can resolutely labor to make mere sex- distinctions as obsolete to the spirit and work of a congress like this, as are the terms Unitarian, Universalist, Jew–all swallowed up and forgotten in the task set, the ideal striven for by the common humanity in us all when touched by the Divine brooding in all and over all.
Shall men execute this long delayed justice? or shall it be that woman must, at least, sadly assert her own discredited divine prerogative, take up that crown of human-hood, and crown herself?
But men and women are natural allies. This artificial separation in the higher provinces of life is based on false principles which it is the glory of this congress to transcend. And thus, out of the logic and out of the spirit of this congress, there will come, as I hope and also believe, that better day– infinitely better for us all–when there shall be no Jew nor Gentile, Greek nor barbarian, male nor female but all shall be one in the renaissance of that Christ-spirit which even now dawns upon an expectant world.
Anna Carpenter Garlin Spencer (1851-1931)
“The Voice Within”
At dawn it called–”Go forward without fear!
All paths are open; choose ye, glad and free.”
Through morning’s toilsome climb it urged the plea–
“Nay, halt not, though the path ye chose grow drear.”
At noon it spake aloud–”Make smooth the way
For other feet. Bend to thy task, though weight
Of sorrow press thee. Others dower, though late.
Deny thy secret wish.
Through later day
It warns–”Climb on! Heights woo! The waning light
Bids haste! Yet scorn not those who lag behind,
Confused by lengthening rays that clear thy sight,
These, too, have striv’n all day their way to find.”
At eve, when flaming sunset fades, 0 hear
Dawn’s echoing call–”Go forward without fear.”
Anna Garlin Spencer, “The Voice Within,” in The West Side Calendar, in pamphlet file at Meadville-Lombard Libraiy.
Olympia Brown (1835-1926)
Dear Friends, stand by this faith. Work for it and sacrifice for it. There is nothing in all the world so important to you as to be loyal to this faith which has placed before you the loftiest ideals, which has comforted you in sorrow, strengthened you for noble duty and made the world beautiful for you. Do not demand immediate results but rejoice that you are worthy to be entrusted with this great message and that you are strong enough to work for a great true principle without counting the cost. Go on finding ever new applications of these truths and new enjoyments in their contemplation, always trusting in the one God which ever lives and loves. “One God, one law, one element, and one far-off divine event to which the whole creation moves.”
reprinted in Charlotte Core, Olympia Brown: The Battle for Equality. Racine, WI: Mother Courage Press (1988) p. 197
Mary Ashton Rice Livermore (1820-1905)
Courage, then, for the end draws near! A few more years of persistent, faithful work, and [women will be recognized as the legal equals of men1… Keep things stirred up… don’t let the people forget… the time is coming when, if we continue this work, [victory] will come. You and I may not live to see it; but2… history will tell this story to our children, and our children’s children, down to the latest generation. No one can yet see the way out… But there a way out, and we shall yet find it3… Nothing that is evil can permanently succeed. Nothing that is right will forever be overcome4… And the time is coming, in the not far-distant future, when we shall celebrate3…
composite of quotes by Mary Ashton Rice Livermore:
(1) speech in The History of Woman Suffrage (Anthony & Stanton) VoL4, p.412; (2) “Keep things stirred up,” speech to Unitarian Church Temperance Soc. May 30, 1890;
(3) “The Battle of Life,” clipping; August 8, 1891; (4) “Does the Liquor Traffic Pay?” in Story of my Life p. 712
Closing Hymn: “Hail, Mount of God”
Julia Ward Howe (1907) (tune: Ellers, by Edward John Hopkins, 1868)
1. Hail! Mount of god, whereon with reverent feet
The messengers of many nations meet.
Diverse in feature, argument, and creed,
One in their errand, [sisters] * in their need.
2. Not in unwisdom are the limits drawn
That give far lands opposing dusk and dawn.
One sun makes right the all-pervading air.
One fostering spirit hovers everywhere.
3. So with one breath may fervent souls aspire
With one high purpose wait the answering fire.
Be this the prayer that other prayer controls–
That light divine may visit human souls.
4. The worm that clothes the monarch spins no flaw,
The coral builder works by heavenly law.
Who would to conscience rear a temple pure
Must prove each stone and seal it, sound and sure.
5. Upon one steadfast base of truth we stand.
Love lifts her sheltering walls on either hand;
Arched O’er our head is Hope’s transcendent dome.
And in the [Mothers]* heart of hearts our home.
Maria Mitchell (1818-1889)
…Small as is our whole system compared with the infinitude of creation, brief as is our life compared with the cycles of time, we are so tethered to all by the beautiful dependencies of law, that not only the sparrow’s fall is felt to the uttermost bound but the vibrations set in motion by the words that we utter reach through all space and the tremor is felt through all time.
Helen Wright, Sweeper in the Sky: The Life of Maria Mitchell, Macmillan (1949)