Edited by Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget
Caroline Wells Healey Dall
(1822–1912) Caroline Dall was born in Boston on 22 June 1822, the daughter of Caroline Foster Healey and of Mark Healey, an India merchant. She was educated at home by tutors and attended a nearby school for girls. Margaret McFadden’s article ‘Boston Teenagers Debate the Woman Question, 1837–1838’ (1990) gives a fascinating account of the origins of Dall’s feminism in a correspondence between Caroline, aged 15, and her friend Ednah Dow Littledale (later Cheney), in which Caroline Healey was then an opponent of women’s rights. The correspondence was inﬂuenced by Harriet Martineau’s (q.v.) chapter on ‘The Political Non-Existence of Women’ and by what Littledale termed ‘a brave address on Women’s Rights at the Lyceum’ by Amasa Walker, an ‘underground railway’ activist and soon to be professor of political economy at Oberlin. From the age of 13, Caroline published essays on moral and religious topics, which were collected in her ﬁrst book, Essays and Sketches (1849). Ironically, that book, including essays expressing disinterest in women’s rights, was not published until 1849, the year that she ﬁrst wrote in favour of women’s rights in the abolitionist journal The Liberator. In the 1840s she was attracted to the transcendentalist ideas emerging within Unitarianism, and in 1841 she attended a weekly series of conversations led by the feminist author Margaret Fuller. For at least 60 years from around 1840, she conducted Unitarian Sunday school classes. When her father suffered ﬁnancial reverses, Caroline Healey worked as vice-principal of Miss English’s School for...
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