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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Abolitionist Silk Purses

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Anonymous, SILK PURSES (c. 1830). Courtesy National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

Creator Perhaps manufactured in England
Context Abolitionists used many means to communicate their message.
Audience Abolitionists and the general public
Purpose To remind people located far away from slavery of its cruelties

Historical Significance

These silk purses were evidently owned by Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, who belonged to a prosperous Philadelphia Quaker family. Like many Quakers, Chandler was an abolitionist; she wrote anti-slavery poems and edited the ladies' section of an abolitionist journal.

Abolitionists commonly printed abolitionist images on household objects, such as sugar bowls or pin holders. Many reform leaders were successful capitalists, and they sold these items to raise money for their movement. The square purse with the pink ribbon depicted bears this statement on the side opposite of the picture: "Negro Woman who sittest pining in captivity and weepest over thy sick child; though no one seeth thee, God seeth thee; though no one pitieth theee, God pitieth thee; raise they voice, forlorn and abandoned one; call upon him from amidst thy bonds for assuredly He will hear thee."

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