Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Harriet deGarmo Fuller papers, 1852-1857

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, March 1996

Summary Information
Title: Harriet deGarmo Fuller papers
Creator: Fuller, Harriet deGarmo
Inclusive dates: 1852-1857
Extent: 4 volumes
Abstract:
The Harriet deGarmo Fuller papers consist of four bound volumes of records and eight miscellaneous receipts of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society, kept between 1852 and 1856, when Harriet deGarmo Fuller was a member of the executive committee of the Society.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1996. M-3210.1.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Provenance:

The Fuller papers were donated to the Clements Library in January 1996, through the generosity of Bob Travis, a descendant.

Preferred Citation:

Harriet deGarmo Fuller papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

During the 1830s through 1850s, antislavery activity in Michigan was organized roughly into two channels, each represented by organizations with similar names: the Michigan State Anti-Slavery Society and the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society. The Michigan State Society was the predominant antislavery organization during the 1830s and 1840s, and under the leadership of James Gillespie Birney and others, its members urged active participation in the political sphere. Ultimately, supporters of the Society contributed to the formation of the abolitionist Liberty Party, which twice nominated Birney for the presidency (1840 and 1844), garnering over 60,000 votes in 1844, drawing on a substantial base of support in Michigan, New York, and northern Indiana. After the party was effectively dissolved following the rise of the Free Soil Party, however, the Michigan State Society declined in significance and had become moribund by the early 1850s.

At a convention held in Adrian in October, 1853, several veterans of the antislavery movement in Michigan, including Harriet deGarmo Fuller and her husband Edwin, organized a new society for the state. The Michigan Anti-Slavery Society, advocating the principles of William Lloyd Garrison, soon became a vigorous and strident instrument for reform. Committed to non-violent action, these abolitionists were -- in their own terms -- purists and radicals who disdained affiliation with any group, organization, or ideology that was tainted by association with slavery. They rejected the U.S. Constitution that accepted slavery and all laws that authorized the extension of the rights of slave holders into free states, while refusing rights to the enslaved. At their meetings, the members of the Society resolved that "between the radical abolitionist [sic] of the North and the Slave holders of the South, there is no middle ground; any more than between the worshippers of one living and true God, and those of idols...," (vol. 4: 13) and they insisted that Slavery could never be abolished "by a Governmental organization in which liberty and Slavery have a common ballot-box, a common judiciary, and a common executive" (4: 50-51), leaving as their only option for reform, collective action by the morally and spiritually committed. Nothing less than "the practical enforcement of the golden rule and the declaration of Independence, without regard to complexional differences among the people" could satisfy their political and social demands, or meet their goal of "claiming for those who are held in an iron bondage, only what the white inhabitants of this country assume to be theirs by a natural and heaven derived right" (4:13-14).

Members of the M.A.S.S. refused affiliation with churches that accepted slave holders into membership and many objected to any participation in the political process, arguing that it was hopelessly compromised by the slave power. Many members, like the Fullers, recognized a link between the oppression of the slave and the oppression of women in American society, and expanded their efforts to include the struggle for women's rights. Some members, like S. S. Foster (Abby Kelley Foster's husband) were willing, if necessary, to contemplate secession from the union. The disillusionment and suspicion that such moral purists felt rings throughout the minutes of their conventions, and, though always smaller than the Michigan State Society, their zeal and tight organization made the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society a vibrant and lively organization during the mid-1850s, when they were the only effective antislavery organization in the state.

Throughout this decade, Harriet deGarmo Fuller was a tireless worker for the abolition of slavery and the rights of women, standing with her husband, Edwin, and other members of her family at countless meetings and fairs. Edwin had been a member of the State Central Committee of the Michigan State Anti-Slavery Society in October, 1852, but in October of the following year, he and Harriet joined avidly into the formation of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society. Harriet served as a vice president of the Society in 1853-54, and became its recording secretary in 1856. As members of the executive committee of the M.A.S.S., the Fullers traveled throughout southern Michigan and northern Indiana and Ohio, organizing antislavery meetings, fund raising events, and lectures.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Fuller papers consist of four bound volumes of records and eight miscellaneous receipts of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society, kept between 1852 and 1856, when Harriet deGarmo Fuller was a member of the executive committee of the Society. Together, these books form an important and detailed picture of the formation and early activity of the Society, with a record of their official resolutions, activities and expenditures. The Fuller Papers provide a unique insight into the inner workings of one of the most important state-level Garrisonian antislavery societies.

Volume 1 (26 pp.) contains the resolutions of the Michigan State Anti-Slavery Convention at Adrian, held on October 16th, 1852 (recording the formation of the State Central Committee), along with minutes from the State Central Committee meetings through September 23, 1853. The volume appears to be entirely in the hand of recording secretary, Jacob Walton of Adrian. The Central Committee appears to have served as a springboard to membership in the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society, as each of the members of the Central Committee assumed prominent roles in the M.A.S.S.

Volumes 2 and 3 are daybooks of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society, 1853-1856. Volume 2 (115 pp., many blank) contains the general accounts of the Society during this period, while Vol. 3 (33 pp.) contains detailed, itemized records of donations, pledges, and expenditures at antislavery fairs held at Adrian, Fairfield, Battle Creek, Livonia and other cities, as well as pledges made to antislavery agents between these events. These volumes provide an intricate depiction of the fundraising activities of a state-level Garrisonian organization, its resources, contributors and participants.

Volume 4 is a ledger (77 pp.) including the Constitution and bye-laws of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society, minutes of the monthly meetings of its executive committee, and the minutes and resolutions of its annual meetings from October 22, 1853-January 5, 1857. The ledger is a remarkable record of a radical antislavery group founded to act upon deeply-held moral beliefs, and includes records of the convention at which the Society was founded, as well as its first three annual meetings. These brief entries provide insight into the minds of self-professed social radicals and glimpse into the inner workings and debates of the Society.

The Recording Secretaries of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society included: Ann Hayball (1853 October-1854 October); Eliphalet Jones (1854 October-1855 October; Ann Hayball often acted as Secretary pro tem.); Jacob Walton (1855 October-1856 October); and Harriet deGarmo Fuller (1856 October-?). Each contributed to the records in this collection.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Anti-slavery movements--Michigan.
    • Abolitionists--Michigan.
    • Foster, Abby Kelley.
    • Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879.
    • Slavery.
    • Slavery and the church.
    Genre Terms:
    • Administrative records.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Volume   1  
    Harriet deGarmo Fuller papers, 1852-1857 [series]:
     
    State Central Committee formation and meeting minutes,  1852-1853 [subseries]:
    Page   1-4  
    "Michigan State Anti Slavery Convention held at Adrian the 16th of October 1852..." Resolution to form the State Central Anti-Slavery Committee
    Page   5-7  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1852 December 05
    Page   7-8  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 January 02
    Page   9-11  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 January 16
    Page   11-13  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 February 06
    Page   13-14  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 March 06
    Page   15-16  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 April 03
    Page   17-18  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 May 01
    Page   19  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 June 05
    Page   20  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 July 03
    Page   21-22  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 August 07
    Page   22  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 September 04
    Page   23-25  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 September 08
    Page   25-26  
    State Central Committee. Meeting minutes,  1853 September 23
    Volume   2  
    Daybook of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society: General accounts,  1853-1857 [subseries]:
    Page   1-45  
    General accounts of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society,  1853 October 23-1857 April 05    [Note: (also includes 8 miscellaneous receipt laid inside front cover)]
    Volume   3  
    Daybook of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society: Pledges and donations,  1853-1856 [subseries]:
    Page   1-5  
    "List of pledges and Donations given at the antislavery Convention at Adrian, October 23rd, 1853"
    Page   5-7  
    "Pledges made to the Michigan Antislavery Society to be paid within six months from February 19/54"
    Page   8-9  
    "Pledges given to S. S. and A. K. Foster"
    Page   9  
    "Pledges given to J. W. Walker"
    Page   9-10  
    "Pledges made at the Albion Convention... February 19th, 1854"
    Page   11  
    "Donations to the M.A.S.S. given at Adrian, October 14, 1854"
    Page   12-14  
    "List of Pledges given at the 1st Anniversary of the Michigan Anti Slavery Society held at Adrian October 14th, 1854"
    Page   15-17  
    "Battle Creek pledges to the M.A.S.S. November 5th, 1854"
    Page   18  
    "Albion pledges to the M.A.S.S., November 14/54"
    Page   19  
    "Raisin Valley Pledges to the M.A.S.S. November 14"
    Page   20  
    "Farmington Pledges to the Mich. A.S.S. December 1854"
    Page   21-22  
    "Donations to the M.A.S.S. given at Livonia, December 10th, 1854"
    Page   23  
    "Pledges given to the Mich. A.S.S. at Fairfield, Decr. 31st, 1854"
    Page   24  
    "Pledges to the M.A.S.S. at Lima, Legrange Co., Ia., February 19th, 1855"
    Page   24  
    "Pledges given to M.A.S.S. at Wolcottville, Noble Co., Ia., February, 1855"
    Page   25  
    "Pledges to M.A.S.S. taken at Covenanters Church near Brockville, Ia., February, 1855"
    Page   27  
    "Donations given to the Michigan Anti Slavery Society at Battle Creek, October 6th, 1855"
    Page   28-29  
    "Pledges at the Anniversary of the Michigan Anti Slavery Society held at Battle Creek October 6th, 1855"
    Page   30  
    "Pledges given at Adrian since October 6th, 1855"
    Page   31  
    "Collections for the Mich. A.S.S. by J. H. & M. A. Philleo" October 3, 1855-November 1853 (incl. at Ann Arbor)
    Page   31  
    "Collections by J. H. & M. A. Philleo & A. M. Powell" January and   February, 1856
    Page   32  
    "Pledges given to the Mich. A.S.S. Livonia, October 11th, 12th, 1856"
    Page   33  
    "Donations given at the Annual Meeting Mich. A.S.S. Livonia, October 11th, 12th, 1856"
    Volume   4  
    Michigan Anti-Slavery Society ledger: Constitution and executive committee meeting minutes,  1853-1857 [subseries]:
    Page   1-4  
    "Constitution and bye-laws of the Michigan Anti Slavery Society"
    Page   7-18  
    "The Michigan State Anti Slavery Convention, assembled in Odd Fellows' Hall, Adrian... October 22nd, 1853"
    Page   20  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1853 November 06
    Page   21  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1853 December 04
    Page   22  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 January 01
    Page   22-23  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 January 07
    Page   23  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 January 17
    Page   24  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 January 18
    Page   24-25  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 February 06
    Page   26  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 March 04
    Page   27  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 April 02
    Page   28  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 May 07
    Page   29  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 June 04
    Page   29  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 July 02
    Page   30  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 August 06
    Page   30  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 September 04
    Page   31  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 October 01
    Page   32-41  
    "Proceedings of the First Annual Meeting of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society," [1854 October ]. Minutes and resolutions
    Page   41  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 October 10
    Page   41  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 November 05
    Page   42  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1854 December 03
    Page   42  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1855 January 07
    Page   43  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1855 February 05
    Page   43  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1855 March 04
    Page   44  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1855 April 01
    Page   44  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1855 May 07
    Page   44  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1855 June 04
    Page   45  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1855 July 01
    Page   45  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1855 August 05
    Page   47-56  
    "Second Anniversary of the Michigan Anti Slavery Society," [1855 October ]. Minutes and resolutions
    Page   57  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1855 October 08
    Page   57-58  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1855 November 04
    Page   58  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1855 December 02
    Page   58-59  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1856 January 06
    Page   59  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1856 February 03
    Page   59  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1856 March 02
    Page   60  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1856 April 06
    Page   60  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1856 May 05
    Page   61  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1856 June 01
    Page   61  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1856 July 06
    Page   62  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1856 July 27
    Page   63-75  
    "The Third Anniversary of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society," [1856 October ]. Minutes and resolutions
    Page   76  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1856 October 13
    Page   77  
    Executive Committee meeting minutes,  1857 January 04
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Alternate Locations

    Several books and newspapers associated with the Fuller Papers have been transferred to the Book Division, including:

    Clarkson, Thomas. The history of the rise, progress and accomplishment of the abolition of the African slave-trade by the British Parliament. Philadelphia: J.P. Parke, 1808.

    Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Boston: Anti-Slavery Office, 1849.

    Stowe, Harriet Beecher. A key to Uncle Tom's Cabin. Boston: J.P. Jewett & Co., 1853.

    The Liberator, vol. 39, no. 53 (1864 December 30)

    The Woman's Journal, vol. 1, no. 10 (1870 March 12)

    The Boston Investigator, vol. 27, no. 28 (1857 November 4) and vol. 33, no. 44 (1864 March 9).

    Anti-slavery Songs.

    Related Materials

    The James Gillespie Birney Papers include extensive documentation of the Michigan State Anti-Slavery Society and antislavery activity in Michigan in general, during the 1830s-50s.

    The Bentley Library houses a manuscript "fragment" from the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society, 1854, that contains a listing of members.

    A microfilm has been prepared of similar material: Michigan Anti-Slavery Society. The Black books [microform] : constitution & bye laws, resolutions, treasurer-secretary reports and minutes of the Michigan Anti-Slavery Society, Oct. 16, 1852-1857. -- 1852-1857. ca. 100 items. Microfilm made from Historical collection of Blanche E. Coggan. Gift of Teatro International Incorporated. Microfilm of Mss. (handwritten). Lansing, Mich: Microfilming Corporation of America, 1960. 1 reel; 35 mm. (NYPG)

    Drew, Benjamin. A North-side view of slavery: the refugee, or, the narratives of fugitive slaves in Canada; Boston: John P. Jewett, 1856.

    Nell, William C. The colored patriots of the American Revolution; Boston: Robert F. Wallcut, 1855.

    Partial Subject Index
    Abolitionists--Michigan
    • passim
    Chandler, Elizabeth Margaret
    • vol. 4, p. 18
    Foster, Abby Kelley
    • vol. 1, p. 12-14, 16, 23
    • vol. 4, p. 8, 10, 31
    Fugitive slaves--Ohio
    • vol. 4, pp. 66-67
    Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879
    • vol. 1, pp. 13-14, 17-18
    • vol. 2, p. 1
    • vol. 4, p. 7-8, 10-12
    Haviland, Laura
    • vol. 4, p. 6
    Kansas--History--1854-1861
    • vol. 4, p. 47-48, 70-71
    Kansas-Nebraska Bill
    • vol. 4, p. 39
    Missouri Compromise
    • vol. 4, p. 39
    Murder
    • vol. 4, p. 67
    Presbyterian Church
    • vol. 4, pp. 15-17
    Republican Party
    • vol. 4, p. 66-75
    Secession
    • vol. 4, p. 53, 55-56
    Slavery
    • passim
    Slavery and the church
    • vol. 4, pp. 15-18, 63-67
    Slavery--Anti-slavery movements--Michigan
    • passim
    Slavery--United States--Extension to the territories
    • vol. 4, p. 39, 47-48
    Spiritualism
    • vol. 4, p. 16
    Truth, Sojourner, d. 1883
    • vol. 4, p. 65, 71
    Walker, Jonathan
    • vol. 4, p. 34
    Williamson, Passmore
    • vol. 4, p. 54-55
    Wright, Henry Clark, 1797-1870
    • vol. 4, p. 55-56, 63-69