Born in Nantucket, Mass. She moved (1804) with her family to Boston and later (1809) to Philadelphia. A Quaker, she studied and taught at a Friends school near Poughkeepsie, N.Y. After 1818 she became known as a lecturer for temperance, peace, the rights of labor, and the abolition of slavery. She aided fugitive slaves, and following the meeting (1833) of the American Anti-Slavery Society, she was a leader in organizing the Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society. Refusal by the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London (1840) to recognize women delegates led to her championship of the cause of woman's rights. With Elizabeth Cady Stanton she organized (1848) at Seneca Falls, N.Y., the first woman's rights convention in the United States. Her husband, James Mott, 1788?1868, whom she married in 1811, was also a Quaker who worked constantly for the antislavery cause and for woman suffrage. He was a delegate to the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London, and he presided (1848) at the first national woman's rights convention at Seneca Falls. He also aided in the founding (1864) of Swarthmore College.
See biographies by Otelia Cromwell (1958, repr. 1971), Dorothy Sterling (1964), and Gerald Kurland (1972).
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